One day, while having sex with Sapphire, I called out Bekah’s name.
We both ignored it. We acted like it never happened and we finished. We laughed and played, then I excused myself to go into the bathroom, and in that shitty little bathroom in Burg and mine’s shitty little apartment, I wept. I cried for about ten minutes. When I came out, I got as far as my bedroom door and heard her crying as well.
It was already breaking. We had lost Bekah. We had made a choice, a choice to stay with Sapphire, and it was all falling apart.
The idea of Bekah would not work. I had already broken off the wedding and broke her heart. Her parents, her family, no one would give me another chance at it. I had it all, and it had been ripped from me. What was left was a deep and terrible desire with no hope left on the bone.
The next weekend Bliss put it perfectly. She said, “Sometimes everything is hopeless and you just have to do whatever you can to ease the pain.” She said those words on her way out of town. What she was doing doesn’t matter. Where she was going and who she was going to be with is no one’s business but hers.
I will tell you that I said goodbye to Sapphire for the weekend. I was going to Waynesville, and I was not taking her. She would wait for me back in Springfield. She wished me luck and kissed me like a soldier going off to war. And when she was done, I got in Burg’s truck. He took me to Bekah’s house for the weekend. He left for Waynesville and left me to my ache and my pain, and my dishonor.
We had worked it out the night after I called out for her during sex. I wanted the past, wanted just a taste of what we had in St. Robert. Wanted my girl for just a few days. I walked into her house, and for that weekend, there was no world out there.
There were no family and disapproving parents. There was no Sapphire and my commitment to her. There was no college and no Springfield. If we had been able to, we would have gone back home. Back to the apartment where I had told Trashy I wanted to check up on Bekah. Where she had sat on my lap, looked at Artist and kissed us when she came home from New York. I wanted, for just a little while, to be back where I had made her tuna casserole and she had laughed about the Maître d’. I needed it because I was broken.
Char had broken me.
In every way, that encounter had been a win. I had gone there with Burg, had verbally assaulted Char and broken him down. I had made Less feel safe and I had been a hero again. But it had awoken Guardian to do it, and now he had no war to fight to distract him from Bekah. He had no way of telling himself it would all be alright. Guardian was a raw wound.
The more he thought about Char and the confrontation, the more he realized he had flinched. He had not hit Char. Had not beat him into the ground. But it was more than that. Deep within him, Guardian felt darkness welling and swelling. He felt old crusted ground where memories hid, warming and running. He could remember things. Camping trips where details were suddenly wiped from his mind. He could remember beatings where he felt no pain. He could remember the door that he could never get into.
But these feelings and these memories would only come for a moment before retreating again. The darkness was back there, and it was patient. He would have to face it one day, but for now he needed a place to be weak. He needed a place where he didn’t have to be a brilliant, artistic, college student. He didn’t have to say witty things and be okay.
Guardian needed an emotional triage. A place to lay his wounded body where he could rest and weep.
So that weekend, Guardian went to Bekah’s apartment and they both tried to squint. They tried very hard to squint their eyes and see the old place. See the old apartment and the way things had been. They spent the whole weekend trying to capture for just a moment the power that had once been theirs.
Every time Bekah was out of the room, Guardian was weeping. He was trembling and aching. Every time she was in the room, Shadow was laughing and cursing. He was saying the most outrageous things he could and fighting to make her smile.
They moved the television into the bedroom, got into bed, and never got out. They ate there. They slept there. They watched movies and held each other there. Bekah made trips to the ice cream place down the street for Turtle sundaes.
Every few hours, Guardian would have a break down. He would curl up, weeping and sobbing and hurting, and she would hold him and cry, and tell him that one day it would all be over. She would promise that one day they would figure it out.
She would promise him this, this life right here.
I don’t know if she could see it or not. If her heart was so broken that it could not bring to mind the possibility and she was just lying, or if Bekah could look forward during that weekend and see this room, these kids, this house, and this marriage. I don’t know if she was lying when she told Guardian exactly what he needed to hear, or if she was sure that one day we would get here. But that weekend, she swore to him they would work things out and they would bring it all back.
He knew it was a lie though. He knew that when the weekend was over, he would get picked up by Burg. He would tell the stories he had concocted about how their weekend had gone, and find himself in bed with Sapphire.
Guardian never made love to her, but he was there after. He saw her face when she looked at him with love, and he knew he had not put himself there. He had no way of knowing what had, but he knew that he had no chance of changing things. Guardian’s life was out of control. He could never get it back to the life he had once loved so much.
It seemed out of control for him because it was. Shadow had forgiven Bekah as soon as they broke up, but he still didn’t want to be in a family with her parents. Servant had reached the point where she was gone, so he hurt for her all the time, but he had no voice. He could only sit back and watch what Shadow was doing with Sapphire. All of us were doomed spectators in our lives.
No one had control of anything. No one had a vote to carry the election. No one had the authority to leave Sapphire and go to Bekah, and no one had the right to stop any of it. We were all along for a ride that we had no hope of controlling and no way of stopping.
All we had was to keep moving. All that was left to do was to put a foot in front of the next. We had Sapphire. We had chosen her and lost Bekah’s entire family. We had to commit to that. We needed to stay with Sapphire and make it work.
But that one weekend, Bekah and Guardian had allowed themselves to live in the limbo between places. The space between the life we were both trapped in and the one we had loved so much. On the bridge between them both, we held each other.
And all we wanted was to have it all back again.
This chapter is from Reality of the Unreal Mind, Vol. 2: Normal Street.