Friday, April 29, 2011
Wanderlust part 46 "the sweet angel tones of things that brought oblivion"
TGIF, all. I'm supposed to go out today but am not sure if I am going to. Still not feeling up to speed. Still off and a bit weak. I guess I'll see how my coffee settles. Bummer, I was looking forward to today--I guess we shall see. But for now, on with the trip :)...
by Sommer Marsden
It was just fucking. That’s all it was. Some fun. Some freedom. Loads of sex. I reminded myself of this as I studied the teardrop stain of fluorescent light on the ceiling. There was a crack in the cheap shades that covered our motel room windows and just enough light seeped in from the parking lot to make me antsy.
Have you ever been in love, Aurelia? For real?
I couldn’t shake his words or my reaction inside. Or my denial of my reaction with words. I turned onto my side, watching the rise and fall of Johnny’s chest as he slept. He’d tossed and turned like some haunted man but finally had flung one arm over my hip and had settled.
I listened to him breathe and realized that I could not follow suit. I was having a panic attack. It had been a long, long time since my silent and sinister friend had sidled up to me to spend some time, but here it was. My lips tingled and my ears rang, my chest was full of cotton stuffing and sawdust. And Johnny slept on.
Despite the inside clamor for freedom and air and movement, I took the time to gently tug his arm free me and reposition it. He’d been driving forever, it seemed. And after his question to me and my answer that I had never been in love, he’d seemed to recede into himself. His jaw tight, his fingers clenched on the steering wheel. No doubt remembering his lost loves: wife and son and how this, what we had, was nothing but a soft pale comparison to that.
Sitting on the edge of the bed, I put my head down and tried to regulate my oxygen. I blew out the stale air in my lungs hard, sucked in a drowning woman gulp of air and held it for the count of four. Then I repeated the whole fucking thing until my heart stabilized. Until it stopped doing the floppy fish jitterbug in my chest.
“Fuck,” I breathed.
Johnny murmured and turned. I stood, my legs weak and watery. My stomach echoing the same.
My jeans were on the round table by the window. This horrible hotel room had one king sized bed, one table, two chairs, a dresser and a pull out sofa in the corner. The predominant color seemed to be baby shit yellow.
I snorted at my train of thought and then silenced myself. No time for hysterical laughter, I thought. Get dressed and get out. Move. It would help settle the itchy crawling restlessness that zipped and skittered below the surface of my skin.
Through the taunting crack in the shade I saw the sky purpling. When we’d left the rest stop it had been very late. Very late had bled into very early. And I couldn’t settle.
No sense in unsettling Johnny too.
I grabbed my jacket and my bag and silenced the door with a firm hand when the wind tried to whip it wide. In the parking lot, I shivered against the wind to distract myself from the fact that I was shaking with adrenaline.
My body was betraying me once again with false terror. Triggering a fight or flight response though there was no villain, no danger.
“To pill or not to pill,” I said to myself but pushed my hands in my pockets and started to walk. I had no idea where I was, no idea if it was safe. I did know that I was so full of chaotic energy and false fear that I would be a worthy adversary at the moment.
But there appeared to be no danger. Just a pre-dawn ink stain on the sky and early traffic. I walked.
I walked the side of the road, passing a few houses that looked as if they dated back before the busy road I stood on. They were old, dilapidated and sad in a proud sort of way. The neon beckon of a convenience store lit up my side of the road ahead and I walked against the wind wondering what the fuck I was doing.
I knew as soon as I saw the pay phone bank set outside the double doors. A few people wandered in and out looking stunned to be up so early. I knew how that felt. The pills in my purse called out to me in the sweet angel tones of things that brought oblivion.
I shook my head, passed the first two pay phones—now becoming extinct creatures in the age of cell phones—and finally found the one that worked. The last one.
I picked it up and wiped the receiver with my jacket. Then I wiped it again, pushing away the thought of what kind of germs might be on the dark, hard plastic. Then I set about dialing.
It was answered on the third ring and the words burst out of me.
“I’m sorry,” I blurted.
I could hear the muddy headed confusion in Jackson’s voice.
“Don’t talk,” I said, softly. The wind tried to scoop up my voice and toss it away but I huddled to shelter the receiver. “I want to say I’m sorry. I’m sorry for all the times I ran from you and to someone else. I’m sorry that I can’t love you right. I’m sorry that I have hurt you and god, Jackson, I hope that bitch Gina is fucking you blue.” I laughed wildly and the scurried forward in my never-ending march of stupid words. “Because you deserve it, Jackson. You deserve for someone to dote on you and do you and love you and be whatever it is you want. Someone who isn’t stupid and selfish and scared and angry. Someone who isn’t me.”
I swallowed hard. I did not want to cry. I wanted to get this out.
“Really, baby, are you okay?”
“I’m fine,” I said. “Are you?”
“I—“ He hesitated and I picked at a thread on my coat, waiting. “I am okay. I have…about Gina.”
I laughed again, hearing the crazy edge to it. “It’s fine. Do it. Do her. Have fun, go crazy. Fall in love,” I hissed.
“Stop being nice to me, Jackson!” I yelled.
“I can’t,” he said.
Then I did cry. “You have to.”
“No, I don’t. And if you want to come home…”
“I don’t think that’s going to happen,” I said. “But I had to tell you. I had to say I was sorry. Because I am.”
I hung up before he could be nice to me more. Then I walked into the convenience store, grabbed a soda, fished an anxiety pill out of my makeup case with trembling fingers and swallowed a pill right there at the register. I tried to remember the last time I had stooped to taking one—for that was how I saw it, as a weakness—and I couldn’t recall.
I was half out the door when the guy bumped me and my whole purse went tumbling down. Crap flew everywhere and my soda rolled away, turning to brownish white foam in the bottle.
“Christ, sorry, lady. Look at me making a mess. I guess I’m not awake yet.” His brown eyes were tired and wired and I sympathized.
We stooped there in the doorway, the two of us, gathering a whole slew of papers and hair clips and lipsticks and shoving them back into my bag.
“I’m really sorry.”
“It’s fine,” I said. “It is.”
And it was, because the pill was kicking in. I had remembered the doctor saying that. There’s no shame in it, Aurelia. And this should make you feel better, this particular drug fast acting. Quick to work, quick to leave your system. And you only take it if you need it…not every day.
That was my thing. No chemical crutches for me. My comfort came in different forms.
I walked back to the hotel as the sun started to spread peach and pink blemishes across the mask of the sky. I crawled into bed feeling slower inside. My pulse had calmed, my mind too. I was more balanced—blissfully easy and relaxed.
Johnny rolled to me. “Did you just come in?”
“Yeah. I had…some anxiety. I needed to walk around.”
He gathered me close to him. “You okay, now?”
Then he pushed my thighs wide and his fingers found me. His lips met mine in the dark and that fast, that easy, I was wet. He slid his fingers further, pressed his palm against my clit as his fingers pushed deeper. I clutched at him, kissing him back. Moving against him.