Guys, I find quite uncomfortable to post in Tumblr, as I have always been writing on Blogspot. So now I’m posting only there, ok? Enter www.creativemusicforlife.blogspot.com and enjoy (there you can subscribe your e-mail, so every time I post you’ll receive a notification). Sorry about it, but I think it’s for the best. Thank you for reading my posts.
Liam sighed on the phone. With an annoyed glance over the watch, he saw it was just after eleven. But the time wouldn’t matter; the problem was, really, the person on the line.
“Miley, I’ve told you already. We’re over. Weren’t you supposed to be looking for someone much cooler than me, from another part of the planet?”
“But no! No, baby boy. You don’t get it! I’ve been to London, been to Paris, Australia and Rome already. There’s sexy boys in every city, I admit, but they’re not what I want!”
“And what do you want?”
“You! You know, some got money, some got fame, some got cars and clothes, but if it just ain’t you, then I don’t wanna know, ‘cause..”
“I thought you had said I was the worst thing that ever happened to you, and I wasn’t needed”.
“Well, maybe I said it alright. But baby, now I realize that I was wrong when I said I didn’t need you, so….”
“Maybe you’re not on your clear mind”.
“Oh, come on babe! I miss you so bad, and I’ve already admitted that I was wrong. So that’s it: now I’m coming home, so you better leave a light on. Wait for me and just leave the light on, because it’s been a permanent December without you. So much colder than I can remember! And when I get you back… this time I swear that I won’t ever let you go!”
He took a deep breath. “Yeah, it’s a nice speech, but it won’t worth a thing when you dump me again sometime soon”.
“I won’t, I promise! Look, I’ve been to New York, and to L.A., and to Baton Rouge! Can you believe it? I met a boy in every city, and no one kept me amused. But don’t call me a Lolita, as I know you were just about to, ‘cause I don’t let ‘em through”.
“No, huh?”. It was a game, always a game in the end. Because he knew it, he played along. “And why’s that?”
“‘Cause I’m saving all my loving for someone, and it’s you”. She waited a reply, but when no answer was heard, she fought the tears. “Look, I have changed, ‘cause, baby, now I realize that I was wrong when I said I didn’t need you. I miss you so bad, you can’t even imagine. So now I’m coming home, and you better leave the light on. Just wait for me and just leave the light on. I swear to you, it’s been a permanent December, so much colder than I can remember. And when I get you back…”
“But I will! Oh, babe, this time I swear that I won’t ever let you go!”.
He leaned on the wall, closed his eyes. He couldn’t take it. Not from her. He just loved her too much to have her again and loose her. It wasn’t healthy for him. The wise thing to do would be to say no again. And he would. He would do just that.
He dropped the phone when he heard the whisper on his ear. Turning around, he found her right next to him. Miley Cyrus in person.
“How did you get in?”
“I still have your key. And the phone just wasn’t working”.
“You need to leave”.
“But I can’t”. She smiled, and his world turned upside down. He had missed this smile for so long now, it almost hurt to see it again and know it wasn’t going to stay that way in a few minutes. When he dumped her. ‘Cause he would. He was just about to.
“Come on, babe”. Miley put her arms around his neck, hugged him. “Whaddya say? Let’s take over the world together again. Just give me a chance, ‘cause I’ve been all around the world and they just ain’t the same”.
No! He wouldn’t fall for her all over again. He wouldn’t. He just wouldn’t.
“Hey”. She kissed him on the neck, just between throat and shoulder, and he trembled. “Whaddya say? Without my baby I go crazy and I just gotta scream”. She took his face with her both hands. “Now I realize that I was wrong when I said I didn’t need you so. I miss you bad, real bad. That’s why I keep saying ‘now I’m coming home, so you better leave the light on. Wait for me and just leave the light on’. But… wait. I am already here, and guess what? The light was on. I think this won’t feel like a permanent December, so much colder than I can remember, after all. When I get you back, which is just about to happen, right at this time and moment, I swear that I won’t ever let you go again. I love you too much to do that”.
He hesitated. He needed to be strong. She would hurt him. He needed…
“The hell with that”, he said while he grabbed her strongly. She laughed while being kissed. When everything seemed to be back to place and he could no longer find air to breathe, he let go of her, to find her with the biggest smile on the world. “You know what?”
“What?”, she asked hugging him tighter.
“It really is December, and you left the door open. I’m freezing”.
And all she could do was laugh, followed by him.
“Oh my, I’m telling you. You two were meant to be”, Chris said in a burst of excitement. “And you’ll see that by yourself, as he’s coming here in just a few…”
“What?” Kelly Rowland asked, being taken out of her daydream. All the self-enjoyment that Kelly had shown for the last 15 minutes -as she pictured herself in a Tahitian beach- was now replaced by the seriousness that Chris hated so much seeing on her friend’s face.
“Oh, come on”, Chris said. “Don’t be so stubborn”.
Kelly stared at her friend, a blonde with blue eyes and perfect nails, fixing her make-up in the long mirror of the dressing-room. Kelly decided to make herself gorgeous as well. With her chin up, she adjusted her hair right, and turned around to check her sparkly black dress. Really, really short, but, well – what is the point of having great legs if you don’t show them? So she did, every time she had the chance. Today, it wasn’t any different.
“You are great together”, Chris insisted.
“No, we’re not”. She signed when she finished passing her red lipstick. “Look, everybody’s saying that we should get back together, and everybody’s saying that we’re meant to be together. It’s not just you. Everybody’s saying how the love was so damn perfect, and… God. I ain’t never seen a bit of it, not really. So I don’t think it’s worth it”
“Now, why would you say that?”
She froze when she heard his voice, so cool and relaxed. The pain hit her with full power, and she got surprised when she noted she was actually really, really mad – rather than suffering. With anger, she turned at his direction. “How dare you?”, she vociferated, shoving him. “What are you even doing here?”
“I told you he…”, Chris began, but was interrupted by her furious glance.
“Don’t defend him”. Facing him, she shoved him again. “You’re not entitled to be here anymore. It’s my show”.
