Torn: The Reason (Part V)
By Jenness Jordan
After sulking and beating myself up for what seemed like an eternity, I asked my best friends, Katrina and Eric if they would take me to the hospital where Duncan was. Telling them that I needed to see him and apologize to him for what I‘ve done. They didn’t agree that I had anything to apologize for but understood, and brought me to the hospital. At first, none of the staff there would let me in, but Eric and Katrina fought tooth and nail until they conceded. It was so hard seeing Duncan lying motionless and hooked up to wires.
“I’m so sorry, Duncan. This is all of my fault. I should’ve never gotten you involved in any of this.”
For the next few weeks, Duncan’s hospital room became my home. I wanted to be there when and if he woke up. Nothing would keep me away. I owed him that much. The detective in charge of the case against Luke called me at the hospital to talk about the upcoming trial. He said that he understood my need and desire to be at the hospital, but stressed the importance of my testimony. He told me that if I didn’t show up, then the case would be dismissed and Luke would be released.
“Thanks for the guilt trip!”
The week before the trial, it happened. Duncan’s vital signs began improving, and it looked like he might pull out. The I.C.U. was buzzing and hopping. Everyone was excited from the chief surgeon to even the janitor. Exhausted from all the day’s excitement, I took a nice hot bath to relax before heading to bed. Sometime in the night, I began dreaming of our wedding again. Everything was perfect; the weather, ocean air, flowers, butterflies, and music. Everyone whom we loved and who loved us was there. We had a beautiful three-tier cake with a crystal heart topper, which held two fairies in the middle. After we danced our first dance as husband and wife, Duncan brought me up with on the gazebo, and sang the song he had wrote for me. It was even more beautiful now as it had been that night.
“I knew that you would come back to me.” I told him as we danced.
“I never left.” He whispered, as he leaning forward and kissing my lips.
“I love you, Mr. McKrae.”
“I love you, too, Mrs. McKrae.”
Mrs. McKrae, it has such a nice ring to it. Later in the evening, we prepared for our departure to the Cayman Islands for our honeymoon. I threw my beautiful bouquet to all of the single women, and Katrina caught it. Duncan sat me on a velvet-covered chair that sat in the middle of the gazebo, and slowly pulled my garter down, smiling sensually at me.
“Later, Romeo. You need to toss my garter to all of the eligible bachelors.” I winked.
He nodded, assumed his position at the edge of the gazebo, and tossed it. Eric and Matt both caught it. Each of them had one end of it, so instead of tossing it again, Duncan and I decided that both of them would keep half and be the next ones to get married. I felt like Cinderella as a white horse drawn carriage pulled up to the gazebo. Duncan escorted me down the steps, helping me into the carriage. Waving goodbye to everyone as the carriage carried us away.
I looked over at my beautiful prince and said, “This has been a dream come true.”
“Your dream is not over yet.” He smiled, and then in a flash I was back at the hospital lying next to Duncan.
Wow! What a dream! It felt so real.
“V…I…c…k…I.” A voice uttered softly.
Looking around, I didn’t see anyone, so I lay my head back on Duncan’s chest. Then I felt this very light touch on my face. I jerked my head a little and saw Duncan’s hand slip down. My heart began racing. Tears began trailing down my face as I saw Duncan trying to open his eyes.
“Oh my goodness! Duncan!” I cried.
Moving off the bed, I ran to get the nurses, doctors, anyone that could help, and then ran back to the room. His eyes more open, but still not all of the way. His fingers slowly moving as I held them in mine.
“I can’t believe that you’re back. I’ve missed you so much.”
I wanted to hold him so tight and never let go, but I knew that he was still in a fragile state.
“I told you, I never left.”
Huh! Could it be possible that he was trying to communicate with me through my dreams? It had to be true, how else would he know? I don’t care how!
“Oh, Duncan I love you.”
Tears streaming down my face even more, as I gently placed my lips on his hands.
Our moment, interrupted by the doctor and a few nurses. After expressing their happiness and relief at his recovery, the doctor said that he needed to run some tests. It took a couple hours before all of testing was done. A couple of days later, and we got the results; it wasn’t good.
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Moments in Life
By Jennifer Kent
Wrapped in his arms, we sit on the beach until the sun has completely sunk below the waterline and darkness starts to settle in. In a former life this is where panic would start to rise but I feel completely at ease with Landon. We’re comfortable sitting in silence. I have never had this before. When I first saw him at the coffee shop I had a feeling it would be this way. I mean, how could you not be intrigued by a guy who smiled so easily, knew all the baristas by name and ran after a young mother who’s baby dropped their blanket. But, as intrigued as I was, I was still terrified to open myself up to someone again.
