Of Love and Ink Ch. 02byjesstoyou©
As I sipped my third martini of the night two kids passed in front of my living room window hand in hand pushing a stroller holding a bright faced toddler chortling away. They had to be sixteen or seventeen and happier in love than at thirty-two years old I have ever experienced or even come close to. I had not realized I was crying until I felt Malichai's hands on my shoulders from behind.
"You ok Sweets?" I had missed him for the week and a half he was in New York settling his affairs. But just then, I was fuming on the verge of boiling mad. His hands on me would normally be welcome, but tonight they felt like anvils weighing me down, anchoring me in limbo.
"Did you get everything taken care of in the city Malichai?"
"Umm yeah, the realtor gave me the check for our apartment. All of our stuff is on its way here as we speak." He said optimistically.
"What do you mean our stuff?" I said turning to look at him confused. I had not been in New York for the better part of four years. As far as I knew I had nothing more there.
"Justine your cameras, your dark room equipment... you had some books, and clothes. You took almost nothing when you left. I put it all in storage with my stuff when I moved in w-with Edward ..." His voice had crept down to a whisper. We had never spoken about my leaving New York, and we certainly never talked about why I left or what happened after.
"Ss-so, where is Edward t-h-hen?" Malichai must have made my martini stronger than normal, I could already hear my words slurring into that place every soon to be alcoholic aspires to get to. I was almost 'right'.
"I put him in a hotel Justine." His tone was patient, but there was a warning laying just on the surface, Malichai was headed out tonight, with Edward.
"Humm, a hotel, yes ... somewhere close I'd imagine ..."
"Justine, please ..."
"No-no Mali ... its fine ... I told you to put him in a room. Y-y-you know what, I know you are just itchin to get out the door Malichai! Go, fly to him! I have writing to do anyways, just don't slam the door when you come back, hopefully I will be asleep." I bit out with a flourish of my hand that caused my drink to slosh over the lip of my glass. I pushed past Malachi in an atepmt to male it to my room before the tears came.
"Justine ... Justine Please!"
He called to me long after I slammed my bedroom door. He didn't dare try to enter uninvited. He may have been an insatiable trifling ass man, but he had never been one to flout basic etiquette. A couple of hours and two more very strong martinis had passed since I left Malichai to his own devises. I had not written anything.
All night long I had done nothing but drank deeply and dreamed. It was not until I flew from my bed to the bathroom across the hall to get sick that I realized Malichai had not gone out. He had sat right next to my bedroom door waiting for me while I drank the night away. As I set the Grey Goose free Malichai wet a towel and put it on the back of my neck while he smoothed my hair back.
"I-I thought you were going out ..." my voice scratched out something that resembled words, but it was mostly gurgles.
"I was worried about you Justine ..." he cooed.
"You were worried about little ole me? Well Don't, I am f-fine."
"You don't look or sound fine Justine ..." His voice was full of sympathy and concern. But all I really heard was pity, and I did not need pity.
"I admit, this is not one of my better moments, but really, I want you to go ... I just want to be alone."
He secured my hair in a ponytail holder and held my elbow as I went over to the sink to rinse my mouth. When I looked at my blood shot eyes and tear stained face in the mirror I did not recognize myself, more than that, when I looked behind my reflection to my alabaster angel, Malichai resembled a shell of the man I had once loved so much. His azure eyes were tired and held no depth, and when the corners of his mouth tried to turn up into a small smile it was as if someone was pulling on strings, forcing the gesture.
"Remember that night we walked down Madison Avenue hand in hand screaming some made up song in the snow Malichai?" I whispered lost in happier times.
"Ha, yeah, how could I forget? You bought us those huge whistles. Mine was green, and yours was orange I think, we blew and blew them after each verse of our song ..."
"Yeah ... but I needed to stop because I was out of breath. You wrapped your arms around me and said that you would carry me anywhere ... remember?"
He gazed at my reflection in the mirror, looking as if at any moment he would cry.
"Bubbles, I remember everything ..." he said on a heavy sigh.
He had not called me Bubbles in so long! It was a nick name he gave me in New York. We had been out partying and I was surrounded by a happy group of strangers, gay and straight, all vying for my attention. He said that they were drawn to my smile and bubbly manner. From that night on, I was known as Bubbles, a name I had not known since I returned to Texas.
"What has happened to us Malichai?"
"I don't know Justine ... but whatever it is, it isn't good." His voice trembled with melancholy.
