Wednesday, November 19, 2008
Goodbye, My Love
“Hey, baby… Sweet baby, where are you?”
His voice is distant, woven with static, a broken whisper, so close and too far from her ear. The phone is tiny, lost in her clumsy glove. She’s suddenly scared she’ll drop it. and then… and then…
The youth closes his hand over hers, helping her hold the cell to her ear, somewhere in her wet hair, his eyes beads of fear and compassion. She doesn’t want to see this stranger. Especially not now. Now it’s only for him.
“Where are you, baby?”
“In New York. I took an early flight. It’s snowing…”
A tiny bird chirps in her voice. Wide pale feathers descend floating in guise of cold crystals, linger on her brow only like furtive kisses. She allows them to sing on her eyelashes, blur the blinding city lights, whiten the night.
“I’m coming to get you. I can’t just sit here and wait for you.”
His voice carries the warmth she’s always seeked, always found in him.
my darling, my beautiful one
A flutter of panic wakens. Come and gone.
“No need… I’m in Times Square… I wanted to… I was going to the Central Station… I…”
warm and cold, warm and cold
“I can be there in an hour, baby. Go to Starbucks, wait for me there. Just stay warm.”
She wants to imagine herself being nestled next to him, watching him drive her home.
“Yes, you’ll come…”
“We could eat, we could do whatever you want… I won’t let you come home alone.”
i’m not coming home
His voice is fading, maybe on dying batteries.
“I can’t hear you so well. The cell…”
“You’re on a cell, sweetheart? You’ve never used a cell…”
“Borrowed it… They’ve coloured the Empire in red, and green, and white… Like when we first saw it… ”
The youth is crying, his hand shaking so badly it hurts her ear. The sky is a grey sieve, sifting a furious wet flour, but she still doesn’t close her eyes. not yet… not yet…
“Where are you, baby? What’s the clamour?”
He doesn’t know. How can she tell him.
my darling, my beloved
“Times Square… You know how busy… Even now… I so wish you were here…”
“I’m coming, baby. I’ll drive you home. I want to be with you.”
without you i couldn’t live, how can i die
Her lips are numb, the snowflakes too heavy. The sky turns, and turns, and turns. She has to rest, just for a little moment.
The teen’s voice rises, sobbing, sobbing. Louder than her whisper, closer than the voice of her beloved. He presses the cell to her head harder, painfully, uselessly. I’m sorry. I’m sorry. I’m sorry. I didn’t mean for this to happen. I’m so sorry.
A wailing grows, from the earth, from the sky.
“What’s that, baby? An ambulance?”
She abandons herself to the snow, to the night, to the turning sky.
“Hello? Hello? Hello?”
“Sir, are you a relative?”
A man’s voice, neutrally authoritative. A stranger’s.
“What? Who’s there?”
The voice turning to unwanted, uncomprehensible compassion.
“Sir, I’m terribly sorry, there’s been an accident. Your wife… has been hit by a car… we couldn’t get here in time… a blockage… she wanted to speak to you… I’m sorry, Sir… Sir, can you come and…”
yes, I’ll come