Thursday, May 12, 2011
Wanderlust part 57 "I'm a coward"
Ugh. Jeep pooped out again. So I have upset man, surly boy child and chipper girl here in the house. And blogger wouldn't load. So...sorry am late! I forgot what else I was gonna say, so we'll just move forward. Shall we?
by Sommer Marsden
“Really, Really, Really…”
It was a sing-song voice. The kind that always set my nerves on edge. But I recognized the voice and before I even opened my eyes, my heart leapt. But then it fell.
I looked up so see a bleary-eyed, clearly shit faced, giant bald man waving what looked to be a turkey breast at me.
“What. The. Fuck?” I rolled away from him and sat up. The clock on the nightstand—that was bolted down, thank you very much—read 12:47.
“I brought turkey,” he said.
I could hear the slippery slide to his voice and the exhausted look in his eyes. I was torn. I wanted to fix it for him and I wanted him to suffer.
“It’s not even Thanksgiving anymore,” I reminded him. My voice its own little roller coaster, rising up high before cracking and plunging back down.
“I’m sorry,” he said and dropped the turkey to the ugly stained carpet.
Rage. It was all I had. Bright silver and sharper than any steel. I actually took a swing at him. Something I had never ever done before in my life. I took that swing and it was stupid and sloppy and damn if he didn’t just stay there—leaning over me—and let it glance off of him. For that’s all it really was. The equivalent of a child kicking Mount Rushmore in a fit of anger.
But he took it.
I had never ever even thought to hit my father—I’d expected nothing of him. When he let me down it was expected. I had never had those thoughts toward my mom, even as a teenager. And when she let me down—when she left me—it hadn’t been by choice.
But Johnny had let me down and he was…the first person I had trusted in forever and a day. Since I had taken Bren’s harsh and dominant and totally cherished friendship. Even Jackson had let me down by marrying me when he knew I didn’t want it. But he did. And he chose my father and himself over me. The woman he claimed to love.
“I’m sorry,” Johnny said again and dropped to his knees. It was like watching a building get razed.
“I’m a coward,” he said and put his head in my lap.
I was so mad at him. I did not want to make him feel better. I did not want to give him solace. I wanted to give him bruises, not comfort.
“Really, I ran. I ran. I woke up and saw you and when I saw you and remembered how fucking close I came…I, God, you are so beautiful and you are counting on me and I can’t handle…I failed before. I’ll fail again.”
Some great crack was opening under my skin, all my organs were falling into it. I felt both too full and too empty all at once. “Christ, Johnny—“
“I will fail you. I am no good.”
“You are good,” I said. I hated him right now but I wouldn’t listen to this bullshit.
“Very good. You fucked up. And everyone can forgive you but you.”
“How can they forgive me?” he roared. “They’re dead!”
“And do you think they are wasting—“ I moved my hands around because I had no real words here, “whatever the fuck is on that side worrying about how they got there. It was an accident. Stupid, horrible, awful, and scarring. But an accident. You can’t punish yourself forever.”
“I can try,” he said. His eyes were clearing. The booze was wearing off some. It was scary to see someone I thought of as immovable and invincible not in control of himself.
Everyone loses control sometimes…
I touched his face and he turned his cheek into my hand. He sought my touch the same way a flower seeks sun.
“You don’t have a woman in the car, do you?” I blurted. Half joking, half dead fucking serious.
“No. No women. I just drove and drove and was sure I was going to leave because you sure as fuck deserve better than the likes of me but I found a bar and I couldn’t. I couldn’t leave. Not like that. not at all.”
I blew out a shuddering breath and briefly wondered if I was going to vomit. I was still angry. I was still heartbroken. But I was also so undeniably grateful to see him here with me I wanted to throw him back and climb aboard.
But I wouldn’t. I was becoming the queen of self control.
“You need a shower,” I said.
“And a vat of toothpaste,” I said.
Someone knocked and we both looked up.
“Hello?” I called.
“Really? Is that you? It’s Charlie. The front guy desk wasn’t supposed to tell me, but I…well, I just wanted to thank you for tonight and—“
“No! No, no, no!” I was yelling to Johnny.
Johnny’s eyes narrowed and he was at the door yanking it wide before I could get up.
He grabbed Charlie, hauled him in and slammed him to the wall. The cheap plasterboard shook with the force and I was bolting across the room. My foot hit the turkey and I skidded the first two feet before slamming into Johnny’s back and righting myself. I pushed myself between a terrified Charlie and a very, very dangerous drunk giant.
“Let him go,” I said softly.
“Who is this fucking joker?”
“He’s just a guy,” I said.
Poor Charlie. I could feel his heart pounding brutally against my back. His breath was hot on the nape of my neck and he wasn’t making any sound at all.
“Just a guy who what? What’ she here for? What did you do?”
“We just sat and talked, “Charlie finally managed. “She was sad because…well, I guess because of you and I was uspet over my girlfriend—“
“Shut the fuck up,” Johnny said and gave him a sharp slam to the wall again.
“Johnny!” I snapped. “You let him go this minute or I’ll be the one to leave this time. I won’t sneak out and leave you stranded here the way you did me.”
His eyes flashed with anger and then shame. Good. Let him feel bad. Yes, he came back and somewhere in me I had always thought he would. But he’d left me for a bit. Left me alone and scared and thank goodness for a guy like Charlie. A nice guy.
“I will, instead, get my shit and go sit in the bus station until morning and go home. Or somewhere else. Whatever. Now, let. Him. Go.”
Johnny opened his hands and took three big steps back. He ran his palms over his head and I heard the rustle and rasp of the stubble there.
“I’m taking a shower,” he said in a barely controlled voice.
“I just wanted to make sure you were okay and thank you again. I know it’s late. Bad, bad, bad timing,” Charlie said. He was babbling a bit.
“It’s okay,” I said. “But you’d better go.”
He was half out the door and I said, “Good luck, Charlie. And thanks.”
He cocked his head. “For what?”
“For making a shitty holiday way less shitty. And showing me there are more good guys than I thought.”
“Good luck, Really,” he said. And then as an afterthought, “I think that guy really loves you. A lot. Like scary lot. He’s entirely frightening, but all you have to do is look in his eyes to see it. It’s definitely there.”
“Thanks,” I said. Then I waved and shut the door.
I dropped to the bed. So unbelievably tired.
I’m a coward…
I knew that feeling.
I’m a coward…
I sighed, rubbed my eyes. My head was throbbing just hard enough to remind me I was miserable.
The shower cut on and I sat on the bed, waiting. At some point, I rolled onto my side and pulled my knees up to my chest, thought someone has to clean up that turkey and then I must have dozed.