Table of Contents
01/11/2013 - Midnight to 2’35pm - 5000 words
Cassandre was running through the airport and running after time. he was late to catch his plane and without this plane, there was a good chance he would not make it to a meeting with his ex wife and she would be on him like a hawk in the upcoming days. He hated those meeting with her, as much as he adored her. But it had been a part of their agreement when she had divorced him and he was in like enough with her to comply. They had assets together and were to keep it that way until they couldn”t get round to liking one another anymore.
And so Cassandre was running after a plane that he felt like he could finally catch, when stopping dead in his track, bumping against his rolling suitcase, he felt like he was having a vision, or worse, a heart attack. It could not be true, this could not be happening. She was … gone from his life now. Had not been in it for 5 years, 2 months and 4 days, but who was counting. Certainly not a man who had been dumped by a woman he wasn”t even officially with. And yet he was pretty sure that sitting on that bench, eyes closed, the skin greay and tense, was the woman he had loved all those years back.
He was starring at her when the voice of the airport lady rang into his ear, declaring that the flight to Chicago was about to depart and could please, all passengers make it as soon as )possible to the gate. He heard her loud and clear and yet did not move. because as much as it could not be her, it may still be her, there was this remote possibility that it was indeed her and if indeed it was her, then he would hate himself for not taking the chance and go to her. even if, judging by her posture, she definitely did not want to be distrubed. At worse, it was not her, and he would be sent his way by a pissed of woman, but if it was to be her, then … then maybe he would have the possibility to understand why suddenly, she had not come to him. Why she had stopped coming to their weekly meeting. Making his way toward the woman, he thought that all he wanted was to know the answer to his question and that would end all pain he felt toward their sudden break-up.
The seat in front of her was empty and he sat there, dumbfounded as he located the little mole he loved so dearly at the corner of her nose, as he looked over gher body, like a lover that had not met his life long partner in year. Like a deer that was thirsty and could only quench his thrist nby making sure he remembered very nook and crany of the face of his loved one. And so what, yes, he was bad with analogy, but he wasn”t paid the big bucks to be a poet, he had kids out of Uni for that. As he looked at her, he saw her shoulder tense up and the pressure she was pplying to her bag that was sitting on her lap increased.
And she opened his eyes and he knew. It was her and she was so far removed from waht he remembered that he felt his heart broke in two, he felt his pain increase tenfold and wondered what could be done to save her from whatever she needed saving from.
She opened her eyes and fixed him, like he did not exist and when focusing, he saw fear and then something else, recognotion, then pain and suddenly tears were making their way to the gorgeous eyes of hers and he had a crying mess that dissolved on her seat, unwary of the looks other were seding their way. Cassandre felt like a creepy idiot that make women cry and really had no idea as how to modify the situation.
Oh you idiot, he thought. She falls into tears in front of your eyes and all you can say is «Hi»? Really? He could hear his ex wife voice in his head and followed the isntruction, which were basically «Take her into your arm you imbecile!»
She did not punch him when he did so, she just let her head fall into his shoulder, and with hims on his knees on a dirty airport carpet floor and her weeping on his shoulder, as if her eyes held waterfalls, they stayed in silence, under the judging gaze of the other passengers.
«Come on» were the next sentence to fall from his lips and standing up, Cassandre took her bag and held her hand. «Come on, lets find somewhere to sit down confortably and have a cup of tea. You look like you could do with a cup of tea.»
before, she would have laughed at his cup of tea thing, and said that the situation asked for something stronger, before she would have punched his arms and led the way to the nearest airport bar, but that was five years ago. Now, she just followed him, tears falling silently on her cheek, and her hand holding his firmly enough that he knew he would have nail marks later on. But he did not care. he had her next to him and somehow it was enough to lift something from his shoulders. A wave of emptiness washed away and even if he had no idea what had happened between then and now, he knew he would be alright, because he had found her and whatever was her trouble would find a solution. They would find a solution and she wxould be smiling again, laughing at his idea that a cup of tea could solve anything and bouncing on an airport hotel bed, like the lovely lively woman she used to be.
