The following day, her father called her at Sasha’s place. She swallowed and held her breath. Once again diking the flood of pain waiting to thrust forth and speak.
“Hi Aria. How are you doing? Rudy told me what happened between you and Trish.”
Her heart raced and wanted to scream. “I don’t know. The worst part is she filmed me. She wouldn’t put it down. I couldn’t go to her, Saint Anastacia.” She knew he didn’t get it, but felt it was necessary to say out loud. Maybe the Saint was listening and would grant her some small degree of redemption and favor.
“Well, don’t worry about it happening again. I’ve spoken to Rudy and I also spoke to Trish.”
“I’m afraid something bad is going to happen.” She stood in Sasha’s kitchen. Her eyes darted towards the door and kitchen, she jumped at even familiar sounds of Sasha moving around.
“How’s everything else, Bird? Umm, I need to talk to you about something.”
“What? Are you coming back soon to get me?” She held her breath again and tightened her grip on the phone. It felt warmer than usual.
“Your mother called.”
Aria’s stomach dropped, her body began to shake.
“She wants you to come back to Germany,” he continued.
“To stay with her?” Aria felt her heart floating out of her body.
“Yes. But I’d like to talk to her about letting you stay in New York for a while.”
“Are you coming back to Germany with us? Will Kiev, Elias, H-C, and Rudy be able to visit us?”
“No, Aria I won’t be going back to Germany. I want you to stay in New York with me. I need to talk to your mom about it,” Aria worried.
How can you live life divided by an expanse of ocean and not have your very being diluted?
“Is she going to call me?”
“Yes. I gave her the number at Sasha’s so you should be getting a call soon, maybe tonight or tomorrow. I need to talk to her about you staying though.”
“Aria, are you okay?”
Surprised by the answer rolling off her tongue, “I don’t know.”
“I wish I was there. You’ll be okay.”
She’d waited to hear him recite the mantra, but it had lost its power and it’s magic.
“If you need anything ask Rudy or my brothers. I’ll be back soon.”
“Vater, I know about Mr. Young and your mother.”
The silence on the phone lingered much longer than was comfortable.
“What? How do you even know anything about them? Does one of my brothers know, did they tell you? That Trish, did she?”
“None of them told me. The house holds secrets that it’s ready to tell. I have to go now.” She hung up the phone without waiting for his response, without knowing which way to turn. Walking into the kitchen where Sasha was, she stopped at the doorway. Sasha looked up at Aria and shoved his hands into his pockets, and swallowed. His lazy eye drifted to the corner of the room. Slowly he made his way to her.
“Are you okay?” he asked.
“Uncle Sasha, can you take me home, I mean to Kensington?”
“Sure, anything. Get your things and we can go.”
Sasha drove her to Kensington and walked her back to Kiev’s house. He used his key to open Kiev’s door.
“They’ll probably be home in the next hour. I’ll stay until they get here. Would you like to listen to some music or just be quiet?”
“I’m not sure. Some music maybe.” It didn’t matter, nothing mattered. He put on an Italian Opera that she didn’t recognize.
She planted herself amongst the colors of the room and stared off into space, trying to keep negotiations with herself at bay. Sasha listened and lost himself in the music. Rudy, Kiev, and Trish showed up some time later.
“Hi Kiev, you’ve got company,” Sasha got up from the chair and collected his keys.
Kiev’s body relaxed.
“See you later, Bird.” Sasha gave her a light kiss on her forehead.
“’Bye Uncle Sasha. Thank you.”
Kiev made for the door and waited. That familiar flat expression was comforting. He was like space, allowing one to exist in the potential of things. She pulled herself up and they walked the yard in silence and then proceeded to walk to and through Prospect Park. The silhouettes of trees she loved were invisible. As if a porous membrane, she captured and released every bit of pain that saturated the atmosphere in Brooklyn. Kiev walked as usual, along the precise path they’d taken many times before. She knew Kiev could sense her sadness.
By the time they returned, evening had arrived like it had done for a hundred years before in New York. The moon singing lullabies to the adoring stars, the lights of the City waiting for their opportunity to reach into space. How Aria wished she was one of those stars: distant, far away.
“My mother is coming for me, Kiev.”
He stopped in place, tensed his body and then moved in circles seemingly confused at which way to go, in the middle of the living room.
“She wants to take me back to Germany.”
She poured herself onto the couch and cried. Kiev sat. His presence, a silent witness to her pain and confusion. At eleven thirty Kiev rose and retrieved a bust of a
woman blowing a dandelion gone to seed. Deep into the night he labored, carving tear drops one by one, until there were so many they converged to form twin rivers from her eyes. He placed the bust at the entrance of his home.
She woke the next morning in Kiev’s bed, the periphery of the room surrounded by the potted peonies, her aching fingers lightly covered in Ben Gay. Out the bedroom door she saw Kiev still slumbering on the couch. Aria watched as the colors danced on his face. If there was ever anyone she trusted it was Kiev. She didn’t want to leave him.
When he woke, he made breakfast for them – eggs, avocado, and English muffins. They ate in silence.
“Hey you two? Hi Aria, I stopped by last night but you were already sleeping. Would you all like to go to the studio today? Trish is out for the day.” Rudy said matter-of-factly.
“Kiev, can we go to the studio?” Aria asked. She looked at Rudy and nodded an affirmation.
“Okay, come on then. I’ll meet you out front.”
She smoothed the wrinkles out of her cotton skirt and Ecuadorian smock, and then slipped on her red sandals. She watched as Rudy left the house. He walked quickly with intention, wiping his brow, and digging the car keys out of this pocket. He turned once to look back at her, and give a little wave before disappearing around the house.
Rudy dropped them off at the curb. Eloisa was not in the garden. When Aria got into the studio she went directly to the phone and dialed H-C’s number. She very rarely called H-C at work.
“Hello, H-C this is Aria. She’s coming. My mother. I don’t know. I don’t know. Please.”