The Single Chronicles 5: Whisky and Smoke

[continued from The Single Chronicles 4: Lavender and Vanilla] “Get out”

“Wait, babe, I can explain.”

“Get of my freaking house Charles! Now!”

When Stacey is angry there’s a fire in her eyes that burns strong; a fire that consumes her with rage, she will pick the nearest object: remote, vase, pillow, and even the television if she could lift it and hurl it at your face. She’s not the kind you force into a hug where you stifle the fire until her anger melts away into your embrace; she will kick you in the shin watch you reel over and smash your head to the floor with both her hands preferably breaking her coffee table while at it. She will glower over your body with eyes glimmering with the devilish dance of menace and walk back to whatever she was doing like nothing happened. 

There was nothing else left to do, here I have one of two choices. Leave. Or do what any man in my position should never do…

***

Ann left behind a mess; one that I have to clean up. I tried to downplay the fact that I did not really know her but women right? She would have none of that. She went on and on about the promises we made to each other and how rosy everything was and how we broke up over a damn movie. I did not even know she was bitter because after we broke up we all went our separate ways. I deleted her number and I think she did the same to mine. I got drunk over a few days, I became the guy at the bar that’s alone wallowing in his misery and savoring a fine whisky. I do not really know about her; I thought she maybe did the same and went poured her heart out to a best friend and said how such a waste of time I was and asked why there’s no good guys left; the usual. Then they probably indulged in copious amounts of wine and ice cream and they’d shout my name in the middle of the night and say fuck me until neighbors threatened to call the cops.

But I was surprised more than anyone when at the door, money in hand, staring into each other’s eyes I saw a flicker. I recognized that flicker, how could I miss it? The last time I saw it she was leaving my car going into her house. Then came the waterworks. You do not want a woman you loved crying at the door of the house of a woman you think you love. It’s not cute.

“So this is how you moved on?” she asked

I could not say anything, in my defense it was not how I moved on. I had moved on way before meeting Stacey but now what was I supposed to say? The look plastered on Stacey’s face looked like that of a gazelle stuck in the cross hairs of a hunter’s gun. She just stared at Ann trying to search for answers. Ann stared at me, and I stared at the money in my hand. The pizza was with Stacey and as much as she was mad she would not throw that away; in this situation I was dispensable; not the pizza.

“Answer her.” Stacey said

Her voice was normal there were no signs of aggravation, and that’s crazy. You want to see her worked up, you want to see a flare in her eyes, you want to see foam form at the corner of her mouth while her fist shakes with rage, you want her to grab you by the collar and slap you once or twice and slam the door; you just want to see a reaction because a calm woman is dangerous. And crazy.

“I moved on before this…” I said

“Before what?” Stacey jumped in

“Us.”

“You?” Ann pointed at the both of us. Like she wanted to be clear about it.

“Yes, us.”

“So you left us just like that. No afterthought? No call in the middle of the night? We did not mean that much to you huh?”

Why is she referring to herself as we? How many people is she? Alter ego?

“It’s not what you think…”

“Really? Because I would like to know what you think I think”

I only came here for the pizza and after pizza antics. I did not expect any of this. I look at Stacey and her eyes are still calm, fixed on the pizza box now, but calm all the same. So I have a brilliant idea, which is not really that brilliant but I have it anyway, I crack a joke. Here in the middle of what could possibly be word war 3; I crack a joke. I want to make Stacey smile. God, why do I care so much about her?

“Did you order the pizza with extra toppings of drama or it’s on offer?”

She looks up at me and as the scowl starts to form I know that joke did not sit well at all with her. Ann is already flaring up, she’s probably thinking what nerve I have cracking a joke at a time like this and my sheepish smile is going back into the pen.

“I’d also like to know what you think Charles” Stacey chimes in

What the hell is this, they are ganging up on me. Stacey should be on my side, she should be throwing one of those vine tantrums women throw when another woman comes too close to their territory. But here she is complacent as bat shit tag teaming with this other lunatic.

“I just thought it was over, you know, mutually.”

I knew I was defeated I was not going to get out of this; at least not alive. The look on Ann’s face was victorious like she had just accomplished a lifelong goal it was a silly smirk and I know Stacey noticed it because she let out a frustrated sigh. I just wanted her to confront Ann on my behalf, snatch the money from my wrist and shove it in her face, slam the door and drag me to the couch and eat pizza like this shit never happened.

“What kind of emaciated thinking is that Charles?”

I wanted to tell her it was the kind of thinking that was going through my head because I was hungry and I could not have the pizza, but the tension in the room could not take another joke. It would break and with it my neck, legs, spleen, kidneys, ego and dignity.

“I’m sorry…”

I should have seen it coming. The slap. I only felt the heat of slender fingers across my face and the room flashed white. At first I was not sure who threw the slap until I saw Ann crying.

“Tell that to your daughter Charles!” she said

How do you react to that? Or you go and hug them while the other watches and calm them down cooing their name, pet name, saying you did not know and you will make things better? Or do you look at the other one with pleading eyes and quivering lips trying to find an explanation following her into the house and trying to calm her down even though she is not acting mad? Or do you stand there like me, money in one hand other hand on the back of your head scratching like she just said the sink is broken and you have no idea how to fix it?

“Why do you think I did not want to go the movies Charles? You can’t even see the damn signs!”

That’s when she walked away. Face in hand, half running, half crying and half snorting all the way down the stairs. I looked at Stacey, she had already walked back into the house sitting on the couch with a slice of pizza in hand. She looked despondent; like Ann’s words crushed her more than they did me. How is that even possible yet I am the one here who possibly has a daughter they don’t know about?

“Follow her” she said pointing at the open door.

I did not ask again I just did. Left her there on the couch to follow another woman.

Ann was putting the helmet on when I got down and strapping it to her chin.

“Why are you delivering pizzas?”

Of all the things I could say I had to say that. Idiot.

“I just love doing it.”

“So daughter?”

“Yeah but it’s none of your business now.”

“Look Ann if I have a daughter then it’s some of my business if not all dammit!”

“So now you care? Well let’s see how much. Find me.”

She said her final words like a stab to the heart. Find me. Like some mythical shit creature. Then she rode off into the darkness.

I walked back into the house and from the look on Stacey’s face I shouldn’t have left.

“Get out”

***

“… I love you Stacey”

Why did I do that? Why did I say those words? You are never supposed to say those words, ever. But she’s calming down.

“What about your daughter?”

“We’ll figure it out.”

“Do you mean those words Charles? Do you love me?”

“Of course why else would I say them?”

“I need a drink.”

“I could use one too.”

***

The joint wasn’t too full. The lights bounced off the brown walls and hit people’s glasses giving them a shimmering look. The waiter pranced about in their black trousers, white shirts and black coats with a menu tucked under their arms. One came to sit us and introduced himself as Jack.

“What will you be having ma’am?”

“The house white. Chilled.”

“And you sir?”

“A double single malt.”

As he left to get the drinks Stacey looked into empty space then at me.

“I love you too” she said.

Fuck. Is she talking to me? Could be the waiter walking away. She might be talking about his ass. Damn.

“Do you mind?” I asked

In my hands I had a cig and a lighter. I needed one.

The only thing lazier than her nod was the shrug as she put her head on my shoulder.

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