“Always possessive”, he answered at ease, smiling. “You didn’t respond me. Why is it you don’t think it’s worth it?”
“That you have to ask is ridiculous”. She walked the room for a bit, thinking how to deal with him. He was so gorgeous – so perfect altogether. Bryan was the kind of man that you couldn’t breathe in the same room with, such was his beauty. But, as far as she knew, that beauty didn’t reflected on the inside. He was mean, possessive, and uncaring. Those blue eyes, dark hair and semi-beard meant nothing at all when she had seen first hand how he could act. So, despite her hate and pain, she faced him with caution. “Do you want to know why it’s not worth it? ‘Cause they ain’t been through the things that you put me through, and they ain’t seen all the things that I’ve seen in you. And, worst of all, they ain’t never cried the tears you made me cry. So they can’t be the judge here. You know it, and I know it. Now leave me alone”.
“I can’t”. Bryan looked at Chris. “Are you necessary here?”
“Yes, she is. You’re not, so leave”. She took her cellphone. “I’ll call the police if you don’t”
“Call them. It’s your show, as you said”. He smiled when she hesitated. He knew just how to get her to listen. “Now, as I intended to say before… I never meant to cause you any pain. You know that”.
“But you did. You knew I was suffering and you kept going on. Leave, Bryan. I won’t listen to the media nor anybody else, ‘cause they don’t know what I know. They never see that part of you that you keep so well hidden. They know the lies, but I know the truth. So while they say stay, I say go, and you have no right of contradicting me. They’ve never even seen our scars before. They think our love is beautiful, ‘cause everything is beautiful when you’re looking through rose colored glasses, but I know better”
“You’re lying. You thought we were amazing”.
“Everything seems amazing when you see the view in rose colored glasses. But I took them off already. It’s time you take them off as well. How long to the show?”, she asked Chris.
“20 minutes. Want to be alone for a moment?”
“We’re not done talking”, he affirmed.
“Yeah, we are. You can say all you want; I’m done talking to you”. She seated on the pink sofa and coiled herself up, already exhausted. She didn’t notice when Chris left the room to prepare security -just in case-, nor she noticed when he exited and returned with a glass of water. She had her eyes closed, hoping that when she opened them, he would be gone and everything would be fine again.
When she heard no noise for a few minutes, she considered it safe to open her eyes – and found him staring patiently at her. Her heart jumped a little; of surprise, of course. But now, she didn’t get angry. She was just tired.
“Wanna know the irony?”, she asked with a sad smile. “Everybody’s thinking I was just too scared to love you. You got them all believing that I folded under pressure, which is such an absurd. It’s crazy how I gave my best - I tried so hard to love you. So many times. And you kept hurting me, as if it brought you pleasure, even though I can’t believe, not now or never, that all this time my pain just brought you pleasure. You’re not that low. Are you?”
She looked at him with such sincerity, he felt he could drown in self pity any minute. Incapable of breaking the defiant stare, he murmured: “no. I’m not”.
“Good. That’s a relief”. She laughed painfully, resting her head on her knees. “You would think it’s a relief, actually, but it’s not”. She found the glass, resting beside her, and took a sip – he was sure that, if she learned it had been him who brought it, she would rather die of dehydration. “The press thinks I’m the bad guy. Irony, I said, right?”
“You don’t care with the press”.
“I don’t. Except when I do”. She sighed. “It’s almost painful how much they’re wrong. They ain’t been through the things that you put me through, so they’ll never know. They ain’t seen all the the things that I seen in you all this time, and they ain’t never cried the tears you made me cry. So how could they possible be the judge? They can’t. They’ll never be able to be the judge ‘cause… well. They don’t know what I know”
“And what’s that, Kelly? What’s that?”
Her eyes flared with fury in reaction of his tone, so “whatever”. It was just like him.
“You’re mean. Always have been. And they never see that part of you. All they know is the lies, but I know the truth, and because I know it, when they say stay, I say go without hesitation”. She got up, now with wrath. “They’ve never seen our scars before, and that’s what’s worst! They think our love is beautiful, and it’s awfully horrible! Always have been! But they wouldn’t know ‘cause everything is beautiful when you are looking through rose colored glasses. Everything always seems amazing when you see the view in rose colored glasses, but I wish they could take them off. That way, they would stop saying it was my fault all along!” When she realized she was screaming, she closed her eyes and put her wrist on her forehead. “Please, leave. You’re hurting me again”.
He took a deep breath, passed his hands through his hair.
“I’m tired of this as well, ok? But I can’t leave while you’re like this. Understand: I’m not hurting you; you’re hurting yourself. I’m not saying anything that would justify the state you’re in right now. I came here to say this. You’ve been hurting yourself all along. I never even knew you were in a bad place until you announced publicly the end of our relationship – with quite a flare, which triggered the negative response in the press”.
“What are you saying? That I’m guilty?”
Her eyes seemed so crazy and inconsequential that he frowned.
“Why are you assuming I’m accusing you of something?”
“You just said that!”
“I didn’t s…”
“Yes, you did!”, she interrupted. “You did, and if you think that I’ll let myself be brought down with that kind of lie you’re way over you’re head, ‘cause the press, they don’t know what I know. They never see that part of you that you only show to me, because you always tell lies, and that’s what they know, the lies. But I”, she pointed at herself, “I know the truth. You can’t mischief me in any way. That’s why the next time they say stay, I’ll say go, and you will go. By God, Bryan, you will go. They may have never seen our scars before, but you did and that’s why you ought to leave now. Even though they, or you, or anybody, think our love is beautiful, I don’t care. I don’t care ‘cause everything is beautiful when you are looking through rose colored glasses. Everything seems amazing when you see the view in rose colored glasses but, you know what? Take them off. Otherwise I’ll take it, and it will hurt you as badly as it hurts me. Now leave”.
He got up, facing her with remorse. “Fine. I’ll leave”. When he passed by her, he stopped a second and whispered in her ear: “But you already did take my rose colored glasses off”.
When the door was closed, she just cried, ignoring everything else. Chris and the guards, the show. Everything. Because her rose colored glasses were shattered as well, and she knew they would never be restored again.