"I should not be standing here in a cold sweat, drunk. I look like a washed out wino for God sake! I should be married now. It is 10.30, I should be sneaking into the rooms of my 2.5 children with my happy loving husband to make sure they are ok before he and I settle in to some stupid movie that we won't even watch because we are so into each other. Instead ... here I am, standing in the middle of a washroom with my bisexual ex contemplating if I would fuck him right now if given half the chance just because you are here and I haven't got any for the past year!" I half yealled.
"Stop it Justine!"
"What Malichai have I said something wrong?"
"You are walking a thin line Justine. You should stop now and just go to bed..."
"With you Malichai? What'd ya say ... wanna get a little nookie tonight, no strings attached of course ..."
He set his jaw, and just when I thought my banter would crack his resolve, he took a deep breath and stepped away from me a bit.
"Justine I love you ..."
With that sentence, my teeth clenched. I realized a certain anger that reached into my soul twisting and turning, burning and writhing. I realized that he was going to force me to crack before my acid words ever touched him. And since my words were not going to faze him, I figured a bottle of liquid soap would. I picked it up and chucked it at his head. He dodged my make shift weapon easily as he grabbed both my wrists and turned my body into his
"Let me go you bastard! I don't need you to pity me and I don't need you to love me! Let me go! Malichai please ... I can't ... please just let me go"
I was sobbing now, and the intensity of our confrontation caused my buzz to wane some. He loosened his grip on my wrists and wrapped his arms tight around me as if he were attempting to hold me together.
"Shhhh Justine, it's all right ... I am so sorry, about everything. I did not want this for us, ever."
He was crying now too as he led us out of the washroom and back to my bedroom. He sat me down gently on the bed as I sniffed the last of my tears back. Malachi sat on the floor looking up at me as I concentrated on my nervous feet.
"You don't have to stay in here you know?" I mumbled.
"Yeah, I know Justine, I could use the company though, and Edward is just not going to fit the bill for me tonight."
With that he reached for the bottle of Grey Goose and tipped it back taking a long drink, not seeming to mind the smooth bite the poison presented. When he offered it to me I took it happily and after about an hour had passed he and I were buzzed, talking about life and love long into the night as if we had not missed a beat at all in our relationship.
The feeling between us was much like it had been so long ago in New York. Malichai was attentive, funny, warm, and most of all, though it probably was the vodka, he seemed right at that moment to be in to me. There was no one else in the world for him, and I was ok with that. I told him my dreams again, as if it were the first time we spoke ... and for the first time ever, we both shared the nightmares we had been living for the past four years we were apart.
In the end I found myself doing most of the talking and as I did my ramblings went back further than our past. Malachite sat and listened patiently as I loved every man I had loved up to him for a second time. And as I spoke, I remembered just what it was to really love Malachi, but I tried to keep it in perspective. He had broken my heart once; he would never do it again.
"Ian was my first ... my fist kiss, my first dance, my first boyfriend, my first Love. God I loved that boy."
Thinking about Ian in my drunken state threatened to bring more tears, but with another harsh swallow of vodka my tears were held at bay. Malichai still sat on the floor while I lay across the bed revisiting my past. He was content to let me talk as we drank together. He listened with genuine interest as I remembered my Ian.
Ian was shy in high school, we both had been. But somehow, we were both always surrounded by people ... him the girls and me the guys. One day, he was going up the stairs as I was coming down, both of us surrounded by our respective 'followers' and we locked eyes as we passed each other. Even then his eyes had a profundity no teenage boy's eyes should have. The chocolate orbs told of devastating times, but held a glimmer of hope, and a small dream that life will be good eventually. Neither of us broke the stare until we lost sight of the other. From that day on, it was my goal to find the gorgeous Polynesian with the salt and pepper hair who would not vacate my thoughts for even a second.
The day finally came months after we had first seen each other that we would meet again. I was walking through my neighborhood with a friend when Lucky, the neighborhood's only thug at the time called to us from his game room window. He invited us in to play pool with him and his 'boys'. As soon as I entered the room I saw Ian and time stopped. He and I did not play pool ... instead we went to the backyard and talked long into the evening. From that day on we were inseparable.
Ian was the only boy of five adopted children. His second mother, the one I knew, had been a missionary in Samoa when her best friend and Ian's first adoptive mother died of breast cancer, leaving Ian and his sister alone. Marla Philips knew she could not leave the children in Samoa; their lives would be hell with no parents. So, she brought them back to Dallas with her, adopted them and three other island girls forming the only family Ian could ever remember having.
