It was not him she was trying to forget as she stood barefoot on the cold linoleum floor. She could never forget him—this she knew. No matter how she tried or how many full moons came and went or how many cities she placed between then and now, Faith knew she would always return to find him there, waiting in the recesses of her mind.
She pulled the ice tray from her refrigerator recalling that one afternoon when everything had been new; him, her, this country, the feeling growing between them that promised a lifetime.
He had taken the tray from her fumbling hands, twisting it between his thumbs on either end to make the small rectangular cubes pop out. “Like this,” he’d said. Her smile had been small, embarrassed that in her 20 years of living she had not learned the proper technique for popping the frozen cubes out of their tray with ease. He had squeezed her hand softly, knowingly.
She had wanted to explain then that “back home,” ice cubes were not a thing they indulged in often. That their water had coated their throats as warm as the day had been. That their sodas had not come out of buttons pressed on machines soaking ice in waiting plastic cups, but instead, from warm glass bottles tilted towards their mouths. This is why she had never had the chance to learn the proper technique for removing ice cubes from a tray—and why she stood in his kitchen banging the plastic tray against the counter, butter knife in hand, ready to pry the cubes out. One by one.
Now, standing in her own kitchen, she held the white tray in her hand, twisting its ends in opposite directions. She grabbed the four cubes that freed themselves and let them drop into her glass thinking of how she had learned to live with his frequent excursions into her present.
It had been ten years since things had ended and she had stood under her shower trying to scrub the remnants of him off her. She recalled the rawness of her skin as she worked the thick scrub into her body. How the hot water had mingled with her tears. How she had tried to catch her breath in the steamy bathroom. How she had thought of not breathing as she tried to control her sobs in deep breaths and found instead a well of untapped tears.
She had been suicidal once. On the verge of not living. How the dead can seem so alive, she had pondered as she moved from room to room and conversation to conversation. Eventually, she had stopped moving. For days on end. The dark of her eyelids transforming into the darkness outside her window. That is when they had come—her friends—and pulled her out of the mud that seemed to be drowning her. The mud that was sucking her under as her arms sat helpless at her side. How easily the body can be swayed by the soul.
Mathew 26:41 "...the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak."
At Loki’s insistence, she had sat across from the nice white woman and tried to explain the pit of nothingness that had made a home in her chest. It was just a break up, she had told the therapist. The kind that teach you the futility of love and the vast emptiness of promises.
For weeks, she had sat across from the nice white lady, the full truth of their relationship unable to pour out of her. Where could she begin? How could she paint the disquiet that haunted their every moment's happiness. Or those moments when the sun had blacked them out from its warmth and brought the worst out of him. When it seemed they could go no further, the therapist handed her a note, sending her to the only other person who it seemed could help; a psychiatrist.
She had expected more than the summary of questions lobbed at her in the too-bright white room of Dr. Zacari's office. Faith had wanted a chance to disprove the sickness. It was a state of mind. A passing mood. Nothing more. Instead, she sat in the small green chair sullen as the bespectacled, balding man, typed things into his computer.
Each morning for the next two months, Faith had taken the small blue oval pills the psychiatrist had given her. Admitting, begrudgingly, that the little blue pills seemed to make the nothingness in her chest smaller. They made the mornings easier which made the mid mornings even easier and the afternoons bearable such that when she got home at night she could catch glimpses of sleep instead of fright.
She was walking up the stairs now, glass in hand, ice cubes rattling with every step, deeply mired in the remembering. There was nowhere else to go but back.
_ _ _
To be continued ... What do ya'll think?
Leave me a comment and share your thoughts. I first started to write this nearly 6 months ago and had completely forgotten about it. The second half is still in development so I have no idea how this story even ends. Yikes.