I sat alone on the curb in front of Jake’s house and little pink flowers littered the road. I wasn’t supposed to be here. I was supposed to be at the stadium, making things right with Chris. The wind kept blowing my hair in my face and I pulled long, light strands away from my lips and tried in vein to tuck them behind my ears.
I couldn’t make anything right this morning. I thought about Chris sitting there at the stadium waiting for me. I didn’t even know if he got my text “Ugh, I can explain” since he didn’t answer with the usual, “Ok, Odette xxoo” I wondered if everything was now ruined. Perhaps my absence as his layed his heart on the line, inched him over the line.
The main problem, now, as I sat there…was that I was numb again. I mused about what was worse, intense emotion that kept me hiding under covers and wishing for sleep. Or this….this numbness that Astrid described bluntly as complacency. It was more than complacency though. I could barely even feel the breeze on my face, I just knew it was there because I couldn’t keep my hair out of my mouth. Jake seemed to be the only thing that could shock through the “compliancy”. Even my care for Zoe was methodical. I gave hugs because I knew she needed them. I talked to her speech teacher about her echolalia because I knew I was supposed to. I was like a walking robot. I only ate because I knew that if I didn’t I would get headaches. Then finally, my sudden decision to meet Chris at the stadium wasn’t powered by emotion, it was knowing that it was the right thing to do because when I came out of my numb phase, that I would love him again. But here I was amazed at my aching for my kitten…the only thing apparently besides music and Jake that could reach through the numbness.
When the tears blurred my eyes I was excited through the sadness..and I let myself feel it. How incredible to feel a warm rush of emotion. I breathed a full satisfying breath and suddenly knew that the tears went beyond the kitten. I was terrified that I had chosen a kitten over my marriage. And what would I do during the days of hiding under the covers, without Chris there?
I wiped the wet out of my eyes and looked up to see Jake, walking towards me, holding my kitten. He looked like a prince, bringing me the Golden Fleace. I leapt up and went to get her and she squirmed and mewed but I buried my head in her belly and breathed in her warm kitty fur. I looked up at Jake and he grinned that amazing, sly grin.
“How did you find her?” I gasped.
“I just saw her running after a lizard and I snuck up behind her and grabbed her.” he smiled. He seemed very happy that he found her. He took a strand of hair that was whipping in front of my face and tucked it behind my ear.
“I thought you were going to talk to your professor though? Isn’t your building all the way across the other side of campus?”
“Well, I got there and I was about to go in and talk to her. But then I thought about how worried you were and just blew it off to come right back and help you. I guess that decision was good karma since I practically tripped over your kitten on the way back.”
“I’m so sorry that I made you miss your meeting. Thanks for being so, unbelievably nice, especially after I was so, abrupt this morning.” I thought of how I had yelled at him to pretty much get out of my life.
He shrugged and pulled a little flower out of my hair and put it in his pocket.
“What are you gong to do with that flower?” I laughed.
“I dunno. Can’t you squash a flower in a book between magazine papers and keep it forever?”
“Yeah. It’s called pressing a flower. But I always thought that seemed cruel.” I pet my kitten and kissed her on the nose as she finally settled into my arms.
“Oh, Odette, last I checked, flowers aren’t conscious beings.”
“Yeah, well, in 50 years they will laughing about how we all thought 50 years ago that flowers didn’t have feelings.” He was looking at me like I was nuts, “It just kind of seems like a terrible fate I suppose, to be trapped between the pages of a book till you dry out.”
“I don’t get you.” Jake said. “But that’s OK, I stopped trying a while ago.”
I shrugged and smiled at him, then turned and carried my squirming kitten back to my house as the sun glinted alarmingly through the raging trees that had lost all their flowers to the wind today.