“Am I dreaming?”
“No!” The spirit said, sitting at the end of Jane’s bed. His translucent appearance shows a faded green uniform. His dark hair appears short, as he sat, his back to her. “I am here. I am sentenced with a chance.”
“What does that mean?”
“To be this is my sentence. To be a messenger is my function. It is what my afterlife is, because of how I lived my life on earth, and I have been told that this is my chance.” The spirit, still sitting, turns to his left to look at Jane, who is now sitting up in bed. She has no fear of this spirit, only curiosity. She knows the dead cannot hurt her. When they come, they come with messages, ones that need to be listened to. But this visit is different. This is a spirit with a responsibility.
“You’re chance at what?”
“My chance for my soul to finally be destroyed, never to be reborn and to cease walking alongside this world. My reward will be darkness, nothingness, freedom.”
“You deserve a 100 years of torture for every life you took and every life you destroyed.”
“I deserve the sentence given to me by the powers that be. No mortal can or ever could sentence me. I took my own life so they could not have it; should I pay for that one too?”
“No. It was yours, to do with as you please. But you used your life to take life away from others, and that you will continue to pay for. “
“I have spent my spectral years in contrition, but now the four horsemen are roaming free and their horses are being stabled in the nations that once believed I was wrong. The leaders of these countries are very much aware of what they are doing. They are in the pursuit of infinite power and their populations are begging to be oppressed.”
“I know. I’ve been watching it. And I don’t think there is anything to be done.”
“Something can always be done about imperialists. There are more of us than of them.” The spirit replied with force in his voice.
“Us?” Jane replies in complete offense. “Wouldn’t you be one of them?”
“No. That is why I was so appealing. I was a working man. A man led astray by hate and driven to madness by it, but still a working man. These are not working people. They are kings and queens who are building armies with the help of leashed dragons. They are promising children candy in exchange for their souls. What does a soul mean to a child? Nothing. The candy they can taste, the soul they must feel. The candy is only a coating. Underneath it is glass.”
“You murdered millions by your hate. You’ve lost the privilege of being part of any “us.” Jane says, leaning over to her bedside table to sip from the glass of wine sitting on it and light the half smoked cigarette.
“You cannot change someone’s experiences just because it doesn’t fit with how you see them. I know my sins are great, you need not remind me, but that does not change where it was I came from. And it does not change the life I lived that drove my ambition. Your brother does not cease to be your brother because he commits a crime.” The guest declares with certainty.
“Yes he does.” Jane replied, sure of her conviction.
“Only figuratively.” The spirit corrects her.
“What then? What can be done? Fascism, misinformation and lies have replaced any kind of truth here in the states and the other allies are quickly bending to this perversion. Because the people want it. They want a reason to hate, they want to be separated from people unlike them, they want to be told what to eat, when to sleep, what to think and get as many other idiots as they can to approve of it. The free world doesn’t want freedom. It wants control.” Jane is now sitting up, lotus position, alert in her bed, the ashtray just to her side. The darkness of the room, and the impending sunrise do not affect her. However, for her spectral guest, the sunlight is time, and he hasn’t much of it.
“I have seen this world change from what it was when I was flesh. They learned from me. They leaned that bureaucracy makes genocide easy to digest. As long as you can convince the spoiled people that the intellectuals are the foolish ones, you can start destroying freedom swiftly. I never thought the imperialists who slaughtered millions would be studied in universities as misunderstood Christs. I think of what I could do with the hungry minds in this world. Weaklings crying about everything they can’t have because someone won’t give it to them.” The spirit grows angry and his transparency becomes brighter, almost chaotic. “You earn the chance and then you take the power! This world has too many princes and princesses and they pollute your freedom from afar. They do not care about the people in their country, they care only for vanity, and they have the vehicle to propel it. So much communication in your world now and it is used to hurt and divide their fellow countrymen. I united mine.” The spirit realizes he has burned some of his time with this rant. He fades to translucent again. “Who I am is in my soul. We can be forgiven if we are sorry, but the damage done to it and by it is a permanent scar.”
“What are you here for?”
“You are a writer; are you not?”
“I suppose so.”
“Then you write what I tell you. That is my purpose. Like Charles Dickens before you, you must write what the spirit tells you.”
“Dickens? You mean A Christmas Carol is real?”
“Yes. The man wrote a cautionary truth, given to him by three spirits, two whose lights have now gone out. I am forced to try to fill the shoes of other sinners who have finished their penance.”
“I’m not that kind of writer.”
“Take what I tell you and use it how you can!” The spirit, standing pounding his fist into the air, burns his energy in another bright flash of anger. ”You can be any kind of writer you choose! It just takes hard work! Dedication! Purpose!” He concedes to the spectral limitations he is bound by. “You writers will never learn. You’re always looking to limit yourself with redemption. Searching for it, with your well chosen words.” He is calm, sitting on the bed.
“Redemption is the way to insight.” Jane felt very sure of that.
“I never needed redemption.”
“Don’t you think you, more than most, need redemption?”
“No! I had POWER! There is no need for a God to be redeemed. I was a God, if only for a handful of mortal years, but that is more than most in the history of humanity. People still speculate that I took Nietzsche out of its context. I assure you I did not. I used it as a blueprint to controlling the world.” The spirit walks to the window in the bedroom. He looks out on the small city in front of him. “I was no brute. I was a God. A God does not ask permission to rid the world of his species, he just does it. Gods do not debate good or evil, because what “is” exists in spite of both. I do not want redemption. I want darkness. An end to this hell. I am in contrition, but I do not need anyone’s redemption.”
Jane looks at him, and his longing for the power he will never know again. She wonders if this is why the ‘powers that be’ do not punish him more. That they take mercy knowing that having godlike power and losing it is a fate worse than damnation. There is pity in her heart for a moment when she realizes his convictions are not staged. He believes in what he says, which would make him admirable, if he were a different man.
“What is it you want to tell me?” Jane asks.
“I’m here to tell you that history is not going to repeat itself. What is coming is far worse than then any year that has passed. Convincing free people they would be safer in bondage is not hard. Convincing them to turn on their fellow man is not difficult either. Getting them to take each other’s lives for the cause, that is the trick. Very few men will resist the pleasure of feeding their own animalistic hate. Fewer will destroy their own comfort.” He walks to the side of the bed and sits, looking at Jane.
“I agree with you. But what is it you expect me to do? Write about it? Be called every evil term the groupthink witch hunters can conjure up? Just for saying that the very basic freedoms that define us as a society, should not be given away for a pittance and a false promise. That the Ferber Method babies have grown into people so incapable of individual responsibility, consideration, rational and mature thought that they rush to destroy a person’s life if they get the urge. How do you explain to a population of intolerable people that tolerance isn’t perfect but it’s better than creating committees and relying on the unscrupulous dealings of power hungry bureaucrats? How do I convince any of these kids who think they know the secrets of the universe but can’t leave the house without their cocktail of happy pills, that sometimes in life, you can’t get what you want from crying?”
“Yes. Something like that. Your government is involved with other powers stronger than itself to destroy the liberties you hold dear to your race.”
“What race is that?” Jane snaps, offended. She is on her second cigarette.
“The race of freedom. Here; in Europe; in Asia, the races that have known freedom will die out very soon and left with be 1000 years of pain and slavery.”
“The governments would never reinstate slavery. That’s crazy.”
“Woman! Do you not see! The governments are already slave drivers!” With the spirits words Jane became cold. She knew the spirit could not lie.
“They start with discrediting the thinkers. The scientists and doctors who speak to facts. Make them appear insane, jail them for working against the people. Then go after the writers. They are the most troublesome. Suppress the writers who will not comply with the new philosophy. Call them evil, pretend they are part of a conspiracy to destroy a peaceful existence. Call them liars! Bring the mobs of ignorami to burn their work and jail them. It will be easy to convince people to treat them like enemies. Thinking for people who cannot think for themselves. I am most impressed with the new propaganda machine that dominates the information in this world. It is fascinating! Yet no one seems to be fascinated by what it has taught them. When people are given the opportunity to be evil without repercussion, they take it. It’s an endless library of hate. This world has formed mobs I couldn’t have even dreamed of. The amount of fear and hate that flows freely from the mind to the fingers through the personal propaganda machine is magnificent. I yearn for what I could have done with it.”
“I think about that sometimes. What a man like you could do with social media. But then I look and I see it. With every “news source” that creates a narrative and gets 1 million “likes″ for it. Celebrity politicians deliberately lying to the public, knowing their constituents will never do the homework. They spread hate all the time. Everyday. It’s all of them, not just one. Fueling this ridiculous notion that you’re more free if you let the government control every aspect of your life and that somehow that makes you liberal. It’s richly bizarre. It’s almost unimaginable to think that this is really happening, if it wasn’t constantly broadcasted. And our propaganda machine makes it abundantly clear that the majority of people in this world would rather emulate than think.”
“It has always been this way. People look away from real tragedy, they cover their eyes, they pretend it does not exist. They want to believe the lie, so they do. The masque allows them to engage in evil, and they do. You’re politicians do not pretend to love, or connect to the people they claim to lead. They tell you you need them. That they know more than you, they are better than you. They have their cinema star friends endorse them to make them kings. Even I didn’t do that. I was not arrogant enough to think my people where stupid enough to trust an actor.” The spirit said.
“In our celebrity world, it doesn’t shock me that people take the words of actors.” Jane’s tone is droll.
“It shocks me that anyone would believe the words of someone who it is their chosen profession to lie. The politicians with their paid propagandists have learned to wield evil in a way that is so appealing to the darkness in humanity that it appears the greatest good. There is no good in them. Right, left, they are nothing but imperialists fighting over who gets to rule you. They ponder in conversation how many centrists they can torture and kill before your obedience is shaken. None of them have ever known suffering. The country is a card game for them. A coin flip.” The spirit’s eyes looked full and human to Jane for more than a moment. She knew now that Shakespeare’s famous opinion of the eyes was fact. The spirit continued to speak.
“They now have made pestilence their axis of vanity and wrath. Turning mundanity into a heroic trait. Celebrating cowards as brave and the criminals as victims has left this world vulnerable to true evil, and has convinced those prone to emulation that to question this evil, makes one evil. Do you understand my meaning?”
“Yea. I have seen this right along. And the people who have written about it or spoken about it are put on a chopping block. They are made to suffer for simply stating what they have observed over time. They combine observation with study and still they are made into new heretics. Social media has become the new witch burning, but the intent has remained the same. Envy, greed, gluttony, wrath...pretty much all seven deadly sins. Sins have been made into virtues with collective online ranking by emotionally immature minds.”
