dontravis.com blog post #607
Well, judging from last week’s story ending, there is more than one way to consider momentum. What’s your guess? Did Chuck contribute to Francine’s fatal momentum, or was it all on her? Any feedback is welcome.
BECKY ISN’T HERE ANYMORE
I sat like a lump of clay, like a stone. Like any other cliché you can name, except it wasn’t merely an idiom, it was truth. Enervated. Listless. Drained. Deprived of my very life source, my beloved Becky.
I’d met Rebecca Lanning back in grade school, but we only really discovered ourselves as individuals in high school. Our sophomore year, we decided to go steady and never really parted after that. I went through State as an engineering student. She attended to study computer sciences. Our junior year in college, we moved off campus so we could room—live—together. Our friends used to complain we were so totally wrapped that we were alone even when we sat in the midst of them. I’m sure that’s an exaggeration. I distinctly recall Becky provoking the group to laughs—and occasional groans—with her witty mots.
Marriage—which made her Mrs. John Latham Pierce—preceded graduation, which led to jobs and careers. But children never followed, a source of regret for both of us. We never tested to see who was the problem. Why? Probably because we considered our marriage, our life, really, to be idyllic. To find one of us with a fault would have been intolerable, so we assumed joint guilt.
Looking back, perhaps we were a bit possessive—obsessive possessive—of one another, especially Becky. She wouldn’t dream of doing something without involving me. Would hardly even take an evening to go out with the girls. Me, I enjoyed a leisurely drink at the bar with the guys, but once a week or so was sufficient. Each time I’d come home, Becky would sit beside me on the couch and have me virtually repeat each conversation, each ribald joke, each confidence word for word.
Perhaps we weren’t perfect, but we were as nearly so as any other couple of our acquaintance. Last May, we celebrated our tenth wedding anniversary, exchanging matching portrait photographs of one another, properly ensconced in elaborate tin frames. After all, the tenth was the Tin Anniversary. And in our part of the Southwest, there are some magnificent tinsmiths. I slipped in a ten-day Hawaiian vacation as a surprise—the tickets and brochure properly wrapped in tinfoil.
The trip was the most wonderful we’d ever taken. I went all out, trying to make it the vacation of a lifetime. Spent too much money, but money wasn’t a problem for us. We brought back loads of the usual souvenirs: Kona coffee, macadamia nuts, guava jam, gaudy shirts, a koa wood jewelry box… even a ukulele. Most of it we gave to friends, except for a Hawaiian quilt, a blue and black thing woven from local fibers that I found off-putting, but caught Becky’s fancy.
The quilt is imprinted on my mind because of something unusual that happened when we bought it. A very pretty, vivacious young woman waited on us in the Honolulu shop Becky had discovered by accident. After she showed us enough samples to get an idea of our tastes, she disappeared into the back of the store, reappearing with another young lady helping her hold the quilt up for our inspection.
In seconds, my attention went to this second woman. Shining ebony hair worn short, set off a face as stunning and erotic as I had ever seen. Rarely had anyone affected me so. Don’t get me wrong, I was totally devoted to Becky and would never cheat on her. But in that instant, I thought about it.
Then came the real shock. When Becky asked a question about the quilt, the individual answered in a deep baritone that came up out of his boots somewhere. In the midst of my surprise, I experienced a fleeting interest… no make that curiosity about the man. They lowered the quilt to the floor, and upon a glimpse of his hard, muscled physique, I wondered how I’d ever mistaken him for a female.
Although I didn’t understand why, I thought about that young man when Becky and I made love that night in our hotel room. Afterward, she declared we needed to take more vacations.
Regrettably, that proved to be our last one. She died in a car wreck while on a rare outing with one of her friends… three months to the day after we returned from Hawaii.
I took her loss so hard that friends afterward declared they’d been worried over my sanity. For the first time I could remember, I had to do things without Becky at my side. At the firm’s New Year’s party, I sat in the corner and cried like a baby. At first everyone came over to console me, but eventually they avoided me. Couldn’t blame them. As they counted down to the new year, I slipped out and drove home. On the way, the car skidded on an icy spot and a big cottonwood appeared in my windshield, coming up fast.
I seriously considered not even bothering with the brakes, but somewhere in my head, I heard a voice saying, “No, John, it’s not your time. You need to move on.” I hit the brakes, but it was the snowbank at the foot of the tree that saved me. I spent the rest of the night in bed wondering about that message. Not who sent it—that was clearly Becky—but what it meant. I didn’t even know how to move on. Not without my love.
The next morning I discovered I felt better about my life. Everyone else noted what a cathartic crying jag I’d had at the party.
John’s loss was a tragedy, not a blessing like Chuck’s in the last story. (Wonder why I’m hung up on killing wives? Any suggestions?) At any rate, our protagonist seems to have gotten over the worst of it.
Stay safe and stay strong.
Now my mantra: Keep on reading and keep on writing. You have something to say… so say it!
A link to The Cutie-Pie Murders:
My personal links:
See you next Thursday.