Part 10 of a sporadic saga. Part 1 is here
"She became you."
That was not something I was prepared to think about, Cutty Sark or no.
He took the glass from my lips and swirled the liquid around in it. He never moved from his gargoyle hunch, holding my eyes with his. He waited, knowing he had kicked in a door which could never close again. I decided to avoid all the truths in my head.
"You're an @!$%#."
He sat back in his chair, laughing.
"Saying something twice don't make it true." He picked up his glass and waved it at me. "And so what, anyway. Even if I am an @!$%#, you can see I'm right, can't ya." It wasn't a question.
We both sat silent for a while. I don't know what he was thinking, but I didn't like where my thoughts were going.
"I'm not used to drinking like this." I pushed my glass to his side of the table. "I think I better stop."
"Right" He stood up quickly, with one sudden, shaky movement. He was a little unsteady on his feet, but there was no hesitation in his hand as reached out to my glass and finished it. He set the emptied glass down, slowly and carefully, as if it were a crystallized baby. His eyes glimmered like headlights in a fog.
"Let's go find some women."
We didn't, of course. Instead we went to sleep, he in his bedroom and me in my sleeping bag, as I had been doing almost every night for half a year.
And again, as I had been doing almost every night for half a year, I lay awake for a long time, and when sleep finally came, it brought the usual horrors.
The world outside went about it's business, and when I finally crawled out of the bag it was dark again. I had coffee brewing and eggs cooking when Alex slammed into the kitchen from the back entrance.
"I thought you were still asleep."
"Animals don't care that I was up all night drinking." He wiped out a coffee cup with his shirt tail and reached for the pot. "Still gotta take care of them, you know." He was in bad shape. So was I.
"I've been thinking about what you said "
"I said a lot."
"The bit about 'she became you.' That part."
He was quiet for a moment, "Yea. That part. I was wondering if that would sink in."
"Did you mean what I think you meant?"
He studied me for a minute, his eyes very dark and, for once, dead serious. I knew he was arguing with himself, choosing his words carefully.
"All right, look. You talked a lot. You told me a lot of things about that girl, a lot of things. Probably some things nobody but you ever knew about her. Things nobody else ever paid attention to. I listened. I'm good at that. You know what I heard you saying? You spent three years with that girl, you listened to her, you laughed with her, you knew her fears and her dreams, and yet, you were surprised and hurt when she splattered your bedroom with her brains."
He walked across the room and stood inches from me, and again stabbed my chest with his finger.
"That's what I heard. You know what I didn't hear? I didn't hear you say you cried your heart out like a stinking baby."
The eggs were starting to burn, but neither one of us noticed.
"In fact, you didn't even tear up while you were telling me this. Not one tear" He finally took his eyes off me and turned away. I didn't move.
"And you had the balls to tell me that you thought she was unfathomable." He took the pan of eggs off the stove, went to the kitchen door and dumped the burned mess in the back yard. He came back in and waved the skillet at me.
"So here's my questions for you, Veho. Why were you surprised and hurt when she did herself in? And how come you never cry?" He put the pan on the stove, added fresh butter and watched it melt.
"Someday you'll cry. You'll cry so hard you'll puke."
He cracked an egg into the butter and then looked up at me, his eyes searching and sad. The egg sizzled like a thousand sparklers on the Fourth of July
"When that day comes....... and it might be years from now, but it will come........you'll remember what we said here."
He cracked another egg into the skillet and the sparklers started up again. He poked at the eggs with a spatula.
He was right. I felt it in my bones. I knew he was right, but I didn't want to tell him that. I turned and dropped some bread in the toaster, trying very hard not to think.
I could not stop myself from feeling an oncoming and inevitable day of reckoning, some where down the road. The coils in the toaster began to glow, and I leaned my head over with my eyes closed and let the heat rise into my face. A song came into my head and I mouthed the lyrics to myself as the eggs sizzled in the background.
You're just wading down the alleyway and counting all the stones
cause anything is better than the heartache in your bones
And you can't sit down but don't feel right standing up
and nothing runneth over from a cracked and broken cup
So you carve her name with razor blades on the remnants of your mind
While your best friend looks at you and says So what are you trying to find
There's an emptiness beneath your feet and a night owl in the sky
And you won't admit it's you who comes up with this reply
I'm just looking for that girl who can ruin my name forever*
*"Ruin My Name" words and music copyright D.S.Dickinson