“You could not understand the longing I feel knowing the power I would have in this time. The minds are fractured and they desire direction. I’d give them a new religion to follow. These generations excuse the most barbaric attacks as long as there is a meaning behind it. They do not care about brutality as long as you can present it as vindication. Culture has become the greatest excuse for the worst actions in humanity, and the thought of what I would do with that kind of power brings back a memory of a feeling that nothing else compares to. Knowing you have the fate of millions waiting on your command. It is that feeling that I mourn. It’s death is my hell.”
“I still think you are getting off easy, Adolph.”
“That is because you have never felt it.”
Walking down the staircase
On their way to work
Two Lovers in the same place
Delightful morning smirks
Stepping in the truck
Cold keys to ignition meet
Windshield wipers buck
Autumn frost cleared by heat
Finally on the road
Umber valley of leaves
Absence of another car forebode
His hand move up her sleeve
She warned him it’s too daring
He assured her it was fine
She parked the truck on a clearing
He kissed her; the Lovers hidden in pine
Vibration, the engine runs idle
She positioned herself on top
Their breathing becomes unbridled
Now connected, moving, “Dont stop!”
She begged him through lashing lips
Exposed breasts kissed red
His working hands secured her hips
The Lovers alive in a forest near dead
The time approached with motive
He spun her to the seat
Position a missionary votive
The Lovers private beat
The roar of a November dawn
Orange leaves freed by wind
The Lovers know it won’t be long
The immaculate culmination of sin
Nature demanded surrender now
The Lovers did conform
Linked by flesh he kissed her brow
The Lovers, naked and warm
Living for the Lover’s sake
Quiet affection with open eyes
Healed from reality’s ache
A moment free from lies.
The Sugar Cookie
Enzo asks, "How can you trust that little bitch over me? He humiliated you in public, but you trust him. He won't even talk to you no more. But you think I called the IRS on you and reported you? Not him. After all the years we've known each other. How can you? That's pretty fucked up.”
In his good ole boy way Enzo tried to make Myra feel guilty. With faded, jailhouse tattoos and his salt and pepper hair thinning, he’s becoming a shadow of an immature, charming fool before you know what damage he can do. His demeanor reminded her of the years of manipulation and abuse for his pleasure and she couldn't believe that such a thin veil ever hid the truth behind his motive. To control her. To keep her attached to him just in case he needed to use her. If there is decency in him, Myra surely has never seen it.
She looks at him, sitting on her well worn, blue floral couch, drinking her coffee, eating her food and unconvincingly trying to decree his victimhood while demanding the kind of compassion that’s never reciprocated. And why in Enzo’s mind should this kind of ruthless emotional terrorism be allowed to continue? Because he wanted it to. There’s no deeper well to Enzo. This isn’t a matter of star crossed lovers for which circumstances have always been against them. The only effort Enzo put into their relationship was to destroy it and then pretend it was Myra who had done something to drive him to do it. He’d steal her money, strangle her, or kick her in the stomach when she was pregnant, and somehow in his mind he believed she deserved it. He gave it his all, when trying to blame Myra for why he was a monster. He is the embodiment of a spoiled, upper middle class brat who ran with the bad kids until his mommy and daddy paid him to stop.
There is no evidence of a soul or conscience. He lives for his own pleasure and feels no responsibility or concern towards anything than its pursuit. Personal gratification and satisfaction in every form at the cost of anyone. He is a member of the worst of humanity and he is without a doubt a contender for one of Dante’s darker places. He has two children other than Oliver (the one he shares with Myra) and he has abandoned them all. He goes months, sometimes years without speaking to them, if he has something better to do. Were he not obsessed with a life of hurting Myra, he wouldn't bother with Oliver at all. He feels justified in behaving this way and truthfully cannot understand why his children loathe him. The fact Myra finds herself with a twisted pity for him has made her question her own sanity. It is sympathy for the devil, and she knows that must be some kind of sin.
Myra replies with absolute seriousness as she leans forward, with an excited grin. "You cannot imagine how happy I am that you asked because now I get to tell you.” Her smile shaped her words while she takes this opportunity to talk about Patrick. “When Oliver was 10, we would go into LekkerBakery to get a sugar cookie every Sunday. Oliver loved those cookies. They came in all kinds of shapes. Animals, flowers, mythical creatures, and characters that reflected which ever holiday was closest. The cookies would be drenched in a finely grated, pastel sugar. They seemed to sparkle under the fluorescent lights in the clear glass counters, making them irresistible to children.”
“Yeah, I get it. Cookies.” Enzo always became agitated when Myra used adjectives. He considers it an insult. As if she is trying to confuse him. It never dawned on him that she loves words, and to use them to create a picture is something that makes her happy. Myra thought how like Enzo it is to be so dismissive to imagery and incapable of appreciating the description. He is only waiting to hear what it is about Patrick that makes him better in Myra’s mind. He has never been able to figure it out because he weighs their relationship in orgasms. A different scale than Myra uses.
Myra looks to the ground with fondness of the memory she is sharing. Her long, dark brown hair hitting her neck reminded her of what it feels like when Patrick would brush it back before he lay his head to her skin with tenderness and cautious movement.
“I took Oliver (who was 10) and my niece Amanda (who was about 12 at that time) into LekkerBakery to get their usual Sunday morning cookie fix. The kids flung open the heavy metal paned door and went running to the glass case that housed all the decedent treats. Amanda always got a lemon square, and Oliver, he went straight for the cookies. With all the choices, I couldn’t understand why he always went for the blue brontosaurus. I’d say to him, ‘What about the purple cactus? What about the silvery crescent moon?’ But no it was the blue brontosaurus that was his favorite. It struck me as odd, mainly because Oliver never had any particular interest in dinosaurs. I walked through the door and I was immediately struck immobile and mute. It was Patrick behind the counter. He had just moved back to the area after having been in New Jersey for about 5 years. We had not seen or spoken to each other since…” Myra had no intention of ever sharing that story with Enzo. That was her and Patrick, and Enzo had no right to it. “... before Oliver was born."
Enzo smiled with fiendish satisfaction. “That's because your needed a daddy, not a big baby.”
Myra looks at him and rolls her eyes. “Can I finish my story without you trying to make it about you and your gross Daddy/Daughter fetish? Myra says with tired annoyance.
“Like you didn't fucking love it?” Enzo replies with arrogant certainty. His midwestern accent mixed with the Nevada drawl give his words a dirtier feel. A flash of a nasty night seizes a second in Myra’s mind.
“That's not really the point is it?” Myra replies. “You can acquire an appetite for distasteful things when there's no other way to survive.”
“Yeah that's right, you're the victim.” Enzo says in his usual chauvinistic tone while shifting his penis, in his jeans by habit. He excited himself thinking about sex with Myra. She can see it in him, and decides to ignore it.
“You were the one who wanted me to act like one. So, I acted like one for so long, I allowed myself to become one. It's not entirely your fault. But, the fact that I did it to make you happy, well you need to ask yourself why you need that so badly.” Myra said sanguine.
Enzo, irritated by the suggestion of introspection, “Just fucking get on with your story.”
“So anyway, Patrick was as stunned as I was. We were silent for what seemed like 5 minutes, but Oliver assures me it was about half a minute because he had looked up to see what had struck his usually chatty mother, silent. The entire situation was so uncomfortable that I lost all brain function. Seriously, I stood there silent, looking at Patrick.” Myra looks down again, trapped in thought and smiles with the feeling of warmth coming over her describing Patrick, “His beautiful freckled, olive skin shined under his white bakers uniform.” Myra closes her eyes and continues to speak. “His deep red curls, tamed, but still not styled. My god there's never been a time that I wouldn't run my fingers through his hair and pet him. He always let me, even the first day I met him. But now, things were different. I didn't have the right to touch him. I was afraid if I tried he would move away. I'd rather restrain myself from petting him, than have him deflect my advance.”
She quietly laughs and wonders if he is still self conscious about his hair. “He always hated his hair. And those big, round brown eyes, looking at me with the memory of the last time we made love coming back to him.”
Enzo’s watching Myra with increasing jealousy. He knew she was remembering making love to Patrick by the way she crosses her legs. His vanity keeps him from admitting it bothers him. Instead he passively lashes out. “Too bad he's only five feet tall.” Enzo is confident that the 5 inches he towers over Patrick will somehow make the violent memories he shares with Myra more important. It didn't.
Myra says in defense, “He's the same height as me. 5’5.”
“Whatever. Is this story ever going to end?” Enzo asks as if it is exhausting for him to do anything other than watch murder porn and play “Clash of Clans.” Myra didn’t engage in the argumentative banter Enzo is trying to start. She knows for him it is foreplay. Myra continues her story.
“I said hello to him. And he said, ‘Hello Myra.’ Oliver could see that I didn't know what to do with myself. He noticed Patrick’s discomfort as well. So, he decided to break the silence.”
‘Mama, can I get two cookies?’ “Oliver’s question snapped Patrick and I both back from our lumbering trance.
“Patrick immediately replied to Oliver, ‘Sure chief. If mommy says it's ok,’ Oliver was already curious about who Patrick was and calling him chief gave him the ammunition he needed to challenge this man that shook his mother silent.”
“ ‘My name is Oliver and my Mother...probably...won't be ok with it.’ I let Oliver be cheeky, but one look and he knew to get the attitude in check. So I of course said no to the request for a second cookie. I'd have to buy Amanda two lemon squares. Oliver figured my distraction would allow for my attention to be distracted enough to agree to anything. Kids can be opportunistic when sugar is involved.”
Enzo’s discomfort satisfies Myra. She didn't hope for Enzo to feel this way, but figures since he does, she may as well appreciate it. It's a rare thing to put a narcissist off his game, and like a perfectly poached egg in a Denny’s, should be acknowledged for its infrequency and achievement. Myra stands up, “Did you want a beer? I need one.”
Enzo answers back, “Yeah, I'll take one. You have any bourbon?”
In a flash, Myra remembers the violent nights that ended with the taste and smell of bourbon and Marlboro cigarettes as Enzo forced his tongue into her mouth, holding her arms down by the wrists, before and as he violently had sex with her. Her back is to him as her expression turns to revulsion at the thought. With anger in her voice answers back, “No!” She takes two beers from the refrigerator, opens them in the kitchen, and walks into the living room.
“Still bringing daddy his beers.” Enzo takes the bottle with self satisfaction. His memories of his time with Myra are fond ones. They were the only time he ever really felt like a man. He still tried to exert some kind of dominance over Myra with digs like the latter, but that time has passed for Myra. She buries it as deep as she can, so she can forget the years she became what someone else wanted her to be. That version of Myra is now out of print.
Myra sits back down and drinks her beer. The cold, dark ale runs down her throat with a hint of nutmeg finishing on her tongue. She smiles with the memory of buying Patrick beer when he was 20, and how excited he would get when she did. Enzo thinks her smile is because of him. She let him have that.