“My life’s over”, the drunk man brooded with a bottle of vodka on his hands. The Passenger, beside him, looked the drunk with pity. It was sad enough to be in an over-night bus, let alone being there with drunk people – sad people, essentially.
“I’m sorry for this”, he said. Mike Rosenberg took a moment to talk again, since the drunk was crying now. “What’s your name?”
“Andrew”, he answered between sobs.
“Mine’s Mike. I’m sorry to meet you under such sad circumstances. May I ask you why your life’s over?”
“She’s… she’s gone, Mike! Gone!” Andrew hid his face with his hands after gulping the vodka down. “Gone!”
“Oh. I’m sorry”, he repeated.
“Don’t be”, another man, on the seat behind, said. “He’s sorry enough”.
Mike frowned at the strong Scottish accent. “You’re returning home?”
“Aye. Stephen”, he introduced himself, offering his hand. After shakings were made, Stephen put a chewing gum on his mouth – not that it stopped him from talking. “You?”
“I’m visiting some friends”.
“Might as well make new ones”. Stephen smiled. “Tell me, Andrew”, he said, addressing to the still crying and even more drunk now Andrew. “How did you messed up everything?”
“I’ve messed up, I just did”, he said between sobs.
“Now, now, let’s stop crying so you can tell us everything”, Stephen tried again.
“It’s alright”, Mike said with a reassuring smile. “Talk about it might help”.
“Okay”. Andrew sobbed some more while trying to contain his tears. Drank more, so he could bare the pain enough to talk about what had caused it. When he was calm again, he sobbed one last time and gathered the courage to speak. “We were dating for a year already, and she was so perfect. I swear to you, the was the most perfect of all. But I… I didn’t see what I had at that time, so I started to hurt her – unintentionally, of course. But I did, ‘cause I couldn’t cherish her the way she was born to be. And now… now she’s gone! What have I done? How could I let this happen?”
“Well, it makes sense to me”, Mike said. Andrew and Stephen looked him with confusion.
“What are you talking about?”, Andrew asked.
Mike shrugged. “You only need the light when it’s burning low. It’s the rule of life, maybe. True as the fact that you only miss the sun when it’s starts to snow, and you only know you love her when you let her go”
“That’s deep, mate”, Stephen said.
“Yeah? I’ve got more. You only know you’ve been high when you’re feeling low, and you only hate the road when you’re missing home. Saddest of them all, you only know you love her when you let her go… and still, inevitably, you let her go”
“What could I have done?”, Andrew said desperately.
“I don’t know, and it doesn’t matter now. It’s history – you’re repeating human history all over again”, Mike commented with a shook of his head. “You’re at the stage of staring at the bottom of your glass, hoping one day you’ll make a dream last, but the dreams you usually have come slow and goes so fast. Next thing you know, you’ll see her when you close your eyes. And it won’t ever go away, the thought that you were not brave enough to chase her knowing you were wrong from the beginning. I’m sorry for you man, I really am. Maybe one day you will understand why everything you touch, all it dies”
They were quiet, all three of them, for some time. Mike looking through the glass, still annoyed with his own speech – and with the reasons that made him make the speech. Andrew was quiet, trying to assimilate what he had heard, and Stephen was typing everything on his iPhone, to use in some of his stories.
“I apologize for speaking to you this way”, Mike said, finally. He looked at Andrew with deep searching eyes. “But you only need the light when it’s burning low, that’s a lesson I took a lot of time to learn. You only miss the sun when it’s starts to snow, and then, when you have the sun again, you forget the snow. So that, again, you’ll only know you love her when you let her go. It never stops, nor will in the future. It’s kind of sad when you look at it in the whole, but what can you do? You only know you’ve been high when you’re feeling low, and, as I said before, you only hate the road when you’re missing home – until the moment you get home, and realize you shouldn’t have left the road in the first place. So you go out again. And, again, you’ll only know you love her when you let her go. It never stops”.
Andrew stared at his bottle, feeling like a child who’s been cheated by the entire world. Feeling like he deserved the cheat, since he had caused it.
“What’s next?”, he finally asked.
Mike half-smiled. “You’re staring at the ceiling in the dark, with that same old empty feeling in your heart, because, to you, love comes slow and it goes so fast. Well, don’t worry at all, because you’ll see her when you fall asleep - but to never to touch and never to keep, because you loved her to much, and let her go, and now you dive too deep into misery”.
“You’re mean, mate”, Stephen said with a grin.
“He’s right”, Andrew defended. “God, he’s right. What a mess”.
“Indeed”, Stephen agreed texting again. “Could you repeat those ‘you only know’ phrases so I can check if I wrote them right? I’ll use them on a story I have in mind”
“Well, hey! I’m not sure I agree to that”, Mike protested.
“Help a friend in need, mate”
Mike looked at Andrew and waited his nod of approval. Then, sighed. “Fine. I’ll say just once, so pay attention”.
“You only need the light when it’s burning low. You only miss the sun when it’s starts to snow. You only know you love her when you let her go. You only know you’ve been high when you’re feeling low. You only hate the road when you’re missing home. You only know you love her when you let her go”. He hesitated, although he had said it already before. “And you let her go”
“That’s awesome, mate! Really amazing! How did you come up with it?”
Mike looked through the window with resignation. “I learned in first-hand”.
“How was it?”, Gary Lightbody asked when she entered the room.
Linda sighed. “Not good”.
“They won’t help us?”
“Not in the nearby days to come, as they said, nor in the faraway future”.
He accepted that with a thoughtful nod. The world falling apart outside their little cottage, and still, he felt as everything was numb. In silence, he watched her hiding her face with her hands for a few seconds, then shivering. He started to move to her, but she stopped the movement with her palm faced to him. “I’m fine”, she said, smiling at him. “I’m fine. I will be”.
“We don’t need them”, he said.
She laughed in pain. “Right”.
“We don’t need them”, he repeated. “We’ll do it all, everything, on our own. We don’t need anything or anyone”.
“How do you expect us to open a music house if no one’ll back us up?”. Her voice was thick with disappointment. “The bank don’t trust us, we have no sponsors, and we don’t have money enough. So, how do you expect us to do it?”
