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Three Conversations

Short story By: donkylemore
Classics


this is hard reading . its ll told through the conversations.
2 of these happen in 1972 and the third 2009
Stick with it if you can


Submitted:Jun 26, 2011    Reads: 17    Comments: 1    Likes: 1   


Sept 1972

- Just like that ? Its over ? Just..over ! I don't get it …when did you get this idea ?

- its been on my mind for some time

-But you were so. So ..so fuckin composed tonight.. Just now as we were coming home you changed , went quieter ..I felt something was happening .. No not this .. Jesus not this !

-I've been thinking of saying it since I came back from Spain. I hesitated. I shouldn't have So .So Yes I had decided before we went out tonight . I thought -oh God No ! don't do this ,,don't let another night slip by ..I had to say it . It wasn't an impulsive thing .

-I see.. You 'd planned this ..Now I get it

- Do you ..? I'm just worn out. It s always the same. You stand me up.. Late for dates.. Why ? Because you value your time in the pub playing with those drop out folk singers .. You pitch more value on that whole gang than you do me .. and when you call you're only half sober. Sometimes I cant make out what your saying…Then you want to go back to the folk club again .. when I just want to talk .. Please , don't start looking like that ..please .

- Is there someone else ?

- No that's not the reason… I tell you . I 'm tired. I would have done anything to save this .. But you've just worn me out. Its not easy .. Not easy at all .

- well you seemed to manage it nonetheless ..it comes to this .. Not easy - see you - bye - we'll always be friends - is that it ? People never leave one another with any sadness nowadays .. Hadn't you noticed ..? They are always and will always be good friends .. Best friends ..Jesus !!

- You're not making this any easier - Believe me it hurts me too -maybe I'm being presumptive.. I know its hurting you ..

-Oh you know that do you - What intuition .. God !! What Goddam innate intuition ..!
How instructive ..How perceptive ..how fuckin intuitive !! When did this sudden vision of insightful vision .. This sudden maturity assail you ?

- Oh Stop that .. You don't even know how long I've wanted you .. ..I' had this girlish crush on you since I was in school 4 years later . Then when we were both in college , when you asked me out I was so excited I went straight down to Joyce and I said you'll never guess who se asked me on a date .. And she said your name immediately.. I asked her how she knew and she said she never saw that expression on my face before.. I was in love then in the same way as before . Then when I was studying for my final.. I kept thinking about you, I said f.*** . him..- That you could have such control over my mind. I couldn't think of anything else . You drove me to distraction .

- Never knew any of that.. Anyway so .. Its over. !! What do I say now. I'm not going to plead with you. I know you are resolved . So its just goodbye.. Goodnight.. ? That it ?

-Whatever . Just don't make it more painful than needs be

- Oh ! Jesus that's rich ..How did it come to this so suddenly ?

- It wasn't sudden I keep telling you,, haven't you been listening .. Ive just been blabbering my mouth off. It's me .. It's me.. Blame me if you like ..But I'm just done in with all the disappointments .. I cant take it.. !

- Don't start that .Please .Don't cry.. That wont get us anywhere .. I don't know what to do.. Just go ?

- Please don't make me miserable

- oh yea .. You miserable yea ! .. Now I get it Ok so there's going to be no drama . I'll go . Fuck it , you could have warned me .

- We could go on like this all night

Yea . I suppose ; Its one of those " hurtin songs - someone done someone wrong songs ..anyway that's it … See you or whatever ..

- Just kiss me once before you go..


**

Oct 1977.


- So I'm here .. don't know why , but I'm here !

- lets not be dramatic about it. Mummy and daddy are away and I just thought we could talk.


- Like Platonic friends ?

- I wondered how you've been these past three weeks …

- did you really
-
- Yes Really . Almost every day ..how you were feeling ..what you were doing..all the things .. You get used to someone being a part of you .. don't you feel that .. And that's why I just wanted to see you really.. It doesn't matter if you've nothing to say to me ..seeing you is enough

.

- Ok . You want to know how its been for me these past 3 weeks ! Well ,. I'm going to tell you -I haven't been out .. Hadn't gone to the pub.-till last Friday . Then Vinny came by to talk some sense into me . Good old Vinny .. He said I needed a good kick in the arse and a few pints and I'd get over it. Good old Vinny - where would I be without him.-
His psychology.. Somehow it lacked what you'd call empathy. Hope he never develops an interest in pursuing psychiatry .

-You never heeded his word as much as the others anyway .

