The yellow Watermelon
Everyday, you people do not notice, but I… I see shades of black and grey. And, as a kid, I got teased, beaten to the ground, for being only to see dark. What colour am I? What colour do you see? All of them, they all use to ask. Black, the world is black in my eyes, and it is all I ever seen. Teachers all humiliated me and hit me with a ruler when they asked me about colour. Green I would say when it was blue, and red when green, everybody in class use to laugh. It took me a while to figure out that colour does exist. I think once, my parents noticed I was different, brought in a doctor and all, but he said I was fine. He said that I was just looking for attention. Horseshit attention, I’d rather be looking for horseshit. I was always a quite kid, but that does not mean I was attention seeking, so nothing was done. Eventually, it stopped bothering me. Eventually was a long time though, but it happened. Jess came in my life, at twenty-three, and made me feel it, a bright God damn yellow painted on my canvas. Now I laugh because I appreciate that one colour, you see every colour and take it for granted, you really shouldn’t. To me that one colour is a smell, a perfume, an emotion, sometimes a beautiful memory, but it does exist. I had a dark and gloomy youth. But I became a man, and now the stars shine a bright God damn yellow. And, as a man I have seen it, her smell, and her perfume: my yellow watermelon. God my Jess, you made me see yellow. I do not know how, but you did it. The colour is bright and beautiful only because it is sparked by emotions towards you. I just have to see you. Send me a smile, over there from that fading moon…God damn stars, you left me alone with a yellow to always remind me of you, and never to forget…Oh well, never mind. Thank you my lovely, cheers… I sigh, goodbye, but only for now and today.
I awake on the beach, an empty wine bottle stuck between the sand and its narrow tip sticking up, pressing up into my leg. My back lying against a palm tree, my paining head tortures from a headache, and it all leaves me stupidly wondering: why did you get so drunk, old man? But awakening to the calm waves relaxes me, slowly yesterday’s memories start easing to mind.
“Jess”, I softly say with a confused expression, “did it all happen?”
Pain, and no other feeling, hits me as Jess enters my mind. My wrinkly stained army uniform, the sand in my boots, all yesterday night did not bother me and today furthering my current paining feeling. Still, I am presentable because my face is smoothly shaven enough for a girl to kiss me. Uneasily I stand up, recalling going to the wine cellar yesterday morning.
“What a rough day”. I head towards the house with wonder where she could be.
The bad feeling stays, almost trying to make me remember, and my body begins to stiff if seizing into a bad reaction. Ignoring it, I keep heading through the back patio and open the sliding door. The house walls even seem like they are trying to pain me or laugh at me, either way it’s not a good feeling to have.
“No, it…it couldn’t,” saying while I smell a vague rotting smell making my way up the stairs, exhaling breaths quietly but heavily.
But a memory hits me. She was to pick me up from the airport yesterday, she knew from my letters. I thought nothing of it at first, maybe she thought it was for a different day, or time. But I was expecting her running to me, dropping my suitcases, as she jumped into my arms, giving me kisses upon my lips, while barely making it out of the cab. Jess, you should have been waiting at that God damn airport for me. What the hell happened? Where is she? Each step I take upstairs I somewhat recall from yesterday, as if a bad reoccurrence. Yesterday, the house door was slightly open before I got in, and somehow strong senses urged my mind that something was wrong. But slowly, I looked through each room on the ground floor, hearing only the sound of my footsteps and my unsteady quiet breaths. So, I headed upstairs staring at the closed bedroom door as I approached it, feeling uneasy.
“Please, no. God,” I softly whisper to myself hoping that yesterday’s wine created a false remembrance.
Each move I make now I remember being made. Creakingly, I open the bedroom door, the corner of my eye first gains sight of the gleaming yellow sun shinning through the window, focusing at a vase with yellow tulips sitting on the ledge.
“I brought those for her”.
The rotting stench becomes stronger, the longer I stay, and surrounds the room. Rotting bodies from the war I just came from come to mind. Old man, you know she could not have been dead for long. You should have got here sooner, stupid old man. Closing the door behind me, my eyes begin to tear, and I lean back against the door, sliding to the ground.
“Jessica! Jess why?” I say with trembling eyes.