He stood quiet for a moment. She was breathing hard, frustration so clear in her eyes as the fact that his heart was breaking with each passing second. “We’ll find a way”, he murmured, and she shook her head, giving her back to him. He sat on the bad, feeling impotent and pitiful. They had fought for this for nearly a decade now, and it was almost lost. Everything, at the verge of being lost.
He closed his eyes, focused on himself, on them. On the dream. And his heart calmed down. “If I lay here”, he said in a low voice, “If I just lay here, would you lie with me?”
She turned to him with a frown. “What are you talking about?”
“Would you lie here with me?” He lay in the bed and waited. “We could talk and just… just forget the world for a second”
She stared, choked. “How can you…?” Then thought about it. Sighed again. Finally, she climbed on the bed and lay beside him, only her head toward him.
Time passed while they only looked in each other eyes.
“Do you really believe we can do it by ourselves?”, she asked.
“Yes”, he answered without a thought.
He waited a beat to say what he needed to say. “Because we’re together”. He took her hand and kiss it. “I don’t quite know how to say how I feel about you, but I can say those three words are said too much. And, in any case, they’re not enough”.
She smiled fully, as he expected; the tension dissipating. He found himself smiling back.
“We have to find out what we’ll do”, she commented, reluctantly smiling while the matter pushed her to frown again.
“We’ll find soon enough. Let’s be calm for a moment. If I lay here, I think I’ll have a creative burst”, he said playfully. “If I just lay here, I’ll have it, I’m telling you”.
She laughed a little. “Fine. While you think, I’ll shower”. She started to get up, but he held her arm.
“Wait. Would you lie with me for a little longer, and just forget the world as it is?” He brought her closer and put a hand on her cheek, kissing her lightly.
“I have a meeting. If I’m late, they’ll say that…”
“Forget what you’re told before we get too old”, He shifted positions, arranging so she would be under him on the mattress. Kissing her neck, he could feel the moment when she started to relax. “Show me a garden that’s bursting into life, show me a sky that’s singing the songs of time and a spirit that has long stopped denying it’s true nature”
She reacted, shoving him just to climb on his waist again. “You’re sounding like a crazy man”. With a smile, she traced his chest with one finger. “I like it”
“Then let me continue: let’s waste time chasing cars around our heads”
She laughed, then lay on his body, resting her head on his shoulder. “You always make me calmer when I’m not”
“I don’t know what you’re talking about. I’m a monster. I even need your grace to remind me to find my own, sometimes”.
“You’re amazing”, she answered, kissing him.
“Not enough, apparently”, he stated with a sigh.
“What do you mean?”
“Well, if I lay here the whole day, if I just lay here, would you lie with me? No. So I guess I’m not so amazing”. His tone was the most dramatic it could get. He was being playful and she knew it, which was why she smiled. “And, since I’ll be alone in a minute or two, I’ll lay here and just forget the world. I’m telling you to forget what you’re told before we get too old but, well, I understand you. So show me a garden that’s bursting into life later. I can wait”. He put his hands behind his head and closed his eyes.
She was up already, still smiling, but hesitated now. Considering, she looked at the clock. Too late, always too late. Without a word, she got out of the room, into the living room, with her cellphone on her hand. Then, minutes later, came back and lay beside him. He felt the weight in the bed, opened his eyes and stared at her. “You know, all that I am - all that I ever was – is here reflected in your perfect eyes. They’re all I can see”
She smiled, moved, and caressed his cheek. “I love you”.
It was his time to be moved. “Linda, I don’t know where, and I’m confused about how as well, but we’ll work it out. We’ll do this work. Just know that these things, us, will never change for us at all”
“I hope not”, she whispered before kissing him.
PS: Gary Lightbody is part of Snow Patrol. I chose to write his name instead of the band’s name because it would facilitate everything for me but, in case there’s any doubt, the song belongs to the group.
The pans warming up over the stove were making bubbling noises that would please any cook, let alone the dying-for smells. The refrigerator was full of wines and beers. Over the table located in the center of the room, spices and sauces waited to be used. But right now they were being ignored, as what was being used was the kitchen blender, where Dido was making red-fruits juice, for the part of the family that didn’t drink alcohol.
His part of the family. Soon they would be here, so she couldn’t be late. Looking over at the clock on the wall to calculate how much time she had left, she suddenly stopped, remembering.
Then, the hurt came.
Turning off the blender, she looked at the red liquid. What was she doing? Moving her head sideways, she let the blender there and leaned on the kitchen counter for a moment. God Lord, what was she doing?
“Honey, my mom called and said that they’re almost…”. He frowned at the way she was standing. “What happened?”
“I…” She looked by the window for a moment, helpless. The sun was high, the grass was green, the sky was blue. Birds sang somewhere, a dog was barking while chasing a butterfly. Children were laughing in the neighbor’s house. Despite all of that, she wanted to cry. So she closed her eyes, denying herself that privilege, and faced Tom, her husband. “I can’t do this. I’m sorry”.
He faced her in confusion and, after a moment’s thought, approached her, putting his hands in her shoulders. “What is it?”
How could she explain? She couldn’t begin to understand herself. “I don’t… I can’t. I can’t. Let me go”. She tried to break free of his contact, but he tightened the grip.
“I won’t. Tell me what’s wrong”.
“My God!”. She shoved him and walked to the door, determined to leave. But when she held the doorknob, she felt the pressure of his eyes on her, confused and somehow scared. She breathed deeply, avoiding to ask herself why she was letting herself being carried away.
“Ask me where I go tonight”
“What?”. When she turned to him, he nodded. “Alright. Where’ll you go tonight?”
“I won’t go, I’m already there. I go back to today last year”. She saw the change in his eyes. The understanding. The hurt. “Me and you had to make each other happier, remember? And there was hope with everything”.
He breathed hurtfully. “We’re not lost”.
“I suppose no”. She walked toward him, put her arms around his neck and her right hand, with the golden ring, on his cheek. “I’m not being ungrateful. It’s hard enough to feel the world as it is and hold on anything, without these quiet times you’ve brought round here”. She smiled for a moment, but soon her eyes filled with tears. “But I’m gonna have to run away. I’m sure that I belong some other place”.
