Friday, July 12, 2013
As I rise up once more, like a Phoenix, from my previously dead self.( the slow and quiet progression of said life). #non-edited..
The stove is on, as I can feel the heat pressing up against my torso. While outside, the wind blows, running down the city streets as if in a Marathon, that seemingly finds its way right through my apartment via the living room window. While the buildings look as if they are toppled over drunk, while covered over in a coat of nonsensical graffiti. Its about six o'clock, I do believe, as the hands on the kitchen clock have been broken for sometime. A fitting metaphor one might say. Someone walking past on the outside might think this place might be condemned, as the cracks are like veins, that pop out of the skin at random intervals throughout the layer of brick. But its what I call home, and I am probably making it out as worse than it actually is. I am cooking dinner, while watching the flames rise up over the elements as if trying to escape the very thing that gave them life. I enjoy cooking, as its when I get to lose myself, like I am in some kind of trance, the surrounding area kind of disappears, as if from reality. As I do this though, I am quickly pulled out by a quiet knocking that seems to be emanating from the front door. Its Jane, from downstairs. I met her awhile ago when I was first moving in. I was moving a chair through the front door when she passed me by, I wasn't paying attention to the task at hand and almost dropped it. I tried to correct myself but just ended up doing a juggling act and making myself look even stupider in the process. We met up quite a bit later after that, she told me how she thought I was funny, and it just basically bloomed from there." James?". She says as if asking a question." It sure smells nice in here, I can smell it all the way down the hallway". She laughs, and continues." I am actually surprised the rest of the people here aren't clawing at your door".
"Especially when the neighbors a few doors down smoke so much pot, they smell a little food and suddenly turn into zombie's".
"Yeah!". She smiles." They are pretty funny aren't they?".
"They sure are". I tell her." They sure are". The neighbors we speak of live about four doors down, and whenever you pass by their place you're sure to get a whiff of pot no matter what time of day, nobody minds though, as most people living here are pretty friendly, and whenever anyone says anything their happy to take it elsewhere.
When dinner is finally ready, we sit on the couch in front of the t.v, as I do not have a dining room table. The closest I have are those fold up trays from the 70's with those weird pictures of some cabin in the woods somewhere. Not all that romantic I guess, but we make do, with what we got. "So". She begins." How was your day?".
"Pretty uneventful actually, it basically consisted of getting some stuff for dinner from that store down the street".
"Oh! Bee Arthur's is it called?".
"Some strange hippy name like that anyway".
" I myself". She says." Actually had quite the interesting encounter this morning myself though".
"Oh yeah, how was that?".
" I was up on fourth there, by that little park across from the all those coffee shops on the corner of terminal".
"The one with all the screaming kids, yeah, nice place, the noise is a little baffling, but nice nonetheless".
"Baffling?". She asks." How so exactly?"."Well every time you go there its crowded with people, and not just parents. Kids, teenagers, you name it. It just doesn't make any sense, you go to any kind of market place with a screaming kid and they can't complain enough. But stick the same people outside in a park somewhere and you get a completely different reaction, its just... baffling". She looks at me, listening, right before she smirks and gives off this slight laugh, like a small leak in some pipe somewhere." I think you're over thinking this just a bit, but anyways". She pauses, for added effect( or just to let my reactionary laughing die off)." Back to the story. I was sitting on one of the park benches watching those screaming kids". She tells me while air quoting." An this older man sits next to me, and stays silent for about five or so minutes, before charging off into this weird tale on how he is this CIA spy, and that my name is red falcon or something, he keeps on calling himself black butterfly, and he wants some information from me". As she is telling me this story, you can see that she begins to get a little agitated." So what did you do". I ask." Nothing, I didn't know what to do! But he kept on getting angrier the more I told him I had no idea what he was talking about. It was scary, to say the least".
"So what". I say." Did he just leave?".
"No, some young fellow eventually picked him up and just left".
"Really? Just like that, didn't say a word otherwise?".
"Yeah, no 'i apologize' no nothing. It was surreal, like some freaky Monty python sketch or something". I begin to laugh, while trying to hold it back but with no real progress. So it just ends up as a kind of muffled sound like someone is trying to suffocate me from behind." Its not funny". She eventually screams, trying to hold back a smile.
After dinner the wind has let up, and the night has started to seep into view. You can hear the cars behind us on the somewhat busy street, as its almost as if they go in one giant circle eventually ending up at the same spot by our building. It just never ends. Still sitting on the couch we watch t.v, with only about a quarter of it being used as she cuddles up into me as if trying to inhabit the same space." Its getting late". She announces." I should probably be on my way".
"What do you mean". I ask." I thought you would stay over, stay the night, maybe get some breakfast tomorrow".
"I got to work tomorrow, early, but maybe afterwards you can come over, I can make you dinner". She says with a chuckle, as if laughing to herself. After she leaves the place is empty, and quiet, unsettling. The wind doesn't blow through my window, and all I can hear is the somber hum of the outside world as it yells out in sporadic fits of schizophrenic paranoia. You get used to it, as its mostly just drunken adolescent minds screaming out periodically. At this point it's kind of like falling asleep to the sounds of the ocean. I end up falling asleep to the t.v off, and the window partially open, so the morning rises up with the sounds of the sun beaming through the window. I don't work today, so I have got really nothing that needs to be done, and since Jane is at work I got to find something to pass the time until she gets back. I end up getting up and going to this little diner dive not too far off from here. Its called the something or other, again, I do not know who comes up with these names." James". Calls out the waitress." Nice to see you today, on this lovely morning".