You failed her, old man. I sigh…This is what I get for coming home after serving my country. The time at war after a while seemed pointless, and I forgot why I joined in the first place, I feel just as lost and confused now. God, idiot I am, I should have stayed to protect her. What the hell happened here Jess? My tears get wiped on the sleeve of my uniform and I get up, heading towards the kitchen. Grabbing a knife from the counter, carefully I cut off a piece of sleeve, exposing my bare forearm. I notice the scratches and bruises from walking in the trenches did not yet heal. I go to the living room, sit around the dinning table, and grab a pen to write on my forearm: JESS IS DEAD, with a stabbing pain of the pen on the word dead to make me feel it. Jess is dead, and I will remember it for tomorrow, unless I am still completely drunk. My feet get impatient in the chair and quickly start tapping the floor, my left foot slides and I hear a rustle. I look underneath the table and find a paper and pick it up. It is a letter that she started writing to me, her last one probably. It doesn’t make sense to me, why didn’t she send this, why on the floor? What the fuck happened Jess? Anyways, I fight off my urges for pointless pondering and read:
May 1, 1945. James...
From reading my name three times from the beginning of the sentence, I know I am not ready to know what she has to say, at least not for now. God, what the fuck? I let out a depressing sigh .Another day, another drink, another buzz. Another high found in the bottle, a God damn drunk. Until I want to be sober I will read this. I open the drawer in the table, all the letters I wrote her I find she kept here, and I place her letter in with all of mine.
“I need a drink.” Getting up, I head to the wine cellar.
Barolo Fontanafredda, a distinguished tasting red wine that tastes smooth with a cigarette. Unfortunately I quit smoking for Jess and threw out all my packs, but it does seem like a good time to start again. I unravel the aluminum wrapping around the bottle and bury my teeth hard into the soft wooden cork, yanking it from the bottle. It gets loosened from the grip of my teeth and falls to the floor.
“Cheers to the dead man who killed Jess,” I say feeling that I will know what happened here eventually. I consume a large portion of wine and shoot my emotions, “Cheers to me and my Jess. I was unsure, but the feeling of the war, the tiredness, of living my uncertainty alone, my…the grasp of what I want or lack of it, when all I needed was you. God, here is this truth: my cheer goes to you…” Pausing, I think of continuing my sentence but seize; instead, taking another sip from the bottle, a spill stains my rugged shirt, “…For never seeing God damn colour…And then, here comes my Jess dressing me in yellow, I will thank you for her. But now…but God damn now…now taking her from me, and everyday reminding me of my lonesome with your fucking yellow…well thank you! For taking everything! Everything I ever needed to be sane and normal! The making of a mad man or a man that is already mad. A mad man, I’d rather be a dead man. So, my thanks go to you my God… However, and all…To you, my Jess…” Pausing to take another sip, I close my eyes and see Jess when she was alive. She is smiling, smiling at the very thought of me or smiling because I’ m not, but she is always there, reminding me to smile. “I will do everything until the world becomes a place where we could have been together, just me and my Jess-anything and everything.”
Bringing back the wine bottle down from my mouth, I sigh and Jess disappears from my mind. I open my eyes and realize that I am standing alone in a dark wine cellar. Heading outside to clear my head, or get drunk with the irritating damn yellow sun, I take heavy sips from the bottle. I grab a lawn chair to sit down on and position myself facing the landscape. We spent a couple times absorbing the scenic views of the ocean drinking this wine. The sun gleams at my eyes but slowly moves towards the horizon, sometimes a beautiful yellow and sometimes irritating as a bastard. But, I keep sitting and drinking as time passes by, and slowly my eyes grow weary of the day, it allows for the wine to pass through, and I fall sleep.
Screams and laugher awakes me, the neighbours have a little girl. She is building a sand castle with her friends joyfully, but more intriguingly her blond hair, pale grey eyes, and those freckles on her cheeks reminds me of Jess. Goldie, her name could be Goldie because of her beautiful yellow curls. I pick up the wine bottle at my side and drink.
“Jess,” saying as I remember her short yellow hair, “It could have been ours… It sho....could have been ours, maybe one day it could’ve”.
I relieve a sigh, burdened by my future alone. Married people, God damn we never got married yet. I envy you, all of them, with a woman they love. But, I hate most of them too, God damn fakes. Why do two people get married that don’t love each other, God damn money is all. They call it financial stability, but I call it bullshit .I spit on it. Money, I grab for the bottle and drink. Money, it does make the world go around. Bullshit you fakes, it does not make two people live together, grow old, happiness. It does not make you see yellow or smell her perfume. Money, never was it a problem for me and my Jess, never. And, it’s not even that we had it, only just enough to get around. We could have lived on our God damn mattress forever, for all we cared, broke. No fake friends. God damn, that is the thing about being a man though, you always want to give her everything. Sometimes, you can’t because you want to be strong for her, you can’t always tell her things. I grab for the bottle to finish it and stop thinking of it all. Feeling the lateness of the day, I decide to go to the kitchen to make a sandwich. I eat it quickly and grab for another bottle from the wine cellar, before I go to sleep. Or, maybe I will pass out. Or, maybe if I feel like it, I will just die a little for a while. Drinking on my way back to the patio, I see that the girl is still playing outside with other kids, throwing a ball around.