To this day I would call Ian my soul mate, but we never had a chance in hell to make a go of it. When he and I got together, Marla was dying of the same cancer that killed her friend so long ago. The day she died I was at the house with Ian. She was so frail. Her bones stabbed through paper thin cracked skin, and her once beautiful mane had been reduced to tufts of scraggly hair growing in random spots on her be speckled scalp. Ian held her hand as he looked on her with a stone face, but I knew, with every labored breath she took, inside he too was dying.
It happened quickly. A storm had rolled in that morning. I remember screaming when a huge thunder clap rocked the house. When I calmed down, Marla was gone. Ian squeezed her hand one last time, stood, set his jaw, and asked me to leave. I was a seventeen year old girl then. I did not understand why he was so cold to me. Ian barely said two words to me at his mother's funeral, and after, we did not speak for weeks.
I would walk past his house and see him out tending the yard, but our once starring eyes would no longer meet. I think hated him after a while. Graduation came and went, and it was not until fall the next year that Ian and I would speak again. He showed up at my mother's door one night. I said nothing to him ... just stood aside permitting him entry into the house. I thought I would scream at him, say horrible things, but instead we just held each other ... until the sun rose the next day.
"S-s-o what happened Justine, after that night? You have never said anything about him before; I thought I was your first love actually ..."
Malichai was now drunk too. His words came slow and stumbling, and he actually sounded miffed that my heart had belonged to another man, before him. He stood, almost toppling over and came to sit beside me on the bed. As he sat he rested his hand casually on my behind. Soon he was stroking me softly, but thinking about Ian had me in a less than amorous mood.
Uncomfortable with his attentions I made to inch away from him, but I inched much too hard and fell off the bed. I hit the wood floor hard, and decided instead of getting up, laying there would suffice for a while, besides the floor cooled my alcohol laden skin nicely. "You ok down there?" Malichai's head popped over the side of the bed. The chuckle in his voice made it obvious he had been amused by my mishap.
"You are such an ass Malichai!" I slurred to him playfully.
"Yeah yeah ... I know, and I am sorry, I will keep my hands to myself. Are you going to tell me what happened to Ian then?"
Sighing I rested my head on my arms as I lay there contemplating whether or not I wanted to go on. "Um, well, the night he came to my mother's house I was packing for my fist trip to Europe. I was moving to Germany with relatives for a year that turned into two and a half years. Ian begged me not to go, said that we still had unfinished business. He said that he had not known how to deal with me and our relationship while he grieved for his mother. But, I was too young and too hurt to even begin to understand."
I took another drink, this time the alcohol could not stave off my tears. They began to flow before I even knew they were there. Speaking began to get more and more difficult through my sobs. "I-I told him ... um, God! I told him I would never trust him with my heart again, and to take care of himself w-while I was away. M-Malichai, I would give anything to turn the clocks back. I would do it right now, go back to that night, and tell Ian I love him endlessly. I never would leave him if I could just go back!"
Malichai had never seen me so upset. Little did he know that when I left New York behind his shenanigans I was almost committable. He came down to the floor with me and gathered me in his arms. I was so broken it was like he was picking up a sack of bones. I could not hold myself under my own weight. Reliving Ian and having Malichai back in my life was getting the better of me. I wanted to run away ... to hide. I wanted right then to shut myself off, to feel nothing. Loving just hurt too badly.
Just when you think the pain will kill you, when you know you are at the threshold of your own demise, the heart beats ... it carries on louder and stronger than it ever beat before mandating that it will-not-stop. No matter how many pieces it is in, it will not cease to pump life into a broken soul. My heart pounded my chest steady and true, mocking me, telling me I had my chance at love, and blew it with my own infantile ego. It let me know, with each beat, that under no uncertain circumstances, it beat alone, and would beat alone indefinitely.
"Shhh Love ... it's ok, you were so young then ..."
Malichai was at a loss. All he could do is rock me in his arms as I again, like I had so many nights before, mourned the loss of my Ian. Malichai held me for the better part of an hour before I was able to compose myself enough to thank him for staying with me. I had not wanted him to. I had wanted to stay angry at him. I wanted to punish him for breaking my heart. I wanted to castigate Malichai for my loss of Ian. I wanted to burn him so badly because Ian was not there to console me, to touch me, to make love to me ... I wanted to hate Malichai because he was not Ian.
But I couldn't punish him, not right then, I needed him too much. I needed his arms around me, and his kisses in my hair. I needed him right then to be my light and my hope, to tell me that this too shall pass. In the end Ian or no Ian, right then I needed Malichai to be my saving grace.