Posts Tagged shower
Ala didn’t remember washing, throwing wrinkled clothes back into her suitcase, or even locking the front door. She sat on the rubbery blue bus seat and let her head rest of the cold glass window. She was going to Boston and didn’t want to think about what she would do when she arrived.
Danno was quiet that morning, awakening her with nuzzling and then slipping into the shower. He asked nothing about where she was going or when she would be back, which to her meant it did not warrant a discussion, which made her feeling desperate to want to talk about it.
She had not told her parents she was leaving town. Her mother would ask too many questions and would say it looked pathetic that she wander off in a moment’s notice to be with someone she was not seeing anymore. Her father would have no opinion.
What was most alarming was her carelessness toward the house. The garbage had not been taken out. The housekeeper had not come and Ala had not inquired. That could all be dealt with upon her return.
She decided to have a drink in lieu of breakfast. The dining cart was open and serving breakfast burritos with egg whites tucked inside, or cereal. She ordered a Bloody Mary. It came think and lukewarm, tomato juice and vodka with a dash of pepper. She tried to drink it as quickly as possible.
A man wearing a leisure suit took the seat next to hers. She quickly stood and went to find her seat. After reading two pages of mild erotica from a book Gertrude had leant her, she fell asleep.
The sound of luggage being dragged out from the bottom of the bus awoke her. She stumbled out onto the sunlit sidewalk and waiting for her bag to be passed from smudgy hand to smudgy hand before finally reaching hers. She did not look to see if Jase was waiting for her and climbed into the first cab she could find.
The restaurants and parks held no reminiscent feelings for Ala. They pushed into one another as the cab sped past them. She wrestled with her purse to find her comb and compact. She was sweating between her legs and down her back, but did not have time to change clothes. Even though she had not set or confirmed a meeting time with Jase, her instinct was pushing her to arrive as soon as possible.
She threw a balled up twenty-dollar billed toward the front seat and ran around to the trunk to pull her suitcase out. The ivy on the side of the building had some new growth and the block smelled with damp grass, as it always had. She opened the heavy glass front door and opened the mailbox that had always had the defective lock to find the extra key Jase kept inside. She let herself inside and hobbled up the three flights of stairs with her bags.
The door to the apartment was open. She smelled dust and saw that the floors hadn’t been cleaned in awhile. No one was there. He wouldn’t have gone into work if he knew was coming, but she couldn’t remember whether she had said she would come for sure or not.
She took off her clothes and found a dress to step into. The weariness of the bus ride without fresh air hit her and she crawled into the bed she had spent two years sleeping in. The sheets felt rougher but otherwise the room looked the same. They had never put a lot of thought into what the space looked like. They didn’t entertain because they preferred being at home alone either locked in the bedroom or reading in the sunroom.
She buried her head under his pillow. The smell of his face was there and it sent cold prickles up her back, but she did not cry. She closed her eyes and thought of coming home to Danno.
What must have been a few hours later, she heard the door open, but was so relaxed she could not force her body to get up. The footsteps were steady until they reached what must have been where she put her suitcase, and then they increased rapidly until Jase was in the bedroom and taking off his shoes.
She turned over just as he climbed into bed next to her. He put his hand up the front of her dress and began pulling down her panties. Her mind was three steps behind and trying to register. She turned to face him and he kissed her very hard on the mouth. His arm wrapped around her and brought her on top of him. He pulled her dress down and began touching her. She could feel him beneath her and put both of her hands against his chest.
“Jase.” He didn’t say anything, but unzipped his pants and turned her so he was on top. She closed her eyes. She did not want this to stop. She had dreamt of this moment when he would realize that he was wrong and had made a mistake. She thought of Danno and the immediate cosmic ease she had felt. “Enough,” she said, rolling out from under him.
She stood and put her dress on, then looked down to find him red-faced and crying with one hand covering his face.
“I’m sorry, Ala. I can’t believe I just did that.”
She sat on the bed next to him and took his hand.
“Where is your mother?”
“At the hospital.”
“I think we should go.”
The hot water hit her square in the face. She coughed and adjusted the shower nozzle. She tried not to think of what she had just done and kept repeating “It’s only two days. It’s ONLY two days”.
Streams of dirt ran down the drain as she shampooed her hair and cleaned underneath her nails. She had gotten a faint sunburn on the apples of her cheeks that stung when she washed her faced.
She wrung her hair of the hot water and carefully stepped out onto the rug that felt like cashmere under her swollen feet. She didn’t even want to look at the blisters from the hike and knew that as soon as she put on any pair of shoes, there would be traces of blood.
Her clothes were still in a disastrous heap but she managed to untangle a stringy halter-top with satin butterflies stitched across the neckline. She fumbled with her makeup and had to start over twice because her mascara was winding up everywhere except on her eyelashes. She hurried downstairs and could not find Danno. She looked out the window and saw that the lights on in the car and someone in the driver’s seat.
She got in beside him. He had changed into a navy blue button down and tan pants. He took her hand and kissed it.
“I’m going to drop off the money at the track. I thought we could eat in the bar.”
“That sounds good.” She was very hungry, having only had the bread with the preserves. She leaned her head on his shoulder and closed her dried out eyes until she heard the horns from the parking lot at Pilkington. There were cars crawling in line for a spot.
