Ever Again – by: Odette

I nodded and took a swig from the bottle, then I lay back in the sand and looked at the stars. “It is so beautiful out here,” I said. “So why am I looking at it like I am a piece of cardboard? I find no pleasure in this. I’m completely numb.”

I had been getting used to the silence and to sending my texts into an abyss. Sometimes it felt like Chris was a figment of my imagination. I started to ramble in my emails, writing them almost like journal entries. I didn’t even know if he was reading them so they became more for me. I wrote long detailed accounts of exactly what Zoe was doing, how I thought she didn’t listen or pay attention at all in dance class but then she would do some of the steps at home in the living room to no music at all, just oddly-graceful movements as if an angel had flown into her body for a few moments…then out again and she was back to lining up her toys. I told him that Jake was gone with Rissa, and about how amazingly warm Florida had been during the day over the past week and that the beach was healing my wounded soul so that he would come back to the old me, the one he fell in love with. I wrote him every single day, sometimes twice a day, all with no reply…nothing.

When Chris called to speak to Zoe he called Luna’s phone and I was stunned he did exist, at least in her life thank God. But she wasn’t interested in the phone conversations. Sometimes she ran off and I could hear his voice when Luna put it on speaker phone and followed Zoe around the house with it.

But I have to say that things changed yesterday when Zoe and I went to the grocery store to get her a new sippy cup and some organic apple juice. Standing in line she said, “Daddy”.

I said, “Daddy’s on tour”

She said, “Daddy” and she pointed. This child does not point, ever, so I was really excited to see what she was showing me. I looked at the magazine on the rack next to the register and then leaned forward to examine closely what appeared to be a photo of Chris. After a couple of minutes of double and triple checking, I realized with a racing heart, for sure that it was Chris, and he was kissing a girl at a restaurant. I put my fingers on his face. What was he doing?

“Are you ready, Ma’am” the cashier said.

I looked up at her, stunned, “No” I said.

She looked confused, “Do you want to let the next person go then?”

“OK.”

The next person in line squeezed past me and Zoe said again, “Daddy.”

The woman smiled and said, “She thinks that rock star guy looks like her Daddy.”

I said, “He is her Daddy.”

The woman looked at me, ready for me to say, “just kidding,” but I said, “we’re married”. The she and I both looked at the picture of him kissing that girl and I said, “But that’s not me.”

She nodded slowly, “OK, honey,” she said, shook her head, then started loading up the belt with her stuff. I realized that she probably didn’t believe me. I then felt so removed from Chris, that he was so utterly inaccessible, that I couldn’t help but wonder for a moment if I was crazy and had dreamed our whole lives together.

I opened up the magazine, it was shaking in my hand and there were 4 more pictures of him making out with this girl then one of him with his hand on her leg half way up her skirt. I closed the pages and put it carefully back on the shelf. Then I suddenly grabbed all of them, messily, hysterically and and dumped them in my cart…every single one of them. Then I want to the next aisle and grabbed the magazines there. I cleared out every rack at every register and ended up with the whole bottom of my cart littered with these stupid gossip mags. Then I went back to my register, Zoe’s little legs swinging in front of me, and loaded them all on the belt. The girl checking out the groceries was quiet. She wasn’t asking any questions, probably because I was practically hyperventilating as I slammed each bunch in front of her.

On the way out I found the trash can and dumped the piles in there. But I knew that every other grocery store in St. Augustine had his pictures at the register, and all the other grocery stores in the country too. It was staggering. I drove back like a zombie and handed Zoe and her new sippy cup over to Luna, then went to bed and went to sleep in my clothes.

I woke up to voices in the living room. I looked at my window and it was dark out, so I got up with lead in my chest and walked out to see Luna and 6 other people all drinking wine in the living room. Evan was with the group and he was holding the offending mag. He stopped talking when I he saw me and tried to put it behind his back.

“Oh, come on, Evan” I said. I walked over to the bar and poured myself a glass of wine. “What time is it?” I asked whoever was listening. Three people said, “8 o’clock.”

I looked out through the kitchen towards the beach and thought I would go out there and build a fire. So I went and grabbed the magazine from behind Evan’s back, the bottle of red wine off the bar, some matches and lighter fluid from under the sink and wandered out the sliding glass doors, across the porch and down to the sand. It was magical outside. The sky was clear and glittering intensely with stars. The moon was nowhere to dim them tonight. I gathered some wood that was piled up against the porch and stacked it into a teepee over the crumpled magazine, doused it all with lighter fluid and threw a match at it. It raged right away and I sat down triumphantly and put my toes practically in the flames. I was still wearing shorts from this afternoon so my legs were a little cold with the ocean wind blowing across them. But the fire felt soothing. I imagined it burning away all the pain, starting with my toes, and I gulped down the rest of my wine.

“Are you OK?” Evan was behind me holding a blanket.

“What do you think?” I said.

He arranged the blanket over my cold legs, then he picked up my wine glass and refilled it. I thought he was going to give it to me but he sat down and started to sip it himself, then he handed me the whole bottle. “You need this” he said.

I nodded and took a swig from the bottle, then I lay back in the sand and looked at the stars. “It is so beautiful out here,” I said. “So why am I looking at it like I am a piece of cardboard? I find no pleasure in this. I’m completely numb.”

“Let’s see if this gets through to you,” he said. He leaned back on his elbows so he was closer to my ear and murmured,

“Elle est debout sur mes paupières
Et ses cheveux sont dans les miens,
Elle a la forme de mes mains,
Elle a la couleur de mes yeux,
Elle s’engloutit dans mon ombre
Comme une pierre sur le ciel.
Elle a toujours les yeux ouverts
Et ne me laisse pas dormir.
Ses rêves en pleine lumière
Font s’évaporer les soleils,
Me font rire, pleurer et rire,
Parler sans avoir rien à dire”

“Mmmm, lovely” I said. I sighed and realized I did feel a little better now. “Does it sound as pretty in English?”

“You tell me.” He moved over a little, leaned in closer to my ear and said, softly so that I could practically feel his breath,

“She is standing on my eyelids
And her hair is wound in mine,
She has the form of my hands,
She has the color of my eyes,
She is swallowed by my shadow
Like a stone against the sky.
Her eyes are always open
And will not let me sleep.
Her dreams in broad daylight
Make the suns evaporate
Make me laugh, cry and laugh,
Speak with nothing to say.”

That did it. His poem got through the layers and I found myself trying to hold back the sobs that were spilling out of me full-force. I sat up, pulled his blanket up to my face and he put his arm around me and rubbed my back as I cried into my knees. The fire crackled at my toes and I wondered as I gasped through sobs, if I was ever going to be happy ever again.

“I didn’t mean to make you cry,” Evan said, worriedly, still rubbing my back.

“No, no, it’s OK” I gasped. “I love it, thank you. It was perfect. Just perfect. I guess I just want someone to feel like that about me again someday.”

“Don’t worry about that, Odette. Someone’s going to write an even better poem about you.”

I finally smiled and I let him wipe the tears from my cheeks with the soft blanket. He handed me the bottle again and I took another swing. “Know anymore poems?”

“How long do you have?”

“All night”

“Then yes, I do.”

poem: L’amoureuse, by: Paul Eluard

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About Odette

Odette's character is written by Emmerson Grace Hayes. email: ungratefulbliss@gmail.com If only small talk could be replaced by dancing...
Aside | This entry was posted in Odette's posts. Bookmark the permalink.

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