“See, you see, you bastards, it is things like this that make the world go around, fun, joy-even if it is for a moment or longer, God damn smiles”.
I grab the wine bottle and head toward the beach, undoing three buttons under my collar. I lean against a palm tree and notice that the little girl glances back at me with a smile, she goes inside the house with her friends.
“Goodbye Goldie,” I softly whisper to myself.
When my eyes see her go, one sip goes down like two, and by my sixth the bottle is empty.
“The bottle is empty, bloody mother,” I say looking at the calm water and letting the bottle slip through my fingers and onto the sand.
The neighbour’s house lights are off, leaving me feeling alone. Its dark and getting late, I daze off as my head starts spinning and the yellow stars glare at me, trying to protect the moon, so nobody sees it, or swears upon it.
“Bloody mother moon,” saying while my eyes slowly close, falling asleep.
The wind hits the waves hard giving off a mist wetting my face, and awakening my eyes. Slowly rising, the sun annoys my eyes with its God damn yellow glares. I lean forward with my feet and hands on the sand. Feeling a terrible ache in my stomach and sensing uneasiness, I vomit. My hands touch the ground far apart from my torso so I don’t get my uniform soiled. The uneasiness passes but my curious eyes glimpse at my exposed forearm, I see something written: JESS IS DEAD.
“Oh God… It… It is true.” My head recollects what happened, and my head begins to pain.
I remember the hangover from the day before, and it hurts less. I crawl on my feet and arms to the patio, letting the dull gray sand slip in between my fingers. Slowly, when I get to the steps, I stand up. Never would I think to get drunk so early in the morning, but what the hell-I’m a going to celebrate being alive from the war, bloody Nazis. I walk to the wine cellar to pick up a bottle, and lay down on the cold cement floor, my back against the wine rack. I don’t eat, only God damn time passes but not to erase my memories, and Jess is dead. My body numbs but my lips keep thirsting, bottle after bottle passes. I pass out, not feeling the length of the day, with an unfinished bottle by my side.
“What bloody… What time is it Jess? No wait… a bloody hell.” My speech slurs as I awake, finding my face lying on the cold cement floor, drooling, with my feet awkwardly positioned behind me. I get up, feeling less numb as I stretch my legs. Taking my unfinished bottle left from before, I go to the living room. I look out through the window, noticing it is already starting to darken outside.
“Huh.” I laugh a stupid laugh, thinking of something I can do.
I go to the garage and see my black Ford Fairlane in the way. God damn, she took care of it nice, cleaning it and all. She took good care of me to, when she was. A depressed feeling hits me, but I get in the car seat anyways, drunk and depressed. I notice the keys are already in the holder, and I drive out to the driveway, taking out rope from the trunk. I go back inside the garage, turning on the light, and closing the door so only the yellow shines the room. God damn yellow light, I loved you and I still don’t. There is an open beam supporting the garage and a bucket sitting on the corner. I bring the bucket under the beam and make a loop with a knot around the rope, tying the other end of the rope to the beam.
“I’m running to you, as fast as I can, but I’m still running, tired as hell and all.” I chug back from the bottle.
I climb the bucket, place the loop around my neck, and remember the first time we met. I place the remainder of the slack behind me. It feels long as it crawls down my spine. Now with only the bottle in my right hand, I decide to die.
“What a yellow September.” Images of that dress she use to wear when we started dating, yellow…God, I miss her yellow. It was like being introduced to curiosity all over again and again, and again, when I first had her, and only for me.
Slowly my breaths relax and my mind creates senses of her smell, watermelon. My eyes close and I chug the rest of the wine, thinking about her when she use to awake me in the morning, giving me a smile and something to feel. My grip on the bottle gets released, falling to the floor making an irritating echo in the garage.
“Goodbye, for now, today, and tomorrow,” I say.
I jump without fear. Tripping; the bucket falls sideways rolling away.
“Stupid old man your twenty eight years old. Do it right stupid old man…”my words fade quietly as I remember when my father use to humiliate me by calling me an old man. His damn voice calling me, his damn voice, and that anger he had for me. I was a kid. That is so stupid to think, what a moron he is, or was. I was a kid, a God damn kid, not a stupid old man, not even ten. Anytime, anytime I did not come quickly enough to his command, he would call me as a child, a stupid old man. I’m not asking for sympathy, hell maybe I am, but a God damn kid. I helped him, did my best on that God damn farm, my God damn best to make him proud. But, he was only proud of that God damn farm, and never of me. He then started calling me colour, after the doctor came in and said I was seeking attention, to further insult me. But most of the time, he called me a stupid old man. Ever since, old man got stuck in my head, this damn voice, it is his damn voice. But I wonder why he doesn’t call me colour, colour it would not be so bad I guess. Oh well, what the hell. But, this is a way to always remember him, he would be so proud. Now, he does not even have to be here to humiliate me. Thank God, at least he is dead now…Never mind.
