13. BE GOOD

It’s been months since I’ve been here in London, but luckily I haven’t forgotten much. I still know the streets, the trains and can get around fine. Everything is so surreal here in the UK, it’s almost like a fairytale to a common American like me, no wonder people hide their emotions here, there’s just too much to go around. Leaving the house took every inch of my soul, as Marcus slept. He has no idea how his much his easy slumber really pissed me off. Seeing Tom yesterday was more than I could bear, I can’t tell Marcus about him, I need to go somewhere to figure out everything. I wonder if this is what people with terminal illnesses feel like? Like they have to wrap up everything in neat little packages for their loves one before they depart? I feel like this. I feel so stupid walking around these streets pretending to be a tourist because I have nowhere else to go, I walk to think, and this is my only salvation. I find a bench in the park, so I sit, in peace.
My phone rings, it’s Tom.
“ Marie, I need to see you.”
“ Tom, I—I , okay. Where?”
I need to talk to him. I need to figure this all out and he deserves an answer. The other day was filled with so much emotions that I wasn’t ready to let him go. Not just yet. I jumped on the train to see him; I’ll be there in a hour. I sit on the train and watch the people enter in one by one until we finally begin moving. The passing of the buildings, trees, and homes are hypnotizing me and I begin to nod off.

  • _“Marie! Can you grab the paperwork for the next artist you are interviewing, it’s on my desk” –
    “Sure, what’s his name?”
    “Tom Taylor, he’s an actor, producer, playwright, you know all that stuff. You’ll like him. He’s opening a theatre here in Texas like the one he has back in the UK. It’s all very interesting. He’s just coming known here in the states. Don’t worry I got all the background so you can study up.”
    I read all of Tom’s back ground; he was in lots of trouble from what I can see. He’s an ex drug addict, once was admitted to an institution by his ex-wife, they share a son. He grew up in a relative happy home, but he fell into a rowdy crowd which kicked off his addiction. He found salvation in acting; he used his raw emotions and experiences of living on the streets in his acting on the stage. He’s finally getting into acting at the late age of his 30’s. Not old, but by this industries standards he’s old. We are expected to meet in a few minutes.
    “Marie, Tom’s here.”
    As I watch him walk towards me I’m a bit taken, he’s a brute of a man. Almost like a bull ready to charge. He walked right up to me and shook my hand with his huge hands. It wasn’t that he was much bigger than Marcus; Marcus was a monster of a man. People often wonder how we work things out in bed, hah. I don’t know why I’m thinking of this right now? It’s just Tom is older and more confident in his stance in life.
    “Hi, Marie?”
    “Yes, hi, Tom?”
    I felt a bit warm, but I need to start on the pre interview work up with him before we go on air. So I suggested we sit outside in the fresh air.
    “I’m sorry, if I’m about to sound rude, but it’s been awhile since I’ve seen a lady blush, it looks good on you.”
    “Oh, uh, no, I’m not blushing. I’m feeling a bit under the weather, that’s all.”
    “Oh, okay. Shall we?”
    I couldn’t hide much from Tom. Where I was a constant enigma to Marcus, I was an open book to Tom. He saw right through all my journalist tricks of fishing for stories and every other tactic I hit him with. He just stared at me the entire time and I felt like a hole the size of Texas burned through me. We talked about everything under the sun, I found myself lost in thought often. I haven’t let myself feel anything since leaving Marcus or since I lost our baby. I can’t think of that right now, it’s just too much.
    In the middle of our conversation Tom made a face and suddenly I heard a loud roar of laughter. I realized it was me. That was me laughing; it’s been that long since I’ve laughed? We decided to grab lunch because it was well past 2 o’clock and we were both famished. We ate until we were full, and we didn’t leave until hours later. I haven’t met anyone since Marcus that’s talked to me longer than this, interviews don’t count. This conversation has well passed the comfortable stage, we are treading in dangerous territory, and I see a sign warning me:minefields are ahead. I don’t know anything about this man than what he’s allowed me to see. He’s a mystery, a puzzle, and has an underlying layer of danger behind those creamy brown eyes.
