Friday, April 28, 2017

A Word on Rory Langley

I wasn’t planning on ever seeing Ophelia again. Her presence reminded me of Hagar, a girl that I really just wanted to forget again. A girl that was long dead because she took a bullet for me. She didn’t know that the bullet wouldn’t have done anything more than ruin a shirt.

After the kiss, all of the memories came back, and I had the choice to forget them again, or let my eyes stay green. And then Rory Langley died.
Logically speaking, I barely knew her. Our lives were only connected by a common place of living, and she had been out of town regularly over the past few months. That, combined with the fact that I wanted nothing to do with her, meant that I had never even spoken to her. But her death still hurt. I was never again going to have the chance to get to know her. She would ever be no more than a part of the opportunity cost of my life. And what had I really gotten instead?

So I called Ophelia. Thank God she picked up the phone. I asked for her forgiveness for the night of the fair, and then I asked for her help. She came over to my apartment wearing a gorgeous white dress. I wonder if she noticed whether our eyes were suddenly the same color.

I haven’t told her that I’m going to outlive her, but I will eventually. And I’ve accepted the fact myself as well. I’ve decided to stop letting my past decisions hinder my future; it’s not worth it. In other words, my cane is going to spend a bit more time in the closet. I always liked green eyes better anyway.

Oh, and by the way,

I’ve stopped drinking

A Word on the Fair

A fair was held today in celebration of the success of the reconstruction effort. Ophelia and I went down together. I bought her some small sugary baked goods, and we watched the people. I made her giggle by taunting them, and she made me feel warm enough to take my suit jacket off. I left my cane in the car.

When night came, we watched The Little Mermaid. She rested her head on my shoulder when she wasn’t singing along. I sort of bobbed my head a bit. I have to admit, once I gave it the benefit of the doubt, I really enjoyed the show. I was surprised.

2:00am: The lunar eclipse began, but Ophelia and I didn’t notice. We were looking into each other’s eyes.

2:01am: We kissed.

2:04am: I was in my car and driving back to my apartment as fast as I could. That kiss...was not a unique experience. It brought back a memory that was a few lifetimes old. The minute my lips touched Ophelia’s, the forefront of my mind was invaded.

2:15am: I slammed the door to my apartment behind me and raced into the bathroom, breathing heavily. The girl, the one that had been pushing against the edges of my mind for so long, her name was Hagar. I looked into the mirror, and my eyes were green.

3:00am: I’m drunk

A Word on Chinese

There’s no such thing as cuisine in this place, so I go to Beijing Buffet when I want to eat out. All-you-can-eat Asian is the most elegant of the fast foods. I retrieved a respectable portion of lo mein noodles and szechuan vegetables from the metal trays against the right wall of the restaurant and took my plate to the bar. I ordered a glass of water. Whiskey doesn’t go with Chinese.

Beijing Buffet goes through bartenders so fast that there’s no point in wasting the energy to forge relationships with any of them, so I sat in silence, with my cane leaned against one of my legs. The cacophony of the of the restaurant bustling around me combined with the thunder echoing outside and the rain against the windows. It created a layered form of white noise that I got lost in. The chicken was acceptable.

I was so engrossed in feeding myself that I didn’t notice the girl that sat down just two seats over from me. I only looked up when she ordered a Jack Daniels in a British accent. She was wearing a gorgeous light blue dress, and I noticed immediately that her eyes were a deep green.

“Hi there,” she said with a smile. “My name is Ophelia.”

My mouth fumbled around for a moment, and then said, “Like Hamlet?”

She giggled, and my heart restarted. “My parents were Shakespeare fans, yes. But you’re likely the thousandth person to ask me that.”

“Well I apologize for my inability to provide interesting conversation,” I replied meekly.

“Oh, I’m sure you’re more interesting than you give yourself credit for. Tell me about yourself.”

So I did. Not everything, of course. If I had told her something like my real age, she would have ended the conversation rather quickly. But I told her most things. She learned all about my apartment, my business and my proclivities. She seemed to love it when I went on my rants, so I did a lot of griping. And somehow, I managed to learn a lot of things about her too.

I’m lying in my bed now, staring into my phone, and reading her phone number over and over to myself. My hair is still wet from walking home in the rain so fast that I forgot to use my umbrella. If only her name were Cressida instead of Ophelia. Then I could say that, “expectation whirls me around.”

A Word on the River

I was strolling down the lower banks of the rainbow river. There’s a long stretch that I frequent by the city limits. It tends to be the only part of the city where I can find reliable solitude. I really needed to take a break to think. I’ve been having what can only be called flashbacks, and they’ve been interfering with my work. Sudden images of a British woman’s face accompanied by the most intense emotions I’ve felt in years tend to break my concentration. So I was trying to calm down, to do something.

Suddenly, the muzzle of a gun pressed into my back.

“Hands up,” said a young male voice. My hands went up slowly.

“It would be a shame for you to shoot me,” I replied. “I’m wearing my only green suit.”

“Just give me your wallet, man,” the voice insisted. Unfortunately for my assailant, I’m not the compliant type. I whipped my body around and slammed the hard wooden shaft of my cane into the side of his face. The would-be thief went sprawling and stumbled about twenty feet before falling onto the ground, allowing me to get a good look at him.

“Hasn’t anyone ever told you to wear black when you do business? I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but your t-shirt is light blue. It’s a miracle I didn’t see you a mile away.”

The kid looked shocked, but he was determined. He held up the gun and pointed it at my stomach. “Just toss the wallet over here to me.”

I laughed. “Really? I thought we were past that.” I took a step towards him.

“I’m warning you, man.”

I kept walking. “Have you ever even shot that thing before?”

“Don’t take one more step.” He was almost screaming.

“Or what?” I asked sarcastically. I have a big mouth.

The gun when off. I buckled as the bullet hit my stomach, causing me to stumble back a step. Then I straightened again. An amber stain began to form on my shirt.

“What the hell?” the kid exclaimed.

I looked him dead in the eyes. “You had to go and ruin my shirt, didn’t you?” I kept walking towards him, grabbing the gun from his trembling hand. I shot him in the head. “Sorry kid, but I can’t have you running home and telling your mama about me.”

It took a minute, but I managed to throw his body and the gun into the river. They both sank swiftly. The rainbow river isn’t like other bodies of water. By the time they find him, he’ll be unrecognizably caked in wax.
I’m standing in my bathroom now, burning my shirt in the sink.

I need a drink.