“Damn but you just can’t do it right can you.” Sympathy comes over me and tears stream down my face. But quickly the tears end. Stupid old man, stupid old man, who are you, a stupid old man? Mad man, and now alone with only one thought in your head: die, die, and die once more. One word screeching in threes to make you believe you can.
“No! Do it right stupid old man,” my relax breaths turn violent as I speak again and all sympathy is dead. “Do it, don’t be as stupid as your father use to call you. Come on stupid old man, prove me wrong.”
Unknowingly I never noticed how long the slack was and the ropes long length just dropped me to the ground. I release the loop from my neck and inspect it too make sure it is short enough. The pattern creates an illusion in my mind, making my head spin, but I concentrate hard on the rope. It slips from my fingers and I laugh a little, not knowing why. There is a little cut in the rope but I think it should hold well enough. Unloosing the knot from the beam, I make the distance of the rope shorter between the beam and floor.
Placing the bucket under the beam to stand up on it again, I place my head inside the loop.
I jump without hesitation.
Gasp, my neck does not break and I struggle to die. Words don’t come to mind, just concentration: a part of my body wants to stay alive and stupidly stiffens my neck. I could hear Jess yelling at me for this but I just have to see her. I have to just see that yellow hair, she can yell at me when I see her. Dangling slightly back and forth accidently makes me kick the bucket, it rolls away. My eyes close.
“James”, a soft voice says in my head.
I feel a drop, my eyes open unwillingly, and I see sweat dripping to the floor, probably coming from my forehead. No old man, you had your chance, you have to die. Why won’t I give in? God damn give up! How will your life be with just yourself, a stupid old man? She was the curiosity in my world and now I have nothing left to discover…Except…Except, what the fuck happened to her. God damn, stop struggling, let me just die without this living pain. Yes old man, just leave! Forget your revenge on this world. Forget your mark! Leave because she loves you, old man, you just have to see her. Just die! James, no!
“A…h… h….h,” gurgles come from my mouth as I try to scream.
I feel dropped again, not noticing what it was because I faint at the same time, feeling coldness and hardness.
Awake! Wake up! James you have to get up.
Waking up, I feel a lot of pain on the right side of my head and it does not feel like the pain from a hangover.
“Stupid old man,” I say bringing my hand to touch where the pain is, I feel a bump.
I get up, not knowing how long I was out for, and take the rope off my neck. My hand reaches for my neck, feeling a rough deep mark where the rope strangled me, probably bruising it to. While inspecting the rope I notice that it got torn somewhere in the middle, it looks like the small cut gave in and broke the whole rope. I sigh, feeling stressed that the rope did not kill me.
“Oh well, what the hell. I guess I’ll make my mark on this world… But first, one more day,” I say staring at the rope with doubt, “Just one more day with her and then I will be ready”.
I go to the kitchen, seeing that it is morning again, and eat a bowl of cornflakes.
“Huh, it is another day and I’m still alive,” I say starting to feel better that I lived to see her for another day, and suddenly the yellow sun beams through the kitchen windows, irritating my eyes.
“Damn sun,” saying as I put my hands out, trying to cover the suns yellow glares from my eyes.
Finishing the cereal, I look over to the counter and see a cigarette lighter. I pick it up and place it in my pocket. But I pause and momentary wonder: Jess does not smoke… but it could have been mine from before. I decide to head outside, but first I go to the wine cellar to take out a bottle. As I head for outside, I see a little girl out standing at the patio knocking the sliding door glass, Goldie. Placing the bottle inside the house, behind the couch so she does not see, I open the door.
“Well, hello there. What a beautiful yellow dress you have,” I say kindly leaning slightly down to her level, “Why what kind of name does a pretty little girl like you have?”
She is holding her arms together behind her back, looking shy. Her short yellow hair is worn as I remember Jess’s use to be, leaving the front of her hair out to the sides and the back in a pigtail.
“I have something for you mister,” she says handing me a yellow tulip.
“Why, thank you,” I say taking it from her, “but what is your name so I can thank you properly? I don’t want to keep calling you a little girl… I mean, I don’t want to offend a grown-up girl like you.”
“I got to go now… I think my mother is calling me,” She seems nervous and starts running home.
“I’ll call you Goldie,” I yell out to her.
She stops running and looks at my eyes and says, “That is a pretty name.” And, she starts running again.
