The Last Tuesday
January 22, 2010
[Photo courtesy of Ashley]
There was love here once.
There was a boy. And there was a girl. And they were happy.
There were breakfast dates with instant coffee and stale croissants – Poor Man Parisien. They would sit around a unbalanced bistro table for two. Passing the cream. Passing the jam. Passing the time.
They would read the paper together, side by side. Him with Arts & Life, her with World News. Smiles caught between pages; most articles left unfinished. She was his life – art in motion. He was her world – everything she needed to know.
Each day was Old Hollywood romance. They were the Grace Kelly and Cary Grant of One Mile Too Far Down The Abandoned Dirt Road. Their neighbours were theoretical at best and the last car they saw beyond their own was a burnt-orange home to field mice and dead bodies. Or at least that’s what they joked about as they walked by.
Their walks would always be leisurely and always pass through the nearby fields. He would always grab her. She would always squeal. They would always fall. Planned spontaneity? Perhaps…but he considered it their own daily dance for the dandelions in the fields that never gave rise to roses.
He would carry her out into the clearing, up to the near-dilapidated house, and set her down next to a single rotary phone that took residence in the wallpapered entryway. Unplugged.
She would dance lightly up the wooden steps that for whatever reason never creaked under her toes, and draw a warm bath to clean seedlings off her shoulders and dried leaves from her hair. She would always take one deep breath beforehand, savoring his smell on her skin.
He would sit below in the living room on the wobbling wooden frame of the single chair, staring out into the wilderness, listening to the waves of her movements and humming along with his own style of jazz.
Only one old man knew they existed, keeping his distance eight miles and four ‘are we going the right way?’s down.
“Don’t care for ‘em,” he’d say on the third Tuesday of every month, watching their faded grey clunker drive by his house. “Ain’t right for two people to be that happy.”
Then he’d turn back inside, touch the love of his life’s cheek in a gilded frame, and forget about them until the next month.
It was just under a year before he was hunting in the woods nearby when he heard the whispers of a phone ringing in the distance – the first noise he had ever heard from that place.
Then shouting. More shouting than he had ever heard two people wretch out. The shouting swelled into a symphony of rage. From what he could tell, words had stopped being exchanged entirely, leaving just the soundtrack to a dog fight crackling through the trees. All the while, the phone pierced through like an alarm, slowly shattering each pane of their existence.
Frantically running back to the main road, his coveralls catching on the brush, the old man fell into the ditch in time to see a grey shadow fly past his house, two half-packed cardboard boxes almost falling from the bungee-corded trunk, a cloud of exhaust and the roar of fifth gear hanging in the air.
It was only the second Tuesday.
Words by Ben