"Thanks Josie". I say. Her name is actually Josephine, but I call her Josie for short. She lives right near here in one of the buildings a few blocks from my place, on the other side of the park we talked about earlier." Do you want your usual table, by the window".
"You should know by now that that will always be a yes". She laughs, and chuckles, covering her mouth as if embarrassed." So sweetie". She continues." What will it be for you today?". I look over the menu scanning the pages hardly reading the entries I find within." The eggs Benedict please, with a side of Bacon".
"Coffee to go along with it?".
"Just keep it coming".
"You are so predictable James, you know that".
"Yea, I know". I tell her." But that is just what makes me all the more lovable, does it not". She smirks, and says." Well James, you just keep on telling yourself that". We have actually known each other for quite some time, which is why we have the relationship we do. We tried dating once, years ago, but it was so awkward and unsettling, as if trying to date your cousin or something, so we decided it was better off that we stayed friends. An to be honest it works out much better this way. I always come here and get the seat by the window, watch as the world races by in such a hurry to get no place all that really important. People charge by in there cars, honking at each other, thinking how everyone else is the idiot driver. Hardly knowing that we all are basically in the same vote. Its a wild world we live in, and if we don't keep our eyes open long enough we might just miss it.
And as I sit there contemplating( if you can call it that) I hardly notice Josie sitting across from me, picking at the very food she brought for myself." James". She calls." Snap out if it will ya!". I look over with a grin and a partial look of confusion." What's going on". I ask." You on your break?".
"Yeah, just a fifteen, just thought maybe you wanted to come outside with me, have a smoke".
"I am kinda in the middle of something you know, I can't just leave this here, I'm still hungry!".
"Oh its fine, don't be such a hassle all the time, they know you around here, no ones gonna touch it, your so paranoid".
"Okay okay". I tell her." After you than, my lady". We go out the back in the little back alley behind the place. On the other side of the semi side street lays the backyards of houses with dogs barking and children playing. Most of the fences seem as of they are about to fall apart, some have already. The grass on more than a few are overgrown, and now probably constitutes as a forest, with a tree house acting as the only refuge from the dangers within." So you know that guy I've been seeing". She suddenly speaks." Yeah, Timothy was it".
"Tom actually. Timothy sounds like some formal suit wearing ten year old".
"Anyways". I say while laughing." What about him?".
"Well he's gone".
"What do you mean gone, like you guys broke up?".
"No no, he is just gone, no word or message or anything. I got up one morning and he just wasn't there, all his stuff was gone and his key was sitting on the kitchen counter".
"Wow that's ummmm!". I pause." That's fucked up. Did you guys fight or something? He doesn't seem like the type of guy to do something like this".
"Well he did, we didn't fight or anything, everything seemed to be going fine, I am not sure what the hell happened". Sitting their for a minute with puffs of smoke rising out of the thin air in front of us, we just stand in silence, not sure where to go from here." You know if you need anything, anything at all, I am always here for you, don't be afraid to ask".
"Yeah I know, I know". She says, wiping the newly formed tears from her eyes." I think I need to be getting back, but thanks for listening James, I may just take you up on that yet". Inside I find my table and all its contents just as before, as if time stopped for a second when I left. I finish off the rest of breakfast as Josie is out helping other customers as she smiles and rolls her eyes every so often in my direction. I pay(with a good tip, which I always do but still feel slightly odd since I know her) and make my way once more to the outside world. The sun out here still rains down from above, and I stand there slightly confused as to what to do next. Its such a nice day I don't want to waste it inside, as we don't get too many days around here without rain. There is this little park just up the ways, not the one we talked about earlier, but another all together. This area of town seems to be peppered with Parks and green space, and for some reason every one needs a community garden that to my knowledge no one ever uses( but stays almost perfect anyways). The park in question is more of a school yard, minus the school, but its a nice walk anyways. Just up aways past the park, the upper east side starts. That's where the cool kids hang out, on Virginia Ave( they have come to call it the Verge, stupid, I know). A lot of it is run by rabid soccer fans from all countries, that can be found in coffee shops and sports bars throughout the strip. Its a strange area, one side is all Hipster stores and dollar pizzas, while the other us rundown ethnic restaurants and crappy theatres, all cut down the middle by First street. The park is quiet, and somewhat empty, there are a few kids in the field playing a game of soccer with only three people. It seems a little out of place for this to be so empty on a day as today. But after about fifteen minutes of me taking a seat facing the field, I notice the clouds close in. I haven't minded them until just now, it amazes me at times, how the weather can change so hurriedly around here.
Back at home ( and soaking wet) I open up the curtains to watch the rain fall upon the city, there is just something about it that gives me a calming effect, like listening to one those sound scape Cd's to help you sleep. I end reading with the television on, but on mute. Its this book called the temple of the golden pavilion by Yukio Mishima, a brilliant story, to be so obsessed by something, so enamored that it brings you to such a destructive end, I couldn't imagine. I have read it a few times already, and each read just gets better. Even now, after my second or third go through I am still learning things about it.
