This is the third installment of the Requiem series. Any persons, places or things that are present in this story is in no way affiliated with me, regarding copyright, owning of music material portrayed, or anything like that. Now, after getting that little tidbit out of the way, enjoy.
“You’re letting… all… cold… in! Close it! … Now… before… window!”
I turned my head abruptly in the direction of the double doors where the music downstairs was drifting from, along with Meg as she pointed her finger at me. I could feel the wind caress my face like a lover, the icy fingers leaving goose bumps in their wake.
“What?” I strained to hear my close friend of ten years amongst the uproar of voices and music bellowing from the entrance to the lounge room.
“Close… thing! The damn window, Sherron!” Meg called out as she shut the doors to the room closed. The latter words of her sentence echoed around the walls louder than they were intended with the welcoming silence.
Without sticking my head outside the window for a second time that night, I observed the crowd below before pulling the glass panel down. The rubber cushioning the frame sealed the room in its comforting heat. As I latched the lock on the sill of the frosted glass, my head began to immediately pound. I sighed out of annoyance and Meg overheard it from across the room.
“You want to freeze then?” A pair of deep, blue eyes caught my gaze as she shot me a look over her shoulder. My lips thinned into a line as I rolled my eyes at her comment.
“Reoccurring headache. I think the temperature was helping.” I pointed my thumb towards the window behind me as I made my way over to the bar Meg was now occupying. Two inches shy of six feet without the high heels, Meg Little’s presence was definitely one of delight. Her cocktail dress was form fitting, particularly around her bust line, which left little to the imagination. The crystal blue eyes that swept over the bar were filled with a playful aura that matched her wicked sense of humor as she handed me a scolding mug of coffee. I accepted it with a mild sense of joy.
I heard a snort of laughter and caught Meg giggling at me within my peripheral vision.
“Well, it sure as shit isn’t sad. You looked as though I gave you a lump of coal for Christmas.”
This time I snorted as I sipped the coffee, burning my lips and tongue in the process. I seethed a curse and covered my mouth with a free hand.
“Figures. I was laughing because I began reminiscing about that Christmas I spent with you and Chloe during junior year.”
Meg cried out in astonishment as if she were experiencing a “Eureka!” moment.
“Holy cow …Wow, I have terrible spurts of loss of memory. I can’t believe I forgot that! …That… that was like eight years ago!” The chestnut brown hair that hung down to Meg’s inner back swept back and forth with her persistent laughter.
“Ha ha ha! Oh my God, that’s right! I did give you a lump of coal for Christmas. That was so funny! Well, Chloe thought it was a terrific comeback after you called her and I cheapskates the night previously. You didn’t speak to us for the whole duration of the gift exchange! Don’t look at me like that, you sourpuss. Holy shit, I remember now! When everyone in the commons was huddled around Jim Price throwing boxes with bows in all directions, one of them hit its mark on Allen’s nose and broke it.”
Looking around herself in astonishment, she covered her mouth with a spare hand and hushed, “That was when Chloe hopped on Allen’s dick and played nurse with him the rest of the evening.”
“Low and behold they’re still together by some miracle.” I quipped as the music downstairs blared once again, the bass vibrating the building.
“By some miracle? That is no miracle at all. Jim was a terrible Santa.” The tall brunette said as she cradled her head in her hands out of embarrassment.
“I’ve heard he was terrible in bed, too.” I said with a smirk. Meg swatted me with the back of her hand and a stern look in her eyes until, finally, she relented with an exasperated sigh.
“So what, he was a Fine Arts major. What did you expect? He was tall, incredibly handsome and… he had the unfortunate characteristic of some men who don’t study female anatomy at a young age.” Meg leaned against the bar while cradling her glass of Rum and Coke to her lips.
“Yes, it is indeed unfortunate to not know where the clitoris is. And, to not possess intelligence, of course.” I cleared my throat and added more insult to injury, “… And, to also not have had a girlfriend until the tender age of twenty-one.”
Meg Little’s eyes closed in frustration with an audible sigh. She pinched the bridge of her nose and shook her head.
