Happy Friday kids! The boil is just starting to really turn up for Feanor.
This is part five of an eight part series. If you are just joining, it's best to start at the beginning.
"This was actually difficult to write...
Day Two, the Evening
"traffic wasn't too bad this afternoon..."
I had heard the garage door opening, which still gave me some measure of pause thru my temporary conditioning with Gina earlier, before she walked in thru the front door with the mail in hand.
She moved slowly thru the foyer with the jingle of keys as she dropped them on the stone table next to what I called the "accessorizing vase" as it served no other purpose other than to sit right in the middle of the space.
I heard the sound of her heels right up to the edge of the living room where she then removed them as she always did. The entryway was marble tile and she hated the cold on her feet, even in the summer. One by one she leafed thru the letters and I overheard her from the kitchen
"bill, bill, junk, bill, junk, Letter!"
I was in the middle of boiling some water for the Buitoni Tortellini that I had taken from the refrigerator and was in the process of figuring out which jarred sauce out of the 6 I saw in the cabinet would go best with it.
J walked into the kitchen in her stocking feet, a letter in hand. She shuffled along slowly, her eyes pouring over the writing, she mouthed the words silently as I pointed to the stack of jars with a quizzical look on my face.
"...then we'll be back in Majorca for three days before heading to the conference...", she read aloud in a monotone voice as she reached up without looking, picked a jar of sauce and handed it to me in one smooth motion while heading to one of the chairs in the breakfast room.
"Uh huh... she's going to be here in December so you need to move some of your things out of the guest bedroom closet."
It amazed me how many handwritten letters J's family wrote to each other. It wasn't that they were particularly "Old World" as they wrote an amazing number of emails as well, but it seemed to me that they almost feared that handwriting was destined to become a lost art, and therefore practiced often. I had always been singularly impressed with every one of her family's signatures, they were some of the most beautiful and elegant examples I had ever seen.
"Pinot? or Merlot?" I offered.
"neither, I'm going to have a cosmo, do you want one?"
She finished the letter and placed it on the island in the middle of the kitchen before pulling the martini shaker from its perch in one of the other cabinets. There was a sense of relief that washed over me momentarily as there appeared to be no bad news and it was simply a "status/'wish-you-were-here'" piece.
She had the Cosmopolitans ready in a flash, normal for her, and placed mine on the counter next to me as she tugged on my shirt collar for a kiss. She looked over the ingredients I had out and
commented that dinner was hers tomorrow before Looking up at the clock for a moment, and then moving off to the living room to watch TV.
I had spent the last few hours thinking about the days events. from strategies of ignorance to outright honesty I mulled the options over in my mind. Concluding in a not so scientific way to
simply wait and determine how the truth would be presented best after dinner.
It was still early for the two of us but we had dinner while it was still light out. We traded stories about family for the most part, but every time the talk turned to work, I let her vent frustrations and seek my amateur counsel about the best way to handle resource problems, and conflicts with clients. We left the table for the morning as neither of us appeared to be in the frame of mind for cleanup, and ended up in the living room watching the final half of "The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen"...
"How old do you think Sean Connery is in this film?", she asked her head resting in my lap with her feet at the opposite end of the sofa under some pillows.
"I don't know... 68?"
"That seems a bit too much..."
"We could always check the net later"
I'm not entirely certain why, but I found myself comparing her voice and mannerisms, to Amy's... Where Amy's voice was sultry, smooth and measured. J's voice was waif-like, almost like a
precocious child. Not shrill by any means, but lilting and more musically pitched.
The movie ran its course in a predictable manner, but we both agreed that Mina Harker was the most interesting character closely followed by Captain Nemo. As the end credits rolled by, she got up slowly, stretched and walked upstairs to the bedroom. She seemed to me to be fine, perhaps a little tired, but it was confusing why she simply left without saying a word.
I had finished locking up downstairs and checking all the lights when I walked into the bedroom.
J was sitting on the bed in her pajama's indian style with the current book she was reading "Mists of Avalon" in her lap. I had never had a chance to read it, but from her description, it was a recounting of the Arthurian Legends from the persepctive of the women involved, rather than the men.