I glimpse at the yellow tulip in my hand, it looks fresh and smells beautiful. The colour, I can see it, but how would she know about my yellow, almost seems she does.
I yell out, “Well thank you,” before she gets inside her house.
A warm feeling stays with me as I stare at the yellow tulip. But then I am faced with being alone and the suns stupid yellow glares become irritable, and so my feeling dies. I go back inside the house, and pick up the wine bottle in my hand. I walk back outside, over to sit on the patio chair. The suns rays become hot and annoying. I glare back at it, trying not to look away or tear. I stop with a defeated feeling and look down at the deck.
“This is the lowest point in my God damn life. Goldie, even that beautiful little girl can’t tell me her name. Why would she?” Look at you, weeping, stupid old man James.
I put down the tulip on the deck to run my fingers through my oily yellow hair, and I move my fingers down from my hair to my beard. My beard was once perfectly cut and now it feels rough and probably embarrassing to any woman. I take a deep sigh and absorb the scenic view.
“James, I will wait for you until you come home” she once said and now her voice echoes in the front of my mind, “James, come home.”
If I never left she would never have waited and this would never have happened. I open the wine bottle with my teeth and my first few sips go down fast.
“Until you get back,” I whisper her words wishing they came from her own voice and drink some more.
“Well I got back Jess, but you are not. You are not, not here… Damn.” My fists clench, my hand and teeth follow.
“God damn,” I say quietly.
The ocean daunts at me with its calmness for ever leaving the scenic experiences I and Jess shared with it. I take more chugs from the bottle and recall Jess before I left to the war. Two months before I had to go overseas to fight off the Germans, I bought the house for us, putting everything under her name: a Californian dream house on the ocean view. After I finished the war, I would propose and we could start a family, a God damn normal family. Some dream. Some dream, maybe it would never have happened. God damn, I know she couldn’t get pregnant, but maybe one day she could of, who knows. I don’t care about that too much. We could have been a family, just me and my Jess. I don’t care about having a child with her, just her. I could live without a child, but not her. She hated herself for it though, no matter how much I told her I loved her. I would do anything to have a child with her, anything, just to see her smile because of me. Oh well, what the hell, some dream. I guess it doesn’t matter no more, maybe it does. Never mind it all.
“God,” I say putting down the wine to place my hands over my face, relaxing my nerves.
The calm waves make my eyes close and the images of her still laying in bed haunt my mind: murder, a beautiful God damn murder. I absorb more from the bottle and feel its buzz kicking in. The passion I had for her, the blood I shed, it kept me going. What should I have now, revenge or vengeance? All feeling in my body reminds me of her love and I open my eyes, I decide to see her, I just have to see her again. I pick up the wine bottle and the tulip from the floor and go inside. Climbing the stairs, the last sip of the wine bottle goes down my throat and slips out of my hand. It falls down the stairs and shatters when hitting the tiles. I tumble on the last few steps but mange to make it up to the bedroom, she sleeps. Tomorrow and I will never be back.
“Just one more day, just me and my Jess”
I open the bedroom door, and walk over to the vase with the tulip sitting on the window ledge. I place the one Goldie gave me: a perfectly matched yellow. Slowly I go to her bedside and sit. Bringing my hand to stroke her soft yellow hair, I look away trying to concentrate on what might have happened.
“Jess, what did you do? What the…”I resist my urge to swear in front of my Jess. Anyways, it almost seems pointless now to ponder. Soon, soon I will know what happened to my beloved Jess…Even if I have to make the whole God damn world see black and grey.
I look back to see her face and lead my left arm slowly to close her eyes. She kept my favourite picture on the cabinet at her bedside, the day at the carnival. Her dead body faces its direction. She has three gun wounds drenching her dress, the sheets, and small drops of blood that landed on her face and exposed forearms. I go to the washroom to grab a towel, soak it in warm water, and sit back at her bedside. Lifting her hands above her head, I start cleaning up from her fingertips and down to where her sleeve begins. The damn darkness in my eyes makes it hard to separate the blood from her body. But I continue, cleaning both arms and then her face, wiping off the blood stains and make up, exposing her delicate pale grey skin. Stroking her yellow hair, I lean over to smell it. The over powering stench of dead flesh fills my nostrils, but as I lean closer to her hair it’s a familiar smell, watermelon. She loved watermelon, her perfume, shampoo, lip gloss, all flavoured. God damn do I miss her ever. A sudden urge for the fruit fills my tongue. Her dead lips, I kiss and hold till she kisses back. But, her lips once moist now leave mine cold. I slowly lift my head back up and lick my bottom lip. I pose her so her legs are straight, her arms folded, and her face staring up.
“Those tulips,” I say turning to the window.