At about 5:30 or so the door opens and in walks Jane with a handful of groceries, juggling them about as she tries to close the door behind her." Do you think you could give me a hand James?".
"Yeah sure, no problem, so". I say as I put the bag on the kitchen counter." How was the day, busy?".
"Yeah, it was crazy today, don't know why either, its not like it to be busy on a day like this". She works at this Tim Horton's that just opened up on first Ave, it is now probably the nicest place on that side of the street." I guess everyone is trying to awake from all the recent late nights, they sure wouldn't shut up during the last few anyways". She smiles and passes on replying, in which she does quite often( which I am fine with by the way)." I thought I would make your favourite tonight, chicken, rice, all covered in a mushroom sauce, and to top it all off asparagus".
"Really". I say, somewhat surprised." You don't even like asparagus, let alone the mushroom sauce you make".
"I don't hate it". She says back." It's just with that and the added Philly, its so thick and rich, I can't eat a lot of it. But the asparagus though, I just don't like".
"Yeah well, I guess that's fair enough". I laugh." So why make it in the first place than?".
"You seemed so disappointed that I didn't stay over last night, like a wet puppy that just ran through the kitchen, and realizes that she did something bad".
"Oh, now I am a she huh! I see how things are. So what, does that make you the man in this relationship?".
"That's right!". She says." I am the man". She tells me, puffing up her chest, while trying to push me around, like men do when there drunk, or just immature cliches of themselves. It ends up being like one of those scenes from a movie,(or at least that's how I see it in my head) where the couple jokes around with each other but end up kissing at the end of it. I can feel the warmth of her skin upon mine. I always wondered how she keeps her skin so soft at all times, like silk, that quivers at the very touch. We end up somehow back on the bed, after possibly knocking over a lamp or two. If its the one I am thinking of though, I don't really mind all that much, didn't like it all too much anyways.
Afterwords, laying in bed next to each other, while staring at the ceiling, I could feel her skin against mine. She still gives me goose bumps, a little boost of excitement when I first see her, even if its to scorn for something that I did. I begin to once more shuffle myself over to her, bunching up the covers between us, she looks over towards me now as my hand once more finds her naked thigh, and I start to slowly caress as she smiles and says." Has it really been that long James, I am not going anywhere".
"That's good to hear". I say." It might ruin my plans otherwise". She gives me that look, the one that says I am laughing on the inside, and begins." Your like a kid in a candy store aren't ya!, thinking you better have your fill now, because you may never come back. But!". She tells me( and I usually know were this is going)." I have a dinner to make James, your fun is just going to have to wait". I watch her get dressed, while getting even more aroused as before. There is just something sexy, and poetic, about her putting back on her clothes, I am probably the only one that thinks that though. As I walk out into the kitchen, I see her standing at the stove as if in some deep conversation with it, almost like nothing happened at all." Do you need any help?". I ask, as I pass her by in the kitchen." No James! I think I am good, I am cooking for you, remember. Just watch some t.v, it will be done in no time".
"Okay, if you say so".
"I do say". She tells me. I sit down on the couch, to watch some television. Every so often I get a smell of her cooking pass me by,getting ever stronger the closer she gets to finishing. Soon enough though she sits beside me plates in hand, staring at the TV while getting stuffed on good eats." So". She begins." How is it, is it up to your liking".
"It always is, after all these years" I begin." You are still the best cook I know". She smiles, and kisses me on the forehead. The night goes on like this, just a quiet night in with the one you love, no busy streets or long line ups or hustle and bustle of the outside world. Its nice, to get away from it all, and recharge the engines, to once more push your way out into society in the morning. Like a newly hatched turtle,making its way over the sand, only to be repeatedly pushed away from the waters by the continuous waves, just to eventually break through.
In the morning when I awake, she has already left, but I can still feel her warmth through the covers. Today is the first day of the week, as I got to go back to work. Its just within walking distance actually, what are the odds I know. I work at the hardware store, the only one in the area, I am not even sure if you can even call it that, as a few shovels and screwdrivers and shit do not make a hardware store. Its only me and the owner that work their, an old friend of mine. He gave me the job after the last one didn't really work out all too well. But I don't think we need to get into that. The day goes by slow,as it usually does,a customer here and there throughout the day, usually people that forgot something or other and don't want to go back to the real one, so they come here instead. In which is kind of humorous, seeing that on select items we are cheaper than the big box stores. But people never learn. At the end of the day the sun is gone, just peaking out over the mountains like a toddler, playing hide and seek. At home I find an empty apartment, as Jane must be downstairs at her own, I think about going down, seeing how her day went, but that just ended up in a argument the last time. She said she needs her space, and doesn't need me consoling her over a bad day, she is like that, independent( aggressively so sometimes). I guess we are just two different pieces of the same puzzle, just hoping that we fit nicely together.
The next few days goes by much the same,Jane stays downstairs at her own apartment, and I sit up here watching the television after work. The world passes by with no thought of us, it just goes by, no matter what may be happening in our own life, a sad thought if you think about it. I tried to go down, see what's up, if everything is okay. What I found was a door that didn't open,with the slight shuffling of feet inside, that are trying its best to be quiet. I even called out my name, to let her know its me, but got no response in return. The rest of the week moves by, and I still hear nothing out of Jane, it worries me, to say the least. On my first day off, at around ten in the morning, comes a knock at the door, like a sudden rush of water, that leaves you in a panic." Hey James, may I come in?".
