Driving back from the market, the trees in all the glory of triumphant color…My Son chattering to me from too far away… via hands free. Emotions conflicting as my soul waxed and waned.
I pulled in, market bags full I trudged into the kitchen. It was quiet and chilly. The side door to the deck was ajar. Standing on the edge of the deck, Kiks stood watching the wind gust thru the trees. My breath caught sharply and I looked around to see who had gasped…I gulped trying to control my emotions as I watched her small frail thin shoulders shake as she cried.
Steeling myself, I wiped my eyes and walked outside. She turned, her sweet nose pink, her luminous eyes pained. She opened the blanket and I pressed in hugging her like a child would to me. Two small women fighting the invisible battle… I guess some things never change…
“I am so scared”… she sobbed. I hugged tighter, mind racing for assurances. Finding none, I took her head in my hands, looked in her eyes and told her…”Me to… But its coming to the time where we have to be brave. We have to be warriors, Kik. Because life is stealing and we have to protect what time is left. Let me all the way in…Let me fight this with you. Your my girl, you will always be my girl. My only girl.”
She nodded, silent. So I walked us inside. She sat at the island while I put the groceries away. She seemed chilled and vacant, so I medicated the good Dr.
Two obnoxious shot glasses and a bottle of premium tequila. I poured..Shots up no wheels.
I winked and said.. “None like us and none like us… Take it to the limit”
I started washing veg and asked where everyone was…..
“I stole him and I have lived with that guilt all of these years.” She interrupted pouring herself another shot….
Color me fucking shocked as hell…She was speaking of my from childhood best friend, former lover and her now deceased husband.
“Well thats stupid,” I replied… “you were the best woman for the job…and you loved him in a way he needed. IN a way I could never master.”
What she said next struck that sad dark place where I hide my deepest hurts.
“That is because you were both the same. To hurt, to wild…The King and Queen of the river, he called you both. But he loved you madly, deeply until the very end.”
Anger poured out of me unchecked as I bit out that he had a funny way of showing it….
She looked at me resigned and nodded.”We abandoned you when you needed us and you have taken his and I ‘s children and my dying self in. I cant help but wonder where you find it in you, because I know its not in the name of God or whats right. I DON’T KNOW WHAT DO WITH IT!”
I thought I could JUST drink a 2nd shot. I thought I could be the same chick I have always been. I thought I could white knuckle thru. I failed.
“That Nov, I nearly lost my life in Haiti, I got engaged and quit my career. I got pregnant near the same time you did. I lost the baby. My man fucked two women and got both pregnant in some fabulous act of soap opera Gold.. I lost my career, home, my man, fucking everything. I came to you and asked for shelter and you said no. SO when Andy wooed me months later with the promise of love, safety and a shelter in the storm I took it.. irretrievably fucking up my psyche forever. I loved both of you without question or bounds. YOU TWO MADE the choice to turn me away out of fear.. But I never EVER turned my back on either one of you after….. because I never stopped loving either of you.” I begin crying. ” Why are you here? Why do I care? How about I never stopped caring. How about that I loved Kev since I was just a few years older than your 4 year old son. How about you are the first woman I was ever with and have been my friend for decades? YOU LEFT ME. I never left you. And I wont ever.”
I made her cry… who the fuck makes a dying woman cry.
I grabbed my keys and ran out the door.
Down the street cutting blocks over as the leaves rained down on me and the wind cooled my tears. I slashed lipstick across my lips, opened the door and slid into my Local bartenders smile. He is a really cool beard on the list of I woulds. “You Ok?” he asked..
I wiped under my eyes thinking spider mascara.. He laughed and reached forward and plucked a small leaf from my windswept curls….I began to breath. I drank a beer, I thought. I distracted myself.. An hour later… a text
Kiks: I told them to leave you alone, but Sully is pacing. Please come home.
Me: I never begrudged you Kevin’s love.
Kiks: I know and I could never understand or truly believe that. Who is capable of that?
Me: I am. I loved him so much I let go. All I ever wanted was for him to find what he felt once with Bess. You were his do-over. He was more to me than a lover, or a husband or a friend. He was a large piece of my soul. As are you. It seemed maybe right that the two people I’d loved most would love each other.
Kiks: Why have you loved me so much and so faithfully all these years? You know me like few do, what is it, that is even worth loving after what I did to you?
I sent her a picture.
Me:You are this yellow tree. Different in a sea of green. All of my life I found solace in trees. And you have been a tree. On the shores, mud roads and crevices of this world, you were there. A moral compass. A vault. A Dr. You saw the best and worst of me. You heard my confessions and made me sin. You helped me accept all of the parts of me that made me falter.
Kiks: What kind of tree am I?
Me: You are a unique tree. Lithe limbs, rare wood, and leaves that reflect the emotions of mother nature. But now I watch the wind, which I cant control, strip those beautiful leaves.. Day by fucking day. As I watch you sway, I wish for sunny days and I recognize that one day I wont have leaves to preserve anymore. That fucking kills me. SO lets let the past exactly there…in the past and focus on what remains.
Kiks: I love you
Kiks: Nick is pouting about dinner and threatening pizza
Me: On my way.
I walked back. Stopping every now and then to gather memories.. When I arrived home, the house shown with light. I let myself in, and hung up my coat with bulging pockets…. walking into the kitchen.. I turned with a bittersweet smile…I had left behind a trail of leaves…. Faithfully.