She had told her mother she was going for a walk, a walk for which she had taken her backpack with her, a walk she didn”t intend to stopp at the corner, a walk she wanted to take on until she could see straight anymore, a walk that would end up somewhere that wasn”t here.
She had walked and taken a tawi and ended up at the airport, because it was were she felt safe. And she had not felt safe in ages, she had not felt safe since she had gone home from the holidays to find herself engaged to be married to a man she did not know enough to know if she even wanted to date him. From engagement to wedding to sa supposedly blissfulm honeymoon to gbeing a barren wie, it had only taken a few month and once she had proven to be unable to be pregnant, he had lost interest in her, had gone elsewhere, had fucked whomever he had felt like fucking that wasn”t his wife. He only came to her when she was fertile, and then knocked her around when she had her periods again. She had been married as a business deal and he was fucking her only to get an heir. And so life had gone from bad to worse to un bearable and she had taken a liking to cutting herself, just like he had taken a liking to hurting her in ways that didn”t leave any marks.
And then the other day, she had just snapped and Ephesia had taken a knife to her wrist and had applied herself to cutting deeper than usual, to cutting how it was to be cut, to draw blood in rivulets and had let her body taken over her mind and die. And when she had awoken in a hospital bed she had cursed the gods, whomever they were for their sick sense of humour and had to deal with un impressed parents. And a pissed off husband. And so with nowhere to turn to, she had agreed for a weekend off to her parents house in the countryside and from there, had said she was off for a wolk and had no intention of ever coming back. Ever. even if it meant jumping of a bridge or under the wheels of a plane. She had no idea what she was doing in this airport, except that she knew it was going to be safe, if not forever, at least for a while, while no one here knew here, and would leave her alone, if only for a moent, until they would wonder who this tired and sick looking woman was and why she was not looking like she was going to board any plane.
Her backpack on her lap, her shoulder straight , her eyes closed, she was trying to meditate amidst the screaming children, the over bearing mothers, the unhelpful grandparents and the noise of the airport. She was an anonymous face in an anonymous crowd and she felt good. Not good, really, but somwhere between, awful and less awful. It was a good feeling. Until she felt eyes on her and her nightmare felt like becoming true. he had found her, he had found someone that found her, he was there and she was fucked because something worse than killing oneself was to be kept alive by a husband she hated and knew that he could do whatever he wated with her, as her parents had never shown any interest in her pleas for understanding.
But even nightmares have to be faced and so Ephesia opened her eyes and what faced her was something that she had never thought would grace her eyes ever again. it was a man she had dreamt of, a face she had surimposed on her husband when he tried to impregnate her, a face she had not thought she would ever see again. And try as she might she felt the tears coming and felt that she could not stop them, and suddenly she was crying rivers, torrents, waterfalls, and had not idea how to stop. he said something, at least she thought he had as she saw more than heard his lips moving and he was on his knees, facing her, offering his shoulders for her to cry on. it was the nicest thing someone had done for her in years and she latched onto it, letting her head fall and her tears follow. His hands was slowly touching her arms, as if asking permission and his hand was in hers, tugging her upright. her mother had always told her never to follow stranger but he was not a stranger, he was the man she had fallen for all this years a go, a man she had named paul even though they had both known then that it had never been his real name. Paul. She had never cared for his real identity before, but now as he was rambling over a cup of tea, she felt like she could die and not know his name and what kind of death would it be, if it meant not knowing who he really was. He was coaxing her toward another place, her backpack in his hand, and looking at her with such worry in his eyes that all she could do as an answer was to cry even more. She felt pathetic, and it was a feeling she had learnt to live with uin the apst years, as her husband had told her repeteadly that it was something that she indeed was. But the pathetic her husband was referring to was entirerly different to the pathetic she was feeling like at this instant.