"Of course, of course, you don't have to ask".
"James". she say quietly, as if some body's listening." Can we talk?".
"Yeah, take a seat. Want a drink or anything?".
"No" she replies." I'm good, thanks. Listen". She continues." I am sorry for not talking for the past week, but....". She sighs." I think we may need a break". I look off at her, in complete surprise, as if I am not understanding the words that come out of her mouth." A break, a break from what?".
"From us James!, from us".
"What do you mean, I thought everything was fine". I pause, to catch my breath." Where is this coming from anyways, what did I do exactly".
"You didn't do anything James, its not you, really, its not". We sit there in silence, as Jane watches the multiple reactions upon my face." I am sorry James, really I am. An I don't mean to hurt you, in any way. But I need this".
"Need what exactly".
"I don't know James!, okay, I do not know. I just...... I need something". She stops, and rubs her forehead. She is standing up now,pacing the room so much she's making me dizzy." I just need something more".
"Something more, really. I am sorry I cannot give you big houses and four cars, I really am, but isn't this enough, isn't us enough".
"Its not that, its not".
"Than what is it Jane, what is it".
"I don't know, but I know I need to go find out, I feel like I am couped up in here. I am sorry James, I am, but I need to do this". At this she hugs me, apologizing once more, and leaves the apartment. While I am left inside, confused, hurt, and shocked. I really did not see this coming, but isn't that always the way, one person is always blinded by the fact that he/she is in love, never noticing the subtle( or sometimes even not) hints that he/she gives out. We are all too wrapped up in our own little world to realize the emotions of others. But that does not make things better, just sad, a little more lonesome, when I finally realize that I wont see her on the other side of that door, or feel the warmth of her skin against mine. Its hard letting go, and I can already feel the eyes start to water,and my hands begin to shake. An somehow, through all of this, I finally find sleep, only to periodically forget that there is no one beside me, as I lay on the verge of falling to floor on the very cliff of the bed.
The next morning is mostly a daze, as I cannot seem to focus on any available task. Most of it is just spent staring at the television, hardly watching it though. I keep on going through the years trying to find all the things I might have done wrong, and with further analysis find quite a few. At about four in the afternoon I have had quite enough of this sitting around. So I end up taking a walk. You ever see those movies, where our hero loses face, and ends up walking around thinking about what he/she has done, only to figure out how to fix it( which normally involves getting the girl back). And the scene is only made more powerful by the falling rain, and the busy streetlights that perfectly seduce him for the camera. Unfortunately though, the real world doesn't really work like that. As outside the sun is shining, and the crowds of people seem to frolic more often than usual. I end up walking around only stopping for a water here and there at the corner stores that seem to fight for supremacy in the few city blocks that I find myself. I think about stopping over at Josie's, but I do believe she is off today. So instead I buy my own pack of cigarettes and smoke em by the park with all the kids. The rest of the week goes by surprisingly fast, at the store I do everything and anything to keep my hands busy. I end up doing a complete overhaul of the store,,cleaning areas that have never been touched. The boss just sits back and chuckles, sympathetically of course. I am sure he is pretty okay with all the work that is getting done, at the end of the work week he pats me on the shoulder and gives me an extra day off, a kind of thanks and sorry at the same time.
In the morning(on my first day off) I find myself once more at the diner, eating my usual, as always. It gets me thinking though, that this could be one of the very reasons she left me, predictability. I do have a routine, and now that I think about it she does call me old man a lot, maybe that is it, the one reason that eventually drove her over the edge. Have you ever realized something, that shatters the idea you have about yourself, while not realizing exactly what to do to change course. Its like that, and I am sure the other patrons are looking at me with confused eyes, as my face probably gives off a look of bewilderment itself, like somehow its just been mangled in some horrible accident. At the end I once more meet Josie out back, as this time she is just at the end of her shift." So James, remember I told you about Tom leaving, how he just left for no reason".
"Yeah, Timothy, I remember".
"Well.. you will never guess what happened". She says, with hardly a pause in between." He came back!".
"Seriously?". I mutter." He came back, what did he say. What was his excuse for him leaving".
"Nothing, actually, surprisingly enough".
"Nothing?". I repeat." What the hell you mean nothing. How could he be gone for all this time and not give an explanation".
"I don't know". She says." But that's what he did".
"So what happened than, you guys still together, or what".
"What do you think?".
"Well I would hope in the hell not".
"Than you would be right my friend, you would be right". She tells me pointing her cigarette at me like some drugged out rock star. It is at this point that I decide to join in on the cancerous fun. And as I pull out the pack she gives a look of disbelief, as if I just pulled out a knife or something." And what, may I ask, are you doing with that".
"Well". I begin." Lets just say its been a tough week".
"I would say so". She replies." I haven't seen you with a pack for years now, what happened?".
"What happened, what happened is that apparently me and you both are now single".
"Holy shit! Are you serious, how in the hell did this happen".
"I'm really not sure actually, she said something about needing to see what's out there you know". I say raising my arms." In the world!".
"That's it?". She asks." Yeah, that's about it. I guess she just got tired of the routine. Understandable... if you think about it".
"Well I am sorry to hear that".