His heart nearly stopped. Again she was threatening, but this time, he knew it was true because of her eyes. They were determined to leave.
She saw the exact moment when concern turned into wild fear and disbelief. She started to back down, but he held her for dear life.
“Please don’t do this”, he asked.
“Please don’t do this”, she repeated, struggling to free herself. “Tom!”, she cried. When he released her, however, she was unable to move. Her heart was so fast. She wanted to shout, to run, to stay. With eyes filled of tears, she made denial moves with her head and but both hands on her hair. “Look, I’ve seen another side of all I’ve seen, a thousand times already. And it doesn’t change anything. Sometimes I…” She hesitated, her hand on her belly, remembering earlier that day, when she had seen herself in the mirror after the shower. The scar just under her belly button. The pain was still so real. A tear finally fell, and she was frustrated because she couldn’t stop it. “Today, the… today”, she repeated. “The whole day, it just keeps me wondering where my family is”.
He moved toward her and, with the delicacy one might treat a porcelain doll, kissed her. It hurt both of them, because they needed so much. “We’ll get through this, you know we will. You just have to hold on to us”
With their foreheads together, she closed her eyes. “It’s hard enough to see the world as it is and hold on to anything. I’m so sorry for this, Tom. I can’t seem to find other reason to be here other than the fear of living without these quiet times coming round here, with your promotion and all.” She forced her eyes closed, because she knew she was causing him pain – she could feel it in her own heart. “Don’t think that I don’t love you, I do. I just can’t be here right now. Not today, not for the next few months… Dammit, I’m so sorry. I love you. And I miss you. I miss those times”.
“No, you’re doing it all wrong! It’s not supposed to be like this”. He pushed her forward, until she was caught between him and the kitchen counter. Then he cupped her face and, holding her very close, whispered: “You’re not the only one who’s hurt. So if you want to go, then fine, go. But I’ll go with you”
She half-smiled. “I married you for a reason, Tom. You always seem to know exactly what to say. See, I didn’t want you, and now… now I want you”. She cleaned another tear that fell. “But I can’t have you with me right now… you’ll start saying things like ‘even when you’re here, you’re not’, and I won’t be able to change just enough to please you, because I need to be alone to heal. I’m sorry that things got to this point, but I won’t be able to move on if I’m not alone”.
He stared at her, for a moment almost too long. Her heart was raced; she was waiting to see the pain in his eyes, thought she was prepared for it, but saw only determination, which confused her a bit. But, then again, what wasn’t confusing in this whole story?
“I’ve made my rules, Dido. You know you need me, and I sure damn need you. It’s not us, you know that. It’s this place – I don’t know why we bothered to continue to live here after… everything. So if you go, I go”.
She moved her head in denial. “You’re being foolish. Suppose I have to take you with me, broken mind the way I am. Puff!”. She lowered her lashes. “I’d rather leave you here”.
“Listen – you want to move on, then let’s move on. Let’s sell the house, leave the town, forget everything about our old life”.
“To forget everything you’ve seen and known? Would you be able to do that?”. She smiled at him in disbelief. “To erase every idea? I don’t think you could do it in the long run”.
Neither would she, he knew. But, for the sake of their marriage, he would let her believe she could, just until she was strong enough to understand that what had happened was part of her now. Would forever be. And that shouldn’t hurt, but be seen as growth.
For the time being, he would play cool. So he just nodded. “I could. I will”.
“Because it’s so easy, right?”, she shouted, surprising him. “You just let everything go, and
you walk up in the street, and hold my hand and smile, and everything’s changed and we are just another couple with a happy story! How ridiculous!” She paced the kitchen, angry and irritated. “Well, I won’t be taken in, ‘cause I know how it turns out, and…” she stopped, hesitated. Frowned. He saw understanding coming. She looked at him with puzzled eyes. “And it takes me back to these quiet times coming round here”.
He started to smile. “Now you get it”.
“But… no. It’s not like this!”. She seated on a nearby chair, her hand covering her mouth in puzzlement. “I don’t understand anything at this point. Now that…” She closed her eyes, trying to stand her previous ground. It was all foggy now. “Tom?”
He was crouched in front of her before another beat. “Are you alright?”
“I miss you – us. From before that day. Today last year”. She looked at him. “Even now, after everything, I still want you so much, and I’m afraid you’re not coming back, not the way it was. And I need you. I really do. But I guess I can’t have you even when your here, because everything is so different”.
He caressed her cheek.
“You’ve changed as well. We can’t stop it, not when we’re talking about life. It doesn’t have to be over just because it’s different”. He came close, almost kissing her, and whispered: “would you leave with me? We don’t have to pretend that we don’t have a past, nor would I want that. We just need to live. And to love”.
She half laughed, drunk already by the perspective of a kiss. He was caressing her just the way he did when he was being persuasive. And she had never been able to resist. “You’re doing it”, she said accusingly, although her eyes remained closed with the seduction.
“Yes, you are. Don’t stop”.
“I’m here now, Dido. Always have been”
“Fine”. She waited a heartbeat, then opened her eyes to see him hesitating. “Fine, I’ll go with you. And we’ll try it again”. She put her hand on her belly. “Right?”
He put his hand above hers and nodded. “Yes”.
She smiled and circulated his neck with her arms. “I love you”. The bell rang, and her eyebrows went up. “Now what?”
He raised with her still hanged up on his neck. “Now we warn them, so they won’t go crazy looking for us, then we go. We’ll just get the car and go, and continue going until we find the right place”.
“And your promotion?”
“Life’s short”, he said simply. It was all she needed to hear.
The house was a mess. Everything out of place, children screaming, moms and dads calling. Taylor was kind of forgotten on a swinging chair, but she didn’t mind. Sundays with the family were like that. Such an endless party with continuous disasters – she loved it. And cherished every second, as if she couldn’t predict which would be the one where she would leave this world.
Well, she couldn’t. But while a great part of the population acted like they could, she just enjoyed the unpredictability of life.
