Wednesday, October 19, 2011
Itchy, itchy spiders scrawl messages on the undersides of her eyes when she is not with him. Sometimes she’ll scratch her corneas bloody or pour oil on them to assuage the anguish.
There’s no one she can tell. They would think her unhealthy, obsessed, crazy. She’s tried before which is why she has no friends now, just a cat that ignores her.
If she could be near him every second, if that were possible, she would do it, but life interferes. There are tasks to be done, money to be made so that she can afford an existence. It’s a sad truth.
Her yearning borders on torture. It is a physical assault, a slow, demented violence, like having her skin peeled off with a paring knife.
She finally figures out ways to take parts of him with her to work or when she has to visit her mother in the hospital.
Connie, the only coworker bold enough to approach her, does so one day, leaning over her cube so that Connie’s cleavage splays apart, two pale globes. “When do get to meet this Gordon you’re so nuts about?”
She feels violated, threatened. Her breathing hitches. She measures the space inside her cubicle, wishing there were better air circulation. Connie’s nose twitches. “Sure smells minty.” Connie has an accusing glare in her eyes.
Leave, she tells Connie telepathically. Gordon is mine. Mine. I don’t like to share.
Connie is far to patient and brazen, but even she gives up after a full two minutes of silence. “You really are a whack job.”
She opens the drawer and paws the plastic container she’s put Gordon in. She’d suck him right now, but she’s afraid Connie is going to return, and so she wills herself to wait.
At the hospital that night, she sits by her comatose mother. She’s brought Gordon with her in his original form, even though he takes up so much space in her handbag. She drinks directly from the bottle, her lips on his, swallowing him, gulping while her mother lays like a piece of white-haired driftwood. Gordon’s never tasted so good. She licks him off her lower lip, then puts him in her mouth again, swallowing hard.
Her father got her started, showed her the gateway to her current fixation. He was in love with Jack. “Here, have a sip. See what you think.” It was like drinking fire, like injecting magic into her veins. “That’ll get your blood rolling, huh?”
He’d been with Jack all day before getting into the car. Her mother knew, of course she did. Maybe she was just waiting for the accident to happen, the thing itself a kind of divorce, certainly permanent now that one is dead and other nearly so.
She takes another long drink, caressing the label “Gordon’s London Dry Gin.” White thunder scalds her insides, liquid electricity. She can almost hear it hiss.
The sheet behind her is pulled back so sharp and suddenly that it startles her and the jug slips, cracks like a glass bomb.
“See! I told you. She come in here and drinks herself stupid every night!” It’s the old bag on the mattress next door speaking to the lab-coated female doctor.
“Miss, you really can’t be—“
But she’s up and standing, swaying a bit, but moving, stepping on the wet pieces of Gordon, him a diamond puzzle.
“I hope you’re not driving!” the doctor calls.
Down the elevator. Out into the parking lot. Her key won’t fit the lock. Wrong car. Where is hers? Someone stole it. She misses Gordon. No one understand her but him. They were meant to be together, same as her Dad and Jack. Gordon is life.
She crosses through the lot and down a block and into the street and then she’s on the overpass. Twin, white-lighted eyes screaming at her, beneath her feet, the beams incriminating and unflinching.
“Gordon,” she says aloud. “I love you.”
Her jump is timed for the streaking semi. She doesn’t feel the air or the impact of the shrieking vehicle. Instead she draws up her knees into the warm bed that is her circulatory system. She tells Gordon, “It’s okay. I’ll wait for you. But hurry up, I’m cold,” and imagines a blanket being drawn over her body, then being tucked in for the night.