I hit the 10,000 word mark today. Yay! So in honor of that and the Yankees going to the World Series *hopefully*, you’re being subjected to more snippets, Chapters 2, 3 and 4.
As I walk through the square to Olivia’s, I hear the street musicians play, strumming beat-up acoustic guitars, and I notice impassioned activists passing out fliers on Ending War Now! or Everyone Deserves Equality! Get Rid of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell or Darfur is our problem, too.
“So what if they did it?” I say aloud. “Right there, on that bed? Brix can’t live without sex for more than five days at a pinch. You know that already.” I straighten my shoulders. “C’mon, Eva. It’s only a room.”
I take a step.
“I’m fixing to change my clothes here,” I say to my reluctant self. “Just…think about Brix sitting on the bed, watching you with that dopey smile that he thinks is sexy.”
After three more steps, which bring me to the bedroom door, I admit, “It is pretty sexy.”
Much of what I think remember about this time in my life is just that: I think I remember it. They’re false memories, after years of asking my brother and sister about every detail that they can remember. Sometimes I can unfurl the false memories into a whole recollection.
My second birthday a week before Christmas was what triggered him. I’ll always believe that because not long after, he asked his parents, who were still spry in their fifties, to keep the children for the time being.
Next September, Matthew said, I’ll be back. Next September, I’ll know what to do.
I lived with my paternal grandparents in Brookline, in the same house that my father grew up in, until I left for college. I was seventeen years old.
My first confession before my Communion went like this: I painstakingly said to the priest, “I cursed at my brother. I disobeyed my grandpa. I hate my father.”
No human at death’s door can be assured that they learned all there is to know in the world, that they achieved a spiritual plateau and everything is fine and now we can die and ascend.
So maybe reincarnation does make sense, in a way. I never gave it much thought before. I’m a Catholic. God gives us life, we are born, we receive sacraments, we die, we ascend to heaven, hang out in Purgatory or go to hell.
It’s time to go to Brigham and Women’s Hospital and visit myself. God, that sounds so weird.
I’m afraid of what I’ll find. A coma seems so ominous. Unconscious really is a nicer word for the condition. Unconscious doesn’t signal respirators or a vegetative state, where my body lies prone with no activity at all.
“She’s doing better,” I lie. “I, um, I don’t remember much about accident. But I thought I’d stop by. I’m really sorry she’s in such a bad way.”
“Thank you, Jade. Really. You don’t have to—I know you don’t—” He turns to the wall and stops speaking. He squeezes Eva’s hand. “It’s really nice of you,” he finally says. “I wouldn’t expect anything less from you.”
“I wouldn’t expect anything less from you.” What does that mean? It could mean that Jade is actually nice. That she’s considerate and cares about Brix. If I have doubts about any of Brix’s girlfriends, it’s not because of some misplaced sense of jealousy. I saw what Brix’s taste in women was for a long time and “considerate” and “nice” are not the two words for those girls.
The photographer poses them on the paved path in front of the bridge. He might catch the pond behind them, the classic Bostonian look. It’s early afternoon and the sun is behind the photographer, giving the couple light, but not enough to wash them out.
The photographer moves them on to pose with the wedding party, in front of fragrant, colorful tulips. They look so happy. He laughs. She turns to look at him and her face lights up…
I turn away. Some things are too private, even if they’re in public.
But, no, it was her. I wonder how it’s possible. He called her Jade. Is she now inside of me and I in her? This cannot be real. Stuff like this does not happen. And if she is now in my body, apparently living my life, then God only knows what sort of wreck my life is becoming.
I feel it intuitively. She’s vengeful. Why else would she keep the kid in Paris and not be with Brixton? What possible reason could she have for not using her claim on that wonderful, but misguided man?