Wednesday, January 5, 2011
A Voice of Water VI
Then again knocking. Sarah was seated at the window, watching the leaves fall off the maple. She knew that he knew she was in; but he never did a repeat performance. Once again he was gone. She could see him get into his car, this time in a sailing outfit, a blue cap and white jacket with a nautical logo and dockers. He did not look up. If he did, he could see her. He was too disciplined to look, but his visits were becoming more frequent. She felt him wanting to look up, but shaking off the impulse. Then he was gone.
He came the next day, just as Sarah had on her coat and was about the leave. He knocked and she stood still. Then the unexpected. He knocked again; a peel of five knocks. She dare not look out the window. She knew he was looking up. Something had changed in the web they had built together. Sarah saw a small hole in the criss-crossing lines, and knew how she could make it wider with just her little finger. Then she could simply leap out.
She was sitting under an oak tree on the divider of Commonwealth Avenue. A fountain was gushing water. A great oak tree was shedding acorns. Squirrels dashed around; hoarding transformed them into dervishes. Then he was standing there in his herringbone coat, fedora hat, and high waisted paints: his F. Scott Fitzgerald look.
“I was with the Scientologists concluding a deal,” he told her. She did not believe him. He handed her a brochure she refused to take. “Even though I make them shit loads of money, they can’t resist. They want me to eat their crap sandwich and tell them it’s filet mignon. That’s their deal,” He waved a hand dismissively and studied her. “ I get the impression you’re avoiding me.”
“Avoiding is a strong word. I’ve been alone for days. I’ve hardly spoken a word.”
“You have the right. You’re you and I’m me. What can we do about that? To think there is more is preposterous. But I thought there was something there, a ligament that connected us. And I don’t mean the sex.”
“There was. There is” she concluded. And the nagging sensation was back. She could feel his desire to hit her. She wondered how she would react.
“There was,” he repeated and squatted beside her. He held his keys on the ring, as large and round as a warden’s, and jiggled them heavily. “I’m the ladder and now you’ve kicked it away? You’ve seen what life can be without the bullshit? I gave you a great gift and now you want to just walk away from me and stride off into some place of light?”
“There isn’t any place. You’ve said so yourself.”
“Oh, there is a place Sarah. Not a place like under this oak tree. Our in the bed of that little shit who laps you up. And not light like that light, coming down like these asshole acorns. But there is a place. And it can be dangerous to go there alone. You need someone to grasp you ankles. Hold you down. That can only be me and you know it.”
“You made a good pitch for everything. The moment. The fleetingness of things. The connectedness of everything. Now I can taste it, and you want to take it out of my mouth.”
“No,” he answered, shaking his head. “I just want to take my cut. I always take my cut. Money. Sex. This gift I’ve given you. Did you think it would come without a price?”
“There are no prices,” she stood up and straightened her skirt. “I got what I wanted and I did it alone. You said it was mine and that it had no price.”
“Well, I lied.”
“You said you never lie,” she answered him sternly.
“I lied about that,” he said low and even.
“Then we’re done. Don’t come around any more.”
“It’s not that easy,” he answered, smiling. “You have to pay for what I’ve given you. I never told you the price.”
But she did not hear his terms, for she had quickly walked away.