- No. True ..Shane came by.. He didn't know what to say .. Just said sorry and shook my hand like I was in mourning .. That was nice.. Mc D did the same .. But you know how socially clumsy he is ..I thought it was that I was afraid to go out. That I was afraid to tell people it was over. Then it occurred to me that most people don't care a dam.. don't give one whit about you ..me ..Then on Friday Shane called . He had just got the cheque he gets from his aunt in Greece The one he doesn't tell Gracia about ..his pocket money. That's what he said anyway .. And would we do our usual ? Well it seemed a good idea .... And we headed off to Connemara, all over the place ,. I suppose I told him all about you and he told me his problems with Gracia and the daughter .. And we both listened ..as usual ..no solutions .just more pints .. ended up in Salthill somewhere .. He was too twisted to drive home .. Then he called up the following day. He'd lost the car ! .did I remember the last place we were in.. we traced our steps.. 2 drunks ! and then he remembered he'd put it in a lane beside the golf club hotel.. We went out there and sure enough it was there..
He asked me how I was .. Would I go for a drive .. I went with him.. No drink .. We just drove to Connemara , and chatted about nothing .. And we both knew we were just doing that .. hanging out .. didn't have to talk either ..
McD and Maura drop by … she's been studying with me .. Well she was until this ..but they were just there to be supportive .. None of Vinny's idle psychology.. They just know
But that's it ..I'm rambling now.. For days I couldn't study . I remembered that story you told me about your study.. Me distracting you,,You doing a sketch of me 'cos you couldn't think straight ... And that's where I was now!!
They had a student march for Bloody Sunday.. Thought I'd see you at it. I just wanted to see you ..not meet up.. I only have 2 photos of you - just to see your face .. Someone told me you'd cut your hair …I see you did .

- I wanted to do something different .. I wanted to change myself.. I went to the hairdresser and told her " take it all off " - Mummy nearly died when she saw me ..

- its changed you.

- Yea , I know the face is fatter , but I couldn't be bothered ..

-Anyway . I'm still wondering .. What am I doing here .. Is this what you wanted to do ,, talk about our past.. It is past..

- I just wanted to see you ; I heard you lost weight ..you haven't . But you know the way girls talk ..

-To see if I'd lost weight .. Would that have made you feel better ..

- Don't be cruel . It doesn't suit you ..why are we punishing each other ..Really I didn't mean it to be like this ..I just missed you so much ..

-Stop .please don't do that … wipe your eyes ..

- Sorry . I thought I'd be more in control of myself.

- Me too -You know that I want to kiss you now.. And I know that you want me to too ..

- yes . I do

- It's a long time since you kissed me like that .. So tenderly .. I'm not being mawkish .. It was so sweet ..God I missed you !You know night daddy had to go into hospital since .. They thought it was his heart.. Mummy and I were sitting in the kitchen.. We were there till 4 , then we went to bed.. I couldn't sleep., with worry so I crawled into her room and into her bed .just before dawn . She was awake too.. She stroked my back like she used to do when I was little .. And we fell asleep.. I remember I was dreaming about you,, You were .. doing something to me .. And I had an orgasm and I woke up .and I found. I was doing it myself.. Mummy didn't say anything.. Just "one of those dreams " .. and in the morning when we were going into the hospital, we were passing your house and she asked me if I ever dreamed about you.. And all the tensions that were building inside me .. Daddy .. Would he be alright .. You .. And I couldn't help it I just burst into tears ..Mummy started to cry too. We pulled in at the college gates just past your house . She said we couldn't arrive in the hospital in that state ..

- I''d heard about your father . But then I heard he was OK . I was going to visit him in the hospital .. He'd gone home .. Wasn't it just a bad tummy bug or something ?

- Yes . Thank God .. I prayed ..I promised god I'd be good if he spared Daddy , Just to have him back and without any tubes coming out of him….

-Anyone listening to this . What would they think .?. Just what would they think ?..I shouldn't have come .I knew it. The minute the phone rang at home , Mar answered it . I knew it was you.. You were talking for a while ..I couldn't' at make it out .. But I knew it was you.. Mar came in and said it was you ,, and did I want to take it.. What were you talking about.. ? She could hardly go back to the phone and say" he's not in"… Maybe she could.. But she knew .. She knows me better than any of the others .. Were the closest in age .. But what was all the talk about between you two ?.. No don't tell me ..

- I'll tell you. I told her straight out I was hurt and so lonely ,,so lonely ..I always respected her opinion ..I asked her what she would advise ..she said you were hurting too ..that you weren't going out. … your parents knew too .. Everyone knew,.. Even Mary the housekeeper.. Especially Mary !.. She used to take a keen interest in your lady friends .. Had a soft spot for me.. Thought I was the one for you..- so they tell me That I could tame you down..

- but you were on a loser from the start .. Right ?

- one day I was walking along the strand.. And near the cliff there was this rock pool with the tide.. The sun was slanted against the ripples , and the ribbles were throwing shadows on the sand and I started thinking .. Is this it .. My life ? Shallow.. Bare ,the ripples just like days of shallow tedium rippling out to nothingness . And it was chilly , and I could feel the cold of my life ..just there staring into that pool. I got into a kind of panic . I cant explain it..Do you know what I mean ?

- do you want to come to bed ?

- Very much.. But .. But will we regret this

- possibly ..

- I know .But its just platonic ? Right ?

- Don't please.

- So no hang ups

- I wont have any ..Just come . Lets just have this one night together .

***
April 2009

- Its hard to believe it even now. Suicide .. Well its so terminal

- hard to believe that a week ago he was here maybe in this garden ..digging these roses.. And now he's in the clay..

- The things we remember .. All a life gets squashed into the past week ..or so it will seem

- I'd like to be remembered like a day like this .. Like a garden like this.. In late Spring with everything coming into bloom ..