I washed up and also got ready... turning the TV on momentarily to watch a portion of the news despite J clicking her tongue in disapproval. But she new that it would be off again
before I climbed into bed. Unless of course there was some coverage on Speed Channel of either a MotoGP or a Formula 1 race.
After I had finally gotten under the covers beside her, I began to think of simply blurting out "Hey guess what happened to me at the office!?" But I instead became distracted with the task of
timing how long it took her to read... using the quiet "shush" of each page as a timing mark.
I thought maybe if I pinched myself painfully, the subject wouldn't be quite so bleak, and in the middle of another useless attempt at delay, I simply heard myself speaking...
"Do you trust me?"
"Do you trust me..."
"Why do you ask?"
Specific reasoning would have detracted from the overall effect, and so I threw in an abstract.
"I'm just curious"
"Does this have anything to do with the phone message that Nora left me today?"
We have a ceiling fan in the bedroom, nickel finished with oak blades... I was staring straight at it while I was speaking... As soon as I heard Nora's name the blades suddenly slowed, and I
found myself counting each time one went round, with the pulse of air that left an invisible wake in the room.
Two more pages turned during the silence.
"What did she say?"
"I didn't listen to the whole thing, I didn't really like the way the beginning of it sounded, so I stopped listening and deleted it. It sounded like something I would probably rather hear from you anyway"
I rolled over in bed to face her. She was still reading and seemingly unphased by any of it.
"Is there something going on between you and Nora?"
"Absolutely not!", I had hoped that the instantaneous manner that I answered her question would somehow earn me some manner of prestige that I might "cash in" at a later, more delicate time in the conversation.
"I'm sorry... that was stupid", she offered quietly, "If there was, she wouldn't have just left me a message about it"
I felt the tension level rising in the room... though the outward appearance was that of it becoming more calm. I wondered at why I would feel anxiety over something that I hadn't done, and then in a blink of recognition, I realized it wasn't me becoming more tense, it was J.
"What's her name then?", her voice sounded hollow and mechanical.
I immediately sat up in bed and faced her directly.
"Ok, let's get the lay of the land here! I had conversations with Amy, she talked, I talked, no lunches, no dinners, no after work meetings, it was completely social and always in the office! My read is that Amy and Nora are having some kind of personality conflict and it's spurring on this cat fight between them... Christ! she's only been there a few weeks!"
J closed the book and placed her hands across the top edge of the binding, from the movement of her fingers I could see she was reflexively squeezing and relaxing her hands.
"Nothing is happening honey, Nora is just overreacting, its between her and Amy"
"no, this one is different..."
"What do you mean this one is diff..."
"You're saying her FUCKING NAME! In _MY_ BEDROOM! What makes you think I want to hear her FUCKING NAME!", she pounded both fists in her lap as she screamed out.
"Hey hey! Stop...", I reached out for the book but she was gripping it tightly and wouldn't let go. "Listen to yourself, I haven't done a single thing and you're punishing me? Yes, I said her name because she's got one! and maybe I thought It might make things easier to use it so you knew I was talking about her and not.. Not..
"I don't know! Nora! I guess! You know, this is complete BS... What the hell am I feeling defensive for, you have a bad day, and it all comes down on me!"
"What would you do? What would YOU do if one of your friends called and said 'There's something you need to know...' Damn it!"
The book sailed across the room and struck the wall next to the door to the master bath.
"That's it! You can deal with your imagination, I'm not going to take a fall for something I haven't done!"
I got off the bed, picked the book up from where it lay, and began to walk to the door.
"You always do that! You always walk away!"
"What am I supposed to do? Hit you?"
"Whenever we talk about something important, you just walk away!"
"J, we're NOT talking, we're FIIGHTIINNNG"
She took two deep breaths. She was was kneeling up on the edge of the bed now, her fists clenched at her side.
"ok.. ok" her voice trailed away to nothing, I could still hear the echoing of her shouts in my head.