Maybe it was her age -85- that made her think like that. Bobby had always said she worried too much for everything that would – and wouldn’t – happen. And now… she smiled. Now she was just happy. As she should be.
Involuntarily, a memory came back to her: she and Bobby on that party… she closed her eyes already watered, smiling wildly. He had said: “let’s dance like we never will again”, and I had said “oh my, what a marvelous tune!”, and it was the best night! I never would forget how we moved… the whole place was dressed to the nines, and we were dancing, dancing like we’re made of starlight… like we’re…
She opened her eyes to see her grandson, Jake, his eyes wide as if chocked. She realized she had been crying without noticing it. Well, remembering Bobby always had that effect on her.
“Are you alright?”, Jake asked, his 7 year old body trembling.
She gave him a little laugh. “I’m just fine, my dear”.
“Why were you crying?”
“I was remembering of your grandpa, Bobby”.
“And he hurt you?”
“No. I just really miss him”.
Jake stared at her, confusion marking his face like in a draw. Lia, her granddaughter of 6, came rushing in. “Jake, let’s… what?”
“Grandma was crying because of grandpa Bobby”
Lia stood beside Jake, staring Taylor just as her cousin was doing. After a few seconds, Taylor laughed with the situation and shook her head. “Do you wanna know how we’ve met?”
Both of them just nodded. She patted her knees and each of them sat on one.
“Well, let’s see. Where to start? Oh, yes. I met Bobby on the boardwalk, summer of ‘45”
“All that time?”, Lia gasped.
“It seems like yesterday!”, she laughed. “He was a military and the war was just over. I stumbled into him on the street, and then that was it: he picked me up late one night, escaping out by the window. We were 17 and crazy, running wild, so wild!”
“Running were?”, Jake asked.
“Well, he invited me to a ball but, see, he wasn’t invited to start with. So we decided that we would snick in and… oh! Can’t remember what song it was playing when we walked in… it was so magical! The night we snuck into a yacht club party pretending to be a duchess and a prince”
“You got in without invitation?”, Lia whispered with her hands covering her mouth.
“Well, we would hardly ever be noticed. That is, until he asked me to dance with him. I was chocked, animated, and I said to him: oh my, what a marvelous tune! And it was the best night of my life! I knew that I never would forget how we moved. It was completely amazing! The whole place was dressed to the nines, and we were dancing, dancing everywhere, like we’re made of starlight! Have you ever seen a starlight? We were dancing like we’re made of starlight, I’m telling you kids. Oh, and he said…”
She stopped herself when she realized that she was almost screaming of happiness because of the memory. She breathed deeply, calming her heartbeats. Her sons and daughters were there now, paying attention to the happiest story in the family. Taylor acknowledged that with a hopeful smile, and wished he was there to say something that would break the tension.
“What did he said?”, asked her daughter Ellie with an expectant smile.
“He said: look at you, worrying too much about things you can’t change. You’ll spend your whole life singing the blues if you keep thinking that away”. She paused, smiling with the irony. She was a worrier alright. “He was trying to skip rocks on the ocean, saying to me: ‘Don’t you see the starlight?’, and I shook my head because it was so dark. I almost couldn’t see him. And he continued: ‘you have to have a dream. Then you’ll see the starlight. Don’t you have one? Don’t you dream impossible things?”
A tear rolled by her cheek. “Did you?”, her son Johnny asked.
She just smiled. “At the same time that he posed the question, a song was been played by the live band. And I said to him something like: ‘Oh my, what a marvelous tune!’ We danced under the starlight, and it was the best night of my life! I never would forget how we moved around the tables, among the guests… the whole place was dressed to the nines, and we were dancing, oh my! Dancing like we’re made of starlight”.
“What is like to be made of starlight, Grandma?”, Lia asked.
“It a metaphoricality, you silly!”, Jake said angrily.
“It’s metaphor, Jake. Now, don’t be rude to your cousin. She’s only curious. And dance like you’re made of starlight is the best thing, Lia! It’s like you’re in the middle of a dream, where nothing is really real, and still, there’s no realest thing”. When Lia only looked at her with puzzlement, she smiled. “Well, you’ll understand someday. But let’s move on; while we’re dancing, he said to me: ‘you’ll be my wife pretty soon’, and my heart nearly stopped. I thought: oh-oh, he’s talking crazy while dancing with me! What should I do?”
“What did you do?”, Jake asked.
“I said: ‘Bobby, you have no idea of what you’re talking about’. He smiled and said: ‘We could get married next month, don’t you think? Have ten kids and teach them how to dream… oh my, you’re right! What a marvelous tune indeed’. I started to laugh because I still couldn’t believe, but after that he proposed again and again and again – eventually, I said yes. But that night… it was the best night, kids. Really amazing. I never would forget how we moved. The whole place was dressed to the nines, really, and we were dancing, like we’re made of starlight. Like we could dream impossible dreams…”
She was quiet then, alive and thrilled with the memory. She stopped hearing what everyone was asking and just closed her eyes for a moment.
She opened her eyes, looked her son Johnny. Smiled.
“What is it, honey?”
“What was your impossible dream?”
She beamed at him.
“It has already happened”.
John Mayer couldn’t drink anything else, but neither could he stop. The pain was greater than the willingness to overcome the situation. How could he even try? In his heart, he knew he would never be able to let her go. He wanted her so much – but there was the fear. How could he trust? It was more risk than he was willing to take. Unnecessary risk.
“What happened? I came as soon as I got your call”, Taylor said as she seated beside him on the bar. She frowned, her act of putting the purse aside stopped mid-air. John had been drinking – way more than he could take. His eyes were red; he barely stood still. Even though she had seen him drunk already, her heart burst out with a wide beat that hurt her for a moment. In a single second, she saw him and knew it was over. It would be – it already was.
She thought about crying, but soon she dismissed the idea. It would not change anything. So she just sat there, quiet. Waiting.
“Can I tell you a story?”, John began. Then he laughed in a drunk way. “Of course I can”. He gulped his drink, scaring even the barman, that whistled and went to another client.
