All The Roads Are Winding

“There are many things I’d like to say to you, but I don’t know how … “

It’s less than a whisper and yet you hear me.

“Lin?”

You mumble, half-asleep. Maybe you didn’t hear too much? I don’t turn on the light, before I answer. The darkness is good enough.

“Nothing, Carrie. I was just talking to myself. I do that sometimes.”

“Uh-huh … “

More sleepy-grumblings. Even they sound like bells to me. How can I be so crazy?

“You know … ” I start, turning to your side on the mattress, almost reaching out – almost …

“What?”

You’re more awake now. A little annoyed. Stupid, stupid, stupid.

“Nothing, Carrie – just go back to sleep.”

“I was sleeping – before ye interrupted me. Can ye nae plot yer Biig American Novels or whatever, when normal people are awake?”

The moonshine falls softly through the window, the only light – but enough. You are sitting up now. Your long, blonde hair is filtered, but not that much. Velvet shadows caress your face.

“I’m sorry … okay?”

I get up on an elbow. Just so much that I still stay beneath you. Like I should.

I don’t want a fight. Moving those boxes all day was a strain enough. I never want to fight with you.

I see the contours of that smile now, so full of will to be good – to be nice to people. So full of authenticity. Not like me.

“‘s okay. Guess I’m jus’ a bit stressed about tomorrow’s assignment. I do nae know how the hell I’m going ta do it with 5 hours o’ sleep or less. I love sleeping, ye know?”

The smile again, more beautiful than the moonshine. Outside a lone car passes, somebody going somewhere. I have all I need right here.

“I’m sorry, my favorite new roomie. I’m so sorree-sorree-sorree – “

I take the chance – the opening that good-humored irony, girly banter and – I guess – our sex – allows:

I bury my head somewhere in the valleys of your sheets where I expect your lap to be.

Pretend to beg for mercy, like some servant of a great mistress. Grovel. Over-do. Beg you doesn’t notice how many extra seconds I cling to you.

“Soorreeeeeeeeeeeeee, mistress. Canst youst forgivest me?”

Your laugh. More bells. Better bells:

“Oh – Lin, for a wannabe writer, ye are so NOT Shakespeare!”

You motion to either stroke my hair – my back  – or … perhaps because you want to move away, because it’s awkward. I choose caution. I let go. My heart wants to leave its chest.

But it can’t. It’s like it’s trapped and free at the same time.

We lie down again, letting the dark cover us, like the waters of an ebony pool.

Somebody argues with somebody else down at the corner, then a door slams. Sounds like a car. Taxi, probably.

Then quiet.

Except for your voice:

“I’m glad we moved in together, Lin. I’m glad I finally said yes. How could I have been so daft to have said no for a month, when my new, best friend offers me the best gift in the whole daft world?”

“Maybe you are out of your mind?! I suggest. “I sure feel like it sometimes.”

You become serious now. But I can’t have that for too long. My wall won’t hold. And somehow it should. Even though I also want it to break … 

“I’m not – !” you continue, eagerly, like you had discovered a wondrous secret you would never keep from me: “I’m jus’ a scared stranger coming over here with me mum who’s got no money and thinking that I somehow have ta protect myself from … I do nae know. Something.”

You turn your head towards me now. I know it. I look up at the ceiling instead. Up through the waters that cover me. I can’t turn and look at you now. Not now. The wall …

Your voice … so close. And … it continues. Stops me from thinking, too much:

“Ye know, roomio … ” she says and I feel something inside me shiver ” – It’s actually a little charming lying here – between all those boxes with our stuff? I’m almost going to miss it, when I get me own bed installed in me own room.”

“Miss lying here, or lying here with the boxes?”

“Both, I guess. Kinda weird, huh?”

“‘Kinda’? Why, you talk more and more like a real American now, Carrie. I’m glad. That’s another insecurity you’ve put to the grave, my little Scottie.”

“Oh – Shut.Up!”

Jabs at my pillow. Many.

But I don’t look.

I’m sinking deeper and deeper. I’m crying. Not for anyone to see. But part of me … is.

Why? 

“Lin – are ye okay?”

“I’m okay, Carrie. Now stop chattering and go back to sleep. I thought you wanted that?”

“I did. But not for, like, the last minute. I just felt like chattering. If I’m in me mind, it’s a very unstable one. Changes a lot. Can ye forgive me, now?”

“Always.”

“Fuck… it’s a bit like this apartment ye bought for us. It’s a bit like when I did nae want ye ta buy it – jus’ for me – at first. Then ye convinced me we could move in together. Ye’d still buy it, tho’. And I was still holdin’ back. Friends cannae receive those kind of gifts, ye know – no matter how much they need it. No matter how much money ye inherited and how many swims ye can take in it!”

“Do you have a point, blabbermouth?”

(My lovely, lovely, lovely blabbermouth.)

“I do nae have a point … “

You shrug. I feel it. I feel it always when you move. 

” … I do nae have a point, except maybe that things have to be a little odd, before they get even, huh? Maybe that’s what I learnt from bein’ such a jerk. Ye always need to try a few roads, and it’s okay if there’s nae a right one from the start.”

“Maybe there never is… “

“What?”

“A right road?”

“That sounds awfully douth! I don’t want that on – “

– You turn in the opposite direction, reach for the alarm clock on the cold wooden floor on your side of the mattress … Fumble a little. Then …

” – on Valentine’s Day! Yeeah!!”

You bubble, like it was Christmas, and you were a little kid again. But it’s just silly.

And I love it.

And you go on:

” – Yikes! It’s already Wednesday!”

SLAM. Alarm clock back on floor. You curl back up on the mattress. Turn back towards me. On your side. Close.

“- I’ll shut up now,” you say, giddy somehow – like you are in love. ” – I guess I’m jus’ happy that I’m finally out of me mom’s apartment. And with ye – with you.”

“Hey … we’re not married, so don’t get too comfy – I might throw you out on the street to starve yet!”

I try to make my reply sound ironic/sarcastic/convincing/tired …

But you couldn’t tire me for the world.

You can’t when I wake you and your own tiredness disappears like some old cob web, because there’s a spring water of life beneath. All that which I don’t have. All that which you just need to remember, even if you started out so badly – … new girl in town.

You’re going to be so great, Carrie. So great. No matter how much your road twists and turns.

My road leads only one way. It feels as inevitable as you right here beside me. I have turned away from you. I look into the dark door to the room that’s going to be yours, where even the moonshine can’t illuminate, but I know it’s there. Like I know you are now lying close, turning the same way as me, perhaps even seeing me a little bit. Because you want to say what you can’t keep, because you are the spring and its water.

And it, like you, are warm and yet cold. Because you are behind that wall forever.

And then you have that last say:

” – I … think now that I’ve had the gurr – the guts to say yes to this crazy apartment-scheme … then it won’t be long until I marry Alan. How about that? If I had the guts to ask him … jus’ like that? How about it?”

There’s no right answer to that. None that I can give. Not even, when your hand nudges my right shoulder a bit, which is just below the sheet:

A friendly touch, and yet also barely hiding that great concern you always feel for others.

But there is no right answer. Only move a bit, reach back with my left hand towards your hand hovering over my right shoulder.

Pat it. Quickly.

Then curl up again.

But at least it was direct. My hand to yours.

Perhaps there is a right road. One that saves me.

But never a right road to find it.

  


Last edited: 3 Jan 2015