“So, back to it.” Myra said resting her beer on her leg. The condensation creates a ring on her jeans. “I walked towards the glass counter where Patrick was standing and he watched me. I realized at that moment I was wearing a 5 year old, hooded, pull over sweatshirt with stains and a pair of jeans that should have been washed two days before. My hair in a dollar store clip and my purse shaped like an owl, because the kids loved it. I couldn't have looked less sexy. I reeked of motherhood. But Patrick, still looked at me like he did that first day we met. The look of incomprehension of your own intuition. It feels like you're in a day dream and you could swear you've stopped breathing.”
Myra no longer notices Enzo sitting across from her. She falls backwards into the daydream and continues to speak. “I said to him, ‘I didn't know you were back.’ and he answered, ‘Yup, for a while now. I just started working here.’ He said it like it was a justification. I then of course answered back as awkwardly, ‘I take the kids here for cookies on Sunday.’ I wished I hadn't said that because I feared he would purposely not work on Sundays in order to avoid me. We both stood there, not moving, waiting for the other to speak. How could this be the same boy who’s freckles I traced into words? How could this be the boy who kissed me like I was in a movie? Why wasn’t he kissing me right there? Why wasn't I running my hands through his hair? Why were we strangers now? And then I remembered. Because of me.” She laments.
“Oliver looked on in what seemed to be a kind of fear. He had never seen me so flabbergasted. Amanda had already gotten her lemon square from the teenage girl on the other end of the counter and sat happily at the bistro table devouring her decadent Sunday treat. But Oliver, he was uneasy. For the record, I only know this because he told me a couple years ago. I was so distracted by Patrick that everything around me was blurred.” She flutters her hands in front of her eyes.
“Yeah well that's probably from your fucked up eye thing.” Enzo said to try and bring her high down.
She looks at him and replies, “I had my prosthetic lenses by then.”
He rolls his eyes, “Can we just get this story over with. So far I still have no idea why you can trust his word over mine. You’re just giving me some bullshit story like you’re reading a book or some shit.”
She looks Enzo directly in the eye. “ What’s your basis of comparison? Like you’ve read a book? Ever? This story is mine. And this is only a piece of it. If the way I tell it somehow offends your sense of illiteracy, please feel free to leave, and like the many times before, once your gone, I'll close my eyes and finish alone.”
Enzo replies agitated, “Whatever, I haven't finished my beer yet. I may as well sit through the rest.” He wants to wait it out. He has to hear how frivolous her reasoning is. There is no way in Enzo’s mind, Patrick could ever compare to what they are. He needs to know what Patrick could have done to change that. Myra continues her story.
“Oliver decided at that point he had enough of the situation. ‘Mama, can you get me the cookie I want. You know which one I want.’ “
“Patrick looked over at him and said, ‘Oliver, how about you point to the cookie you want, and I'll get it for you?’ I could see Oliver wanted to be insolent and rude. But Patrick’s kindness makes that impossible. His smiles are honest and sweet. Even the adored, only son of a devoted, single mother couldn't hate him.”
“ ‘Could I have the blue one, thats under the green one, behind the red one?’ Patrick moved with precision and put his wax paper covered finger on top of the blue dinosaur cookie. ‘This one?’ he asked Oliver and Oliver smiled at him, nodding his head. ‘Yes, please.’ Patrick took the cookie off the tray, and not a single crumb or grain of sugar fell from it. He has a respect and love for food unlike anyone I have ever known. It's like he was born to be a chef. He takes real pride in that craft. I was so jealous of how much he loved cooking and food. It was one of the only times in my life I felt like a dumb girl. I knew if it came between me and being a chef, it would be me tossed to the hamper, and not his apron. That's what makes it so disappointing that he’s a laborer now. He's lost all his passion for food. He let it go, and a broken heart is no excuse.”
“See. Because he’s a little bitch.” Enzo said with pride.
An angry sigh shot from her throat, “He feels things deeply. When Patrick loves you, he doesn’t hold back, and he doesn’t have a reason. He just loves you, even if he knows deep down, you'll break his heart. He is kindness made flesh, and for someone who walked out on three kids, three different times for pigs that spread easier than peanut butter, you shouldn't be talking.”
“Whatever.” Enzo replied.
“So what was the appeal, really? Cocaine or blown out pussy? Was it snorting cocaine off a blown out pussy?” Myra laughs while she taunts Enzo’s bad decisions. He looks at her with increasing anger, which urges her to stop. Not because she was afraid of him, but because after years of sexual abuse at the hands of Enzo, seeing him angry triggers her to sexual arousal. It is one thing she knows she will never be able to escape from. So she hides it, deep down in a place where other traumas play.
Myra wonders if Patrick remembers the night he spent an hour telling her about making ghee. She couldn't have been more uninterested in a subject, but listened because of the excitement in his voice of having learned and perfected a method for making this clarified butter. She wishes she could ask Patrick if he remembers that she was the first person he called to tell. And if now that he is older he understands just how bored she was, and that she listened to him, because she loved to hear him tell her stories.
“You've always been a jealous bitch.” Enzo said as if Myra would find it complimentary that he took the time to remind her of her less mature self.
“I wasn't jealous of his job, I was jealous of how much he loved it. The fact he had a 40 year old, rich, manipulative, cunt of boss who wanted to fuck him didn't make it any easier, but that is a different story.” Myra has contempt in her voice.
“I would have quit that job for you.” Enzo said.
“You would have been fired long before you had a chance to quit, and I would have been who you blamed.” Myra’s droll reply made Enzo smile.
“So anyway, Patrick put the cookie in one of those white, wax lined paper bags. Folded it closed and handed it to Oliver, who took the bag and said, ‘Thank you.’ Patrick smiled at him and said, ‘Your welcome.’ ‘Can we leave now, Mama?’ Oliver asked. Go sit with Amanda for now my love, and we will leave in a minute.”
“Oliver walked over to the table, keeping his eyes on me the whole time. He knew something was up. ‘It was good to see you, Patrick.’ I said and I meant it. He didn't say anything back. He just looked down at the counter and fiddled with the ticket spike. His hands were rough, and were covered with the hieroglyphics of a chef. I waited for him to say something, and he did. He looked right at me and said, ‘Can I get you anything else?’ It was so impersonal.”
“No, just the lemon square and the cookie. I answered back.
“ ‘That's $1.70.’ He stood there behind the register while I took out my wallet. I handed him two dollars and when he gave me back my change the tips of his fingers touched my palm and I wanted to close my hand onto his. I resisted. I dropped my change in the white, doodle covered, styrofoam coffee cup the workers were using for tips.”
“He just stood there waiting for me to say something else. I wanted to tell him how sorry I was about the way things ended. I wanted to tell him it was all my fault and that he had done nothing wrong. I wanted to plead with him to forgive me and give me another chance at being the friend I should have been. But I didn't do any of those things. ‘Patrick…’ I started to say, and he looked up at me quick, eyes wide and mouth slightly opened, breathing in deep as if he knew the words I was about to say would be the ones he had been waiting to hear since the morning we said our ruinous goodbye. Just then Oliver interrupted, ‘Mama, can we go now?’”
“I put my wallet in my purse and Patrick said, ‘Looks like you've got to go.’ I looked at him and said, I probably should, huh? Shoulders back, eyes no longer waiting, Patrick paused for about 5 seconds then said, ‘Yup. You should.’ “
“See. he's an asshole.” Enzo said with his army brat accent.
“He's not an asshole. He was just trying to take control in a situation that he normally wouldn't have any control over.” Myra defends Patrick, again.
“Nah, he's just an asshole.” Enzo repeats.
“He was uncomfortable, and it was his place of business. There was still residual hatred in him for me, and I could feel it. He really didn't need the stress of me where he worked. Considering it was food service, I'm sure it was hellish enough in there without the lingering memory of a really bad ending. So I said, ‘Let's go guys. Say thank you to Mr. Clarke.’ “
“Both the kids said in hymn-like unison, ‘Thank you, Mr. Clarke.’ Patrick smiled and waved bye to the kids as we walked out the door. I looked back to see if he was watching us leave, but he was gone. He had retreated to the kitchen as soon as he could get away.”
“I decided, no more Lekkerbakery after that. But Sunday rolled around and the kids wanted their treats. I agreed to take them to the bakery, but once we got there I gave Amanda the money and told them both to get what they wanted and I would be waiting in the car. Oliver didn't give me any trouble. He didn't want me going in there anyway. They took the money, hopped out of the car and went in the bakery. Oliver looked back at me before he walked through the bakery door. It confused him to see me like that. “
“To see you like what?” Enzo asks with accusation.
“Vulnerable.” She is without shame.
“Why would you let that little dork make you feel that way?” Enzo’s insult is propelled by his own insecurities (there are many), and not any concern for Myra.
“I never let Patrick do anything. It was how I felt. It was years of mistakes, uncomfortable changes and a collection of undefined but buried emotions that kept me in the car. I had no right to want him again.” She leans back, putting her hands over her eyes. “I could tell that when he saw me, there was an upsetting comfort and I could see it because I felt it too. What we were never died. It was still there after all these years. That feeling that fools you for a few minutes, until you realize you left that love injured, maimed, broken, and alone, but still it wasn't dead.” She removes her hands from her face and extends them out, looking at the tears on them, in all seriousness, and then looks up at Enzo. “How could it not be dead?” Her eyes wild with frustrated confusion and her lips apart enough to let the warning of a congestion filled breath alert her to a near cry.
She composes herself and Enzo asks with defeated kindness, “Do you want me to get you another beer?”
“No. But could you get me the vodka out of the freezer?” She asks, eyes closed, clearing her throat. He walks into what was once their kitchen.
Enzo takes two glasses out of the metal, chipped blue paint cabinets above the deep, white porcelain sinks. He remembered living there, standing behind Myra, holding her while she washed the last few glasses in the sink. The same glasses sit in his hand, while thinking about how much they loved each other, and wondered, if when Myra talked about him, the same desperate regret that violently haunts her with Patrick, was even more heartfelt for him. However, he is doubtful. There is a shock to his system seeing an emotion from Myra he hadn't seen in the thirty years they've known each other. He wonders if it is new. Something born just now, in front of him. He convinces himself that her unfamiliar abandon made them something much more than her and Patrick ever were. It doesn’t. That is no new emotion. It was born the morning she left Patrick there, at his house, with the fractured shards of broken mug in his backyard as she drove home through tears, tortured by the smell of his skin still trapped in her clothes. .
Enzo takes the vodka out of the freezer, with the ziplock bag of ice that lay underneath it. Putting the ice in the glass, he asks, “How much vodka do you want?”
Myra recoils at the unsophisticated inability of Enzo. “Just put three ice cubes in the glass and then pour enough to come about half an inch from the top of the glass.” She has to speak in step by step directions to Enzo. She smiles at the reminder that her son Oliver is very much the same way, but hoped to herself that he would grow out of that kind of chronic inability long before he reaches the age of 47. It's a strange phenomenon in humanity that qualities of one person can repel you, while those same qualities in another person can seem charming or sweetly simple. It could be all in the presentation. Or the fact that Myra loves her son and feels nearly nothing for Enzo, could allow for the immediate forgiveness of otherwise maddening traits.