    After everything that’s happen to me in this past year I can’t pretend to that I haven’t become jagged. I listen to him speak about London, his production team, his plays, his movie roles, but nothing personal. He guards that very well, never letting me get to close. So I guess I just have to ask.
    “What about family, wife, girlfriend?”
    “ (pause) I had a wife, we’re divorced. I have one son, West, and he’s the driving force in me. Everything you see here is because of him. Girlfriend, no, who has time for one? Hah.”
    “Are the stories true about the institution, that she sent you there? What did you do to her?”
    “Yes, it’s true. I was heavily addicted to drugs, cocaine at the time and I beat her. I almost killed her.”
    “ Hmm, you are very forthright about it, almost proud?”
    “No, never, I’m not proud of hurting the woman I loved. I’m ashamed beyond words. But it’s the truth and it hurts sometimes, but it still happened.”
    “Did you reconnect when you were released? Is that when your marriage ended?”
    “(shifts in his seat) No, no it wasn’t. West was just a baby, then. We divorced two years later. The damaged I did was irreversible at that point. We tried so hard but unless one of us received a heart transplant there was nothing else we could have done. But, I gave her all the credit for giving me that chance to love her again.”
    “Sounds like you still do…. Love her.”
    “Of course, she’s West mother, but it’s long been over, West is 11 years old now. He’s a good boy and loves his Mum and Da.”
    “He must miss you.”
    “I think I miss him more. What about you Miss. Marie? Husband, Kids, Boyfriend? All of the above? Hah”
    I wanted to say yes I have a kid, yes, I have a husband, but I couldn’t.
    “Um, well, its bit complicated—“
    “Why do people say that? It’s not that complicated—“
    “Alright, you want to know the truth? The whole sad story?” I was slightly annoyed and I think he could tell.
    “Yes, yes, I do. Truth is what great plays, novels, movies are made from, come now, you of all people should know that? So tell me Marie, tell me your sad story.”
    I told him about Marcus, I started with the bad things his engagement to Charlotte, how we were separated until we found each other again. I told him of how Marcus asked me to marry him, how I accepted whole heartedly, I told him how we fought, how he went on tour, how he betrayed me, but I didn’t tell him about the baby, that’s still too fresh. I said this story so fast that I thought this is it, this is my life, and this is where I’m at now? What happened to me, to us?
    “ So this Charlotte, he loved her but chose you to be his wife? But she came back after him and he betrayed you, like you said?”
    “ I guess he was always still in love with her? I don’t know? Yes, she was there in the same city, perfect timing I guess? All I know is that went back to her and I left. He continued on his tour and let me go.”
    “Did he go back to her? Is he with Charlotte? Are they together now?”
    “No, I don’t know, I don’t think so. I don’t care.”
    “ But you do, I can see that. If you ask me he’s not with her. Sounds like he’s an idiot to forget you, even if it’s just for one second, Marie.”
    “ He doesn’t care, if he did, he’d be here.”
    “So that’s what it is.” Tom sat back and watched me.
    “That’s what, what it is?”
    “You’re mad because he didn’t chase you?”
    “NO! I don’t care what Marcus does.”
    “ I think you are wrong Marie, but I don’t want this to be our first fight so I’ll let it go.”
    He smiled. I wonder if he knows how attractive he really is? I find myself blushing again.
    “ ….Our first fight? Okay..? ”
    “ I don’t want to work anymore. I’d like to ask you out Marie, if you’re free tomorrow night? I’m sorry if I don’t play coy well, I like you and I wonder if you’d join me tomorrow night?”
    Is this really happening? This can’t be happening? Here I am just confessing my soul of my husband’s betrayal and he’s asking me out on a date?
    “ Of course as colleagues, Marie, you have a worried look on your face, I’m just making sure you know I wouldn’t push you.”
    My apprehension shows that much I must have looked like a fool to him. These are the reason I married, so I didn’t have to play these idiotic guessing games of flirting.
    “ Okay, sounds good. Colleagues, though.” We shook on it.

