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An old friend An old friend
by Katerina Charisi
2016-07-24 10:48:39
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There was something with the Myers. Something subtly strange. Like a faint change in the air’s direction, bringing a new and unexplainable feeling in the senses. Or maybe I spent too much time inside, too much time in that home, alone with myself and my regrets that I tried so hard not to feel, but felt it like a weight on my chest, anyway. Something didn’t let me enjoy my life with Michael. It was what Marianne did, but it was something else too.  Loneliness was always there, a shadow, my shadow, hidden in the dark, poking through the light, stalking me.

I went left to the fork of the dirt road and walked and got as closer to the water as I could. The earth under my hard boots felt alive. The mud was sticky and slippery. Mist surrounded the swamp. It was a swamp, after all. In the sharp gaze of winter, the place showed its real shape. A dead swamp. With hollow trunks and trees with rotten roots. With colorless, slimy leaves. Life in the land of dead.  A swamp. I felt stupid. Who was I trying to fool? Just myself. A lake. How naive. Was I trying to make things look better than they really were? Was I trying to find beauty where was nothing else …except an old house and a muddy land? Was I trying to convince myself I made the right decision coming to live here, while it wasn’t?

And then I saw her. Emily.

emily0001_400_01I rubbed my eyes burning from the tears I never let to escape, and she was still there, in the other side of the water. Long hair with silver white locks, a white, dirty dress and black leather boots deep in the mud. She waved. I looked behind me and then at her and she was still there. I waved back. A car engine’s skip made me turn my head again. I saw Bradford’s car on the dirt failing and starting again, turning right.

When I looked back, she was gone. It must have been her. The look, the clothes, always the same. How could it be her? She had disappeared before I left New Orleans, without a word. But then, that was Emily. Coming and leaving just like that. Never staying too long anywhere. Never giving too much to anyone.

A thunder took me out of my thoughts. I took the way back to the house. I saw the heavy clouds hanging above the manor, the trees behind it drooping in the wind and I slowed down. I closed my eyes and let the rain falling on me, felt the cold on my back. When I reached the front gate, I saw her at the porch, waiting for me.

“Hey love”.

It was Emily, after all.

“Emily... What are you doing here?”

She smiled. “Just dropped by to say hi. It’s been a while”.

“Well, come inside, you are not going anywhere with this rain, are you?”

Emily laughed. “The weather is not a problem Jinny, you know me too well to worry about that”.

Jinny.

I remembered when I first met her in the park last summer, showing up out of nowhere, pointing at my belly, predicting a baby that never came, telling me that a woman lives with her heart out of her body when she becomes a mother.

“How did you know where to find me?”

“I didn’t. Old Manon told me”.

Manon. The woman in Jacksonsville’s coffee shop.

“You know...Back then in the park... You were wrong”.

She lifted her eyebrow and stared at me, reaching in my depths, like trying to read my mind. I saw things. Thoughts that were in my head, but weren’t mine.

“No, I wasn’t”. She got down the front steps. “The time is coming”.

She turned her back and walked away. “You have to remember”.

Sadness filled me all the sudden, without knowing why. I wanted to tell her to stop, but I didn’t. I watched her going and the rain falling hard, then I opened the door and went inside. Frances was standing behind the door with her arms on her sides, looking at me.

“And I was just wondering how long you would wait till you come back. You like walking in the rain, don’t you? Come, take those wet clothes off. I don’t want you to catch a cold.”

I was about to tell her about Emily but I didn’t. I did what she told me instead. I went upstairs and took the wet clothes off, feeling my face burning. I went to the small kitchen and made some coffee. Frances came up.

“Michael is helping Sam with the fence. There is a hole again. Are you ok dear? You seem lost in your thoughts.”

Was I? I didn’t expect to see Emily here. In fact, I didn’t expect to see Emily at all. Living with the Myers all these months, away from anything familiar, was like I left a world and entered another. I just... It just felt weird having both worlds now. The one I left, the one I was living.

“No, I am fine. I just... I saw an old friend and got me by surprise, that’s all”.

Oh, really? A friend, here? That’s weird, I didn’t hear a car or something. You know, it’s not like this place is somewhere that people are just passing by.” She said the last words in a slightly different tone in her voice.

“I know. She knew I was here.”

Frances nodded but didn’t say another word, she just left the kitchen and then came back again.

“Maybe next time you should tell her to come inside, so we can meet her too”, she said and smiled, then sighed and came close to me. She took my hands in hers.

“I know it must be tough for you to be alone, without any of your friends. It’s good to have a friend close to you. You are not alone, you know that, don’t you? I just meant... Oh, you know what I mean.”

“I know”.

 

 


    
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