“It’s so crowded,” she said.
“It’s a huge night. Stowaway’s in town. This horse has 27 starts, 12 wins, 6 seconds, 4 thirds and has won over seven million dollars throughout it’s career.” She looked at him and he nodded. “He’s made a lot of money for a lot of people.”
He drove to the clubhouse and left the car with a valet. He lead her up the steps into the bar. There was a limber, cross-eyed older man playing the piano and a young lady, wearing a heavy beaded shift dress, singing with a drink in her hand. Glenny was behind the bar pouring while another bartender made change for a couple. Danno waved to them and walked to the back section they had sat in only a few days ago.
Ala climbed into a booth and Danno signaled to Glenny for menus. A runner greeted them and handed them maroon books with all of the specials written in gold script inside.
“Why don’t you decide on drinks for us and I’ll be right back?” He said, giving her a kiss on the cheek.
“Sure,” she nodded.
The words blended together and she felt hot and then cold every few moments. She had gone through heat exhaustion a few summers before and feared it was creeping up on her again.
“What can I get you to drink Ms.?” The runner said.
“Something very cold. A julep. And for him too.” She gestured to the empty place at the table.
She took deep breaths and checked to see if she had missed anymore calls. It seemed very tiresome to call anybody back and explain what she had been doing. It would be like telling all of the people she had know her whole life that she was a different person and din’t care what they thought.
The drinks came and Danno was not back yet. She fought the urge to look at her watch, which made everything worse she was waiting for something. She took small sips through her straw. Glenny came over to the table when some of the crowd had broken up onto the terrace to watch the race. He smiled at her.
“The lamb chops are the best in the world.”
“Really? With mint jelly?”
He nodded. She could tell he wanted to sit down, but couldn’t while on duty. He knees seemed to give out every few seconds.
“You wanna wait for him to order?”
“Yes, if you don’t mind.”
He walked away slowly and began talking to a couple of men at a different table. Ala squeezed her fists together and tried to calm down. Danno had to have been gone for at least fifteen minutes by now. All of a sudden, she heard a screaming siren coming from outside. There were shouts and gasps as people craned themselves over the terrace ledge to see what was happening.
She got up and went to the window. She couldn’t see anything unusual, but heard two more sirens approaching. She picked up her purse and walked out of the bar and down the steps. People were pushing past her trying to get in and get out of the club house. She nearly fell but gripped the brass railing and readjusted her shoe.
She got outside and realized she had no way of getting home. Her phone rang. Certain it was Danno, she ripped it from her bag and answered without checking the screen.
“Where are you?” She said, trying not to sound frantic.
“Ala, it’s Jase.”
She opened her eyes around dawn and caught a glimpse of them in the mirror hanging in the closet. A crumpled heap piled on the twin bed; it was hard to see where he ended and where she started. She wanted to see his face but it looked plastered against the wall. She lifted his arm and saw that he was still wearing his watch. She had no idea what kind it was, but was sure it cost more than the house they were sleeping in. She carefully removed it and tried to look at the time. The arms weren’t moving and a fat drop of water glided over the face. She laid her head down and laughed. What a careless night. An exceedingly reckless and wonderful night. She was still tingling and had a knot in her stomach that she feared would make her self-combust.
She peeled herself from the bed and tiptoed into the bathroom. She found fancy shampoo in the gilded cabinet and a new sponge wrapped in plastic. She stepped into the shower and let the water cascade over her clammy skin. Washing her hair seemed so pointless now, but she made herself do it anyway. She wrapped a towel around herself and walked back into the guest room.
She couldn’t remember stumbling home that night but woke up with her party clothes stuck to her body, as if sealed on, the next morning. She instantly remembered leaving her mother’s shoes by the lake and the terrible fall. She crept into the bathroom, not wanting to catch herself off guard in the mirror and opened her eyes slowly, taking in her mangled face.
She had a black eye for one, her first ever. She had a sort of half moon scrape on her jaw that was now raised and rough to the touch. She had a scratch above her left eyebrow. She held her arms out in front of her. An abstract cabbage patch of green bruises covered both arms and her right palm was cut. Her knees hurt as well and she didn’t bother looking at them because there was no point. A quick synapse of fear raced through her. She had no idea what time it was. And she was supposed to have a job interview. She ran into her bedroom and dumped her purse open on the rumpled bed she hadn’t bothered to turn down before collapsing on top of it. She rummaged through the belongings, still in boxes from her move home, and picked up her cell phone. Safe. She still had hours before the meeting.
She took a steaming hot shower and, wrapped in a towel, called downstairs to make sure no one was home. She didn’t want her parents to see her without makeup on because her answers to their many questions would be ridiculous.
She tiptoed downstairs, ready to turn and run back up if necessary, and went into the kitchen. A sort of sense of disarray told her that the kitchen had not been occupied since the day before. That meant no middle of the night dish of ice cream for her father. No coffee for her mother this morning. This was impossible. They had to have come home. They hadn’t spent a night, outside of vacations of course, outside of the house. She looked by the front door. Her mother’s purse wasn’t hanging on the hook. She screen door leading into the backyard was open as well.