“Maybe you should…”
“I was born in the arms of imaginary friends. You know?”, he interrupted her. “So far away my mother was. All the time. Made me question the meaning of love, the one that she declared to me through notes on the refrigerator”. He hesitated before shaking his head from one side to the other. “I was free to roam since I was conscious enough to walk, so I always went everywhere I could, looking for her. And when I didn’t find her, I made a home. I made a home out of everywhere I’ve been. I knew that, if I did find her, it wouldn’t be home anymore ‘cause she would leave me again. So my home was where she wasn’t”.
Normally, this would seem like cheap sentimental crap to Taylor. But the light was low, there was an almost unheard calm and sad melody playing on the back of the bar, someone crying somewhere and a few people cheering. And John, almost lying down on the counter. Her eyes got full of water involuntarily.
“Don’t be”. He looked her for the first time and half-smiled. “Because then, when I’ve lost all hope, you come crashing in like the realest thing, making me feel like I finally found my definitive home, and I find myself trying my best to understand all that your love can bring”. His smile lessened a little and he stared the drink. “And I realize that half of my heart’s got a grip on the situation, while the other half of my heart takes its time to accept it. And that’s the half of my heart that has got the right mind to tell you that I can’t keep loving you”.
There it was. What she knew, as soon as she saw him, that would happen. Still, her heart sank hopelessly. She felt surreal for some seconds, lost in confusion.
“But I am good for you”, she said with no thought, then felt her ripped pride complaining. Taylor wanted to leave him there, at that moment, and restore her dignity, but wouldn’t because a part of her – the only one she was able to listen – told her that there was a solution to this. So she closed her eyes and tried once more. “You love me”.
He laughed a bitter laugh, full of pain and regret.
“I was made to believe I’d never love somebody else beside me, Taylor. I made a plan, stayed the man who can only love himself”. He drank to the end of the glass and eyed her. “How about that?”
“You were lonely”. She was seated straight up, as if ready to leave.
He studied her for a moment.
“Yes. Lonely was the song I sang ‘til the day you came. Showing me, with your so all-consuming way, another way, and all that my love can bring”. He grimaced. “And all the time I am thinking: Oh, half of my heart’s got a grip on the situation, but that’s only half!” He spread his hands on the counter and she jolted. “Do you get it? It can’t be my whole fucking heart, because the other half of my heart takes time to adjust, but then it doesn’t! And I look us and understand that half of my heart’s got the right mind to tell you that I can’t keep loving you, because it’s not whole!”.
Although she was startled by his explosive reaction, she noted that his eyes were full of unshed tears, full of unshared pain and fear. Her eyes watered in reflex, her heart hurting for his.
“We can work it out. You don’t have to be alone”.
He shook his head so quickly, she almost didn’t see it.
“Your faith is strong but I can only fall so far so long. Is time for me to hold on to an end, because later on you will hate that I never gave more to you than half of my heart”. A tear finally fell from his eyes and he shut them, denying the half that wanted to stay with her. Only for some time. Then he let the breath out with a huff and looked her with an angry frown. “But you wanna know the kick? I can’t stop loving you”
She touched his right arm. “And I can’t stop loving you either”.
“But I can’t stop loving you with only half of my heart. What will we do about it?”
She relaxed again, without realizing the decision was made. They were quiet for some time.
“I can’t accept only half of your heart”. Her hand was slightly shaky, still on his arm.
“It won’t change. Half of my heart’s got a real good imagination, but won’t do nothing about it. Other half of my heart’s got you. And there’s still the half of my heart that’s got a right mind to tell you that half of my heart won’t do” He got up and took her hand. “Half of my heart is a shotgun wedding to a bride with a paper ring, but the one I really listen, the one that I am, is the half of my heart that’s the part of a man who’s never truly loved anything”. He watched her lowering her lids and lowered his. “I’m sorry”.
“I hope you are”, she whispered. Then, looked him again. From top to bottom. “Because the one that you say that you are isn’t the one that I fell in love with. You’re listening to the wrong half. But I won’t stay here no more, if you think that’s the one that matters”. She kissed him lightly. “I love you”, she said with a smile. Then she let go of his hands and went away from the man that could not face the half of his heart that truly mattered.
With the sun already high and and greener grass ever seen, the postman walked through the front yard to reach the front door. He breathed deeply before head; miss Carpenter was always the toughest one of all. He almost regretted having to pass that way but, well – business was business, after all. But, on a second thought, he could drop the mail nearby and…
He jolted with a heartbeat of 180 p/ second when the front door opened suddenly with a loud noise. Karen Carpenter was there, still in her blue nightgown, her hair untied, her eyes big and full of expectancy, her chest going up and down very fast. It was almost painful to see.
“Do you have it?”
“No. I’m sorry”. He gave her the letters from that day and was already escaping when her brother, Richard, screamed: “Stop!”
“Oh yes”, Karen said, moving forward with both hands in a pleading way. “Wait a minute Mr. Postman”
“Yes, don’t leave so fast!”, Richard said. “She’s been waiting for you all morning”.
“Will you wait, Mr. Postman?”
Well, could he say no in such situation? With a exasperated breath, he crossed his arms.
“Ok. I’m here”.
“Thank you. Can you check if there’s nothing for me?”
“I already did. He didn’t send any…”
“Please Mr. Postman, look again and see if there’s a letter in your bag for me. Please, please, please Mr. Postman”.
He rechecked his things and, when there was nothing for her, he shook his head.
“Oh no! Why is it taking such a long time for me to hear from that boy of mine? I think you didn’t look right, Mr. Postman. I mean, there must be some word today from my boyfriend so far away. Please, Mr. Postman, are you lying to me?”
“Why would I lie?”
“Then look once more and maybe you’ll see if there’s a letter for me”
“I can check and recheck as many times as you want, Miss Carpenter. It won’t change the fact that nothing came”.
“Oh, please be nice to me, Mr. Postman. I’ve been standing here waiting, Mr. Postman, so patiently for just a card, or just a letter saying he’s returning home to me!”
“I’m sorry for you, but there’s nothing I…”
“Mr. Postman, what do you need to look again? Money?”, her brother opened his wallet.