I walk slowly to pick up the tulips sitting in a vase on the window ledge. My eyes tremble as I walk back and place the flowers into her hands.
“There, those were for you, my Jess,” saying as I slowly kiss her forehead.
I decide to lay with her, blood from the sheets drenches my once perfectly dressed army uniform, and I hold her arms. Laying my head on her collarbone, it feels comfortable, and I gaze at the tulips held in her arms. I begin crying until I can not any longer. I fall asleep awaking at times through out the day. But this is where I want to be, so I keep sleeping holding her arms. The night sky completely darkens the room, and the moon is probably already up. Bloody beautiful moon, sing for her. Jess use to say that, it seemed like the moon could sing. God, she had a beautiful voice. I close my eyes and fall asleep till morning.
I get up slowly and go to the closet, taking out a fresh black suit. Jess’s blood went through the army uniform, staining my flesh. I go to the washroom to take a shower, change from the drenched uniform into a freshly clean black suit. I shave, clip my fingernails. I want Jess to see me now before I leave. The first day I realized she was dead I placed those tulips on the window ledge and walked out, not being able to take it. I was lost, tired from the war, and needed her healing hands. Not this, I was unprepared for this bullshit.
“There Jess, I came home perfectly safe like you wanted,” I say staring upon her laying body and slowly make my way to kiss her hair. The yellow watermelon, my Jess.
I go downstairs. No more weeping, no more pain, just the truth, old man. There are two riffles and four pistols I keep underneath my garage. I take them all and put them in my black Fairlane parked in the drive way. I have a need to see her, just once more, again. A God damn need to fulfill this bitter feeling. It creates a hybrid, a war in my mind between peace, frustration, and seeing her again. Not dead, but in my arms smiling. I go back inside to the garage and each thought of her lying there, I kick the drywall hard and keep kicking until it breaks and I am left kicking the cement wall. A different pain occupies me. A better pain, but it still is not bringing her back. I take my leg out of the wall and brush off the dust from my pants with my hands. God damn, she isn’t coming back, I have to find her.
“That kind of hurt…” I say laughing. “Oh well, what the hell…See her one last time… Read the letter…Say goodbye…Leave forever…Then, and then. God damn, if you have to, leave your mark on this world old man, your very own stupid revenge. Then see her, and never let go of her again.”
I slowly limp my way inside through the kitchen and up the stairs, into the room where she is dead. A deep breath releases from my stressed lungs.
I stare at her for a while. “Goodbye my September,” I say. My yellow watermelon, my Jess.
The pain from my foot subsides and I grab to leave for the door. I pause, thinking about the carnival, turn around, and pick up the picture at her bedside. Old man, take her everywhere. Leaving, I put the picture in my underlining jacket pocket and feel ready to read her letter left in the living room. I tuck my seat into the living room table and open the drawer. Picking up all the letters, I place them on the floor, and take the letter on top of the pile in front of me. It is time, even though none of this makes sense to me. No God damn sense at all. But hell, I am sober enough to accept it and all, hopefully. I start reading:
May 1, 1945. James, thank God you are coming home, I missed you terribly: those strong arms, those beautiful blue eyes, your kiss, and everything about you. I have not mentioned this in the other letters, but it is important. Something has happened James, and you probably won’t be happy to hear it. Two years ago I got fired waitressing and I tried my luck as a singer at the City Cabaret. You always said I had a beautiful voice. But, a rough gang owns it, I never new when I joined. And one night, when I was leaving for home, I spotted them doing something, they threatened me, but they promised to leave me alone if I didn’t say anything. I didn’t say anything, but ever since then they have been patrolling the house, I wanted to leave but I needed to wait for you. Listen James, they killed some one and they gave me money, a bribe to keep quiet. I did not want to take it at first, but if I did not, they might think that I would go to the cops. James when you got here I wanted to leave with you, this damn place. I put all the money in the FairLady, but I’m waiting for you to come home. Come home James, I want to marry you, have kids together. And, if we don’t end up having kids, I want you. I want the normal life, the house with the white shutters, and those beautiful yellow tulips that you can see with your beautiful blue eyes. We would have them everywhere in our garden, we would make it the only colour in the world, and it would be perfect .You and I getting old together, loving each other and that is all, everything I need from you James. It’s only a shame we can’t have it here though, but if were together, it does not matter to me. I love you James. Come home.