They were suppopsedly going to a place to get some tea, and something in her stirred and she wanted to have a stiffer drink, but unable to say anything as tears were still falling and her speech was impended by a hiccup of the most ridiculous sort, she just kept on walking with him until he stopped at an itersection and she wondered was he was on about. She felt his hesitate and after havng sniffed a good dozen of time and dried her tears on the length of her sweatshirt, looked up and saw the sign that lead toward the airport hotel. And again, the feeling of safety that had fallen upon her shoulder as she had stepped in the airport was there again, softly engulfing her in good feeling of yore. Still unable to talk, not trusting her voice, she tugged his hand and looked as him the less patheticaally as she could even thought she realized what she must be looking like for the others around her. A crying mess holding for dear like on the hand of an older man. Yeap. pathetic alright. he smiled at her and tears came back into her not so dry eyes. Soon enough he had secured a room for them, not before the clerck asked her if she was alright and if she needed help. And once reassured that yeah it was all good, as all good as it was possible and that she was not being snatched to be sold to the sex trade, they were in the small and bland smelling elevator taking them to a bland bedroom that were the same in every single airport in the country. She knew, they knew, that this one, in Atlanta was going to be exactly looking like the one they usually had shared in Newark. And with the knowledge of a bland safe place, a room that was with no identityt whatsoever, she let go of his hand, enough so that the mark she was probably leaving on his skind would fade quickly enough.
Cassandre hopped he had not breathed a deep sight of happiness when he had felt her hand slowly unclutching itself from him. The pain had been pulsing against his skin as she ahd held on to him for dear life. Has he had spotted the hotel sign, he had wondered if he was right to stir her that way, if he was not just taking advantage of a crappy situation, even though he could feel his heart beating faster, reggaling itself at the possibility of being in the same space as a loved one, even for a few instant. her name was Sallie, even if he knew it wasn”t her name. He knew now that he was going to learn her real name soon and it scared him shitless. For years she had been Sweet Sally and he did nt care how ridiculous and candid it did sound. She had been his sweet sally and he had loved her as tenderly as he could. Of course he had loved passsionaly too an she had replied to his deisres in kind and now she was in a corridor leading a room 2548 in an airport that was the one of aqtlanta but could have been any kind of airport on the western world; And even beyond. He knew those airports, had spent most of his life going from one to another on his journey to enrichment and new deals. And one hotel room was like the other and he hope it was okay by the womana t his side that he was taking her to one. She had not run away, she had accepted his silenced proposal to take shalter there, and she had talkd in hushed tone to the clerk about what, he did n ot know but he had seemed convinced enough to let her go up with him, or to let him acocmpany her upstair, he was not real sure which way the clerck had seen it.
The door clicked on the first swipe try, which had him escpae a chuckle from his lips as more often than not those things did not cooperate when one wanted them to be swift and quick. She let go of his hand as soon as they made thei way inside and closing the bathroom door behind her left him alone in the room, a light bagpack in his hand and o idea where to go from there. He heard her cry, he heard it via le muffled sound coming through the door and Cassandre sat on the bed, looking at his hand, like a desperate man ready to accept guidance from whichever deity happen to be aroudn. His eyes fell on the minibar and rememebring she like the little bottle of whisky like a cat loved its milk, took one out and let it fall on a plastic glass that was given as a courtesy by the hotel. Minutes later she was still in the bathroom and the bag was waiting for him to rummage through and the ice was slowly meling in the cheap whisky in the cheap glass and she was still in the bathroom, not crying anymore it seemd but still. The water was running and then the click of door opening felt itself heard in the otherwase silent room.
he took her in as she walked toward the bed. She look exhausted. In his memeory she was wearing herself high and proud, rocking her bangs and a long poytail that she once cut in a gesture of defiance toward something xcalled the imprialistic patriarchy or soemthing of the sort. She had been bouncing with idea and was always asking his point of view on a subject or another. A one meter and 70 centimeters, she was always wearing some crazy heels, whether she was wearing a dress, a skirt of those insanely tight pair of jeans he felt shameful watching her walk in. And knowing he was driven mad by the display of all her curves in sucha way she could not help herlsef and had made a tradition of wearing a new one every month, displaying her fabulous ehind in colors of the rainbow, when it was not wth the map or the face of someone that was gracing her jeans in a display of more or less ugly patterns. She had bouncy tits that were alway making him crazy and yeas, he had loved her body then, full of youth and curves and entousiasm. The woman in fron ofo him was thing, desperatly thin, sickly thing and he could point her bones when with the loose pair of jean she was wearing over her legs. She was wearing flats and a sweather that looked expensive and probably was, but did not flatter her in any way. he had left a vivacious lady and now was crying on the inside as he watched this once proud woman look like a miserable mouse caught in between a rocka dn a har palce.
