Eddie kept quiet the all afternoon, driving through storms of rain and hail, wind blown in like a sucker punch, and lightning thick as a hound dog’s fleas. He had nothing to say for once, his thoughts were full of Gummy now, of all that she still meant to him, of how he’d treated her way back when, and what she’d finally said to him the night that she lay dying. She didn’t seem to remember his name, which came as a shock to Eddie. He figured she wouldn’t want to go to her grave without the chance to forgive him, even twenty years after the fact. He’d traveled two thousand miles to see her, and she couldn’t even think what for. He figured it must be the cancer that did it, having eaten so much of her already, it must have affected her mind, as well, though she seemed as sharp as ever, but about such things, he'd told himself, one can never tell.
He’d suffered her to hear the story of their abortive courtship -- though she’d kept asking him what for -- and of how he regretted what he’d done, loving and leaving her like that, and how he’d never forgotten her and had followed her life as best he could -- she said she couldn’t imagine why -- which is how he knew of her illness.
He told her how happy he was that she’d gotten on with her life without him, even after her family was ruined, and he dimly remembered how she’d asked him, what did he expect. He told her how hard it was for him to get on with his own life, how he’d been consumed with guilt and remorse, and how he’d married this strange woman who had no idea who she was, maybe just to admonish himself for what he’d done to her, and he wished he could pull himself together and find his way again. And she, with what little strength she had, perhaps she had even smiled upon him. He dimly recollected she had, but so unmindful was he at the time for being so wrapped up in himself, that he hadn’t really noticed.
What she’d said to him after that was what he might have expected to hear from any woman who had some pride, so he hadn’t paid much attention to it. But it all began to come back to him about the time the hail stones hit, when he’d had to pull off the road awhile to wait for the storm to pass.
I’m sorry for how you’ve suffered, she’d said, but it’s taken so much of my energy just to hear you out, so you really will have to excuse me now because I’d like to get some rest.
He’d sat there watching her slip away, hoping she’d say something more, but there wasn’t anything else to say and finally the nurse came into the room and told him he would have to leave, as her family was at the door.
As he sat out there in the middle of nowhere, wrapped in the comfort of his Cadillac car, the two little words she’d used just before she’d excused herself, the ones she’d been trying to make him hear from well beyond the grave for years, penetrated his conscious mind.
That was what she’d said to him, after he’d finished his tale of woe. Sitting there thinking about it some more, he distinctly remembered she’d spoken those words, muttered them under her breath perhaps, as if he weren’t intended to hear them, but they were the words she’d said alright, even if he had ignored them for years, for wont of them being what he wanted to hear. He turned them over again in his mind, until it began to dawn on him how she saw their situation, and imagine what she might have said if she’d had the strength to do it.
You thought I was in love with you and suffered all these years? If only you had known, but then you weren’t supposed to know. My family was going down the tubes, and I was out bagging a rich boy, and making sure what you saw of me was just what you wanted to see. But one thing I had to be certain of. I had to know you in the Biblical way to see if your Biblical principles would get in the way of a normal life. That night we got carried away I knew what I was doing. And sure enough, when you were through you upped and showered away the filth, robbing me of my afterglow, and that was the last I saw of you. I’ll bet you were shocked as hell that I knew what to do with you and up until that very night you’d thought I was a virgin, and you would be the only one. So get over it already, Eddie. You were the one who was dumped, not me.
And then he burst out laughing at himself in a way he hadn’t laughed in years. He spun it over and over again in all its permutations, all the way to Bakersfield. So when he found the cafe there, offering ten dollar porterhouse steaks along with a tank of gas, he said to himself, I’ll have me one, barely seared on either side and slathered with butter and pepper sauce. He entered through the double doors, opening one just wide enough to let himself slip through, and there in the back of the room at the counter, looking a bit the worse for wear, with pad and pencil working, was the lady with the Lapis Lazuli eyes.
Causes Tim Chambers Supports
Occupy Wall Street