"Yeah, me too". We start walking around the city, basically going in circles, two people in the same basic situation, trying to make each other feel better. We end up stopping for a couple coffees, and eventually find us at this local Vietnamese restaurant. Its at this point that it decides to rain, better late than never I was always told. At the end if the day I walk her home, and we say our goodbyes.
The rest of the week crawls forth like molasses, or a slow lumbering turtle trying to once more make it through the waves, into ocean below. I keep on trying to come up with reasons to go downstairs to pass by Jane's apartment, as if she will open the door at the exact moment I pass by and throw her arms around me as if to say she's sorry. Another delusional thought from a human mind. To counteract me driving myself crazy, I head over to see Josie, only to realize she is nowhere to be seen. I have never realized how lonely life can get when their is no one to share it with. I have always taken it for granted, as most of my life I have had someone there around me. Except for that first initial move to the big city, and the relaying insurmountable time afterwards. In which is when I met Jane(to a certain extent). It was a weird time, at once both depressed and heart broken without actually fully realizing how bad it actually was. Have you ever had that, to go through life thinking that some event wasn't at all that bad( even though your friends/family say otherwise) only to be eventually hit by that wall and realize how you actually felt about it.
At the end of the week, as I am heading out the door, to go to work, the phone rings. I stand at the doorway contemplating answering it, after about five or so rings I pick it up, seeing that after that it might be important." Hello, this is James speaking".
"James, its mom, I got some news".
"News?". I ask quite perplexed." What kind of news?".
"Nothing bad James, just that we are having a kind of get together you know, not planned obviously. It just kinda happened, thought you might wanna come, see all the old friends and relatives. Plus, you don't exactly visit very often you know. You're so closed off".
"Well when is this thing exactly?".
"Tomorrow, most will be here tomorrow morning, with a bunch coming throughout the day".
"Cutting me a bit short aren't we, why didn't you tell me about this earlier?".
"We are just finding out our self honey, if I could have told you I would have. Now wont you please! come, some people are pretty excited to see you again. And I would hate to disappoint our guests".
"Okay mom, okay, I will be there. I can leave tomorrow morning and be there around ten. Is that okay?".
"That's lovely honey, we will see you than". Its hard to focus during work, as my mind keeps on gravitating towards the one line my mom said, 'that some people are excited to see you' part. Cause if I know my mom, and I am pretty sure I do, she really meant someone, not some people. But who knows, I might be wrong, at least I hope so. By the next morning I am all packed and ready, ready to take the train down to the suburbs. Its about two hours away in a town called tallehan. Its not really a town per say, that makes it sound so cut off, its just a part of the suburbs they cut up and renamed. I leave fairly early in the morning, and the train is dead. The few people pile in as soon as the bell rings fighting for seats, even though there is plenty to go around. The problem has always been that everyone wants the same seats, and comes up with some excuse in there head on why they should have it. It's all very amusing to watch actually, people fighting pointlessly for things that as well are pointless. Doesn't seem like people fight for what is right anymore, whats best for the world, its mostly all me, me, me, Disappointing.
The whole time on the train the scenery is mostly houses and schools and hardware stores, with a bunch of filler in between. Seeing the world this way really gives you some insight on the whole human condition, or at least what we turned it into. Its like we are going in circles, houses and buildings, followed by the same three or four fast joints repeating until infinity, or until we hit the dock of the bay. But every so often there is the light, the park with the kids playing baseball or something, the beautiful graffiti art that sits on the fringe of society, or just mother nature peaking through the man made crap that bitches and moans about the very nature they moved in on. Its lonely really, passing through life like this in fast forward. Makes you look inward and all the problems you have yourself, but I guess that's what makes people complain about others, to make themselves feel better. As i finally arrive at the train station, I full on expect to see the family standing outside waiting for me like a bad eighties movie. But as I stand there, with the now pouring rain(again like a bad eighties movie) I find that I am now on my own. It's not too far from here actually, which works out nicely I guess, for this certain predicament. Out front of the station a few taxicabs sit lazily, waiting for people to come to them."130th and 64th please". I tell the first cabbie I see, while hanging my head just outside the front passenger window." Yeah, no problem". I get in the back, soaked from the current weather, as I try to get myself into some semblance of order for when I knock on the door." So". Says the cabbie." You new here, or just visiting".
"Uh! Just visiting actually". I answer, as the question didn't make all to much sense." Family actually, some kind of reunion or something".
"You don't seem so sure of that".
"Well that's because I just found out last night. A last minute thought I guess".
"But a thought nonetheless though right".
"Yeah". I tell him." I guess". He drops me off at the corner, as i pay, and make my way up the street. The house meanwhile is about a block away, the rain is still coming down, but I prefer not to get dropped right in front of the house. Every time I do its a half hour discussion on how my mom needs to pay the taxi for some reason. That's a conversation I have heard plenty of times before, like a parrot, that keeps on repeating itself, sooner or later your bound to get tired of it." James!". My mom calls out as she opens the door." You made it, how wonderful". Every time I come over she says that, like I somehow got lost and did that whole incredible journey to find my way back." Yeah well, I have been here before mom".
"Yeah, yeah, I know I know! I have got a surprise for you though, some one's been wanting to see you".
"What do you mean, who could possibly be wanting to see me around here, if its uncle john again, its not much of a surprise mom. He does live like half hour away".
