Tuesday, April 19, 2011
Wanderlust part 36 "beautiful broken things"
Morning, all. Got nothing to say. Not enough coffee yet~ LOL (O_O) I think there's a trip to the craft store in my future today. Once I finish one quilt, I need to start another. Even if it takes me a billion years.
Away we go...
by Sommer Marsden
“Dear sweet baby Jesus, why did you let me order pancakes?” I groaned.
Johnny shrugged. “You ordered pancakes because you wanted them. What’s the problem?” Said the man who was currently polishing off his own full stack of pancakes, two over easy eggs, hash browns, bacon and sausage and some fruit.
Dear god. He was a one man lumberjack team. Or at least he ate like one.
“True.” He handed me orange juice. “Enzymes,” he said waggling his eyebrows comically.
I couldn’t help but laugh. For such a scary sternish guy, he could be really funny. “What about them?”
“They’ll help you digest your food.”
I pulled out my wallet and put a twenty down on top of the tab the waitress had left. The counter girl had been eyeing Johnny up the way I had started to notice the more submissive girls did. A girl at the bar, one at the super store, one who practically drooled over him at our last diner pit-stop. He gave off the big, booming vibe of a man in charge. There was nothing us stressed out, knotted up, busted women liked more than a take charge guy. He’d created quite a stir in Allen’s Diner.
Jesus. When this was done I needed to hire someone to dissect me so I could stop dissecting myself. It was emotionally exhausting to discover just how twisted you were. Or it was for me, at least.
I drank the OJ down and waved to the waitress. She looked suspiciously like our last waitress in the last diner. Were they all related, I wondered wildly. Some secret cult of greasy spoon servers who had a network across country, tracking and reporting on weary travelers? The conspiracy theory of diner waitresses made me smile.
“Everything good, hon?”
“Very good, thank you. Keep that change.” Where else could you get ridiculously big breakfast for nothing at all and still leave a decent tip?
“Thank you muchly,” she said.
I made a noise, patted my stomach. “If only I hadn’t eaten it all. I could walk for miles.”
She nodded her head, looking at me over the top of her glasses. “There’s some shops a ways up. You could walk off your breakfast and have a look. They have one that me and mine would call a second hand store, but they call it antiques.” She rolled her eyes. “Because they’re special that way.”
Johnny nodded. “We can head up there. Stretch our legs before we go.”
“Where you headed?” she asked. She didn’t wear a name tag but I imagined her to be a Doris or a Mabel. Maybe a Gladys. Something old fashioned.
“Wherever we end up,” Johnny said.
She tossed one of her school girl looks at him. One that had probably been a hit twenty years before. She had the look of a woman who had once been a beauty. The ghost of allure past. I stood and grabbed my purse.
“Thanks for the info. And the food.”
“My pleasure, doll,” she said and was gone on the almost silent whisper of her old lady waitress shoes.
“Shall we?” he asked and gave me a mock bow to fuck with me. Watching the giant like him bow was like watching a tree bend over to pick up a leaf.
The store was called Fade which I thought was pretty clever for an antique store. It was a small store, tall and narrow. It reminded me of two cracker tins, one stacked upon the other. Inside the walls were literally covered with kitsch. Old mirrors, tin signs, wind chimes and paintings of people long forgotten. Tables lay strewn with pottery, crystal, marble ashtrays and eggs made to look like very old, very expensive ones. Rows of sterling silver silverware and hand painted honest to god China winked dully in the sconce lighting. I fingered a velvet jacket on a padded hanger and a mink stole complete with head.
“Jesus, when’s the last time you actually saw someone wear one of those?” he asked, pressing his bulk to my back. Crowding me in with his body so I stumbled once and he had to right me. I liked it, too and I could tell he was in on my secret.
I saw a gold watch with ornate black numbers on the shelf right next to an old chipped teacup on a chipped saucer. Next to it was a mosaic that had clearly been dropped and glued back together and a vase that was fractured but well above the waterline. A row of beautiful broken things. I picked up the watch.
“Broken,” said a tiny little old man who was as bald as a golf ball and his head was just as bumpy. His face too. Once upon a time this man had been plagued by acne. “All that stuff is busted up, but hey—“ he gave an exaggerated shrug, “ you never can tell what folks will buy these days.”
Johnny chuckled under his breath because I jumped. That little man had come out of nowhere, a wraith of a shopkeeper. I shivered from the rush of adrenaline. “Oh” was the brilliant thing I said.
The watch called to me. An object I shouldn’t have been drawn to but was. Something pretty that had the potential to work but didn’t quite…like me. It also made me think of time. Time my mother had been robbed of, time life stole. Time I had personally wasted seeking approval from my father that I really didn’t want. And then resenting him the few times he did approve of me and resenting him more for all the times he didn’t.
He shrugged. It’s real and it’s nice and it could be fixed. So…”
“I’ll give you thirty dollars,” I said.
“I was going to say twenty,” he admitted.
That made me like him so I said, “Thirty it is.”
He headed to the front of the store and Johnny leaned in, big and predatory. He was trying to intimidate me, I could tell. I let him.
“You were quiet all through breakfast and now you seem distant. Are you ever going to tell me what ‘s wrong? Maybe you should have left home at home? Is that it?”
We were on the road together. We had fucked together and he had shared me. I wore bite marks along the collar of my shirt and when I looked at him my insides contracted with heat and arousal and confusion and want. He deserved some kind of answer.
“I found out my father isn’t looking for me. At all. He doesn’t care,” I admitted. My throat felt tight just saying it.
I was angry and hurt and beyond confused when Johnny tipped his head back and laughed. A deep belly laugh that came from somewhere around his toes.
I’d never wanted to punch anyone more in my life.
“That’s what’s wrong? The father you’re running from isn’t looking for you?”
I pressed my lips together. Why had I expected him to understand? Yes, I was running from him, but him looking…searching…giving a shit would have shown me that maybe somewhere in him he loved me. Not because I was his daughter—his possession—but because he just fucking loved me.
“Never mind,” I said softly, turning toward the front of the store.
“Come on, Snowflake. You took off to get away from him. Are you really pissed that I find it amusing that you’re now upset that he hasn’t sent out a search mob for you?”
I shook my head. “It’s fine. Never mind.”
“I have to go pay the man,” I said. I turned away from him before he could see that embarrassing and infuriating swell of tears in my eyes. I counted off my steps to the register. One-youwillnotcry-two-youwillnotcry-three-youwillnotcry…
I paid the man thirty dollars and on a whim bought an old silk necktie—black with white pinstripes—for Johnny. Why I was buying him a gift, I didn’t know. Maybe it wasn’t a gift. Maybe somewhere in me I intended to strangle him with it.