My writing has been on the back burner ever since I was cast in the ensemble show, Inviting Desire. I record my experience with the show and my other writing on my general blog, leta1950 aka A point in our journey. Even so, I had a temp assignment which gave me some time to sit and think about where I want to take this story- please feel free to let me know what you think about the latest development.
When Marguerite was feeling very stressed or overwhelmed, she would imagine herself in a field; a simple field with wild flowers, and tall weeds that looked like wheat, and had buds like a rattler’s tail. It would be a soft blue day with wisps of clouds like a woman’s hair spread out seductively on a pillow, inviting her lover to touch just one strand. She could smell serenity and it was like wet dirt and heat, the kind of heat that bakes bread or sweet muffins. Sometimes she could bury herself so deeply into the dream that nothing could shake her from it not even the stench of her brother’s apartment. It wasn’t the smell but the sound of a door slamming that pulled her out and left her alone in the mess, in his mess, his disease.
The stench that filled the room could not be described as anything other than shit. Marguerite stepped over the piles of clothes and papers, the stacks of books, strewn newspaper articles, shredded bits of card board, the yogurt cartons, the bottles and cans of beer, the accumulated mess of months of a recluse; a terrible, terrible recluse. He had only been thirty, they were both thirty, twins minutes apart, and technically he was her older brother. At thirty he was supposed to be getting married, planning on children, settling into his already well established career maybe refinancing his house; of course that’s what Marguerite should be doing too. She could always blame Peter for her current position in life, after all, their mother often did; wasn’t it Peter’s fault that Marguerite started smoking? Wasn’t it Peter’s fault their mother was soaked in tears? Poor, poor mother.
He was such a beautiful boy— her mother had cried the day she pulled his photos from the walls and albums, hiding his image like it was a blemish a pimple that developed the morning of prom. He had tarnished the family, and like the mint green residue of copper, the slimy pink ring of soap scum around the drain, the dull sticky hue of aged grime on silver, he needed to be scrubbed, disinfected and wiped away; erased from memory so that she could shine like her wedding band. She sobbed over her beautiful boy as if she was watching his casket lower into the dirt, into 9 feet of wet soil- fresh like cut grass and new rain. When his casket really was lowered she wasn’t there to watch, she had already suffered far, far too much. Poor, poor mother. Marguerite had watched from the doorway, smoking her dreadful cigarette- the wind is blowing the smoke in dear please stop that nasty habit! – Marguerite had let the smoke drop from her mouth and watched it drift into the foyer before grinding it into the concrete doorstep making black ash drawings, like she used to when she was a child, but with lavender chalk. She had watched her mother fold the top of the box and seal it shut with utility tape borrowed from her job, the one she took for fun now that her children were grown- to pass the time and fill my empty nest. She buried Peter years before he was truly buried- poor, poor mother.
In a way Marguerite felt that he had done this to her on purpose, that all the while he had her in the forefront of his mind. Sure he was the one dead but she was the one still alive, still walking around in his swinging shadow. She was angry with him for leaving her such a mess- such a mess it was. The stench was nauseating. He had had two cats and they must have shit somewhere in the studio. All over the studio she thought.
She moved to the window and pushed it open. A rush from the afternoon traffic fought its way past her face. She pulled a cigarette from a silver case that had a printed copy of Venus Rising on the lid. She brushed her finger over the image then snapped the case shut and dropped it into her coat pocket. She tapped the cigarette on the windowsill two times then lifted it quickly to her lips and held it there as she searched her pockets for a lighter. The air felt warm on her cheeks and helped to relieve the smell. She cupped her hand over the lighter and cigarette till the tip glowed amber. She tossed the lighter on to the floor to join the trash. That’s all it was trash, garbage, a huge mess a nasty hassle. She stared towards a neighbor’s window and slowly exhaled. The smoke lifted from her lips like thin webs and quickly vanished into the rising dusk of the evening. She watched the neighbor in the window cooking. A man wearing a blue muscle t-shirt. She wondered what it would be like to feel his arms around her waist, to feel his hands on her butt pulling her tighter to him as he pressed his hips against her, the feel of the fabric of her dress as it moved above her knees her thighs as he gathered it into his clenched fists – How can you think about sex at a time like this? How disgusting, how vulgar, what have I done to deserve children like this?
Marguerite let the cigarette, lit and hot, fall from between her fingers. She watched it fall, and waited for the smoke to rise, the small flame that would start, that would burn the apartment complex to a crisp taking her and Peter and all the in habitants with it. Nothing. The man from the window was gone.