Maggie Redux Ch. 5byWhiff666©
She wished there were steam, clouds of white smoke, like in the movies. Who ever heard of such a thing, summer football camp, even for a freshman who would be "red shirted", whatever the fuck that was. She had told him they would say goodbye last night, their bodies joined, the now familiar candles sputtering out their flame in the early summer heat. Sweating like pigs, both of them. Over her back, playing with her tits. He loved that. Watching their undulating shadows, trying to memorize the moment. She heard it in his moans, "Maggie, Maggie, I love you." Yet closure there, she thought. Relief. She didn't want to make a scene. But as two o'clock approached, she couldn't stay away.
She stood at the far end of the wooden ramp, the three passenger cars just sitting there, five minutes and away he went. Watching the three of them hugging him, she could see Sophie's tears. Of course. It was a rite of passage, an ending, the beginning for him, the end for his mother. And the end for Maggie.
It had been a helluva two weeks. Eddie turned down, his heart starting to fail. The call from the hospital was a new voice, unfamiliar. "Mrs. Thornton? This is Josh Newcome, Surgeon General for the State. We would like to have you come out and consult with us, Mrs. Thornton. Your husband's condition has worsened. We're a little concerned. How would two o'clock be?" She had worn her widow's dress, the baggy, heavy black cotton thing. The minute she met Josh Newcome, M.D. she'd regretted it. He had a nice white mustache, but a thick head of salt and pepper hair, tall, slender, and had that soft chocolate skin like Eddie, a smile that let her know he lived in a white world, but knew a hot black Mama when he saw one.
In the first five minutes they met, he managed to work in that he was divorced, had to sign off on letting Eddie go, didn't think there was any hurry, that Eddie wasn't in pain, and maybe he could counsel her over dinner tonight. She wore the red, low cut strapless, and the push up bra. It fit snug, and he kissed her goodnight, breathing "Shit Mama, how you gone so long like this?"
As she turned and shut the door, she whispered over her shoulder "Ain' been easy, studly. See ya tomorrow." They had let Eddie go the next morning, and Dr. Newcome revised his travel schedule to stay in town for the burial.
The day of the funeral had been a nightmare. All the cops wanted her to sit with them, all the Warren's came, and Josh was trying to be in charge. She finally backed him off, mumbling "Look, honey, Ah'll see ya later. I know these folks. Let me do it." She had talked nicely with Jim and Sophie, and Bill kept stuttering, not knowing how to act. Jenny just kept staring at her, with that goddamn puppydog look of hers. She finally ended up with Eddie's old partner, doing her best to look grieved, while she cursed herself for feeling relieved that Eddie's long ordeal had finally ended. On top of everything else, her fucking period came early. And she had a hot flash.
She drove Josh from the downtown rental car center to the airport that afternoon. He nuzzled her ear and cupped her tits on the way, and made her promise to call him the minute she got the house sold. It turned out he was two years younger that she was, and she gave him a blow job in the airport parking lot. She figured it was the last time she'd ever see him. He had a nice cock, but nothing out of the ordinary. Still, he had been awfully kind, and had a nice sense of humor. Now, he was calling her every night. "Hey, baby, how ya doin'? Look, can ya come down for the weekend? Got me some tickets to the Rolling Stones concert. We can stay in the city, y'know." She went, but just over the Saturday night. He turned out to be hell in bed, stayed up through three nuts. It was only later she found out he used some drug. She told Bill it was a visit with an old friend.
All that time the damn summer camp was looming over them. Every night felt like the last, and Bill seemed to have trouble pinning down the day he had to be there. She finally figured out that he was thinking about not going, even though it was a condition of his scholarship. She pretended it was inevitable, and thought she had it under control until today. At one o'clock, she knew she had to go down there, to see him one last time.
He finally realized she had come, just as the other students started hopping on the train. He ran down to her, then stopped with just a foot between them. His eyes were red, and tears were running down his cheeks. She couldn't help it. She lurched into his arms, pressing to him, crying herself.
He choked "Maggie, Maggie, I'll always love you. Always. Whatever happens. Write to me, okay? I'll write to you." The whistle blew, she heard his dad yell "Billy", and he was gone. He had pressed another four by five card into her hand.
"It will never end, nor fade, nor wither.
In my heart there is a room, inviolate, unfillable, intolerant
of any other love.
Time will go on, no human truth can long endure.
But in that special place,
eternity is only a moment."
Oh shit, she thought, through her heart's pain, how sappy is that?
- Epilogue -
The tin voice from the intercom tore her out of a deep reverie. The two cards on her lap were all she had. He had never offered, and she had never asked for, the book with all the damn poems in it. She did this more and more lately, drift into some past event that suddenly became real, at least for a while.
"Mrs. Newcome, Mrs. Newcome. Got a package here for you. Can I bring it up?" She heaved out of the rocker, stumbled slightly, and got to the little black box. Pushing the button, she rasped "Yeah sure, Pedro. Bring it on up." The sneaky little wetback. Always looking for any excuse to come and look around.
It was a book carton. She didn't recognize the sender, some publishing house, but the thing was pretty heavy. She put on her glasses, grabbed the opener from her little desk, sat down and struggled with it. This kind of shit is gettin' harder, she thought, where does the goddamn time go? She started crying the minute she pulled the thick hardbound volume from the tight cardboard.
"Shadows and Memories". Short stories, by William Warren. She looked on the back inside cover, tears streaming down her face. Christ, he's going bald, just like his dad. She opened it to the dedication page. "To Maggie. The room is still there."
Her husband found her asleep, that night, with a book and two yellowed filing cards hugged to her ample bosom. The pillow was wet under her head. But she was smiling. Must be a sweet dream, he thought.