A warm and playful yet insistent breeze stole through the open bedroom window carrying a hitchhiking scent that was at once familiar and foreign.
The digital display on my bedside clock read, 10:00 AM.
I should have been up two hours ago, but lately all I seem to want to do is sleep, which is ironic because with sleep comes the dreams.
I really, really hate the dreams.
Tossing aside the high thread count sheets, purchased at great expense to please…her, I made my way to the double french doors that opened out onto a spacious veranda.
I stood yawning at the railing while I surveyed my domain, partly to reinforce the myth that all was well in my world, but also to set my gaze on the vast resources fate had allowed me to accumulate.
It made me feel better.
It made the pain a bit less intense.
Actually that’s not true, for there was nothing to salve this pain, and, trust me, I had tried everything–drugs, alcohol, another woman…
I collapsed into the closest lounge chair only to feel the remains of last night’s supper squish under my backside.
“Perfect!” I said to absolutely no one.
Flinging the plate as far out onto the vast front lawn as my bum shoulder would allow I shouted, “That’s just bloody perfect!”
The chorus of cicadas momentarily ceased sawing away at their magnum opus, and then started up with what seemed to be a renewed vigor.
My head sagged back against the cushioned comfort of the lounger as I searched through convoluted canyons of memory in a vain attempt at capturing even a single thread of reason as to how I’d managed to stumble down the days and arrive at such a sad and sorry state of emotional ruin.
I glanced to my left.
It was still there.
Lying facedown on the beverage table.
Slipping my finger under one edge I lifted it a couple of inches off the table and peered underneath.
Suddenly as though she were right there in the other chair not more than two feet away I heard her dusky-hued voice mocking, “Maybe you should pray for a miracle! I mean you do still believe in God, don’t you? Or have you let that go along with all the other things I used to find attractive about you!”
The picture joined the plate out on the lawn somewhere, although I think this time I managed a bit more distance.
Unconsciously I reached for a drink only to grasp a handfull of hot, humid Louisiana air.
Then I remembered…the booze, all five bottles, had preceeded the plate and the photograph onto the lawn by a good eight hours.
My father’s raspy voice played in a loop, randomly cutting through the black fog that sought to envelope my brain: “Don’t just stand there, boy…do something!”
“Do what, Dad? What?” I said to the nagging phantom . “It’s not like I have a lot of options open to me here.”
I made a move to stand, got my feet tangled in the lounge chair’s front legs and went down hard where I lay cursing the chair, the wooden deck (which had contributed a sliver the size of a two-by-four under my left thumbnail), the humidity, the girl who left me and, most of all, the righteousness…make that self-righteousness in which I had always taken solace.
I decided since I was already sprawled ingloriously on the deck I might as well take full advantage of the opportunity and have myself a good cry.
I hadn’t cried for, oh, a good six hours.
I was trying to cut down as it was becoming an embarrassment to my friends, a circle that, not surprisingly, was growing incrementally smaller with each emotional coldfront that blew through my life.
Rolling over onto my back the haunting strains of Coldplay’s, “Fix You,” echoed through my head…
Lights will guide you home
And ignite your bones
And I will try…to fix you
Lord, how she’d tried.
It lay as still as a stone over there under the table where I’d left it the night before…the source of the mysterious scent, no doubt.
I wondered if I’d see her again.
I wondered if she even cared.
And I will try…to fix you
Another glance under the table.
Maybe there was a way I could fix myself.