He felt bad, lookinig at the whisky he had prepared and suddenly was full of her. Lost in his thought he had not seen her move, and her arms where holding onto his upper body fordear life as her head was making uit”s way next to his heart. His arm responded in kind and hodling her clode, he rocked her, giving them into a dance without music and for onlysoundtrack the heavy breath Sweet Sally was taking. he probably said something as she looked up to him and smiled. «No, I”m not sally. I … I think we should go and probaly introcued ourself, for real this tim. If you are ok with it of course.» Old Sweet Sally would never have asked for his permission. She had never asked permission for nothing around him and he had fallen in love ith that, with the way she blazed through his life and seemingly though everybody eles with the confidence of a young college student that she had probably been.
Disengaging himself from her Cassandre held her hand and smiled.
«Hi, my name is Cassandre Huntington and you would be?»
Smiling shyly in kind she held in hand and slowly circled the inside of his wrist, hesitantetly at first an as the memoeris fled by, more storngly, rememebering how she used to.
«Nice to meet you Cassandre, I”m Ephesia McArthur, born Portlander. I was born in 1986 and am a Sagittarus.
- I”m from 65 and have no clue as to what my sign is. I have two ex wives and no children.
- I have a husband and no children. I was 19 when we met.
- Yeah …. about that … 19, really? You had looked, older. I mean ….»
This elicitated ephesia the first laugh he had heard from her. it was more a coughing bark of someone who had not laughed ina long while. And made him feel even more protective than he had been feeling since he had seen her, what was it, not even a hour ago, twenty minytes maybe, it felt a life time Cassandre thought, a lifetime and yet not even a hour had passed.
«Calm down. I had no idea what I was doing but I was legal. It was ok. Though, 65 makes you 21 years older than I. Pervert.
- I never heard you compaingin Sweet sally. ephesia. Is your name really Ephesia?
- Says the man who has a female name.
- I will have you know young lady that Cassandre was a man and his name had been trasnformed into a female noun but at first, it was a name. that wasn”t one of a city.
- It”s all greek to me.» And in this sentence, in the shy smile that this back and forth had ellicited, he saw her again, the woman, girl, he had fallen hard and fast for. it was all greek to him to, all that name thing. Ephesia. Who was calling their kid like that. Probably crazy parents like his who had thought totally normal to nema e their son Cassandre. he had always suspected they had been expecting a girl, because he couldn”t understand how two seemingly intelligent human being could call their child Cassandre. Cassie. The bane of his teenage year and college years. Cassie. Thinking of that he had chills of none pleasurable kind against his spine. «ephesia … it will take ma a while to get used to the idea of you not being named Sally. if I slip and fall and call you Sally again, will it be alright with you» he wanted tos ay my love, to fall into habits they had before, but he did not know what to say, he did not know this woman anymore, not the one she had become, he … «Yes it”s alright. Cassandre, Cassie, Cas … any preference for a short version of yourself? or should I go back to paul? Tho I can”t see you as a Paul anymore. Cassandre … what kind , yeah the same kind of parents that think calling their eldest Ephesia is as good an idea s to calling the second one Alexandria. Lucky they did not have a thrid or I would have predicted a Damascus among us.»
She was tired, tired as thought kept on coming and bouncing in her head. She was tired of crying and of feeling ackward around a man she had loved, that she still loved if she was to be honest with herself. Yeah, Damascus, that would have been the msot ridiculous of names but who knew, with parents like hers, who knew what they could be doing. Still holding Cass” hands, she slowly disengaged from him and sat on the bed. Feeling suddenly tiny compared to the king size monstuaosity. «I”m … tired, I”m exhausted.