Underneath, it is signed her name, Jessica Swington. Huh, Fairlady, she use to call the Fairlane that. She always said it was a ladies car, I never understood how, it’s a huge car. God, I miss her though. I release a deep sigh for knowing somewhat of the truth, and place her letter inside my jacket pocket. Taking all the letters I sent her from Germany, I go to the kitchen sink, and stare at them in my hand. They were only meant for her eyes only. The two years I wrote to her of my murders, old, but mostly young, men. Most of them were younger then I, who never killed a man before. God damn, I grew sick of the war, it seemed stupid. Why the fuck would they kill the Jews? And, why the fuck would we, America, get involved? If those God damn Nazis never got greedy and want to take the whole damn world, we wouldn’t care if they were killing Jews. Greedy fuckers, its all I can say. God damn, Jess would still be alive if there was no fucking stupid war. God damn, those letters, they had everything. She knew everything. Everything, the reason I kept fighting, the love… her love that kept me going, and the two years, how I moaned for her touch and all. All of it, I spark with the cigarette lighter from my pocket and drop the burning papers into the sink. I watch wondering if I never should have left, and wanting to know who killed her. And, ever since I saw her turn that brighter shade of grey, I am wishing to kiss her until she turns yellow with life. The letters completely burn and I walk over to the phone. I contemplate whether to call the police, but dial the number anyways.
“Hello…”I tell them calmly and drop the phone, leaving it to hang. It struggles, not knowing weather to make the other phone piece fall with it.
“Hello, hello. Is anybody there?” A woman replies.
Out of rage, I pick up the phone, lift it, and throw it against the wall. It gets pulled from the chord, ripping a small piece of the wall.
No, don’t bring any damn cops, no stupid old man! This revenge will be mine. I decide to leave.
“Wait,” I softly say to myself before leaving the house. This is the way I want to remember her here. I take the picture from my suit jacket and stare. God her smile could make any man feel like he is worth something.
I leave, taking the luggage bags I dropped at the front hallway before I came home.
“Huh, I guess I can’t call it that no more.”
I place the bags in the trunk of the Fairlane and drive, driving 5 miles to a spot I use to go to as a kid. Leaving the car running in neutral, and pulling the handbrake, I think about all the memories I had here: a cliff displaying the ocean view.
She loved to sing, but what a bad place to get into. It has a bad reputation in town, women illegally stripping and prostituting themselves to make money. The only reason it is still open is because the mayor himself uses it, or so it’s rumored. I would never think she would do this. She has a beautiful voice and all…But, but out of all places to get mixed in. I turn around to face the back seats and see a bag. Taking it, I open it up. There has to be at least twenty thousand dollars in here.
“God damn,” I say.
I look up at the cliff, not seeing this place for a long time brings back memories: Jess comes to mind. But, what does she want you to do now, old man?
“God, Jess,” saying as I look down at the money”
Looking up, I see the colour of the irritating yellow glares.
The City Cabaret, it’s my only lead and rages my mind. “The City Cabaret”, saying it only reminds me of my loss.
The bag gets thrown to the backseat, the handbrake gets pulled down, first gear is shifted into with strangle, and the gas pedal gets pressed like the torque in my mind. I turn around and go the city. Not much has changed after two years though. I pass house after house, and all the God damn houses look similar. And, everybody still has fresh cut grass. God damn fresh cut grass, only reason people do it because the next person does. Who the hell cares if you cut your grass? Idiots, just like a God damn robot!
The city approaches, looking bigger then last I remember. They built much more stores since two years. Probably to attract more tourists and make God damn money, money hungry bastards. I pass through the city, the ice cream store I use to go to is still here. Laughing a little, I remember bringing a girl here when I was a kid. Chocolate chip, it was her favourite, the girl I was seeing. God damn, if girls weren’t so pretty they would have to buy everything themselves. But she did teach me a lot of things, a lot of pretty bad stuff though. I see the wine shop around the corner of the ice cream store. Never would I think I would be a wine guy, having to start off with beer and hard liquors, but I guess a woman can do that to you. God damn I laugh again, remembering the first time I got drunk, I was fourteen. What a girl can do to influence you to do funny, often bad, things. My parents were outraged as hell when they figured out. I guess any catholic parents would be. God, sure as hell, Jess changed me to be a better man. I keep laughing about it all even though I shouldn’t, about being young I mean. God damn, it is all too funny and sad, sadder then funny really. It isn’t good that those damn two often coincide, a great mix to be depressed, but whatever, who cares. I park the car in an open parking lot and pause myself to think. What the fuck am I going to do? God damn just do it, stupid old man. I get out from the car taking roughly a grand from the bag, and put it in my wallet. I’m going to need some tools luckily the hardware store isn’t too far. I get out of the car and think of what to buy: bags-a lot of them, razor wiring, rope, and a shovel. I need it all, buy it, and leave the store. No hassles, in a place like this money does more talking than the people. As I approach the car, it feels like a chapter, all of this. Almost like a book, but without the beginning or the end. This would be the first chapter though, to a story never told. God, I wouldn’t want it to be like this; instead, I’d have only a chapter with Jess. And, it would be the same, which is why there would only be one chapter: Jess and James getting old living happily together. Like a God damn fairytale, except without all the fake bullshit. The problem with it is, because everything is flawed here on earth. Everybody else’s chapters would want to get in to ours. People are like that, always trying to get in, and ruin everything. Sometimes they do it knowingly, other times not, God damn bastards. It probably would not bother be if she was alive, I’d probably be a better man and not care.