Enzo places Myra’s glass in front of her. He is clearly on his second glass. Enzo is a brown liquor drinker, so vodka can leave him feeling very unfull. If he drinks too much of it that will be a problem for Myra. “You need to slow down. You have to drive back to your hotel. The shots, most likely out of my bottle, might impair you.” Myra lectures him.
“What? You don't want me to get killed?” He said in a whispery, affectionate voice.
Myra’s face reveals a nauseated sensation. “No, I don't want you sleeping here.” She is serious.
“Why? I'm not gonna try nothin’.” He lied.
“That's not it.” Myra replies.
“What then? You don't need me here anymore?” He says through an arrogant chuckle. Myra takes Enzo’s self adoration as a personal insult.
Myra took a drink of her vodka and after the cold elixir left her mouth she says, looking into her drink, “I never needed you here, Enzo.” She looks up and assaults his glance, “I wanted you here. But that wasn't enough for you to not be an asshole, everyday. Me wanting you, choosing you over someone who loved me because you told me you needed me. That just wasn't enough for you to be even remotely grateful. Still to this day, you have no consideration for what I gave up for you. So, please, be absolutely sure, that I never needed you, and now, I don't want you either.”
“Well Oliver…” Enzo nearly got the words out when Myra stops him.
“Shut your fucking mouth. Don't you dare use Oliver to justify your inability to leave me alone. Oliver has never been your reason for anything other than feeling bad for yourself. As if there isn’t already enough proof of that, but the fact that the one time you’ve come back here in 15 years is because the court wanted to raise your support payment from $58 dollars to $75 dollars. You got your ass here real quick to shut that down. How much did that plane ticket cost you? How much is that hotel costing you? You worthless, selfish sack of dog shit.” The anger and malice in Myra’s voice is accompanied by tense muscles. It alerts him to give up this fight he knows he can’t win. She closed her eyes, breathes deep and lets it go. “You ever try to use my son to try and fuck me again and I’ll knock you’re teeth down your throat.” Enzo knows she means it.
“Now, if you don't mind, I'll get back to it.” She’s calm. “Now, where was it I left off?”
“The kids were getting their cookies on their own with you in the car.” Enzo reminds her.
“Amanda always got a lemon square.” She corrects him.
“Yeah, whatever. It doesn't matter.” Enzo replied.
“Details matter, Enzo. You change the details, you've changed the story and you've changed enough of my story. “ Myra speaks with dark sarcasm and Enzo, though notoriously opposed to indirect insult (mainly because he rarely picked up on it) let this one slide, because he knows she is right. And Enzo, he would rather cowardly back out of a challenge then take it on if there's the option of losing. That's one of the most fascinating things about the children of the upper middle class. They only take on something they know has no real risk. They complain about the injustice of others while benefiting from the very system that creates the perceived oppression. There's no real sense of morality. It's the allure of fashion that gives them a function because they are all just so bored with their privilege. But you won't see them at a soup kitchen serving the homeless and poor, and you won't see them volunteering at a state run group home for children. That would be unpleasant. A repurposed metal table in a microbrewery will house the hypocrites cry for the bodies of children they've never seen, while their nieces and nephews receive no compassion because they aren't at a proper distance.
Instagram will store the memories of wilder times, until it serves as a portal to envy possessions. Keep a close eye on the future with these people. They will want the world sanitized because they think they are the only ones that should be allowed to be dirty. A space aged Dickensian wasteland where the idea of workhouses for the poor is appealing and holding your baby isn’t. Empathy and humor an offense to those who need to be offended because it makes them feel “something.” They never had the opportunity to feel anything other than offended because their parents just didn't have the time to let them. Enzo is a product and practitioner of this normalized desolate selfishness. His attachment is to Myra because she creates an emotion he hadn't had before or since. He doesn’t know what it is and she never knew it existed. That is a secret he keeps to himself and it's been hidden too long to reveal it now.
“I could see the kids through the glass on the door. They ran to the counter and Patrick wasn't there. A young girl with long blonde hair smiled at them and I can only assume asked them what they wanted. Amanda got her lemon square, and Oliver, well he went right to the case with the cookies. Just then Patrick walked in from the back of the bakery. He smiled at Oliver and made a motion with his hands to assure Oliver that he knew exactly which cookie he wanted. I saw Patrick furrow his brow, and I knew that meant he asked Oliver a question. Both kids turned towards the door and pointed. I can only assume from my amature lip reading that they said, ‘She's in the car.’ He followed their fingers with his eyes and looked at me. He didn't wave, he just looked at me. He acknowledged that I was there. He knew why I didn't come in.”
“How do you know that?” Enzo asked.
“Because I know him. A few weeks went by that way. Every week the kids went into the bakery and they got their Sunday sweets. Amanda her lemon square and Oliver, his giant, blue dinosaur cookie. Those looks through that heavy, glass door made six days seem like train cars filled with people that I had to shuffle through, slowing me down, but I knew, if I kept moving, I would reach that door. And one tuesday morning while the kids were at school I had decided to walk through it.”
“I took a chance he might be working. I dropped the kids off at school and went back home to take a shower. I thought about wearing makeup and more flattering clothes while the warm water rushed over my head. I thought about dying my hair because the grey was getting more pronounced. I thought about all the things I could do that would be useless in attracting Patrick. I'd never known him to care about things like that, but then again, I hadn’t known him in a long time. So I dried up, threw on clean jeans,” They both chuckled. “...and a vneck shirt. I figured since he loved my breasts when we were together, why not give a sneak peak.” She cupped her breast and pushes them up in jest.
“When it came time to put on makeup, I wanted to be careful not to look ‘Made Up.’ So just a little sheer foundation, a micro thin, black line only on the top eyelid and some faintly tinted lip protector. No blush. If I were to wear blush he would know I was made up. Hair down, flowing freely. I was armed to take this chance.”
“Did you throw on some spike heels?” Enzo asks with the ayre of sleaze.
“Do I look like the kind of woman that wears high heels with jeans? Obviously not. I put on my good sneakers. They had pink laces, you know, for femininity.” They both laugh at the idea of that. Myra though womanly isn’t necessarily feminine in the way a “girl” should be. A woman need only be and the nature of who she is will come forward in everything she does. Conscious femininity is a pantomime. There is no doubt Myra is a woman, and she is never going to pay any attention to those who judge her because they have to prove it.
“I drove there, listening to some idiot DJ on the radio preach nonsense to an audience who wouldn't bother to fact check. I didn't want to listen to music because I wanted to go in without the intrusion of sentiment. I sat in the car in the parking lot, wondering if it was a good idea. Was I deluding myself that he might want to see me? He would know I went there to see him.” She remembers being nervous at the thought that Patrick might not be so kind if the kids weren't there. She remembers the sound of his voice when he screamed at her over a decade ago and the look in his eyes when he said he never wanted to see her again.
“Since when do you care what people think?” Enzo asks with a confused and almost angry look on his face.
“That's the thing, Enzo. He spins me. I didn't realize what that meant when I was younger, but trust that I know what it means now. So, I got out of the car and went in. There was a middle aged woman, short dark hair, and an apron that displayed the evidence of a long, productive morning. ‘Can I help you?’ she asked me.”
“I answered, ‘Sure. Could I please have one cannoli?’ “
“She smiled and said, ‘Sure. Chocolate chip, pistachio, strawberry or plain?’ Before I could answer, Patrick’s voice called out from behind me, ‘Plain.’
“He had walked into the storefront from a service door. I turned around quickly, and before I could get a word out he said, 'She's never liked anything too sweet.' I miss that sexy snarkiness. He asked, 'Are the kids in school?’
“I answered, yes. I was struck incapable of forming words. He had some flour in the side of his hair and it was clear he didn't know. He was close enough for me to touch his hair using the excuse that I wanted to brush the flour out.”
“That’s pathetic.” Enzo’s attempt to insult Myra is met with surprising results.
“I know! I told you, this kid spins me, man. I become this complete idiot around him. It was always like that. But he was so much younger, more immature with no comprehension of that kind of power. He knows now. I could tell by how confident he was. Patrick, when he was younger was never confident, unless he was cooking. Then his confidence was impossible to ignore. His posture and smile absolutely fantastic, but those eyes, those long lashes that always managed to catch the sun and glisten like spider web.” She is falling deep into the memory now. Enzo can see it, so in traditional fashion has to make sure he destroys any pleasure she feels that isn’t directly related to the appendage that holds his only worth.
“Do you think I care about what his eyelashes looked like?! Or that he’s more confident?! I don't care about this guy. Are you so shallow that those are the things that make you believe him over me?” Enzo, though genuinely resentful, is more dramatic in tone and action than he needed to be. Myra knows that unless Enzo shows tears, there is no way to tell if his actions are legitimate and not manipulative, and in this instance, is apathetic to either option. Patrick is in her mind now, and no person can distract her. Like a favorite song, when a memory of Patrick starts, Myra has to let it play through to the end. Maybe play it twice, if she has the time.
“I don't care if you care. If you don't want to hear why I’d trust Patrick with my son's life and I wouldn’t trust you with a letter to mail, then leave.” Myra said seriously and without hesitation.
Enzo replies, “There was a time when you begged me not to leave.”
Myra said frankly and unmoved, “No. There wasn't.” She sips her drink.
“Your a real cold bitch, you know that?” Enzo says with disgust in his face.
“You think so? As I suspected, you're not really listening.” She stands up, “You can leave now.” She walks towards the large, distressed green wooden door, a black, cable knit, sweater hanging in its window, drying from the air.
Enzo grabs her wrist, “Now come on wait a minute, don't get all worked up. I told ya I wanna know, so go on then and finish your story.” Myra fights back the instinctual rage to rip her arm from his grasp and punch him in the face. Since it wouldn't be leading to sex, there is absolutely no point to engage in violence with Enzo.
Myra spoke slowly and with unrecognizable force, “Get your fucking hand off me. And...if you ever touch me without an invitation again I'll send you back to Hell.”
Enzo sees in her eyes that she means it. He releases her wrist and looks down. “I'm sorry.” To which Myra replies, “You should be.”
Myra sits back down on the couch and Enzo is in false reflection of what just happened. He remembered that time between them as a happy. He’s confused that she doesn’t. He ponders honestly, to himself if she ever smiled when she thought of him. What he does not know, and would never understand, is that she didn't have to think of him. Her son had a great deal of his father’s characteristics. Not facially, but in movements and humor. She doesn’t have to remember him. Were it not for her son, she would have forgotten about him without regret decades ago. Enzo holds on to memories like they are currency to be used and traded for personal gain. To Myra, memories are gifts from the higher self and necessary to connect a person to who they are and to who they will be. She believes that the terrible memories of Enzo stay with her so that should would never be fooled by lust again. Pleasure without connection comes at a cost, and she won’t pay that hidden fee twice.
