I Think You Would Have Liked It.
Benjamin Moran's story of disappointment, love, turmoil and consequences.
We walked near the ocean and she did all the talking. I never was a talker. We walked too close to the cold ocean and the sea spray made her curly red hair wet. It clung to her forehead like a sailor to driftwood. The sky was an oppressive gray ceiling. It felt close and swirled lighter shades with dark.
I don't know what she was talking about. I never was a very good listener, either.
She continued though and I would insert the appropriate agreements and nods. Far out to sea an oil tanker was trudging through the dark steel-colored waters. The wind off the ocean was cold and fierce but we continued to walk. Sometimes her words would be carried off by it and all I could hear was the battering gusts in my ears.
She was pale and the gloom of the day made her almost luminescent. The red in her hair was vibrant even though the sun hid itself. Some moments she would look up and I would catch a glimpse of a smile, perfect white teeth behind pink lips. We stopped and she sat on a bulky, broken rock near the water. Leaning back on her palms she crossed her sylphlike legs and folded her black dress around them.
"What do you want?” she said.
"A drink," I replied.
"No" she giggled, “I mean out of life."
"I don't know if I want anything out of life other than to get out of it alive," I said. She always liked The Doors.
She laughed and leaned forward to toss her hair as if she just got out of the bath. I was reminded of a bedroom we once shared.
She stayed that way, leaning over with her hair over her head, and said “Well none of us get that privilege."
"Yeah, I guess not.” I conceded.
"You are absolutely absurd,” she said flinging her hair back and looking up at me.
She had the hint of a smile creasing her cheek. I could see mischief building in her beautiful sapphire eyes. Again I was reminded of that room and another time she looked up at me like that. I felt it was a little too much so I turned my gaze out to sea. The tanker was half the size it was before. The water was turbulent and white-capped waves were pushing towards the shore. It had begun to rain past the breakers and the face of the water telegraphed it slowly moving towards us. It felt to me like all other inevitabilities.
"We should go,” I offered, turning back to her.
"We should go somewhere." She replied
"To get a drink?" I asked.
"No" she laughed.” Somewhere...else."
"But didn't you go elsewhere?" I said, " Without me?"
"Yeah, I guess I did.” She said.” I guess I did."
Her eyes turned to the sea. It was a good two minutes before she spoke again.
"I didn't mean to hurt you. I just had to leave. This place had become too…” She paused as if searching for a word that could encompass the years of depression and confusion “...tumultuous. " she finished. She was crying now.
"We could have talked about it,” I said
"You are not a talker." She said.
"I’m talking now aren't I,” I snapped
She looked back at me, the tears sliding thinly down her face. God, she was beautiful.
"Now is not then." She said." And then is when I needed it."
"But you didn't," I said, "And here I am talking to myself."
She stared back at the ocean. I just looked at her with nothing to say. I should have said something. I knew I was never going to see her again. After a moment I turned to find the tanker again. The rain was a gray mist that obscured everything. It was almost upon us and I was glad. The rain would come and then we would go.
"Can you forgive me?" she asked.
On this day of all days, she had to ask that. Could I forgive her after the way her mother looked at me? Her father’s words still rang in my ears.
"Your fault...where were you? Do you even care?"
Of course, I cared but could I forgive? I didn't think so.
"Yes," I lied, “I forgive you."
"I still love you. I always will... But you have to go now and so do I." I stabbed out like a razor into soft flesh.
She turned her crisp eyes to me and radiated a loathing I had never seen from her.
"It was you, you know" she spit "That made me do it, you and your cavalier disinterest in everything. This self-composed detachment that you wield like a shield. How could I love someone so much and that person be so cold?"
She stood and turned her back to me as she tried to catch her breath. I could see the beautifully formed muscles in her back working as she tensed and continued.
"You were so self-interested, so self-possessed that you couldn't even see your wife falling apart in front of you."
"Wife?" I replied "Is that what you were? A wife would have known something about her husband. Enough at least to see the stress he was under and help him. Didn’t I help you? Who gave you your pills when you forgot who comforted you when you lost all control? Didn’t I..."
I stopped. I was losing it.
"Well, it doesn't matter now. You're gone and I am not.” I muttered like a sick puppy.
"I am not gone,” She said, turning back to me. “We will always be a part of each other."
"That’s what scares me,” I replied turning back to the sea just in time for the rain to hit the beach and my face. “I want you gone"
I turned back to the empty space where she should have been standing.
"It was a beautiful service,” I said to no one. “The priest read from Luke, your favorite. Your mother cried the whole time though. I think you would have liked it."