“I can literally still remember him saying, ‘Give me another thirty minutes and I’ll mecidiyeköy escort have you hollering in no time.’ Can you believe that?” Her hands fell from her face to her lap. “I said, ‘You lost me within the first ten, what makes you think I’ll be on board for another twenty minutes added to it?’ At least now we finally all know why one of the most attractive men at our school never had a single woman by his side for more than a few weeks. What a waste of a beautiful body…”
“Sex addict.” I said over the cup of coffee. Meg smiled at me with a mischievous twitch of her eyebrows.
“You can be a real cunt sometimes for someone who hasn’t been laid in a few years.” Meg countered with a challenging air.
“Ouch… However, I am what I eat.” I shrugged with a half smile. My grin fell as I thought more on her words, though. “Or used to eat. I wouldn’t be surprised if someone thought I’ve switched teams by now.”
“Alright, I’m not listening to another word. I’m too sober for this.” She poured more rum into her glass as the ice cubes clinked in their imprisonment.
“Easy for you to say. I can’t indulge in a glass till after the performance.” I glanced at the watch on my wrist immediately wishing that I had not. “Which will begin in the next twenty minutes. Fuck me.” After having seen Veronica at the entrance of Energy moments ago, I was feeling less and less prepared as the minutes passed.
Meg snatched her purse from the floor and began rummaging through its contents as several grooming items spilled onto the carpet. I saw an object hurtling towards me from Meg’s direction as my hand shot upwards and caught it in midair. The phial nestled in the palm of my hand was packed to the brim with a green mass. I had barely finished uncorking the glass tube when the potent aroma of marijuana wafted through the air. Curiously, I flipped the phial 180° and my eyes followed the text along the edge of the label:
THE GREEN CLINIC:
Medical Marijuana Dispensary
ADD: 4613 CIR
S: ATOMIC NORTHERN LIGHTS
PRESCRIBED TO: M. J. LITTLE
T. M. U. : STRESS
T. E. : AROUSED
NEG : DRY MOUTH
RATING: | CIR -__- |
I sniggered to myself despite knowing Meg would inquire about my laughing. I poured a portion of the phial’s contents on the coffee table that was littered with magazines and various remotes for the entertainment system. Adjacent to the wall near the window, the sleek flat screen was muted on the discovery channel as various species of marine life floated in and out of the frame. A quaint albeit small water pipe with an unusually large bowl was resting in the center of the table, beckoning my gaze and grasping my attention.
“I rest my case.” I said as I pointed to the top effect classification on the phial in Meg’s line of view.
She pursed her lips, shrugged, and then said, “I was going to give that to you as a belated birthday present but if you’re truly that anal about it…”
I pocketed the phial after corking it to end her sentence prematurely. After inclining my head and bowing in her direction as thanks, I continued to pack the bowl grateful for the relief in knowing that this stress that enveloped my entire being would soon dissipate and disperse into ripples and waves of euphoria. It was for that cause, and to also alleviate the repetitive pains that inhabited my back due to a pinched-nerve that was never fully worked over several years ago.
“Just relax. You’ll do fine. You’ve been playing for like…what… Close to twenty years anyway, right?” Meg replied, as we both acknowledged that the songs the band Austra was playing downstairs had just ended Feel It Break. And, the very clear hypnotic introduction of the song Lose It began to play.
“Plus, Katie doesn’t want to use the back up string instrumental recording if we have a violinist in the house. I don’t understand why you’re so nervous anyway. This’ll be as easy as drawing stick figures. And, that was directed towards me, you overly talented ass wipe.” Meg shook her finger at me as though I had committed a crime.
I rested my right hand above my heart as I thanked her for the compliment. Upon finishing packing the crevice, I lit the corner of the bowl and the grass began to char. The bubbles in the device pervaded the atmosphere with the unmistakable noise of water bubbling as the chalky smoke filled my lungs. My eyes followed the smoke escaping my lips as I passed Meg the water pipe, coughing out puffs of smoke.
“You think I should practice?” I asked naively as smoke drifted from my nostrils, knowing full and well that I wouldn’t need to practice. I knew every music note of the song I would soon be participating in; I’ve listened to Austra’s album Feel It Break religiously.