- The things you remember ..coming back to your house.. Crossing those steel bars to keep the cattle out.. The rattle.. Despite your turning down the lights they always knew the time you came home

-That was 20 years ago.

- can you imagine ?

- before M and P.. before they ever met . And now he's gone and another chapter in all our lives .

- how does his death ..his suicide affect your life

- I don't know .. I read somewhere that everything affects everything else… we are all related by events..

- like you mean that you change history by deciding to cross the road at a certain moment ..that sort of thing

- Yea , I suppose its crazy really, how could you tell that by not crossing the road just then that the day would turn out any differently..

- I hear one of your children has Downs syndrome …that right ?

- not quite . Two of them have Downs .

- Good God ! I never knew..

- No its ok.. They're with me now. I don't feel encumbered if that's the word for it ,by them..but you .. You never married …

- No .. Came close .. Just once .. And it was just because I was getting tired being the odd one out .or having to say I was not married. "Why .. Is he gay.." So that was the real reason when I got down to thinking about it. Oh we got on well .. I lived with her for a while.. She told me she had to house train me .. And I said if she succeeded would she still want me ? She didn't know .. Children might have changed things . Its what I envy now that my friends grew up. Their kids . I missed not having children . I still imagine taking my son fishing .. As I did with my father , introducing him to that magic .. That magic that stays with you all your life., And now my fiends have their own grandchildren .. And again I envy them.. In the way I remember having a special relationship with my own grandfather.
But other than that once .. Naw .. didn't go in for extended relationships much after that..It was too easy to fall into it .. And too difficult to extricate yourself from.. As I got older I found girls wanted more immediate commitment more security .more finality .I couldn't give them that . That happened a few times . I gave up on the idea of marriage in the end . Some guys are not cut out for it I suppose .And when I looked back at all the girls.. And all the guys in my class who married the first girl they dated .. Wow ! Is that it ? I knew I wanted more and I didn't find it . Not the big bang thing you hear them going on about .. . Never came ! Never came like it was with ..

-Please !! You mustn't say that . Please ..

-Yea I know anyhow I end up slowly just becoming an elderly bachelor.. Some life ..

- You would've made a good father .. I can see it in you . I did way back then , but there were just too many.. Risks I suppose you'd call them.

- That your boy ..?

That's Zach ..

- Good-looking boy.. Though that's a real dangerous thing to say now .
.
- Zach's the boss . He really looks after the others . He adores the two with Downs ..spends endless time with them . And to his little sister he's her big hero ..he's never got rebellious ..never went through awkward teenage period of hostility or sulking boys go through ..Just kept on being Zach ..

- That's nice in a kid .. Really nice ..

- I'm gong to tell you something . I should've told you this a long time ago..I don't know where to begin . But I know I have to do it today . Please listen .it's a long story and I don't want you to interrupt me until I'm finished .. You see , all that time ago .. That night ..That night you came up when Mummy and Daddy were away. I knew I was ovulating. Do you see where this is going ..?

- Ive a feeling I will any moment ..

-That's why I married so soon after . Anyway Jeff was always waiting in the wings. He pounced the minute you were gone . I did a pregnancy test… Before I slept with him. I mean .But I knew I was pregnant . The test was positive .. Yes you …You are Zachs father.

Christ !

No Please ..! Let me finish. Jeff never suspected . The dates looked a bit odd but you know they said " they were made for one another " all that .. And all my friends were married by this stage and the old clock cliché … my fertility.. So that's the way its stood all these years..

- Christ ! ! You decide to tell me now. After all these years . Jesus ! .why .. Why now ? Oh God ! ;You're full of surprises ,, even now ..

- I had to tell you now..

- ?No you didn't . Why ?…why now … Is it some sort of revenge thing ?..

- Please don't say something that's unworthy of you.. I had to tell you because no one else knows .. And I haven't all the time in the world ..

- what time .. You had all the time you wanted…

- And I regret not using it better .. There always seemed to be a reason to postpone .. Anyway how many times have we met since ? Less than six or seven.. Then we only saw one another to exchanges greetings like after Christmas mass..

- Doesn't matter .you could have picked up the phone.. You could have written , and we could have met.

- There are a hundred ways I could have done it.. I could have written to you. Yes ! . I started a few letters Oh ! ..But there isn't the time left. now . Do you hear what I'm saying.?. Yes ! Another clock is ticking -

- What clock ?

-I have cancer ! ..

- Oh Christ !

-Breast .. Now its metastasized - see I know all the terminology- its in the pelvis .. And some seedling in the spine .. 6-9 months .. that's what they're talking about..
Funny but you come to accept that there will be only so many days like this left ; days ..like this one ? -maybe none for me .. It couldn't have been better for M's departure ..
Maybe this day was made for me to tell you .. This beautiful sad day ..in this beautiful sad garden ……. There he is now

- Don't ..Please don't …


Oh Zach !!- yoo hoo !! Zach !

- Don't - Please I cant think.. ! I 'm freaked out.. I don't know what to say !


-Zach ..I'd like you to meet someone







1

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