What was I saying?”
“Simon?” Miranda asked
“Yeah. Sorry. I lost my train of thought.” I cross my legs and unfold my arms. I don’t want to seem closed off.
Her hair is less red in this light, but I’ve seen it brighter. Her eyes are ever as green as i’v seen them as she scanned me, watching my expressions. She was looking for something, watching for a glimpse of, I’m not sure, uncharacteristic behavior.
“I’m not sure. Were you talking about the bomb?”
“What bomb?” I replied. She knows I know. What does she know. Who is Miranda? Why is she here? Like a phantom, a goddess phantasm.
I don’t mean to seem cruel. Terrified. Cool. Collected.
“I honestly couldn’t say. You’ve mentioned it several times.” She said.
“Can we talk about something else?”
“I’m just here talking to you. What you want to talk about is 100% up to you.”
“Oh.” I fell silent.
“You don’t talk about Penny.”
“No. I don’t remember much.” Deflecting, probably.
“You were married?” She continued.
“No. We thought about it. She and I both agreed marriage is an antiquated institution and we didn’t want to do that to our relationship.”
“So, you were together for a while though.”
“We knew each other for a couple years, and while I was in the… While I was enlisted. That was actually when we talked about it. Marriage, I mean.”
“What was it like?” She asked
“What? Being not married to Penny? Well, shit. It was a kind of a dream. She wasnt one for subtlety. I guess I liked that about her. Like I said, a lot of that year, the year after I got back, after my dark year. Let’s not get into that. But anyway, we were this immense force of nature. Fuck that. We were the result of two immense forces of nature that just sort of collided, and our love was… Perhaps not up to the challenge.”
“Do you believe that?”
I wanted to ask, ‘which part?’
“I need to.” I said
“Because if she didn’t love you…”
“She did what she did because of herself. What she felt was her own issue, and there’s nothing I could do about it.”
She watched me for a second. Assessed me.
“Do you think those two conclusions are contra indicative?” That was her question. Mine too.
I though about the idea that she still loved me, and that immediate ache bled in to the fibers of my comfortable belief. I felt the tethers of my hold on the moment growing taut.
“I know she loved me. She couldn’t love anything in the world but me. She hated herself. She thought she was a shell. She thought she was born into the world without passion. Without revolution. She used to tell me the most spectacular thoughts that ran through her head furiously like stampedes. She drew. Not very well, but when she walked you through it, I know that you’re been there. She had this way of capturing moments and telling them.”
Big pause. Breathe. Don’t think. No one judges.
“She was. Penny was never happy. Sometimes, she was so down she was like a singularity. And when we had our son, she left. Emotionally, she just left. And the crying fits stopped for a while. I saw it too. I watched it just swallow her whole. I don’t know. I guess I was just tired. We weren’t even married, I thought sometimes. But I was scared. Like, ‘what would happen’? So I just watched. And then, that day when I came home…”
Nothing felt right, the moment that sentence caught up with me.
The walls of the room began to swell, and the lamp faded into a fog of its own light, going out like a candle. The walls fell away. The woman the carpet the chair the bookshelf, fell away. Everything that existed was gone.
I was alone and fainted, it seems.
“My wife, she ran away, she left our home.
And though you’re here with me, I’m on my own.”
“I know you think that–” she interjected.
“Hello, Mr. Radio, you friendly speaker.”
“You played my Request today, request to see her.”
“What are saying?” She asked, and sounded frantic at it.
“Mr. Radio. ELO. Nothing?” This bitch.
“Why am I talked to you now… ? Vetihver.”
You know, I couldn’t really put a finger on the part of me that most wanted to crush her like a bug. It was more of an all over sensation.
“You talk to who I let you talk to. And if there were any more facets to you, I’d speak to them as you willed. But you haven’t got any. You’re like commercial art, clip art that comes free with your brand new MacBook, that you never use, because you don’t need it.
“That’s what you are Miranda. Loose data.”
“You believe you’re the strong one. You save him from himself daily. You say that, don’t you. That’s what you tell yourself. But without you, he wouldn’t even be here. He’d be happy. He’d have a chance. I mean Christ! Why won’t you just…go back to sleep and let the man live his life.”
“He needs me!”
“Codependent catch phrase one!”
There’s a dense space that rolls through, like a pause.
“Can I tell you something?”
“You say whatever you need to.”
“Well, I respect your desire to help us. Ok? However, if you want to rupture Simon’s peace, I can rupture you. I mean, already I deeply want to. Ideally your head. Or a pet. I might just make do with a pet. I don’t really get them anyway.”
“Was that a threat?”
I lean in, but apparently I’m restrained. This not in my control. This is not my control! I have no control!! FUCK!!GODDAMN IT, I’LL CRUSH THIS WHOLE FUCKING…!!!
“I’ll kill you. I’ll tear apart and wear you.”
“We’ll see.” She said and vacated.
I felt suddenly spent, exhausted from her. Everything shivered and went black.
I woke up in the chair still. I began to wonder if I was narcoleptic. The lost time. All of it.
Miranda had already gone. Probably long since, left.
I had peed myself.