Meg shook her head şişli escort as smoke trailed in zigzags across her features, concealing her face in a cloud of smoke. She began coughing as an arm holding the bong emerged from the thick fog, playing dangerous tricks on my newly intoxicated, yet fragile mind.
I might actually need to space these smoking sessions apart. I can’t get too stoned, unless I am deliberately striving to look like a fucking catatonic monkey.
I laughed to myself, the Cheshire grin stretching from ear to ear.
Then, quite abruptly, my mind expelled every thought till there was nothing but the memory that flooded its capacity. There was music playing everywhere in the building of the night club, I knew, but the fluid, graceful sounds that infiltrated the walls of my brain were a different breed of intoxicatingly sweet tones. The lounge melted away as the walls, objects, and persons within dripped like hot wax to transition into puddles on the floor. Before I could question this new reality and if the cannabis I just inhaled was laced, my imagination took over and from those puddles evolved fractals.
The patterns echoed along the constant vibration I was hearing, the feedback colliding with the sound waves. I heard the deaf noise of rain falling before I saw the clouds form above and around me. The memory uncoiled itself to the day I first held a violin in my old Midwest Florida childhood home near the end of April 1995. I was ten years old again sitting on the bottom step of the staircase, my knees scraped and bloody from school recess earlier that day. I was quietly crying to myself.
Albeit, out of anger.
It was then that I heard the familiar squeak and protest of hinges on the front door flooding the vicinity with light and rain. A tall elderly man with a snowy white beard emerged from the doorframe brushing the excess water off his tweed coat and trousers. After hanging his cane on the coat rack along side his jacket, the man who resembled more of a wizard than a grandfather turned towards me, arching his eyebrows out of faint surprise.
“You’re not due home for another thirty minutes.” A soft British voice said to me with eyes the color of fog.
I looked up at my grandfather, opened my mouth to say words but none would come out. The only sound that escaped was a sigh, as more tears ran down my cheeks; the glistening tracks staining them. I felt arms around me as my hair was pushed back. I couldn’t help but cry harder as I heard his voice once again, asking with gentle speech to stop my tears. I sniffled and looked up to see the humble face of Paul Fischer peering down at me, the crinkles around his eyes more defined by the light above.
“Are you all right? What happened at school?”
“That 7th grader Janice Pittman keeps harassing me. I was just reading that book you gave me for my birthday when a soccer ball appeared out of nowhere and hit me on the side of my face.” The blotched patch of skin above my right eye ached to even think about it.
“That explains that bruise around your brow then,” My grandfather said as he inspected the side of my face, and continued, “…What happened after that?”
“I heard Janice laughing from the other side of the playground, pointing fingers and trying to egg me on and what not.” I said while wincing when my grandfather accidentally grazed one of my bloodied knees.
“Oh dear, we’re going to have to clean these up. Come on, now. Up, up. Walk with me to your father’s study so we can bandage those wounds. Keep explaining your story, though. I would very much like to hear it.” He held a withered hand out towards me to grasp, and as I held his hand we began to ascend the stairs.
“So, I picked up the ball and walked over to her. Calmly. And, I said, ‘I’m not interested in playing. Sorry,’ after this abnormally long silence that just felt like it lasted forever.” My grandfather rounded the corner of the second floor, the door to the study wide open revealing the circular room’s magical character.
A plethora of hardcover books littered the premise; some piled high that resembled more of mountains while others were scattered and dispersed like animals in a wild habitat. The walls were dark mahogany shelves built-in that lined the perimeter, except for the single window that served as the sole source of light. Aside from the light fixture hanging from the ceiling, the afternoon sun emerged out of dark clouds and illuminated the study. A ladder with wheels accommodated the pulley system that lined the walls for easier access to the volumes high above their heads.
“And, then… she kicked dirt in my face. I threw the ball, which I aimed at her mouth, and then I was the one laughing. After that, we were pretty much a blur on the ground. When the teacher separated us, he told me to apologize because he saw me throw the ball first. I apologized, the recess taksim escort ended and when the class was returning to our homeroom, Janice kicked me from behind. That was when my knees hit the pavement. I started crying… I wasn’t loud, I just started crying because of how she was treating me.” Grandpa Paul hoisted me up on the desk and positioned the lamp beside me towards my knees, irradiating the surrounding area.