“So he has spider eyes, go on.” Enzo is purposely trying to annoy her. It arouses him.
“I said his lashes glistened like a spider’s web in the sun. not that he has spider eyes. Its imagery, you fucking Philistine.” She said while lighting a joint she took from her old, silver cigarette case.
“You still have that, uh? Still got Carlos too.” Enzo chuckles.
“Thank God for that.” Myra slowly exhales pot smoke, placing the case on the old, marked up coffee table.
“You know I hate that shit.” Enzo says as if she should have been more courteous of him.
“Well you know I hate you, yet...you still manage to linger. Kind of like this smoke, and like this smoke, they'll be nothing more than stale odor and exhaustion once your gone.” Enzo drops his bravado. His intentions will not be met today and the only excuse he has left to stay, is her story, and he knows she is self possessed enough to let him stay while she tells it.
“I walked closer to him. I lifted my right arm and put my hand to his head to brush away the flour. He stood still and let me, He didn't flinch. His hair was coarse, and I could smell the warm pastry baked into his clothes. He closed his eyes for a few seconds, letting me ease my fingers through his hair, touching his ear, and he breathed in slowly, while he rested his face against my palm. He looked, contented. And then he opened his eyes and it was over. He took my hand with his and I made my excuse. ’There was flour in your hair.” He held my hand in his for a few seconds, then let go.
“ ‘I know. It flies around all over the kitchen. I've gotten used to it being all over me.’ I laughed like an imbecile. This stupid, throaty, unimaginably embarrassing laugh, that was completely inappropriate for the situation. I immediately hated myself. He just laughed with me, and now that I'm looking back at it, he was most likely laughing at me.”
“Jesus, you really turn into a complete goon in front of this guy.”
“Yup. And our son has seen it, a few times.”
“Oh gawd.” Enzo winces at the thought.
“So anyway, goofiness aside, there was an uneasiness about him that had nothing to do with me. I asked him, ‘Is there something up?’ He replied, ‘I'm just so sick of this place. I'm getting talked to like I’m a kid all day. I'm sick of the people around here. I feel like I hate a lot of my friends these days.’ I knew what he meant and how he was feeling. I told him, ‘One day you wake up and you realize that you're surrounded with people you don't like and the ones that you do, you seldom see. Its natural, Patrick. It has to happen. It sucks, but you'll get through it.’ I assured him like I always had before. I wanted to.” She remembered Patrick smile and look down and feeling her heart lost to him again. He was still her Patrick at that moment. The new confidence and the passed years hadn’t taken away the blushing, shyness, of that boy with whom she fell in love the first night they met in that badly lit classroom.
“He said to me, ‘Will wants me to move to California and stay with him and the longer I’m here, the more I want to leave.’ He was confiding in me again, and it was exhilarating. I was silent, but listening while he told me everything he couldn't tell his friends and family. That's who we were to each other, someone to tell everything to. You know he called me once to tell me about a prize he got in a box of cereal.”
“Are you serious?” Enzo says sarcastically.
“It was sweet.”
“It’s lame as fuck.” Enzo counters.
“Whatever. So, anyway he talked for a while and at the end of it said, ‘So what do you think I should do?’ I wanted to say, ‘Move in with me.’ But that was just a bit irrational. So I asked, ‘What do you want to do? You know there's something you want to do, a choice that you’re leaning towards. What is it?’ I asked him, honestly.”
“ ‘My ex girlfriend, she moved back to France, which is why we broke up. She wants me to move there and try again.’ When he said that my heart shattered. It wasn't unusual for us to be open about other people we had been with, so him being so candid couldn't be considered inappropriate, but it hurt. I hid my feelings and said, ‘Patrick, what is it you really want to do?’ “
“ ‘What do you think I should do, Myra?’ He asked me again. So I asked him. ‘Do you love her?’
I wanted him to say ‘no’, or ‘I don't know’ or ‘maybe'. I wanted him to say anything but ‘yes.’”
“He hesitated in answering me.”
“I'll bet you loved that.” Enzo said assuredly.
“Yes. I did, but that didn't last long. He said, ‘I did. I think I still do.’ Patrick looked me right in the eye, and I wondered if he could see that it was killing me to hear it or if he was hoping it was. Regardless, I couldn't believe the words that came out of my mouth.”
“Then I guess you have your answer. You know where you want to be, Patrick, and it isn't here or with Will.“ I said hiding the feeling of loss.”
“He replied truthfully, ‘But what if I hate it and we don't work out? What if I regret it?’ I heard the desperation and uncertainty in his voice, and all I wanted to say was ’You can't trust her. If she loved you she would be here. If she let you go once, she will do it again.'' But instead I said, ‘But what if you don't?’
We both stood there, quiet for a moment. I think he could see in me that what I wanted was the complete opposite, and I'm still unsure if that mattered to him.”
“ I said, ‘You deserve to be happy, Patrick. So, you need to do what is going to make you the happiest.’ He leaned against the counter, smiled and said. ‘It's not like there's really anyone to miss me around here anyway.’”
“He obviously wanted you to say something.” Enzo was speaking truthfully.
“Thats a demonstrable fact.” Myra replied.
“Ah, yuck, just tell the story.” Enzo says lighting a cigarette.
“It's absurd you're still smoking.” Myra scolds him.
“It's absurd you haven't finished this story yet. Are you even still telling me the same story?” Enzo rants with an over dramatic performance.
“Like you aren't looking for a reason to park your ass here as long as you can.” She accuses him.
“Yea, but that doesn't mean I want to sit here listening to this story.” He easily admits his intent to spend time with her, and for Myra, it is too late for that kind of nonsense.
“I said to Patrick, ‘Oliver will miss your blue dinosaur cookies.’ A superior smile stole the rest of his face while he turned his head to the side a bit and blushed. I couldn’t resist him any longer. I put my arms around him, held him tight. I needed to touch him, and he let me. He put his arms around me and met my embrace with the same evocation. I touched his face and he stood still, smiling, looking at me. I think now, that I might have been able to kiss him. I should have kissed him. We let go, and I pulled a business card out of my purse. I wrote my cell phone number on the back, and told him to call me, before he leaves, or if he stays. The smile on his face turned rapidly. ‘Myra. I can't call you.’ “
“I replied with aggravation. ‘You mean you wont call. Why can't you just let it go?’”
“ ‘Myra, I cant call, because I let it go.’ When he said that I felt sick to my stomach and I could feel my sinuses starting to tingle with the labor of tears but I fought them back and said, ‘So then, I guess this is goodbye.’ “
“ ‘Again.’ He said, standing there, holding my card. I wanted to say I was sorry, but I walked away instead. You see there was one thing I could always count on with Patrick.”
“Oh yea, what's that?” Enzo asks in a tiresome tone.
“That he will tell me the truth. You know he is the only honest man I've ever really known? I grew up in a house full of liars. I surrounded myself with fakes and fashion puppets. I work in a church full of the very worst kind of hypocrites, but my Patrick, only tells the truth. He doesn't know how rare he is. He would rather upset me, then let a lie live on in my mind. Do you have any idea how extraordinary it is to find a veritable human being?” Myra speaks with somber admiration.
Enzo just looks at her blankly, knowing himself to be a career liar. He knows its best to stay mute to that question. “Even the good people I know, they lie when they need to, but not Patrick, he just cannot lie.”
Enzo decides this an opportune time to play to Myra’s fleeting vanity. “He still blew you off, but ’cuz it was to your face, he’s a good guy? He's not any better than you.”
Myra answers back immediately, unmoved by Enzo’s clumsy attempt at kindness, “Yes he is. He's better than both of us, and you know it.”
“I left LekkerBakery and Patrick knew I would never come back. I went home, and I cried my eyes out, until I had to pick up Oliver and Amanda from school. The week went by at a snail's pace and Sunday rolled around. Then another one, and so on for about a month. Each Sunday, I stayed in the car and the kids went in and got their treats, until that last Sunday when Amanda decided she wanted a cupcake and the money I had given them wouldn't cover it. Oliver ran outside, to the driver’s side window, and knocked. I put down the window and he said, ‘Mama, Amanda got a cupcake and it came to more money.’ I opened my wallet, it was barren of cash. I knew I would have to go in and use a card. Leave it to Amanda to put me in that position, but that's what I get for trusting two pre teens in a bakery. I got out of the car, opened that heavy glass door and walked in. There was no sign of Patrick.”
“I walked to the counter, opened my wallet and apologised to the woman for taking up her time. She was unbothered as she spoke. ‘Its fine. Not a big deal at all, I had to get the cookie out from the back anyway.’ I was confused. It was late in the morning, cookies are all usually out long before then, so I asked, Oh no, selling faster than you can bring them out?”
“The woman indulged in workplace appropriate laughter and said to me, ‘No. I had to get that dinosaur cookie out of the back. We stopped making the dinosaur cookies a couple months ago. Patrick made one special every Sunday for Oliver, and when he decided to move to France three weeks ago, he left strict instructions to make sure that we had a blue dinosaur cookie for Oliver, every Sunday, as long as he wanted it. So the past few weeks we make it, keep it in the back until he comes in.’”
The tears in Myra’s eyes settle in her deep circles while Enzo listens on, unmoved. This is not the Myra he knows. She never cries for him. He can’t understand why his hurting her didn’t bring tears, but Patrick not hurting her did. Enzo still conducts his emotions like a teenage boy. Myra finds it pathetic and a chore to deal with. She is compelled to finish this story.
“I looked at Oliver and said, ‘They do that for you?’ I had to say something, anything to avoid the frog that was sitting in my throat. Oliver hesitated admitting it, but he did. ‘Yes, Mama. He said goodbye to me and Amanda the Sunday before he left. I forgot to tell you, that he told me to say goodbye to you.’ ”
“ ’ Amanda chimed in, chocolate cupcake and frosting in her mouth and on her hands. ’Actually what he said was, “Tell your mom I said goodbye, again.” My face must have been confessing what I was trying to hide because Oliver said, ‘Mama I'm sorry I forgot.’ I put my hand on his face, and said, ‘Its ok sweetheart.’ “
“I paid for the cookies, thanked the counter woman, motioned for the kids to run in front of me, and left the bakery. Pulling out of the parking lot, Oliver slipped his cookie out of the white, waxy bag. He took an enthusiastic bite. His lips already dyed bright blue, he took two more quick but smaller bites. I wanted to go home, lay on the couch and feel bad for myself. But you can't do that when you have kids. You have to just suck it up, be a grown up and go about your day. Oliver put about half the cookie back in the bag. I asked, ‘Not hungry this morning?’ ”
“He hesitated a bit, looking out the window and then answered; ‘It's not that. I don't think I want to go there on Sunday anymore, Mama.’