“So, may I ask where you were before you walked into my favorite coffee shop three months ago.” Landon asked, effectively pulling me out of my musings. I could feel his smile against my hair.
For a split second I could feel the panic trying to rise but I beat it back. Not every guy is like him. From what I can tell, Landon definitely isn’t. I am determined to stick to my promise and I will work at letting people in again. “I just moved here.”
“Oh yeah? Where are you from?”
My knee jerk reaction is to lie but, thinking better of it, I decide that honesty is my best course of action and way easier than having to explain away anything later. Besides, that’s an innocent enough question. I can do this, I can talk to him without freaking out. I have a good feeling about Landon and I have to give this a chance. “From a small town in Massachusetts. My grandmother lives here and I got a job at the University while I finish my Master’s degree.” I say, all the while thinking that just flew out of my mouth. Hopefully he doesn’t think I’m a spaz for answering questions he never even asked. And praying he doesn’t ask what small town.
Seemingly not put off at all, he asks, “Master’s degree, huh? I figured you for a brain when I saw you reading all the time.” If James had made a comment like that to me, it would’ve been meant as an insult. His form of abuse was more mental than physical but he was not above the occasional backhand to get his point across. At least that’s how it was in the beginning.
Pushing the rising memories out of my mind I turn in his arms just enough to meet his eyes, laugh and say, “I doubt that. All you have ever seen me read is Romance novels.”
“True. But your’e always writing too.” After he says this I feel a little flutter of unease start to rise. I didn’t realize he paid that much attention to me. Then again I was always watching him too.
Letting it slide I answer, “I’m getting my Master’s in English and Creative Writing. So I will unapologetically say that I’m a complete nerd.” Hopefully that came off as breezy as I meant it to.
He scrutinized me for a minute before smiling and saying, “I’ll forgive your nerdy tendencies if you’ll overlook mine.”
Laughing again, a little surprised he can make me laugh so easily, I ask, “What nerdy tendencies could you possibly have?”
“I like to lure sweet woman away from public places and…” he trails off while bobbing his eyebrows, probably after noticing the look of fear in my eyes. He rushes on to say, “I’m only kidding. I collect comic books. I have a vintage, mint collection.”
Letting out the breath I didn’t realize I was holding I try for a smile and say, “You made me nervous for a second there.” Sitting up and clearing my throat I add, “But comic books, that’s so cute.”
Clearly trying to save the conversation he smiles as he brushes my hair over my left shoulder and says, “Cute and you can admit a little nerdy. I’m okay with it.”
“Definitely nerdy.” I say, feeling relieved the awkwardness didn’t last. Standing up Landon brushes the sand from his pants then offers a hand to help me up.
Silently we walk back across the street to his car and he offers to drive me home. When we pull up to my house he gets out and walks me to the door. “I’d like ask you on a proper date.”
Laughing at how nervous he looks I say, “I’d like that.”
“Great. How about Tomorrow night? There’s an amazing Italian restaurant I’d like to take you to.” And then with a sheepish smile he adds, “That is, if you like Italian.”
“I love Italian..” I say with a smile. After we exchange cell phone numbers he says good night and turns to walk back to his car.
As he steps off the porch, I turn to unlock my door when I hear him jog back up the stairs.
Turning around, we come face to face and he simply says, “I had a really nice time today. Until tomorrow.” With that he kisses me on the cheek and and jogs back to his car. Opening the door he sends me a wink before sliding behind the wheel.
Slipping into the house I lean back against the door and think; until tomorrow.
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By Nicholas Harrist
The grand skimming of the white wall that was nearby in this cafe. Cafe Dupont, to be exact, or precise. This particular part of the wall, had an indentation of the most pertinent of styles. It seemed as if someone had chipped a piece of the wall, and recovered it to find out where their mahogany cushioned seat was. To indicate, the indicated.
It wasn’t that I had to be at work in a few hours, that I’d be missing my afternoon sleep time, requiring me to enter my bed without my spouse annoying me about rent. The trickling of water, from a recent storm, just diminishing it’s waterful characteristic to later vanish as if nothing had happened. A cold winter, blowing across the sidewalks, freezing the crevices, killing off plants. But as I was sitting in this cafe, I could only realize the one individual male who was indeed staring into my pupils. He was diagonal from me, at a distance. He was very, mysterious. He seemed to be controlling me, which was odd to think about when I could control my own consciousness. Aside from him, I continued with my coffee.
