Monday, May 2, 2011
Wanderlust part 48 "Don't tell me a lie"
Jacques Callot, The Seven Deadly Sins (ca. 1620) - Anger
Monday. *sigh*. Okay, six hours sleep [this is what happens when you stay up till eleven to catch the encore presentation of The Killing since Breakout Kings is on at ten and roll into bed at midnight]. And tonight, a dinner guest so I have slow simmered Chicken Caccitore to make and bread pudding. Ole!
Here we go. We are up to...oh, 266 pages or so of this little ditty I like to call...
by Sommer Marsden
We slept the day away and traveled through late afternoon and into night. Iowa was a blur to me. My mind still dealing with everything. I had come to a weird Zen place of detachment over some points of my life. Of my character.
“Hello?” Johnny said.
“Is there anybody in there,” I sang. It was the first thing that sprang into my mind
“Just nod if you can hear me,” he sang back.
Something in my chest twisted, but I ignored it. “Is there anyone home?” I sighed, doing my best impression of Pink Floyd’s Comfortably Numb.
“Well, is there?” he asked, breaking the spell.
“Yeah. I’m just ashamed.”
“Of being human?”
“Of needing a pill to get me through something.”
He frowned, flicking on the wipers as the sky spit cold water onto our windshield. The mist was enough to be annoying, not enough to need the wipers on full blast.
My stomach rumbled. We’d had a fly-by-night ‘meal’ of snacks from the car.
“If you’d had a few drinks would you be having a fit?”
“If you were a rough and tumble guy you would have gone on a bender and hit someone. Or another person would have fucked someone. Or run six miles. Or went shopping and spent hundreds of dollars. You simply popped one little pill. One prescribed pill,” he reminded me.
“When you say it, it sounds so logical.”
“It is logical.”
“It scares me.”
“Why?” His eyes darted to me for a second before returning to the road.
“My mother used to take pills,” I said. “To cope. With my dad.”
“Ah…But you’re not your mother.”
Anger slammed me like a fist. So sudden and unexpected it stole my breath. “Stop,” I said.
It was the first time I think I’d said that to him.
“You’re not your mother, Really. But you let your father have his control over you in other ways. And you’re angry.”
“Leave it alone, Johnny,” I said.
“You have anxiety for a million reasons. Guess what? Join the ranks. Join the army of humans trying to get through every day.” He reached past me to the glove box and opened it. Withdrawing the pack of smokes, he sat back. I watched the thick muscles in his forearm dance and move. I said nothing. “You’re human and you needed to cope. It’s life. We all have to find a way.”
“Shut up,” I said. The words slipped free of me like wisps of air. They hovered there in the silence of the car behind the thump of the wipers. They tinted the air like smoke,
“Shut up!” I roared, turning on him. My entire body knew I was going to turn before I did. But there I was, torque in my seat, my seatbelt gnawing at my throat. I stopped yelling. I simply forced my words out one at a time. It was like spitting out shards of glass. “You’re so fucking clever, are you? You’re so fucking smart?”
He stared at me. I could not see the blue of his eyes but I could see the intensity of his gaze. He had slowed but we were still moving, but it was almost as if he were driving but looking solely at me.
It didn’t even scare me. I simply didn’t care.
“I never said—“
I didn’t let him finish.
“I don’t care.” I ran my hand through my hair, it was shaking so much it got tangled in my bangs. “I don’t fucking care. You want to play Doctor Freud—“
“I’m more of a Jungian,” he said, with a wry smile.
I felt my temples throbbing. “I don’t care if you’re a Martian! You think you’re so superior? So smart and so wonderful at analyzing. Why the fuck don’t you turn that brilliant mind on yourself, Johnny? Why don’t you pick apart and dissect and carve up why you had to force a three way with me and some woman I loathed. Why did you pick her? And why did you make me?”
“I didn’t force you,” he said, his voice low and steady.
“Well, you sure as fuck gave me an impossible choice. You didn’t tie me up and force me at gunpoint, but you did force me…emotionally,” I whispered. “Why did you have to force a wedge between us that even if I can move past I will never ever forget?”
“Don’t tell me a lie,” I snapped. Then I rushed forward before I lost my nerve. “You did it on purpose. So you couldn’t get close to me. So you wouldn’t f-fall—“ I shook my head, angry at myself now. “So you would make me angry,” I quickly backpedaled.
Then I forged on. “So I wouldn’t be able to forgive you. You wanted me to leave. To be hurt and hate you and leave. Because if I left, then you were free to pawn it off on me. It would be my fault. I couldn’t handle you. King Johnny and his wayward soul. Big bad Johnny who’d been shit on by the world and was helpless to love or be whole or be undamaged again.“
He stared and I breathed hard.
“You did that so you could blame me when I walked out. It wouldn’t be that you were scared or you pushed me away or you were f—“ I stuttered here, feeling like I might throw up. “Feeling something for me,” I soldiered on. “And it scared you. It would be my fault. Mine.”
He turned his face to the road now, splotches of light from oncoming cars lit his face. He wasn’t going to answer me. I had hit a nerve. Hit it? I had severed it. Fine. That was fucking fine.
“You thought I would leave. Anyone would have. Anyone not st—stupid,” I shuddered out the words now. It was like sicking up my feelings for him to hear.
“Anyone not stupid and weak and pitiful would have. But I didn’t. And I don’t know why.”
I grabbed my purse, rummaging. “Please pull off the highway. I need a soda. I feel sick,” I whispered.
The anger had gone out of me now. The rage had withered and died. I was left with gray ashes of angst clogging my gut and my throat, I could taste it on my tongue.
He veered toward the exit ramp, flipping his blinker on. I watched him out of my peripheral vision. I was afraid to look at him—half afraid he would leave me at this pit stop and just go.
Whatever. If he did, he did. I would not die. I would not cease to be. I would go the fuck on. I was learning that.
In the parking lot, I popped the car door without saying a word. I was now expecting that it would be a long silent ride. Before I could get out he put his hand on my leg and I stilled. I risked looking at him, despite the fear of what he might say. His hand came up behind my neck and he tugged me in—almost gently—and kissed me.
When he pulled back, I bolted. Afraid of saying anything to turn the tide of emotion in our little bubble of existence.
Inside the store, I blinked against offensive fluorescent lights. I grabbed two sodas and a candy bar. I felt like someone had pulled a plug in my heel and all my lifeblood had come rushing out of my body. I was a husk, an empty shell, and the shell needed sugar.
“Three seventy-eight,” the pimply teenager said to me at the register.
I dug in my bottomless purse for my wallet. I dug and I dug and I dug and then I wheezed. “Um, I’ll be right back.” And I ran to the car.
I nearly fell in, all of me shaking in horror.
“What is it? Where’s your soda?” He could tell I was upset because instantly he touched me. Those soothing touches you see horse handlers use on their charges.
That made me laugh. I was a fucking horse. The laugh unrolled like a long red ribbon from me and I put my head down, cackling. “Fuck, fuck. Oh my fuckety fuck. What the hell. You stupid stupid cunt…” I was babbling.
I put my head up, tugging my hair hard enough to make me wince. It helped me focus. “My wallet,” I breathed. “My wallet is gone. All my money, all the money. That we need. Gone.”