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Tuesday, 22 February 2011

Heartache...

I was speaking to a new friend in SL today who pointed me to her blog.  Mariyta is in a group called "Virtual Writers" - a group I joined before I drifted away from SL a few months back.

I touched base again with it last night when I invited members to come over to the SL demo in support of the Libyan people and this morning I thought I would ask in their group IM if anyone had blogs or knew of any interesting blogs I could read.  Mariyta sent me a link to her's.

I loved it.  Lot's of it is really dark.

One piece I read today (I haven't read the longer pieces yet), caught my eye.  It is called Heartache.  I really enjoyed it.  Mariyta told me it was part of a "Dash"- which is when someone in the group suggests a title or theme or a word and then people have a set amount to time to complete a piece on the theme.  Which makes her piece even more remarkable.

Anyway, I liked the piece so much, I wrote a "prequel" - which is better if you read Mariyta's piece first - so go do it HERE and then come back and see what this was all about (well - perhaps not what Mariyta thought - but it pushed me into doing a bit of writing, which i have been finding hard to do of late!)  It is a first draft... so be kind...

Heartache II

All those years ago and in the end, he defeated me.
….
I sat in the waiting area, watching her stand on tiptoe, reaching for the glasses on the top of the display for the customer. This elongated her ankles. Through the misty, stingy blur of my newly fitted contact lenses, my gaze followed the line from her ankle, up through the white, lab coat; the curve of her hip and straight back; her long, shining, conditioned black hair, and fell on her perfect, olive skinned face. I was in love.
She served the customer in her bright, attentive way and then came back over to me.
She stared into my eyes, intensely, and furrowed her brow .
“How are the lenses, Mr Fergusson?”
“Yes, fine Penny. Though my eyes must look like lumps of steak through poking them trying to get the things in!”
She laughed, her white, perfect teeth unselfconsciously and delightfully revealed. My heart jumped at her appreciation of my comment.
“Ok, come into the fitting room and I’ll take a look.”
I followed her in and sat across from her. She told me to place my chin on the little rest and she adjusted the big white machine and flicked off the wall switch beside her.
“Ok Mr Fergusson…”
“Hey, less of the Mr, I’m not much older than you!”
She laughed, this time with a wry smile.
“Ok, Richard…”
She knew this wasn’t my name.
“Richie,” I smiled back.
She leaned forward and stared through the lenses, her face no more than 50cm from mine. I held my breath.
“Look over my left shoulder… Richard.”
I harrumphed my mock disdain at her use of my filed name and flicked my eyes over, conscious of her gaze fixed on my eyes.
She turned the control wheels. I could hear her breathing. There was no other sound in the room. Just her and I, 50cm away from each other; her staring into my eyes.
“Now look over my right shoulder… Richie.”
I could sense her smile behind the big white machine.
Silence, wheel turning, breathing.
The light switched on and burned into my eyes. I pulled back from the beautiful machine.
“No scratches.”
She pushed the machine to the side and stood up.
“Ok, you should go outside and take a walk around for about twenty minutes and then we’ll take them out for the day. You need to build up the time you have them in, slowly.”
She opened the door and walked through.

I walked, dazed through the town. The cool air was a relief on my stinging eyes, though I never noticed. I was buzzing. I had to. I was going to.

“Thankyou, Richie, but I can’t! I’m going out with someone. Do you know Iain Phelps?”
I knew him. He didn’t deserve her.
“Just for a drink. A chat. That’s all.”
She smiled shyly and looked down at her appointments book.
She whispered, “I can’t!”
Her boss, the owner of the practice, came through from the big white machine room with his patient.
“I’m not leaving this desk until you agree to a drink. After work. I’ll meet you. We can go to the “Red Spot.”
“I… I can’t! Iain would…”
“One drink… and I’ll go.” I smiled across the desk at her.
“Penny, when you have finished with Mr Fergusson, could you help Mr Paine choose some frames?” Her boss looked over his half rimmed glasses, hand out, directing the small, hobbling ancient crisp of a man towards her.
She looked up and the smile flicked quickly to a sober, officious look.
“Yes, I will. Mr Fergusson is just about done.”
I whispered over to her, “I’m not going until you agree!”
She bent down to her appointment book.
“I can fit you in next Tuesday for a follow up…”
“I’m not going until…” I almost hissed.
Her eyes met mine.
“OK. One drink.”

We met secretly every other night for the next fortnight. She had to build up the courage to quit Phelps. She said she owed him a meeting. She had been with him for two years, but she said they both knew it was coming to an end. Exactly two weeks after asking her out she phoned me to come and collect her from outside his house.
When I pulled up in the car, she was crying. I opened the passenger door and she climbed in. She stared straight ahead and sniffed away her tears. I drove on. We drove for an hour long two minutes.
“Stop the car.”
I pulled over into a parking space beside the KFC. I looked down.  She took off her Claddagh ring, turned it around, slipped it on again and leaned over to me and I knew. She was mine.