“I asked, ‘Why?’ He said, ‘Because the cookies aren't as good as when your friend made them.’ ”
“What about you, Amanda? Will you miss the Sunday bakery stop?” I asked.
“And with a very Amanda reply she said, ‘I don't care. As long as we can at least get a donut instead.’ “
“Oliver agreed, ‘Yes Mama, lets just get donuts instead nextime.’ ”
“I concurred, ‘Ok, next time we’ll grab some donuts or maybe we’ll just hit a diner, get a real breakfast?’
Both kids shouted with a “Yes!” That's what's great about kids, they are cool with going with the flow and that made it easy to leave the bakery behind from that day.”
“Ok, so, that's it?” Enzo is happy the story’s over, but he remains confused.
“Yes, that's it.” Myra is aggravated.
“What the hell was that about? I still don't know why you take his word as law, but you wont believe me when I tell you I didn't call the IRS on you?” Enzo’s tone is meant to make Myra feel stupid. It didn’t.
“You don't get it? You really don't get it?” Myra is more perturbed than disappointed. Every year that goes by it becomes increasingly more humiliating that Enzo is the father of her child.
She asks, “So the fact he showed selfless, unnecessary kindness to your son reveals nothing for you? Patrick knew how important it was for a child like Oliver to be remembered, even though he is the son of a woman he wants to forget. You can understand how an action like that can define a person, right?”
Enzo’s face distorted like a barfly shut off after 3 drinks. “Why? Because he baked some fucking cookies? And then he told the other bakers to bake some fucking cookies? That makes you think he's a better guy than me? You're so stupid sometimes, Myra. You think he's this great guy because he baked cookies.” Enzo’s ignorant insult is malicious and his drawl slows with alcohol. Myra knows it's time for him to leave.
“That's right, Enzo. You have zero comprehension because you function by memorization without the benefit of humanity. The very thing that keeps you from being able to understand that story, is why you are a shit father and a one dimensional human being. I'll break it down for you. He's kind, even when there's no reason to be. He made a little boy happy, just to make him happy. He’s above all the bullshit. Patrick is a better person because he simply is a better person.” She said matter of factly.
Enzo stands up. “So, I'll be going? Or, I can stay?”
Myra, disgusted and finished says, “No Enzo, you can leave.”
He took his faded, denim jacket with an attached sweatshirt hood from the back of the chair and he put it on as he turns and walks to the door. His back is to Myra and he opens the door. She remains seated on the couch, looking at her email on her phone. Without turning around, Enzo speaks. “My kids hate me. You hate me. I don't know what I do that makes everyone feel that way. Your story makes no sense to me why you trust him, and I'm leaving now, when all I want to hear is you ask me to stay.” He looks back with hope that his defeatist monologue will somehow make Myra pity him enough to ask him to close the door and stay.
“Goodbye, Enzo.” She said still looking at her phone.
“Im sorry, Myra.” Enzo said still waiting for her to look at him.
She looks up from her phone. “That's the point entirely Enzo. You just keep having to say your sorry because you continue to do things to be sorry for. The only thing that changes about you is your address. You haven’t made any attempt in 15 years to come here to see Oliver. But the department of revenue thinks you should pay a pittance more a month in child support, so you find the time, and the money, to get on a plane and come here. Still you make no attempt to see our son. You come here knowing he’s out with his friends. You’re flight will leave and you won’t even think to call him before or after you leave. The worst part of that is, you don’t think any of that is wrong. You’re a bad person, Enzo. Thats why your kids hate you.”
“If he loved you, he would have stayed in town.” Enzo says in an attempt to sway her.
“If you loved me, you would have left without saying that.” She replies.
“I was being honest.” Enzo uses force in his voice.
“I'm not sure what for.” Myra said.
He saw in her eyes the second she figured it out. She grinned at the indication that had eluded her up until that moment. “Oh. I can’t believe It's escaped me until now. You had to take it away from me. Because it made me happy?” She asks, honestly.
“Because he broke your heart.” He replies with his insincere chivalry.
“Because he broke my heart.” She repeats back to him with tempo sarcasm. “So your attempt to tarnish an imperfect yet gratifying memory is because you care?” She pauses. “You are without a doubt the biggest asshole I have ever known, in my entire life...and I work in a Catholic church, so believe me, that's saying a lot.”
“Because I care about you that makes me an asshole? You can be a bitch to me, sitting there, defending him, remembering him like he’s some great thing. He’s a short, red headed, freckle faced freak that broke your heart. I’m standing right here listening to you,” He said trying to convince her of how wrong she is about him.
Myra stands and walks to the kitchen to put the empty glasses in the sink. “Leave Enzo. Just please leave. Pretend one of your kids needs you. That ought to make you run for the door.” He follows her into the kitchen, walks up behind her and brings his arms around her waist, his hands locking on her stomach. He presses his chest against her back and she becomes agitated, feeling him press his pelvis against her lower back
“Come on, baby girl. Let daddy heal that broken heart.” He whispers in her ear, the smell of cigarettes and alcohol mixed with the rough stubble scratching against her face reminds her of when he wouldn’t ask.
She closes her eyes. “You can’t heal a heart you didn’t break.” She opens her eyes and unlinks his hands. Enzo knows she doesn’t want him.
“Myra, my plane leaves tomorrow. I just want to spend the night with you. It’s one night, but you’d rather spend it with a ghost.” He surprises Myra with uncharacteristic observation, and she expectedly reminds him who she is.
“The ghost of love is more real than you.”
Do You Believe in Ghosts?
“Why are you looking at me like that?” Nick asked Ann. She was puzzled at the question because it was one she was expecting, but not at this particular moment. Maybe somewhere down the line. They had just made love, but admitting a belief in something so intangable and highly speculative was far more intimate than adolescent sex.
“I wasn’t expecting you to ask me that. Why did you ? What made you ask me that, in bed, post orgasm?” Ann genuinely wondered.
“I don’t know. It just popped into my head and I felt like asking. I don’t think I believe in ghosts and wondered if you did. You seem like a pretty skeptical person, but you never know. We’ve only known each other a couple of months and I really like you. I guess I just wanted to see if I was falling for a weirdo.” Ann felt a sense of comfort with Nick’s loose candor.
“Believing in ghosts isn't just for weirdos anymore. There's so many shows, youtube channels and documentaries about them now, it almost feels like people who don’t believe in ghosts are considered unusual. We are in a post rational world these days. People are looking past what’s obvious and running towards the unexplained.” Ann said with a sanguine tone, while she stood up from the disheveled bed and put her clothes on. Nick watched her.
“I’m up for whatever. If its real, cool. If it’s not...then, whatever. But it would be cool if they were real. Don’t you think?” Nick asked, taking his jeans off the floor, boxer shorts still inside, and sliding both on under the covers.
“Hey? Would you be okay with meeting a family member of mine?” Ann asked, twisting her dirty blond hair into a clip, walking toward the bathroom, off the bedroom in Nick’s small apartment.
“So we’re doing that now?” Nick asked, honestly. He doesn't have an aversion to it, he just wasn’t sure where Ann was going with the idea. He has feelings for Ann, but isn’t sure if ‘meeting the parents’ is in order just yet.
“No. Not that whole thing. Neither one of us are ‘There’ yet. But, I’d like you to meet my aunt. She believes in ghosts. But not really ghosts. She believes in the unseen. She reads tarot cards and she has dreams that manifest sometimes. She’s pretty cool and meeting her isn’t like meeting parents. Aunt Jane doesn’t have expectations like everyone else does. She lives.
She had a dream about me a week ago, and told me about it. And in this dream a man asked me if I believe in ghosts. So, I think maybe the best thing to do, is to have you ask her. Are you up for it?” Ann was serious. Her aunt Jane was rarely ever wrong about these things and won’t make a big deal out of them. Although, Ann is well aware that Jane will find it enticing to have the opportunity to confront a manifest dream.
“Will she read my cards? How much does she charge?” Nick asks in an excited tone.
“Jane doesn’t charge. She asks you if you want a reading, and she probably won’t do one for you when you first meet her. She only reads for family and friends.
“When can I meet her?” Nick asks, putting his sweatshirt on.
“I can text her right now and see what she is up to. You good with heading over now if she is free?” Ann asks.
“Yup!” Nick replies, walks over to Ann and kisses her. She sends Jane a text.
“Hey Jane, my bf? LOL asked me if I believe in ghosts.
Can we come over?”
Nick continues with his affectionate petting while Ann waits for Jane to reply. She is receptive to his advances. Just as they are getting ready for round two, Ann’s text notification alerts her.
She opens the message.
“Sure, I’ve got a couple hours. Come by.”
“b there in 10 minutes.”
“It’s good. She said we can come by.” Ann tells Nick. He is nearly drunk on arousal, and Ann puts a stop to it. “Come on. She’s not going to wait around all day. We can come back here after.” She puts her phone in the pocket of her tight blue jeans, kissing him back while calming his advances. He easily composes himself with the looming intrigue of Jane.
They walked into the old apartment building, and up the steep incline of stairs. The walls bubbled behind the wall paper with uneven horsehair plaster, that had fallen over a decade before. Ann inhaled the familiar smell of ancient must, bringing her mind back to mornings filled with music and games. Jane raised Ann from the age of 2 until Ann decided to leave at 16 to live with her mother, out of a sense of responsibility that she hadn’t inherited from either of her parents. Her memories of Jane’s home are calm and safe, making her wonder why she chose to dive back into the abyss of her dysfunctional mother. Teen angst was the conclusion she quickly came to, in her mind. Jane had left the large, cracked, green door opened, for Ann to walk in.
“Hey Jane.” Ann said, walking into the kitchen from the hallway. Jane turned and smiled while she poured three cups of espresso from her stove top, cast iron espresso maker. The kitchen was filled with the smell of dark coffee.
“Espresso, cappuccino or latte?” Jane asked, standing over the three mugs. She took a small metal carafe from her freezer and poured almond milk in it. She took the hand held frother and started to froth the milk.
“Could I have a cappuccino?” Ann asked.
“Me too, please!” Nick said.
“Three cappuccinos. Coming right up. Please sit down.” Jane replied, pouring the cold foam on top of the espresso in each mug. “The milk is already kind of sweet so I recommend not using sugar.”
“I don't think I’ve ever seen you use sugar.” Ann recalls.
“I don’t usually put milk in either, but I felt like something a little decadent today. So. What’s up?” Jane asks sipping coffee through the foam.
“This is Nick. We are seeing each other. And today, he asked me if I believe in ghosts.” Ann spoke in a matter of fact tone, knowing it’s preferable to Jane. She doesn’t appreciate soft language and dancing around an issue. Jane doesn't have time for nonsense. She knows that life is short and would rather it not be wasted with the time it takes to listen to insincere words.