"Let's do this then... We'll just talk... I'm going to accuse you of something, and you're going to spend the rest of the time convincing me that I'm full of shit"
"DO you want to sleep with her?"
"This is completely useless!"
She didn't repeat the question, and I knew from her look that nothing was going to move forward till I made some kind of effort at a response.
"but you think about it..."
"Geez J! I'm a guy, I have random thoughts and images like any other guy, I undress women with my eyes like any guy would! Are you going to hold me to..."
"No! NO! You don't do that!!!", she was pointing her finger straight at me, "Other guys do that, Other guys undress women with their eyes, you fly them to fucking Europe in a corporate jet and spend a week having sex in a villa overlooking the Mediterranean with them in your mind! That's what YOU do! You used to write for me too, Remember?!
"Fantasies are fantasies sexual or not... I picture sailing ships and UFO's in my mind too, where's your beef with that?"
I was rapidly becoming more and more mentally drained. I always hated conflict of any kind with her... it felt like we were both ripping out parts of our souls... I secretly wondered suddenly if she felt the same way.
"Sailing ships and UFO's won't make me leave you."
I found the edge of the bed and sat down... She moved a little farther from me toward the opposite end of the bed as I leaned forward and placed my fingers at my temples. It was quiet for a
minute or so... I wondered inside if Gina could hear us shouting, and then immediately slapped myself mentally for using that as a distraction.
I tried to convince myself that if I lowered my voice to a calmer level the intensity of the words would follow... But I couldn't have been more wrong...
"Sexual fantasies are perfectly normal, everyone has them, wether involved or simple, there's nothing wrong with it, I'm not a freak..." I almost added *and neither is she* but I bit my tongue.
"No", her voice matched my volume, but seemed seething in emotion. "Fantasies are only memories in reverse... You find some available bitch and screw her and then you have memories about it... You have fantasies about some available bitch and then you eventually fuck her, that's how it works"
"Oh shit, did you read that in Women's Day?", I tried to curb the sarcastic tone as I continued to massage my temples, eyes closed.
"NO! _YOU_ TOLD ME THAT YOU FUCKING JERK!" There were suddenly two sharp pains at my back near my shoulder blades and I realized almost in fright that she was hitting me. I jumped up as quickly as I could and turned to face her, I reached behind to rub where she had struck and when she saw I was in pain, she instantly seemed to relax... But it was more than that, it was almost as if she collapsed inside. I wished with all my might that her lashing out at me had in some way helped...
She grabbed two handfuls of her hair and tugged on them hard before slapping her hands down at her sides with a long exhale...
Someone somewhere flipped a switch and she slowly crawled into bed on my side... She was mumbling now as if she were drunk, "Maybe I can find you here..."
I stood there in the doorway, alternately trying to decide if I should sleep downstairs, or next to my wife...
She began to reach for the lamp switch, "I'm too tired, come to bed", it was as if she was in a completely different place.
I took two steps closer, "People who have been together a long time say you shouldn't go to bed angry"
Her face was buried in my pillow, muffling her words, "People who have been together a long time also say 'I'm leaving you' "
I slowly climbed in next to her... It felt odd, but comforting to be on her side of the bed, to be facing a completely different direction, to see a part of the room I rarely saw in detail.
I had no idea what to expect as I turned off her lamp and moved closer to where she had her back to me. I paused for long while and then put my arm around her shoulders and pulled her closer.
She had her arms folded across her chest... When I lay still I felt her shudder, and I knew she was crying.
She opened her arms for a moment and took my hand to her chest and held it there.
They say that if two people are together long enough, they begin to complete each other sentences, to finish each others thoughts... Everyone knows this. I felt it was more that night... I felt her complete thoughts and her sadness. I closed my eyes and I heard her voice in my head.
*I still love you... It just hurts more now...*
I leaned forward and whispered, "I'll make it right J... it might not be easy, it might be ugly, but I'll make it right"
"That's the only thing you've said tonight that makes sense to me...
This is getting juicy! See you tomorrow.