About a week later we were sitting in her living room. I was wrapped up in her. She made me warm. I walked, cockerel proud to be with her. She made me happy. I wanted to make her happy.
The first strange thing was the phone call. She looked shocked and signalled to me. I knew it was Phelps.
“Why, Iain?... no… oh Iain, don’t. Please.” She started to sob and clicked her phone off.
“What is it? What is he up to?”
She walked over to the window and pulled the curtain back.
“Oh god…”
I looked over her shoulder. The small scrub of a garden was awash with colour. And then I realised what it was. It was absolutely chock-a-bloc with stuffed toys! Toys of all colours and type; giraffes, lions, teddies, hundreds of teddies and horses and monkeys... he must have paid a fortune for them!
“That’s just mental… I thought he was ok about it?”
“He has been phoning me. Telling me he needs me.”
I was panicking. What if she wants him now? This is either the most romantic thing I have ever seen or the creepiest.
She looked at me and must have saw the worry and pulled me close.
“Don’t worry, Rich. It’s over.”
The next day I gathered all of the toys up into black bags and took them to a charity shop. All I could think of was the desperate waste of the guy’s money. I actually felt sorry for him. She was beautiful and wonderful and worth fighting for, I suppose, but he must know it is over?

The next time I saw him, I didn’t feel as sorry for him.
We were in the “Red Spot” to watch a band. It had been a good night – the place was packed and the beer was flowing, the band where dirty. We had been sitting with some of my mates laughing and dancing to the odd familiar tune. Penny recognised a friend at the other side of the bar and went off to speak to her. I went off to the toilet.
When I came back, one of my mates signalled towards the bar. Penny was sitting on a bar stool and Phelps was shouting into her tearstained face.
I pushed through the crowd and just as I got to them, he turned round to me. I thought he was going to hit me. He looked wild. I looked at Penny. Her head was in her hands. He pointed at me and said something. I reacted instinctively.
I went for him.
We fell awkwardly against the bar, spilling beers and knocking against the shouting mass of people. He grabbed my shirt and I couldn’t get a swing at him. I felt as someone grabbed me, separating us. I wanted to hurt him. He just looked frightened.
The bouncer held me back and told me we would wait until Phelps had gone before I would be turfed out. Penny waited with me, holding on to me, sobbing in to my shirt.

The taxi pulled up outside her house.
“Oh no.”
“What’s wrong?”
“The light’s on.”
“And?”
“He has a key.”
“Fuck. I’ll kill him.”
“No – I’ll go in first. I’ll get him to go. Wait here.”
“Meter’s on, mate!”
“No problem, we’ll pay.”

I waited for about fifteen minutes. The Taxi Driver said if it was his girlfriend and her ex, he would be through that window. I paid him and went to the front door.
It was slightly opened, so I pushed it and walked in.
Penny was sitting opposite him, looking concerned. He was crying.
Pathetic.
To think I had felt sorry for him.
Then I noticed the walls… the blood. The broken mirror and glass pictures, blooded. I looked to him. His hands were dripping in blood. I looked to Penny. She was clean… it was his blood. I looked to the walls again. He had written I heart you in his blood. He had smashed the pictures and mirror with his fists. This was the last straw.
“You fucking bastard!”
I grabbed him by the collar. Penny jumped up.
“Richie, don’t!”
“I have to, Penny. This has to stop!”
I dragged him to the front door and down the short path to the main road. Penny didn’t follow.
I bent down and grabbed him by the front of his shirt.
“Look you fucking creep. It is over. She is with me now. Stop embarrassing yourself!”
His face twisted and contorted and he spat, “It isn’t over you stupid shit!”
I pulled him to his feet and still holding him, I pushed him back against the wall of next doors garden.
“If you annoy her again I’ll rip your fucking…”
He slipped from my grasp and ran towards the house. I made a grab for him and tripped. He ran into the house and the door slammed.
I ran to the door and shouted for Penny to let me in. I could hear shouting and screaming. He was begging her not to leave him.
“Let me in Penny!”
“Wait, Richie, wait!”
The shouting died down. I could hear mumbling and shuffling about.

The door opens and he is sitting on the settee staring at the wall ahead.
“It’s ok, Rich, he is going to go.”
I stare at him, rigid with anger.
He get’s up and walks towards me. He stops in front of me.
Penny comes over and wraps her hand around mine.
He looks down at our enlaced hands and looks up at me, sadly, and says softly, “I find it ironic that the hand she is using to hold you back from thumping me is the hand with the Claddagh ring I bought her.”

The psycho walks out and I never saw him again.

We only had one more incident, but through her email account. He wrote,

“Penny
I love you and always will. I do need you. I won’t mess up again. Hopefully see you soon.
Iain”

Friends say he was never the same again. She said he must have had the cancer while they were together. She said he had said, in the house, when I was in the taxi, that he was dying, but she hadn’t believed him.

How could she have been so callous? She kept asking…

I couldn’t compete with a dead lover.

After the funeral, she started to make excuses and I knew.

He had won.

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