His half-moon spectacles reflected the light, obscuring his eyes from my view as he inspected the wounds more carefully. Having been a doctor for roughly three quarters of his life, I knew I was in perfect care. I sometimes preferred my grandfather as opposed to my father to tend to whatever scrapes, burns, or cuts I’d accumulate over time; though, both of their professions were medical. He squinted his eyes and furrowed his brow, tut-tutting under his breath.
“There’s some debris in those wounds, Sherron. This will definitely sting. But, I promise by the time it’s over, you won’t be thinking about the pain.”
Standing, he walked towards the window where a panel of wood was pushed aside to reveal a compartment. Concealed within, he pulled out a first aid kit and left the panel door ajar as he returned to the desk spreading out the various items. He unwrapped the gauze and added a few drops of antiseptic to it before cautiously applying the cloth to the scrapes.
“Just stay still. And continue with your story. What happened after you began to cry?” The sting began to dissipate, spreading warmth around the tender tissue. Carefully, he began extracting the larger debris with the tweezers, discarding the bloody remnants in a tin bowl. It stung a few times, but the majority of my concentration was in recounting the story.
“I ran towards the bench where I left the book you gave me. And, then, I ran home.” I looked up towards the ceiling of the study where the chandelier was hanging, casting a kaleidoscope of light and colors around me. I felt an adhesive stick to the skin surrounding my knees and trailed my eyes downwards to see my grandfather placing bandages on the surface. He patted them down, checking the corners to insure they were snug. Satisfied, he walked over to the small sink nearest to the wine cooler and fridge that were also disguised as wood panels and began washing the tools and containers used to treat my scrapes.
He was patting his hands dry when he looked over at me and removed his glasses to clean with the cloth. The mane of white hair that adorned his face shook as he laughed.
“Well, one thing is for certain. You are indeed my granddaughter.” He smiled at me as he rounded the desk and sat in the leather chair. I turned my body towards him knowing he would’ve asked me to do so if I had not. My grandfather had always been adamant on the power of eye contact.
“Now that this little ordeal has been settled, have you learned anything today that might benefit you later on?” He inclined his head in an inquisitive manner, imploring me with his eyes to think before I speak.
“A lesson? Sure. Don’t throw things at girls who have higher testosterone levels than you do.”
He threw his head back in laughter, slapping his knees and shaking his head. Grandpa Paul settled his spectacles along the bridge of his nose and firmly on his ears before he cleared his throat and began his lecture.
“How much of that book that I gave you have you read?”
I thought about it for a few moments, trying to recall the page number I bookmarked. “I’m about halfway through, I’m quite sure. I just met the Cheshire cat.”
“The mad tea party hasn’t made an appearance yet? I’m surprised at you. When I first read Alice’s Adventures, I remember being so curious after her first meeting with the Cheshire cat that I simply had to read more. Honestly, after learning that she was on her way to the March Hare’s house, which would indelibly lead to the tea party, I could barely hold in my excitement.” His gray eyes were animated beneath the half-moon spectacles.
“I didn’t know you loved tea that much, grandpa.” I said with sarcasm. He crinkled his eyes more and nodded slowly, all the while smiling.
“Of course. Your grandfather is a very old man, and with age we acquire memories over time. One of the fondest memories I have is of my mother fixing your great uncles, aunts, and myself tea and letting it steep in the cool autumn air of Cheshire, England. Years and years ago, however, to me, it feels as though a single minute has passed since that moment in time. Lewis Carroll was born in a village within the county of Cheshire, did you know?”
“Wait, you two were born in the same place?” I said out of confusion and bewilderment.
“Well, within the vicinity of each other, yes. He’s got a few years on me, obviously, but many of the neighbor’s families had been around for generations, much like my own. And, there were a few who actually remembered Lewis. I was given the nickname of Duke of Carroll by several of them.” His eyes waned aimlessly, calm but restless with the growing excitement of reciting his own history.