“No! For Christ’s sake! I’m telling you, there’s nothing new!”
“But then why do you refuse, Mr. Postman, to look and see if there’s a letter in your bag for me?”, Karen asked with tears in her eyes.
“Fine, fine, I’ll look!”. He took everything that was on his bag and threw on the ground. “See? Nothing for you!”
“That’s so not fair!”, she cried. “Why is it taking such a long time for me to hear from that boy of mine?”
“Maybe he left you”.
She covered her mouth with her hands, outraged, and ran to hug her brother, who frowned to the postman and said in an angry voice: “Did you have to do this?”
Guilt was there to pat his shoulder. Mr. Postman sighed.
“Look, I have to go. I have other letters to deliver and…”
“You hate me!”, Karen said. “So many days you passed me by, and every time you see the tears standing in my eyes – not once you stopped! You didn’t stop to make me feel better not once, by leaving me a card or a letter. You’re cruel Mr. Postman. Just cruel”.
While she was crying like a child, the postman frowned, confused as to what to do.
After a while, she stopped and looked at him. “Mr. Postman, look: I forgive you, ok?”, she said after whipping her tears out. “It’s ok if you don’t have the letter, but if you do and don’t want me to see it due to what’s written on it, then you’re just postponing my suffering. See? So, if there’s a letter in your bag for me, please, Mr. Postman, give it to me”.
He threw his arms up. “I don’t! What do I have to do for you to understand?”
“What I don’t understand is why’s it taking such a long time! It doesn’t make sense! So why don’t you check it and see one more time for me, you gotta… wait a minute!”, she screamed when he shook his head and started to leave.
“I have to go, I told you”.
“Please, wait a minute! Just wait a minute, Mr. Postman! I beg of you! C’mon!”
He ignored her by just walking out of there. When he was gone and Karen and Richard were alone, she looked at him.
“He’ll deliver the letter when it gets here, right?”
“Of course, angel. Sooner or later”.
“Ok. The sooner the better”. She looked where she last saw him. “Don’t forget me, Mr. Postman. Neither me or my letter”.
Emeli breathed calmly with her eyes closed. Her heart was beating like a thousand miles car. Neither the fancy house nor the expensive china vases intimidated her; her mother was another matter entirely. Class and posture above everything else, even love. And now, she would have to tell to the golden one that she was about to get married with the, let’s say, silver one. Oh dear.
“Don’t bite your lips so hard”, she heard her sister, Maya, saying. Maya was the king of girl that could not, unlike her sister, be intimidated. She was the black sheep of the family, always wearing sparkling dresses and almost-thong-shorts. With blond hair and blue eyes, so unlike her sister – who had to dry her hair to be almost white, with dark eyes. Altogether, they were both beautiful, born from two people known as the most beautiful ones in the city. But Maya was always the center of attraction, her extravagance being always noticed. Emeli… well, she was good. However, in order to remain engaged, she would have to be a little… wild, she considered. Yes. Wild. Driven by the changing spirit, she threw her shoulders backwards and strengthened her body.
“You’re right”, she finally admitted. “Will you stay here with me?”
“Oh, sis, you’re adorable”. Maya seated by her side with a glass of martini on her hand. “I would never miss the show”. When their mother came in, Maya whispered: “Don’t give up”.
Beatrice avoided Maya’s gaze as if it were an insignificant fly on the wall. She seated right before Emeli, her face as indecipherable as a cartoon.
“I hope that what you have to say is important”.
“That’s our mom!”, Maya laughed, sipping the martini.
Beatrice just stared.
“Well”, Emeli started. “You see, I… met someone”.
“Not someone I know of, otherwise you would’ve told me already his name”.
“He’s not… he doesn’t…” God! What was the best way to define him?
“He’s not billionaire”, Maya resumed. “Just rich”.
Beatrice was quiet for a moment. “I see”.
“But he’s a reasonable person, mother”. Emeli said, holding her hands together. “You won’t find him drinking on the tables, rolling dice and staying out ‘til three. You won’t ever find him being unfaithful, I guarantee”.
“Where would I find him?”
“You will find him…” she stopped herself, taking a deep breath. “You’ll find him, mother, next to me. That ought to be enough”.
“It never is”, Maya whispered.
“What does he do for a living?”
“He’s an architect. You must have seen one of his buildings. On Fifth Avenue?”
“The commercial ones?”, her mother asked, her face as pale as an unused paper.
Maya burst out laughing, throwing her head backwards as she tried not to drop the martini that was left on the glass.
“He makes homes, mother”, Emeli answered, angry by the fact that she was ashamed. “And you should consider him with care, because you won’t find him trying to chase the devil for money, fame, for power out of grid. You won’t ever find him where the rest go, and that’s why he’s such a successful professional. He’s innovative, a star in ascension. And he’s with me – that’s what you should think about. The fact that you will find him next to me. Always”.
“This does not mean anything”.
That was enough. The week before, the moth – even the year, she would’ve stayed calm. But love made her stronger, and she would no longer accept her mother’s nonacceptance. Emeli felt the look of caution from her sister, but she was not to be stopped at this point. Getting up, she waited for her mother to look up.
“But it does. And you know what? When the money’s spent and all my friends have vanished, and I can’t seem to find no help or love for free, I will know there’s no need for me to panic ‘cause I’ll find him next to me. I won’t be alone and forgotten despite my good taste in porcelain or etiquette like you, mom. When the skies are gray and all the doors are closing, and the rising pressure makes it hard to breathe, well, all I’ll need is a hand to stop the tears from falling, and it will be his. And if the world ends – when it does… when the end has come and buildings are falling down fast; when we spoiled the land and dried up all the sea; when everyone has lost their heads around us, I’ll still be happy and whole and in the right place, ‘cause he’ll be next to me. So I’ll go, and if you ever want to meet him, you know you will find him next to me”. She looked at Maya. “I love you”.
“I love you more”.
When she was gone and Beatrice found herself alone with Maya, she trembled.
“You’ll tell me you are going to marry a gangster, aren’t you?”
“Oh, don’t you worry, mom. He’s not a gangster. He’s a drugs dealer”.