“Ah. That’s why you're here.” Jane replied.
“That and the coffee.” Ann said with joking sincerity. Jane laughed. The childish giggle gave way to a middle aged sigh and smile. Jane looked at Nick. HIs handsome face was dulled by his unkempt hair and lose athletic clothes. She thought for a moment if he would let her dress him, that he would be just a bit dangerous. She amused herself by making him nervous with her glances. Jane understood Ann’s attraction, but knew it would end with adolescence.
“So. Did you answer him?” Jane asked Ann.
“I brought him here.” Ann answered.
“Was that meant to be an answer?” Jane asks, slight judgement in her voice. Ann was used to advocates answering her questions for her. A bad habit acquired from a foster care system that constantly ignored better ideas. Jane knew that once a child learns to depend on others to think for them, they would never try to think for themselves. No matter how hard she worked to change that fact, Ann was a product of pandering.
“I knew you could answer better than I could.” Ann said, flippantly.
“How can I answer a question about what you believe? No one but yourself should ever be able to determine your beliefs. And they should never be so rigidly structured that someone else feels confident in making that determination. The time we perceive is as fluid as a dream to creatures without clocks. Cats don’t limit their minds to the waking world, and neither should you. The question is yours to answer. Ask her again, Nick.” Jane was sure in her lecture and waited for Nick to take responsibility for Ann’s deflection. He did not disappoint.
“I think she was just freaked out by the dream you had and thought that it would be more fun to have you tell me about what you believe.” Nick said in true, smitten fashion.
“Now NIck, the human race would never have gotten anywhere if everyone waited for someone else to answer their questions. I will not answer someone else’s question.” Jane was stern, but not off putting. Nick was curiously attracted to her sense of self. Over 20 years his senior, he wondered what it might be like to be intimate with Jane. Not just sex, but all aspects of intimacy. Suddenly, Ann looked immature to him.
“I think I believe in ghosts.” Ann answers to break Nick’s gaze. Her jealousy propelled her. Jane smiled while drinking her coffee, satisfied with what she had accomplished. Pulling truth through competition is as easy as it is amusing to a middle aged woman.
“I don’t know if I do. I’d like to. But it just seems kind of stupid.” Nick replies. He’s afraid he insulted Jane. He didn’t.
“That’s because you have a Hollywood idea of things you cannot see. All this tarted up garbage about possessions, and narcissistic hauntings has been burned into the brains of three generations. Taking fun fiction and trying to turn it into fact from years of urban legend musings and illiteracy. Dickens, Einstein, Jung and other erudite minds all believed that energy cannot die. It must change form. That energy transfers and exists in other forms eternally and only imprints of its ancestry remain. And in that remnant of what once was, the human living world finds familiarity, and gets a glimpse behind that veil but never quite enough to understand. To the unseen, we might be ghosts. A memory of what they once were. A recognized perception of their late, fleshy suffocation. If their energy is ignited with memory and yours with fear, it may cause that veil to move for just enough time to question everything you thought true. Now that is a real haunting.” Jane can feel Nick is wooed by her soliloquy, and Ann too immature to understand. In Ann’s mind, Jane’s age and lack of concern for physical appearance made her no competition. A fallacious belief of the limited. Those things are masks that work only to soften the agony of uninteresting company. Buts as Ann has yet to learn, intrigue and sensuality isn’t stifled by socially imposed exclusivity. It is supernatural and not restricted to the confines of the physical world. It is energy, and it works best when in unexpected settings. Jane knows that eventually Nick will visit her, without Ann.
Mourning Ecstasy (excerpt)
Myra watched Patrick sleep. She never took pleasure in watching a lover sleep before, and rarely did she ever let one spend the night. Had they not both collapsed from hours of shameless dissipation, he may have made his way home. But Myra didn’t mind that he was there, breathing in her face, sleeping in her bed, his head sunken into her pillow. Her emerald green plaid comforter lay just below his naked shoulders. The sunlight streamed through the side of the window where the nicotine stained, white shade didn’t cover. His full lashes shined golden strawberry in the natural spotlight and his cheeks were still adolescent in appearance. But his neck and shoulders we that of a man.
Cinnamon colored freckles colonized his olive skin. Myra thought then and now that his skin is the most exquisite and unlikely combination of two dominant traits. Her finger tip gently pet his eyelash and then followed the bridge of his nose to the tip. Her hand descended to his lips and gently brushed them while she thought about kissing them. He lay there, still sleeping. Her hand traveled to the part of his back exposed from the blanket. Myra tenderly traced invisible designs into his freckles. She thought it would be interesting to discover which lover’s cipher would be the one to wake him.
Her left hand positioned itself between his shoulder blades. She used her middle finger and spelled out, “Good Morning.” He didn’t move. She then spelled out, “Freckles are sexy.” His breathing got a bit stronger. Myra smiled and wrote, “I want you.” A deep breath raised his back, but still his eyes were closed. “I need you.” She wrote instinctively and immediately wondered why she did. Patrick opened his eyes, quick, and then looked into her’s without fear or hesitation. In his skin she wrote, “Yes.”
Patrick kissed her, but this was no morning kiss. This was a kiss after hours of flirting, a kiss after seduction, a kiss of desire. It was the kind of kiss that people usually have to work for. He kissed Myra this way because it was the only way he ever wanted to kiss her. He moved on top of her, and she didn’t mind. Myra was and is opposed to the missionary position. The feeling of powerlessness killed all arousal in Myra. Patrick and she discussed this subject matter ad nauseum yet, this morning, she left trepidation to abandon. Trust replaced fear.
He was heavy, but not burdensome. Naked together, her legs wrapped around his, her ankles resting on the inside of his lower calves. Patrick’s arms were wrapped around Myra’s body, holding her tight to him, and she strung her arms through his grasping his back, pressing her hands into him, as he moved inside her. Myra moved her hands from his back to his face. Eyes open, they kissed each other. He didn’t need to touch her breasts, she didn’t need to be in control. What was happening was more than sexual, it was organic, natural They wanted to be close, and only to each other.
There was no sound in the room but theirs, and Patrick’s breathing ignited her to breathlessness. They stopped kissing and looked at each other, her holding his face, his chest pressed into her breasts, the suffocation of movement respired a new definition for the oldest pastime. Her head felt lightened with rush but not unfocused. Patrick submitted to his hidden beast and let it take over. For the first time he made no attempt to deny or restrain it. Myra could feel this rush move to her neck and face. She pushed her pelvis into his. Her hands in his face and the tips of her fingers feeling his coarse, crimson curls between them inflamed intemperance.
“How?” He said breathless. The pleasure was greater than any she’d ever felt. “How are you doing this.” She looked into his eyes with true confusion when she asked. He met her look and said nothing. No smile, no words, just purpose. “Patrick.” She said as she held his face. He put his forehead to hers and they barely breathed. Her body began to shake, every muscle contracted in uncharted pleasure and it enraptured Patrick.
Mourning Ecstasy (An excerpt)
Myra’s eyes opened from the warm sun peeking through the shade, and she thought about finally investing in shudders. She picked up her phone from the side table and the time read, “5:17 AM.” She sighed heavily and decided to open up Instagram and waste some of the 2 hours she had left to lay in bed. Carlos and she had a funeral service to attend at 10 am, and Myra had agreed to pick up the deceased’s 20 year old nephew. Myra thought to herself, “I still can’t believe she asked us to pick up her kid, so she didn’t have to take a right turn on her way to the funeral home.”
Scrolling through the usual vanity and celebrity breakdowns, her blurred vision seemed to sharpen for a second when she saw a post from Vaniteux, Will’s restaurant. A picture of Will, Riley and Patrick, all obviously stoned, and what seemed like attempting to look “cool.” The goal was not achieved. Patrick’s skin was flawless, dusted with pigmentation and a five o’clock shadow. Myra examined the picture and took a screenshot. She wanted to look at it again, with her lenses in. Her heart raced and her other senses stirred while she stared at the image of Patrick.
“Awe come on. Is this really how we are going to start the day?” Myra cried out in a morning fatigued chagrin. She riggeled with aggravation at the thought that her morning would be invaded by such deranged unfulfillment. She threw her phone to the end of her bed but that recent image of Patrick was stuck in her mind’s eye now, and it wasn’t ever going to leave her. She rested her arm across her eyes and tried to fall back asleep, but the heat from the sun beat down on her wrist, making sleeping impossible. The smell of spring dampness in New England forced nostalgia. “Fucking sunbeam.” She said out loud and just like that, her favorite memory began.
Myra’s mind was falling fast into this echo. It would be more beneficial to fight off these ghosts of Patrick, however, this morning she wouldn’t exercise that restraint.
“Fine! Go ahead!” She said out loud knowing she had plenty of time to commit to a fantasy before the reality of the day. There was no point to the struggle. She wasn’t going to get out of bed yet and as long as she was laying down with her eyes closed, this treasured souvenir of Patrick would be merciless in its attempts to invade her rest. She remembered a morning two decades ago that changed everything, for both of them. But it wasn’t until years later that Myra really understood what it was and wondered if Patrick thought about that morning the way she did.
Her heart beat with anticipation while her mind made that journey to that morning 20 years ago. Patrick had spent the night after an evening of playful sex. This wasn’t unusual. However, when Myra awoke she was facing a sleeping Patrick, breathing in her face. She was confused, because it didn’t bother her. Eyes open, her vision still sharp and clear. These were the years before Keratoconus began to ravage her sight. The colors she remembers are much more vibrant than the ones she sees now. She interrupted her own fantasy with the thought that maybe it’s the clarity of vision that she actually misses. There was no way to fight the deterioration, so she knew to put that thought out of her head. Back to Patrick.
Myra watched Patrick sleep. She never took pleasure in watching a lover sleep before, and rarely did she ever let one spend the night. Had they not both collapsed from hours shameless dissipation, he may have made his way home. But Myra didn’t mind that he was there, breathing in her face, sleeping in her bed, his head sunken into her pillow. Her emerald green plaid comforter lay just below his naked shoulders. The sunlight streamed through the side of the window where the nicotine stained, white shade didn’t cover. His full lashes shined golden strawberry in the natural spotlight and his cheeks were still adolescent in appearance. But his neck and shoulders we that of a man.
Cinnamon colored freckles colonized his olive skin. Myra thought then and now that his skin is the most exquisite and unlikely combination of two dominant traits. Her finger tip gently pet his eyelash and then followed the bridge of his nose to the tip. Her hand descended to his lips and gently brushed them while she thought about kissing them. He lay there, still sleeping. Her hand traveled to the part of his back exposed from the blanket. Myra tenderly traced the freckles into patterns that she meditated into invisible designs. She thought it would be interesting to draw letters in his skin and see which lover’s cipher would be the one to wake him from his sleep.