-I booked the room for the nigh love, just sleep if you need to, I will keep watch over you. I am staying here, it”s a promise.» he felt like he had to promise her he would stay, something iside him was awaking and he was feeling so protective toward her, so much moer than he had felt before. He felt like he would punch the face of the person who had transformed her into the woman she was looking like now. She smiled the biggest smile he had yet to see for that evening coming from her and got under the cover, all dressed, and turned herself toward him, as he sat on the other side of the gigantic mattress.
She was fast asleep under his gaze and his heart ached as he saw her there. Gatting to his own bag, he took out his laptop and fired it, as well as opened his phone to see that Samantha, his ex wife had tried to call him numerous time. Probably to check where he was.
«Sam. - Why do you answer you phone, you”re supposed to have it switched off during the plane ride, and there is no network between airports. So you better have a good explanation as to why you are calling me. - I am still in Atlanta. - Well yes, I could have guessed tha,t the question is why are you still there when your plane is to land in 2 hours? - I found her. - Found what, or who? - The woman you divorced me for. - … are you telling me that after years of not having crossed path with her and wtill being hopelessly in love with the memory of her you have foun her? Please enlighten me my darling, I”m dying to know me. - You see tyhe problem with you my dear is that I never know if you are being sarcastic , a bitch or really curious. Please, provide the correct answer to my question. - I”m plain curious if you must know, and a bit sarcastic, but mainly curious. - She is the shadow of the woman i know but it”s her and I just … my heart is breaking as I watch over her. - Are you stalking here? - No I am not, you idiot, I am watching her sleep. She collapsed into tears upon seeing me, held on my hand like a scared little kitten and we went to a hotel room, and she had now fallen asleep, fully dressed, under the cover. - A tue l”amour if i know one. What do you mean scared as akitten, I don”t recall you ever using this line of thought when talking to me about her… - She looks like she had been abused in some way. I don”t know. She is skin and bones when she was all curves and she looks tired and aged beyond the years that she has/. Oh yeah, by the way … - Please don”t tell me your age gap is being ridiculously cliché - Twenty one year. - Oh my god, darling, excuse me while I laugh it off, because this is pathetic and hilariousa t the same time. You were seeing a girl and falling for a her and sexing her up and she could have been the daughter you never had with you first wife. Oh please, this is too funny to pass. I shall make fun of you for years over that fact. And you who thoght that at max she was 10 years younger than you. Ah. Oh Cassandre, you sweet moron. - No name calling please. - Ah. Won”t stop the fact i”ll laugh at you in front fo your stupid face next time I see you. And now I am the pathetic middle aged woman who got dumped for the younger lover. Please don”t spill this to my firends, i”ll be a laughing stock. - As long as you don”t laugh to my face. Then I”ll consider not selling this little secret out to you so called friends. Anyway, what am I doing … I don”t have a clue - Have you ever gotten a clue? - I never had a crying mess of a loved one fall into my lap and hold on to me like a scared little scarecrow. I keep seeing the bouncy fun woman,a nd i can”t really mesh the two together and i am afraid i am going to do the thing that i s hould not be doing and she will run away, back to some place or twoard something worse, i don”t know what I am doing Sam. - Are you asking me for help regarding how to handle your lover? because it sounds like it is what you are asking of me. - Saaaaaam. - What info do you have and how can i be of assistance and yes I realise I am going to regret this so hard but I can”t help myself. - Her full name is Ephesia McArthur, born Portlander and she was born in 86. - Are you telling me she is amrried? - Yes and strong feeling here that she is running away from home and whatever is there. So be quick and unseen in your research? I”ll talk to her when she is coming back to the land of the living. Help, please, you woman have ways of finding data that us poor cromagnon man can”t find. - Don”t try to groom me, i married you long enough to know how you are when you need something. i”ll help “cos I”m curious and apparently a bit crazy and because I like you enough to still listen to your rambles. Now, get yourself a coffee, relax and watch over this scared scarecrow of yours. I”ll call you if I have info. Oh and you ow eme one som big it may not fit you saving account. - I love you too Sam. Thanks. - yeah yeah, whatever. Bye now you idiotic man.»
talking to sam had done him good, at least now he had someone to share his thought about Ephesia with. Wtrange that Sam had made no comment about the name of her comptition, as she used to call her ebfore knowing there actually was someone else in his life.