"Oh, shhhh! Will you. Just come into the kitchen". We pass through the living room, with crowds of people( in which means about five in this house) all staring at the television like a cow that stands in the middle of some roadway, just watching all the cars that sit in wait. Inside the kitchen I have to stop myself, like I've been somehow frozen in spot. For the person standing in front of me now is someone I never believed I would ever see again." Marie". I pause, thinking that she might just be a mirage and eventually dissipate back into the ether." Marie, what are you doing here, I figured that...". She stops me, speaking out like a balloon that suddenly popped." I live here now, just a week ago actually. Your mom wanted to surprise you, I hope that's okay". She says." I hope that its okay that I'm here".
We met in college, and didn't exactly hit it off at first, but after about a year or so we found each other face to face at some meat head party, and kind of hit off from there. I am not even sure how exactly I pulled it off. She wasn't how you would say, smitten with me. I guess I wore her down, or that's what she always jokingly told me, not much of a joke anymore though. We eventually got engaged, but that only ended up with her in bed with some other guy. Still don't know who it was, don't really care. It was than and there that I packed up and left for the city. I heard later on that she did the same, and never figured I would ever hear from her again, and not sure I wanted to either. As we stand there, awkwardly watching each other like a cat watching a mouse, my mom eventually chimes in." So, are you two thirsty? I got some Ginger ale in the fridge".
"Thanks mom, but maybe later".
"Yeah, I guess you two have some catching up to do".
"Something like that". I say." Something like that". Marie and I end up outside on the patio( covered of course) with the rain still coming down pelting the tin roof above our heads. Through the windows you can see the water soaked grass, and the swaying trees that look as if they could dancing in the wind. The rain covers the glass windows giving the world an almost fractured, broken look to it, as if I could reach through and be transported to wonderland or something. The patio out here is cold, and fridge like, with only a red couch that slightly resembles that of corduroy. Almost opposite is a slightly less quirky green chair that looks to be a fossil compared to the new styles of lazy boys. Marie and I both sit on the couch, with ample space between us. As the cushions give no semblance of warmth from the elements." So, James". She says." I guess your curious on why I came back?".
"Slightly". I answer." Slightly, so.. why are you here Marie?".
"I'm sorry James, but I needed to see you, and I know how hard this must be for you, its hard for me to James, trust me".
"Trust you! You ran off with another guy, Marie. Do you understand that, and we were engaged for Christ sakes, engaged Marie".
"I know James, I know. I was wrong, really wrong. And there is not enough I can ever do to make it up to you".
"That's right Marie, there's not!".
"But James". She says." That does not mean I am unwilling to try".
"What are you saying Marie". I pause." Are you saying you want to get back together?". This is the last thing I ever expected, but I have known her a long time, and the look on her face tells me she is not lying. An as we sit there, in silence, I can see my mom in the kitchen, trying to control the herd, as more and more people make there way in. Like a sheep dog, herding the cattle, she tries her damnedest to not let them through the sliding glass door, where me and Marie now sit." What are! you saying Marie, you can't be serious about this?".
"I am James, I realize now I that I threw out the best thing that happened to me, you
"This is a little much to take right now Marie, a little much, don't you think?".
"You don't have to answer James, not right now. And I know I am asking a lot of you. But". She tells me." Could you at least think about it?". I sigh, while mulling things over in my head, and say." Fine Marie, I will do that much".
"Thanks James, I know I don't deserve it, so thank you". Inside, I find the kitchen about to hit critical mass, as the crowds of people scratch at the door like a cat trying to get out one more time before bed. Marie and I walk in, with the oncoming bellows of each person greeting us as if for the first time. After the noise finally dies down, my uncle Jonathan is the first to chime in." James! Marie! Nice to see you two together again, its been sometime". My uncle Jonathan lives about an hour away in Mission, he is not really an uncle per say, but he has been with us long enough to be anointed as one." So?". A voice calls out, as if from the walls." What were you two talking about?". Scanning the room to see who it might be, I see a short unfettered woman in the back sitting down on the kitchen chairs. Its my aunt Sylvia, she is from the city, just outside of it actually." Nothing Auntie, nothing". I tell her." Just catching up". Most of my aunts and uncles have no idea why Marie and I broke up, we didn't want to go through the hassle of doing so, so we basically just told them it didn't work out, it would be just too difficult, to many questions and phone calls and what have you. So hearing from them all on how we should get back together is a bit strange. In which most of our conversations usually end up towards. We all find ourselves sooner or later in the living room yelling at the television over sports, its at this point a few hours into the day that I pull my mom aside to ask her a few questions." Why exactly?". I tell her." Did you bring Marie here. What purpose could she be filling?".
"She is not filling any purpose hunny, she wanted to be here, that's all".
"You didn't have to agree".
"I know James, I know. I just really think she is sorry for what she has done. I really do believe that she wants to make amends".
"Maybe!". I say." Maybe, I am just not sure if I really want to see her right now".
"No one said this would be easy James, but I think its something that should be done, to get rid of the past, so you can finally enjoy the future". Its at this moment that I see Marie standing at the doorway, with a smile adorning her face. I am not sure how long she has been standing there, but I am not willing to find out." James". She says." There is a call for you, a Josie".
"OK, yeah.. I will be right their". What could Josie of all people want that she would call me here. I can only think that it must be some emergency of some kind." Hello? Josie". I ask, speaking into the receiver." James, I am glad I caught ya".
"Why". I ask." What's going on".
