1-9) Greener Pastures

07-12-18_8-40-23 AM
Viktoria was awoken by rays of sun on her face, shining through the trees, causing patterns to dance across the blanket of the bed, the floor, wall and ceiling.
She stretched under the blanket and smiled drowsily, when she realized Blaine should be next to her, but wasn’t.
Within seconds she was out of bed and by the door. As she opened it and stepped into the living area of the cabin, she heard the TV was on and saw the outline of a human on the couch in front of it, asleep under several blankets.
Typical Blaine, he often fell asleep with the TV on. She tip-toed over and turned it off, before sneaking to the kitchen to make coffee, careful to be quiet. While waiting for the coffee maker to finish, she noticed her cell phone on the counter. Strange. She was meticulous about always having her cell phone with her and always had it on the nightstand when going to bed. Kids, work, other emergencies. She could have sworn she did the same routine last night, but it was a weird day, so who knows. She clicked it on. Two missed calls and two voice mails. *sigh* Figures.
It had to wait. Coffee first. If it was something with the kids, Ezio would handle. He was closer. She poured the coffee, then went to sit on the porch to watch the rest of the sunrise.
Half way through her coffee she decided to listen to the messages.
The caller ID listed it as “UNKNOWN CALLER”. Strange.
She typed in her passcode and finally the announcement gave way to the actual message.
“Hey babygirl, yeah, it’s me, Blaine. Wondering why I am leaving you messages when I am right there with you? I’ll get to that. First of all, I opted for a voicemail over a letter because I could already hear you complain about my terrible penmanship and all the spelling and grammar errors. Plus, we’re modern people, right. Ha ha ha. Oh, and yes, you did have your phone up on the nightstand like you always do. I took it. Mystery solved. Do I know you, or what? Ha ha ha
Well, I do not know how much time they give you for leaving voice mails, and there is so much I want to say, but I doubt I could get it all out without crying like a big ol’ baby, so let me just say that I want to thank you for the most wonderful day of my life. Actually, all great days I have had were with you. But this one was particularily special. For so many reasons. One day, were you were just mine, all mine. 24 full hours with you. It was the best day I ever had. After you fell asleep I relived my life in my head, every little detail. All those little things we did together. Do you remember when we first met? Not in school. Before that. We actually met as toddlers. I remember. I was in foster care and my foster mother dropped me off at the same daycare you were at. I had never been to daycare and hated it. Until you came over with your damned dolls and insisted I play with you. You ended up winning and we played every day after. Until my birth mother regained custody and no more daycare for Blaine.
I hated school too. The entire year I started before you were old enough I hated it. Kids were mean to me, because my clothes were old, broken and always dirty and I stunk. I never had food or money to buy any. And I just didn’t understand anything they were trying to teach. And then you came to our school. Your first full day you broke up a fight I got into and yelled at three bigger boys to leave me alone. Few years later I was in your class, since I had to repeat a year. We were inseparable then. When we were teens I so much wanted to be your boyfriend, but even then I knew I would mess it up and was just not good enough for you. But man did I want to. And when you met and married that loser, your first husband, I never told you but when you found out what he had done, I found him, that same night after you cried yourself to sleep in my arms and I messed that sucker up bad! I knew you would not like it, but it sure made me feel better.
You often gave me hell for being so reckless, so careless. Honestly, it was a mask I started wearing as a child. It just all hurt less that way. And eventually, if you wear a mask for so long, you forget who you were without it. You were the only one who knows what’s beneath that mask.
You once asked me about regrets. I really do not have any. You know, carefree Blaine. Except one. That night we spent together in your apartment when you had broken up with Ezio. I lost you to him before and I should have tried harder to make you mine, do better than just trying to win you over with drunken sex, but I did not know how. And I was so afraid that I would end up hurting you. Had I made my move, the right move, then, maybe we could have lived that little fantasy we spun up last night …”
The message was interrupted as he had run out of time. How painfully ironic in his current situation.
The announment went through its spiel for the second message.
“Oops, sorry, me again. Guess now we know how much time. Well, long story short. I am so grateful for yesterday. So grateful that I had you in my life. I would not have been here as long as I was had it not been for you and in part for your mother. But now it is time for me to go. Don’t worry, I am not using that injection, but I can tell that I likely won’t wake again if I go to sleep. Trust me I am so very tired, but needed to get this out first, while I can. I have been puking all night, for – let’s see – 4 hours straight now, but this time it’s only blood. Something is not right. It hurts bad. But I don’t want to see you cry. I want my last image to be you, asleep in my arms as the moonlight falls in through the window. I want to close my eyes forever and go to that place where you and I are married, where we raise little Vivian and Spunky .. sorry, not Spunky but whatever that darn dog’s name was again, runs around happily. I want to fall asleep every night of my life holding you in my arms, like last night, after being silly like teenagers all day long. My days will now be filled with laughter, happiness and YOU. No more pain, no more bad things. Tell my children I love them and miss them and to not repeat their father’s mistakes. I love you, babygirl. I always have and always will. And maybe one day, you will join me wherever I go next. A long, long, LONG time from now after you have lived out your days to the fullest. Oh, and tell Ezio ‘thank you’ from me. Makes this a little easier to know at least you have him and he is good to you. I have to end this now, I feel another puking session coming on, and after that one I am going to sleep. Remember me, babygirl, but in the best way you can.”
Viktoria put down her hand with the phone in it, the announcement babbling requesting some action. She was stunned, shocked, tears ran down her face. She just knew that the form under the blankets on the couch over there was no longer her Blaine, but just an empty shell. She walked over to him regardless, and one look told her that he was right. His face had an odd color, lips had a blueish cast, the skin looked waxy. He had not made it. She reached out her hand to stroke his cheek, but shuddered at how cold it felt.
*
“Goddammit, goddammit GODAMMIT! I knew it!!” Ezio pressed between his teeth while breaking the speed limit. He had just sat down at his desk in his home office to go over some weekend work when his phone rang. As he saw Viktoria’s number, a lump formed in his throat. As soon as he answered, he knew. Her voice was cracking, her words incoherent and she kept breaking down to cry. There was commotion in the background, presumably emergency services. He just grabbed his jacket and drove straight to her.
*
Viktoria was pale and quiet as Ezio lead her to the couch and had her sit down. Her eyes were reddened and swollen. The emergency doctor had given her some sedative, making her loopy. Ezio tried to get her to lay down, but she refused. So he sat next to her and held her for what seemed hours. Neither of them spoke. For him, there were no words that could console her. For her, there was probably a mess in her head that needed time to be sorted out.
*
Weeks had passed since Blaine’s demise. Slowly, everything began to return to a more normal routine. Viktoria was back at work, after taking some personal time. To most people she seemed her normal self, but Ezio could not be fooled. She had taken a big hit when losing her friend. She was still the loving wife and doting mother, excellent manager at work and fantastic hostess for dinner parties she had always been. But it really did seem like a piece of her was missing.

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