“I found new clothes.”
“How’s the family?”
“What’s been going on with your sister.”
All main topics of discussion were boiling around me, as I sat here and wondered if anyone would notice I was stuck with myself in this retrospective viewpoint of post-traumatic reality and discretion. The works of painters, only describing a love interest in the woman they painted. Visioning that one point when I finally do make it to work, will someone realize I was only disappearing in an exhibition of moral disposition. A final piece, only refused by the locals. The city was gleaming with opportunity, and I was only a fish in a sea of sharks.
I left the cafe, wandering the sidewalks begging for a cab. A cab without a middle-eastern junkie. A billboard of smoking advertisements, and an abortion clinic across the street. A lot of teenage angst. It felt quite eerie with me standing across from death itself. A child, strung across the doctor’s table, examined for its useless stature, that it’s life was once presented in a “slimy” manner.
I was presented in a different way. I felt like my whole childhood was just a quick flash of presentable birthdays, park events, and an image of my father driving away in this motorcycle he used to have. He used to call it Sally, and constantly ride it while my mother cooked our food. She was a stay-at-home mother with little to no experience in the workforce. She was also restrained from meeting any other men, as my father was very protective.
But as I was still in this illusory mood, I could realize some meaning behind of where I was and what I in the mood for necessarily. The strikes of colours, tints, fixations of limitations. The framing was important. As you can’t just simply use some black painted, wood framing for the works. In interest, a vintage framing would make the work just so, non-resistant.
I disappeared, I wasn’t at work. They called, and I had never answered. It was obvious that I was going to lose my job. But this event, this moment was distracting me like no other. I was engulfed in the world of wondrous proportions. It wasn’t that the author was too angst to describe my well-beings, but it was only that he who is not named was too engulfed in the work itself. As my wind wisps away like an escape bee, I smell luxury. For some reason, I think that I’ve left the deserted cafe that was weirdly across from the abortion clinic that protesters were swarming near, but oddly enough my mind escaped back to a faint picture of that man staring into my eyes. His want for me, his desire to really get a word out of me. An answer, that I deserve to be questioned about. I wanted to be left alone.
A flash of scorching blood, dripping from a male’s nose, dripping onto the canvas that really portrays what a man is feeling, and his need for help. But what’s interesting is that the streaks are bleak, they’re vague with detail and that the man who was bleeding was truly the painter himself. The spatter of blood, was really a notion of publication. His own original work, noting others that his work is far more important than others. Coinciding from his inspired colleagues, he was driven in this piece. This piece called “Transfusion Sanguine.” It’s angst of mortal blood, spewing from its ownself really depicts self-reliance of his career, and truly the meaning of life. I was so nervous to even catch glimpse, but as the canvas kept flashing in my mind, my small lifeless mind, it was grabbing my mental attention.
But the bench was cold and wet, and I was still in the event of being under pressure. It was the man’s eyes that were distracting me, and I had to finish off my coffee before encountering this strange man. His mysterious stature really caught eye with my everyday want and desire for an adventure unlike any other. I was a lonely man indeed, my spouse was selfish and could care less about my job, or even myself. It was the money that my spouse was worried about. She was working downtown in this small indie restaurant. Vegan food was trendy in that area, and she’s not even vegan. But as my adulthood grew, it became apparent that I shouldn’t of even met her. She was just too damn attractive in college, and as I was majoring in English, I was too distracted by her voluptuous attitude, that I failed and dropped out.
I was only tricked by my own mind, as I ended in this song tone. I could only hear a small bit of the Talking Heads famous single Psycho Killer as I was diminishing by the fact I was staring into a painting of my own self. A painting in which had the same man, the same man who was staring at me for this entire day. I was never in the cafe, I was never drinking coffee listening to stereotypical conversation starters. I never even encountered the mysterious man. As I rewire my radio censored mind. I sang these lyrics from psycho killer.
“I can’t seem to face up to the facts
I’m tense and nervous and I
I can’t sleep ’cause my bed’s on fire
Don’t touch me I’m a real live wire”
I stood up off the cold wet bench, that was inside of this desolate art building, and left. I left knowing that my mind was stuck in this optical illusion of a painting, that I felt like I was playing a role in. This not only fooled me, but it truly taught me how retrospective life can be, and it’s foolery.
This is Nicholas's first story posted to tonywassom.com. If you'd like to reach him, send me an email to Tony@tonywassom.com, and I'll pass it on to him. You can also checkout Nick's blog, and if you'd like to read more from him, check out his Kindle book, Beats Me, available on Amazon.com