"Its Jane, she's back, and apparently she is looking for you".
"Looking for me, what do you mean looking for me. What does she want?".
"What the hell do you think she wants James, she wants you back, obviously".
"Seriously? Did she actually tell you that".
"No, actually, she did not. But I can see it, have seen it before James. In her eyes, so James". She continues." Expect to get a call of some sort".
"Goddamn it". I exasperate." Couldn't get any worse could it".
"What do you mean, what's going on down there". I look around the room, to make sure no one might be listening in, and tell her." Do you remember Marie, Josie?".
"Yeah, you told me all about her sometime ago, why?".
"Well she's here, and apparently wants to work things out, you know".
"You're not serious, are you. After what she put you through".
"Yeah, completely apparently. She told me herself".
"Well". She says." What are you gonna do?".
"I don't know, I really don't know".
"Well I am sorry to cut you off James, but I got to go to work. But, coming from a friend, remember what Marie did to you James, is that really something you want to go through again. Just..". She pauses." Just tread lightly okay, and tell me all about it when you get back".
"Okay Josie, will do! Have a good day okay, and thanks, for everything you know".
"Yeah James, no problem". I sit down on the bed, as I have made my way into the extra bedroom for a bit of privacy.
So Jane is back, she didn't really take that long. An I got to say, as easy as this decision seems to be, I still have some pent up feelings for Marie. A part of me wants her back as well. I am just not sure if this is such a good scenario in real life as it is in my head. And as I sit here, lost in thought, I fail to hear the knocks from the door. Only to finally awake from the creaks of the hinges as they struggle to open, like a lost tomb that hasn't been opened in centuries." James". She asks." Is everything okay?". I look at her, standing over me with the bedroom light giving her a almost halo effect. I know I should tell her, but I am hoping I can pass on this whole situation by leaving tomorrow morning." Its fine, thanks". Marie, now sitting beside me, sits their for about a minute or two, as we both stare off into the distant wall that stands ten feet in front of us." James". She says once more." I know you have no reason to trust me, but if you ever need to talk, I am here to listen". As she says this, I can begin to feel her unrelenting hand crawl up my thigh like its invading a country. An I want to say something, or move it out of the way in some fashion, but I just sit their, paralyzed, as it gets ever closer to its destination at every pass. It feels as if its been so long since I felt the touch of another human, as me and Jane weren't exactly frequent flyer's." Marie". I finally whisper." This can't happen".
"Come on James, why not? Remember all the good times we had, all the fun". As she says this, her hand is on the cusp of no return, as she slowly teases, getting ever closer just to take it back when me and her are on the verge of meeting." James!". My mom bursts out as she flies through the door as if passing right through it." Mom, hey!". I quietly spurt out, like a torrent of rain that catches you off guard. And Marie's hand retracts back to her side, as she blushes, and finds it hard to look my mom in the eyes." I was just coming right out, weren't we Marie?". She nods, as my mom gives that look as if she knows what's happening, but does not know what's going on." Well". She says, with overtones of confusion." You have a phone call, its Jane hunny". As my mom says this, I can feel the burning eyes of Marie boring a hole in me as we speak."Jane? Who the hell is this Jane person exactly".
"She is my girlfriend, my ex girlfriend actually. She left me a few days ago for reasons I still don't quite understand".
"I wonder what she wants! than".
"I don't know, I guess I should go find out than".
Outside in the rest of the house, the family is still yelling at the television, with a few scattered throughout the corners of the place screaming at each other. A lot of what I remember growing up was this pretty much exactly. It was never meant to be mean or anything, its just for some reason or another that is how this family expresses ourselves. I remember the first time I brought Jane over, she was so taken back at it, like two eagles fighting over the same fish, she just thought they were going to strangle each other or something. Maybe that is why she left me, my supposed predisposition towards bouts of yelling for no apparent reason. I always held myself back from that, and think I did a damn good job as well. Although we do not always know what we are doing until someone comes along and wakes us up. The one thing I have learned about society is that not everyone is as self aware as they like to think. That is not a slap to the face or anything, it is just how things go sometimes.
"Jane?". I ask, holding the receiver up as my hands unmistakably tremble( but for reasons unknown)." James! I caught you". She says, almost in a panic." I think we really news to talk".
"I am not sure there is anything to talk about Jane".
"James, please! Don't be like that. I made a mistake okay, I panicked".
"You panicked! You walked out hardly saying a word. I still have no idea what happened. And than what! A few days later you come waltzing back like nothing".
"I am sorry James, but I was scared".
"Everyone gets scared Jane, but you could have talked to me you know".
"I know James, I know. But I do have one question for you".
"Yeah". I say." What's that".
"Is Marie really there with you right now".
"Yeah actually, she is. Who told you?".
"I hear things James, I hear things. What does she want exactly, what is she doing". I look around once more, in case there are any prying eyes that are listening in." Me! I think, that's what I am getting from her anyway".
"You!". She repeats." Why would you say that?".
"Well, since not too long before her hand raced up my thigh like a train late for the station, I would have to say just a educated guess".
"James!". Come a voice from across the room." Is everything alright".
"Yeah Marie, every things fine, thanks. I will be right out". I can hear the slight rumblings of tears coming from over the phone. As Jane seems to be teetering over the cliff of a total breakdown. I have heard her cry before, but this time, it sounds different." Please James, please don't let this get between us".