Opening the trunk, I place all the equipment inside, and pack everything to fit. It’s staring to get crowded with my luggage in there, but I still close the trunk. But, if this here were a chapter and I my own creator, my very own God damn God, I would call this the scientist. Why, this is the beginning to my own creation on this world, my own God damn mark on this world. Never mind it all, sometimes I think like that, sometimes I don’t. Maybe I’m crazy. Who the hell cares? Leave your revenge, no distractions stupid old man.
Jane St and Line, it’s on the corner, the God damn Cabaret. But, it’s still early in the day. Still, it should probably be open though. I’ll just wait a while in there, until people start showing up, and then I’ll think of something to do, an impression. I’ll make everybody wear there God damn smiles. I get in the car and drive to the parking entrance to the Cabaret, it’s almost empty. I look down at the steering wheel and try to relax my stressed nerves.
“I need a drink, relax some,” my voice gets quieter then before, “maybe, I don’t need to do this.”
Come on stupid old man James, its like taking off a band-aid, and letting everybody bleed. This is yours, your time. The world will fall because of you, and never again around you. Your only reason for being, stupid old man, is to see her again. I turn to the backseat taking two pistols for each side of my leg, and slide them down my pants. Luckily it doesn’t look too revealing, so I don’t think I’ll get hassled. I take out the picture from my suit jacket pocket and stare. God, even though it’s a small picture, I can see every detail of hers. The soft wrinkles around her cheeks because of that smile, her hair, and I’m just there looking captured. There is a big stupid smile on my face, staring at her to the side of me, and a huge Ferris wheel behind us. God, only if you were there you could see how happy she really was, how I really made her feel. It was the first time we made love, that night I mean. She left my mind thinking please come back, today, tomorrow and everyday after it. Then I dropped her off home at her parent’s house, and she looked back at me before entering her home, biting on her bottom lip. If you could see it, how I made her feel, you would want the same damn thing. Closing my eyes, I recall the smell of watermelon, she loved it. I open my eyes and put the picture back into my pocket.
“She is dead now though, be strong for her,” I say seriously.
Her parents died a year later, in a horrible fire. God, maybe that is a good thing, it would be hard for her parents to see there only daughter dead. Maybe not, maybe it would be different though, if her parents were still alive. She wouldn’t be a singer, get mixed up in all this bad stuff, who the hell knows. Her parents could have protected her, until I got back, maybe. Never mind that, it’s not good to think of all the maybes, just a waste of time because it already happened.
I leave the car.
“Hi boss, its five dollars to get in,” the bodyguard at the front door says.
Paying the man I say, “Just make sure I have a good time.”
“Oh I bet you will boss,” the bodyguard replies with a deviating gesture.
“Say pall,” I say stopping before entering the club, “would you happen to know if a girl by the name of Jessica Swington is on today. I saw her last time I was in town, real fond of her voice. I was just wondering if I can re-see her show.”
The bodyguard takes a cigarette out of his grey underling suit jacket pocket.
He thinks to himself loudly while lighting up, “Jessica…Jessica…Swington girl you say.” He inhales the smoke taking his time to relieve his stresses, brings it back down from his mouth to ash on the ground, and continues, “Yes boss, she was one of the favourites of many of the guys in there. But, she has not come to work. Actually…wait, she quit not too long ago. Less then two weeks ago, I’m pretty sure.
Two weeks ago, she was alive. God damn war had to go on for two more weeks. I search the ground, and look up quickly, trying to look casual and confident.
“All right, thanks pall. Take care now,” I say heading inside.
The intoxicating smell of perfume, liquor, and even more, the money spent in this God damn place, it all hits me at once. It wants me to explode and blow it all up. God damn, how did Jess ever get involved? I try not thinking of it because I want to look casual as hell, so nobody suspects me. There are not many gentlemen in here yet, hard to believe that by latter evening it will be crowded by most young soldiers desiring a woman to fulfill there need for flesh. Hollering, and spilling drinks, all a bunch of drunken bastards. But I guess if they were in that war for all the God damn long years, so long I can’t even remember any more, six I think. Anyways, a lack of a woman, for that long, can kill a man. Or, not feeling a woman’s healing hands that long can make a man kill. I sit near the back to get unnoticed.