The interview and the “date” went well the next day. If I was keeping count I could say that I’ve spent over 48 hours with this man. He invited me to his new theater the next day. When I walked into the construction zone I heard a voice booming through echoed halls. People were scrambling, trying to flee the scene, I wasn’t sure if this was the right place. Until I saw him stomping from the dark hall yelling and throwing a scene, Tom was frightening to watch angry. People cowered below him as he shot out orders and insults. He suddenly stopped and handed his assistant a clipboard.
“MARIE! You made it.” He grabbed and embraced me.
“Yeah, I made it. It’s coming along isn’t it?”
“Yes, yes, it is. Come, let me show you around.”
I guess I hadn’t notice how forceful and direct Tom was with others, but how could I? People treated him with kid gloves, almost fearful. He was nothing like Marcus, that’s for sure, people adored Marcus, surrounded him. Tom, Tom was different. At this point he hadn’t shown this side of himself to me and frankly I hope he never does.

Several weeks have passed and Tom and I’s friendship has sort of grown into this strange affair that children have when they don’t know any better. Holding hands, hugging, late night conversations, movie dates, lunch and dinner dates. He was a brute of a man but kind with me. From time to time I catch him watching me, staring at me. He’s ignited something in me but, I can’t bring myself to admit it.
This morning I woke up and had the most awful feeling in the pit of my stomach. I felt guilt. I can’t fathom why? I haven’t done anything wrong, hell; Marcus’s done enough for the both of us. As the day progressed I did everything to rid myself of this feeling, but nothing helped. Seeing Danny didn’t help that night. He came by the studio when Tom was there. I forgot to cancel lunch with him. I tried hard to hide the guilt I was wearing on face, but I’m afraid it didn’t work.
I had dinner with Tom that night, I was quiet. I wasn’t in the mood to play along that night. He took me outside where it was quiet, so we can talk he said. As my mind wandered, I could feel his hand on the small of my back. He turned me towards me and kissed me. I felt like I was watching myself as this happened, as if I lost total control. In an instant I was back, and turned away.
“What’s wrong?”
“I’m not—ready for all this Tom and I just don’t—-“
“What, Lead me on? Little late, dear. I just don’t understand what you want?”
“What I want? I don’t want anything. I just want some peace. Some time, some happiness for once.”
His frustration was showing well on his face.
“Isn’t this what you’re speaking of? Don’t we make each other happy? I think we’re good together, don’t you Marie?”
“I just don’t know, Tom—you don’t understand, I can’t—-“
“You know you’re stupid if you think he’s coming back for you.”
“Stupid? Don’t call me stupid! I don’t think he’s coming for me.”
“ You sure about that?”
Tom began to push away from me and button his jacket, he obviously annoyed.
“Yes, I’m sure ABOUT THAT. Don’t treat me like your staff, I’m not like them, you don’t scare me Tom! You can yell, kick and scream but you’re not getting you way with me. You don’t know anything about Marcus, you don’t know anything about what kind of man he is, you don’t know me. Leave me alone.”
“Really, I don’t know?? I know he abandoned you, he cheated on you, and he doesn’t love you, Marie, you’re so stupid you know that? I know that he doesn’t make you happy. I can make you happy. You are denial as to what your love affair, your marriage is with this man, HAH, and you can’t even see it!”
“Don’t laugh at me.”
“He betrayed you.”
“Shut up”
“No. I won’t lie to you and tell you pretty words that one day he’ll come back, one day you’ll be together, blah, blah, blah! It’s all bullshit. I did the same thing to my wife, many times. I did it because I didn’t love her, why the hell do you think I did that?! Don’t you see? Can’t you see that?”
He grabbed my face; I was finally at the point of tears of pure anger. I pushed his hand away.
“So what, now, you going to ignore me? Fine, have it your way. Live in the fantasy you’ve created. Grow up Marie. We’re all bad people, doing bad things, all the time. That’s just what- we- do.”
I can’t speak. Not now.
“Fine. Whatever. I’m leaving.”
Like that he left. I stood there for some time before walking into the restaurant. I knew that everyone saw us arguing, I didn’t care anymore what people saw or said. I held my head up and walked out, hailed a cab and opened the door to my apartment, lay on my couch and didn’t move for two days.
I kept running through my head, what Tom said, what Marcus did. How could he do this to me, to us? Leave me with this mess! Leave to pick of the pieces of what he left behind. Did he even ever think of me when he fucked her? Did he let the words of my name roll out of his mouth into hers? I hate him. I’ll never love him again, anyone ever again. I don’t care how childish I sound or acting, I don’t care anymore! I screamed until I lost my voice, I destroyed anything that reminded me of my happiness with Marcus, I ruined everything like he ruined me. It took me all night but I finally did it. I feel asleep on the floor surround by threads of where my heart once hung in my chest.
I had a dream last night; I was walking in a field barefoot. There was a large tree in the horizon and I see a man waving at me. At first I yelled out thinking it was Tom but the man stopped waving. The closer I got, the darker the clouds became. I was scared in the dream, I tried to look for cover but the only thing was the tree in the middle of the field with a strange man. I can’t see his face. He waves again, but this time I see him raise something onto his shoulders, it was a child, a small child and she’s waving with both hands. I feel like I’m floating, my mind tells me its okay, GO TO HER, it tells me, so I do. I float above the long grass in the field and as the daylight cracks through the clouds I see Marcus and a little child, a girl, with caramel skin and cloudy eyes. I couldn’t speak in my dream, all I do was cry, and then suddenly lightening strikes me down and I awaken.
I was sweating and in a panic. I heard that voice speak so clearly to me. “GO TO HER” “GO TO HER”
“WHO?!”
I’m yelling to myself in my living room. I don’t believe in dreams, I don’t even have dreams. This is what crazy people talk about when they try and grab on to something to believe in. But, what if it’s just that, a dream?
No, it’s not just a dream. I have to go home. I have to see Marcus._
*****************************************************************************
As I sit on a train, on my way to see Tom. I sit and stare at a teenage couple slobbering over each other, two business men immersed in thought and a young mum with her two children. She sits in front of me. Her oldest bounces up and down staring at me, I give a warm wave, to the red cheeked cherub. It makes me wonder what our baby, would have looked like. Everything happened so fast, maybe it was a blessing in disguise, at least that’s what all my friends said to me. How can a death of an unborn child be a blessing? They tell me I moved to fast in marrying Marcus, they told me I wasn’t thinking straight, I made a mistake, but now I can move on. Can I? I don’t know what anything means anymore, I don’t know what’s right and wrong, betrayal or forgiveness, I just don’t know and who’s to say anyways? I hold my face in my hands, I’m afraid I may cry and scare this little one.
Suddenly I’m awaken from my pity by a tug of my hair from the little boy sitting in front of me.
“Hi” he babbles a hello.
“Hi” I said in a broken voice.
The conductor’s voice comes on overhead,” BIRMINGHAM NEXT STOP!”
I whispered to the little boy a goodbye. “Be good little one.” He smiled as I walked out of the train.
I walked up to the ticket counter and bought a ticket to Sutton. I’m going home.

13. BE GOOD

marilittlebird

Austin, United States

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chapter 13

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