"Its okay, I don't think you have anything to worry about. We will talk when I get back, okay?".
"Okay James". I hang up the phone, and can still hear Marie outside with my mom talking about odds and ends, or whatever they talk about, it just sounds like someone has muffled there voices in some way. I sit there for a second mulling over what was said on the phone. Its an easy decision, it is, but that part of me have always wanted things to work out between Marie an I, sounds crazy, doesn't it. I have never really found myself in a situation like this, I have never been the man the girls wanted. I guess there is a first for everything.
"Is everything alright hunny". My mom asks." Yeah, everything is fine".
"What did she want anyways". Says Marie.
"Oh nothing, nothing at all". The rest of the day is spent with the family, outside the rain finally gives up just before dark, but we go out anyways. Most of it now is drinking and singing. Whenever we get together the guitars magically come out, as if popping into existence. An the drunker people get, the worse the singing becomes. At around midnight the people finally begin to disperse, and its a lot of hand shaking and telling me how I need to come around more often. Oddly though, for the last part of the night Marie pretty much stayed away, only passing me by like fits of rain, while travelling through the mountains in the spring. At this point I am pretty drunk, not debilitating so, but enough that I tend to walk as if the floor is slanted. As I may have mentioned before, the house is not at all that big, so the extra bedroom is all we have. My mom doesn't have a bed per say in there, just those makeshift blow up ones you buy at the local Canadian tire. I have slept on it before, and I must say, its pretty big, easily enough room for at least three people. An as I get ready and make my way under the covers, I can still hear my mom outside, creaking around trying to be quiet. It's about than that Marie walks in, stumbling in the darkness, with a nice mixture of alcohol mixed in." Marie". I whisper." Your still here. I thought my mom said you left?".
"I was going, but she talked me into staying, didn't want me driving in my apparent condition. You know her, there's no arguing". Marie turns on the lights as she walks in, its one of those dimmer switches so its on just enough that I can basically see a silhouette. As I lay in the bed, mostly covered by the heavy sheets, Marie begins to undress in front of me, slowly almost seductive like. I look away, pretending to be sleeping on my side, but in actual fact one eye is still upon her. Have you ever witnessed a car crash, and even though you know full well you shouldn't be looking(what with all the driving and all) but you can't help but watch the mangled mess unfold. Its kind of like that, peppered with the fact I haven't seen such a beautiful creature like this in some time, Jane included. Marie, now fully undressed, wears only a over sized shirt with soccer style short that hugs her hips as if for dear life. Her legs look as if they're crafted in marble, as the little light that falls through the window perfectly contours her whole body. I haven't seen her like this in quite sometime, I forgot just how beautiful she really is. As I look away(but with barely one eye on her) I feel the covers suddenly shift as she crawls in. The warmth from her body emanates on my skin twofold, as she is (and always was) a walking furnace. I can feel her feet graze mine as she shuffles about trying to get comfortable, and its not as weird as I thought it might be, perhaps its the familiarity between us. Perhaps its the current feeling that she is just going to sleep, in which she currently is doing.
As we lay there, I can feel my eyes make there way shut, and as I get into the half asleep dream state, I begin to feel a foreign object wrap itself around my torso, like a snake trying to suffocate it's prey. It takes me some time to finally realize that its Marie, as I feel her body shift towards mine, huddling up as if trying to get warm from the elements. Marie's hand now wanders over my chest like its searching for something, and not too soon after the moist sweetness of her lips at once find my neck. I turn on my back, to see better, but she creeps slightly over me with her hand dropping down below the covers like the temperature on a cold windy night. Its at this point, when first realizing what is going to transpire, that I have always told myself I would turn back, that I wouldn't go past and do certain things that I know I would regret later. I find time almost stopping as I think of this, and Jane sitting at home worrying about what could potentially happen. But for some reason my brain wont send this message to my body parts. Its a weird thing to say, as its almost unbelievable, but here I am, joining in on the festivities so to say. As me and Marie now lay in bed, facing each other beneath the sheets, her lips creep ever closer to mine. While my hands fall down the smalls of her back barely grazing below her shorts as she arches her back as if in anticipation. She is now in full control, straddling my body like I might try to get away, and this is when she decides to pull her shirt over her head as it brushes up against her breasts as they almost explode out as if in laughter.
The next morning though, I awake to an empty bed, and an even emptier memory, as I struggle to remember if what happened last night was a dream or not. I was pretty drunk, so all the details of the reality of it is fairly fuzzy, at best. My mom is already awake and making breakfast, eggs and waffles with a side of Bacon. She always was the early riser in the house, usually getting a full days worth of stuff done before anyone else even gets up." Hey mom, did you see Marie this morning?".
"Yeah! She left sometime ago".
"Well, did she say anything?".
"What would she say hunny".
"I don't know, did she say anything about me, or anything at all".
"Yes, actually. She said to tell you thanks for everything, and that she's sorry for her sudden disappearance this morning, or something in that order. Why are you so interested in her all of a sudden".
"Oh! Its nothing mom, I was just curious,that's all". That morning I take the train back home, with the rain still coming down, a fitting end to an event that seemed so dreamlike. I am still not sure if that one night between me and Marie ever happened, I don't know if I ever will, but I guess it's no matter. Maybe certain things are best left unknown.