Her left hand positioned itself between his shoulder blades. She used her middle finger and spelled out, “Good Morning.” He didn’t move. She then spelled out, “Freckles are sexy.” His breathing got a bit stronger. Myra smiled while she continued to write, “I want you.” A deep breath raised his back with a deep breath, but still his eyes were closed. “I need you.” She wrote instinctively and immediately wondered why she did. Patrick opened his eyes, quick, and then looked into her’s without fear or hesitation. He didn’t move. In his skin she wrote, “Yes.”
Patrick kissed her, but this was no morning kiss. This was a kiss after hours of flirting, a kiss after seduction, a kiss of desire. It was the kind of kiss that people usually have to work for. He kissed Myra this way because it was the only way he ever wanted to kiss her. He moved on top of her, and for once, she didn’t mind. Myra was and is opposed to the missionary position. The feeling of powerlessness killed all arousal in Myra. Patrick and she discussed this subject matter ad nauseum yet, this morning, she left trepidation to abandon. Trust replaced fear for the first (and arguably “only”) time in her life.
He was heavy, but not burdensome. Naked together, her legs wrapped around his, her ankles resting on the inside of his lower calves. Patrick’s arms were wrapped around Myra’s body, holding her tight to him, and she strung her arms through his grasping his back, pressing her hands into him, as he moved inside her. Myra moved her hands from his back to his face. Eyes open, they kissed each other. He didn’t need to touch her breasts, she didn’t need to be on top, what was happening was more than sexual pleasure. For these two people this was wanting to be close, and only to each other.
There was no sound in the room but theirs, and Patrick’s breathing ignited her to breathlessness. They stopped kissing and looked at each other, her holding his face, his chest pressed into her breasts, the suffocation of movement respired a new definition for the oldest pastime. Her head felt lighted with rush but not unfocused. Patrick submitted to the beast he hides and let it take over. For the first time he made no attempt to deny or restrain it. Myra could feel this rush move to her neck, her back, her body, and she pushed her pelvis into his. The two never broke gaze while their bodies made every effort to stay convolute. Her fingers massaged his head, the feeling of his coarse, crimson curls between them only inflamed intemperance. Her body began to shake, every muscle contracted in uncharted pleasure and it enraptured Patrick.
Myra thought to herself that this must be what inspired the myth of heaven. Patrick kissed her, and she held onto his back with her left hand and had a palm full of curls in the right. His arms wrapped around her, his biceps pressing against her ribcage, as if he was trying to keep her from falling. Myra had never felt what was happening to her body, and Patrick never felt a woman so completely. Intrinsically they both sacrifice their insecurities to this undiscovered ethos, and still, neither spoke a word. They kissed with the same glutinous rhythm and no errant thoughts intruded. It was them and no one else existed. She belonged to him and he knew he had possessed her when she looked at him and said, “Patrick.”
Patrick replied, “Myra.”
They kissed again with the recognition of humanity and their libidos released them from this trance. They lay together, still connected and unmotivated to separate. Myra gently stroked Patrick’s hair and he lay his head into her neck. He breathed with exhaustion, his chest pushing against hers while she inhaled the triumphant scent of him. She held him, pet him, adored him. Patrick monopolized this behavior in Myra’s, and she wondered if he knew that. She wanted him to know that.
“Patrick. You’re a unicorn.” She said holding him to her, still petting him. She felt his mouth moving on her chest, making a smile.
Patrick replied, “You’re My ‘Ra.’ ” Myra was captivated at being compared to a god.
“It’s funny we both went mythical, but not biblical.” Myra said.
“Some people would say they are the same thing.” Patrick replied. The prospect of an interesting conversation propelled Myra’s words.
“Patrick. Spend the day with me?” Myra asked and was made uneasy at the vulnerability in her voice.
“I can’t I was supposed to be at work a hour ago.” He moved his body as he spoke so he could look at her. She kissed him. “I want to stay.” He kissed her, “But I can’t I have to go to work.”
“Call in to work. Stay with me today.” Myra playfully demanded. Patrick’s sense of responsibility stopped him from making decisions based on desire. The fact he was late to work already was a true testament of the kind of force that morning spell had on him.
“Myra. You know I can’t. It’s my job.” He said to her. The fog of passion was lifting from the room.
“Of course, your job. The sanctum suck-torum. A controlled, monitored, guided and hugely expensive place to achieve transcendence. Which, is the exact opposite of what you achieve in that environment. It’s a place rich assholes go to be around other rich assholes to meditate where none of the peasants can bother them. There is no transcendence in a playpen filled vegan cookies and posh excuses.” Myra’s spite for the Saraswati Center was never hidden. Its cult like nature and Patrick’s naivety were a menacing combination that weighed on Myra’s mind.
“Come on, Myra. It’s my job, and I love it. They are always complimenting me, they pay me well, and i like being in that environment.” Patrick said with honesty.
“Its a fucking cult.” She said brashly. Patrick moved from on top of her, kissed her and said. “I gotta go. I’ll call you on my lunch break.”
She wondered to herself why he was going to call her on his lunch break, but was gitty at the thought of it. That bothered her. Myra pulled him to her to kiss her again, and said, “Or you can stay here and we can have each other for lunch.” She touched his face. “Stay with me.”
Patrick started to bend to her desire, and kissed her again. “Myra, I want to stay. You have to know how much I want to stay here, in bed with you.” He brushed her dark brown, hair back from her ear and kissed her cheek and then her mouth again. He moved to get off the bed and Myra leaned upward using her arm as support. She wanted to ask him to come back tonight, but the rejection perceived as voluntary immediately closed her off. It was the reaction of a jealous child, and her reflection on this memory was marked with shame over such stubborn defensiveness. He gathered his clothes from the floor and put his oversized jeans on and balled up his boxers to put in his pocket.
“Flying commando?” Myra teased. Patrick walked over to Myra, white tshirt, jeans, and sweater in his hand. He bent forward and said, “Well, he’s pretty tuckered out. I’m going to let him take it easy.” He kissed her. She pulled him to her.
“I gotta go.” He said in a laugh.
“You have no idea how fucking gorgeous you are, do you?” She said as she held his chin and looked at his lips. She kissed him, he blushed and smiled and after putting his shoes on he walked out of her bedroom. Myra heard him close her front door and run down the staircase. When the large green door that lead from the hallway to the staircase on the street, Myra looked out of her shade at the foot of her bed, to watch Patrick get into his car. She saw him running to the drivers side door of his small, blue honda and as he put the key in the lock to open it, he looked up at Myra’s window and saw her watching him. He smiled at her and blew a kiss. It sickened her that she motioned to catch it. He got into his car and drove away.
Myra was released from reverie by the sound of Carlos ringtone. It was now 6:15am.
“What?” Myra said when she answered.
“What’s your problem? Where you flicking the bean to 1980’s Dennis Quaid?” Carlos said while drinking his morning espresso.
“A. No woman limits herself to the 80’s when it comes to Dennis Quaid. B. If I was masterbating I wouldn’t have picked up the phone.” She said while she fought off the haunting memory of the only vaginal orgasm she has ever had.
“So...I can hear it. What’s up?” Carlos asked with genuine concern.
“Nothing, really it’s nothing. I saw a picture of Patrick on Instagram and it reminded me of something, that’s all.” She said as she sat up and headed to the kitchen.
Carlos gasped, “Oh no...The Unicorn.”
“I wish I had never told you about it. I’m fine. I’m getting in the shower now. I’ll call you when I’m out.” Myra said on her way to the bathroom.
I know the demon's kiss
and a demon such as this
brings many sorrows as I recall
The stories and the lies
nothing exists behind the eyes
when the soul isn't there at all
I knew him very well
The demon with an angel shell
and accepted every flaw
When i became more than me
The demon he did flee
With contempt for what he saw
Angry and alone
he sat upon his throne
wondering if he should change
He began to see the wrong
that had plagued his choices so long
His form began to rearrange
But his matron witch did see
metamorphosis begin in he
this she could not suffer
To keep her demon damned
She evoked diamonds from the sand
Spell cast by this demon's mother
She showered him with gifts
For evil acts and tricks
No thank you needed from him
Illusion for happiness you see
No love she had for he
Just control, malice and sin
The witch could only survive
By ruining children's lives
And turning them into demons
She tried but could not fool me
To give control of my angel baby
To her and her false angel son
She took the demon home
Jewel decorated throne
In order to keep him in her wake
This witch said to me
"My demon will never be
The angel you tried to make"
When I knew this to true
I offered "let us save you"
He angered at the truth
He coward in fear
His matron witch near
To save him from love and youth
The witch looked at me
And laughed with evil glee
Knowing she had been victorious
Her calculated win
Left the demon hollow and thin
Where once stood something glorious
My angel baby was safe
But attempts she did make
To try and seize him from me
She offered diamonds of enormous size
But I saw the glassy lie
My angel baby stays with me
She called upon her broken demon
To bring the angel baby to her cave
"He will be the greatest demon yet!"
She cried, without regret
While fondly she recalled all the souls unsaved
That masked demon came to us
Preaching love and using lust
To try and cloud my reason
But I knew all the while
His intentions were truly vile
A plan of vicious treason
Deception his only tool
He walked away a fool
Once the angel baby shined his light
What was hidden came to sight
Not always a pleasing scene
But revelation gleamed
That witch's anger grew
With her demons failure true
She knew she could not try
Spells on the innocent's eye
The witch threatened me with pain
In my arms the angel baby did remain
His soul is entrusted to me
This special angel baby
But demons and witches are afraid
That hope will change their ways
Of manipulation, narcissism and greed
If the angel baby beings to share
And others become aware
Witch's gifts satisfy her evil need
To make more demon slaves to be
An army of ignorance and misery
With no regret for the souls she's burned
Clutching my angel baby tight
We are safe inside the light
And our minds remained unturned
That witch she packed her cave
Took her demon slaves
And accepted her defeat
We smiled and danced hex free
My angel baby and me
Triumph making the air sweet.
The demon will always try
To be in his Witch’s eye
By doing the evil he was taught
And on occasion bother me
With lies and trickery
So transparent they come to not.
Given the choice of good or bad
Some cower and choose the fad
For instant gratification
With the choice to abandon grace
You cannot hide your demon face
And are damned to a life of indignation
Now this fable does not preach
Of religious belief
Just of bad choices made by some
When they choose themselves above
Their child's health and love
The damage cannot be undone.
These selfish people are made
By parents who persuade
Ego and ignorance
These evil parents too
Take the easy way through
With others feelings of no consequence
And as a mother now
I cannot allow
My angel baby to become
Vapid, arrogant and cruel
By the dishonest hands of fools
So their chances are left to none
I keep my son aware
Other people aren't just there
As a means to an end
That all living things are entitled
To respect, and it is vital
That good intention we always emit
It may not make him wealthy
But his soul will remain healthy
With love, honesty and valor in it.