Eve sat in her car, debating going into the house. The lawn was dead and weeds won the war against grass that had no chance of survival when no one cares. Eve wondered whether it was ever a healthy green lawn. Garden beds were vacant of anything but weeds that stood up tall trying to deal the last blow to the few grass blades that remained with their prickly shoots. She knew she had to do this before she left and exited the car forcing herself into the house.
The room was dark with just a small amount of light intruding through curtains that long ago gave up the fight, the aroma of previous dinners permeating the air. Eve felt her anxieties increasing every minute she spent here, witnessing her sister’s life. She never got used to it, seeing her struggle without end.
“You are missing it. There is a plan, but it means you have to be you for it to play out the right way,” Eve sighed as she spoke the words felt hopeless as they left her own lips.
Seeking distraction from her own thoughts she moved her hand up to straighten the picture on the wall noticing the stain that patterned it’s off center position, this life was a trap. She sat back on the lumpy chair exasperated. It was just another episode in the relentless chapters of her sister’s life.
Every attempt at a connection always ended in her feeling she had only been taken advantage of. The coarseness of the happening of things always left her feeling dim witted to ever believe she cared about her at all. Sarah was quiet and not responding tapping her phone ignoring Eve, waiting for Eve to give her money again, to save her as she always did.
Sarah was still in the clothes she slept in, and her hair only had the slight memory of a style done for a night outing, her makeup was smeared on her face. Her salon nails tapped on the phone as if she was the most popular person in the world, a fantasy of tapping her way to it and a great way to ignore anything Eve had to say.
She grabbed the coffee cup and the dryness touching her lips felt fittingly empty, she knew she was never going to be able to really help her. This mission was over. Sarah sat slumped on the dirty couch, tapping away at her phone unable to see that she was the real problem. Her decisions or maybe better said, mistakes, brought her to every place she needed saving from.
It was inexplicable to Eve, she saw through every person her sister starting hanging with as bad news. Sarah only seemed to care about whether the person she was with would elevate her, make her look cool, feel cool. Sarah started muttering the usual excuses for her once again hitting the bottom, blaming everyone but herself again, and Eve knew she couldn’t take it anymore. As she watched Sarah’s lips move she tuned out the droning of words that by now were so repetitive, that Eve thought hearing them uttered again may result in her own spontaneous combustion.
Eve stood up pushing down her own feelings, assuring Sarah that she would be there for her, they were sisters. As the words left her mouth she knew she was close to not feeling anything at all. Eve brought her phone out and transferred money to Sarah’s account.
“Now go get a job Sarah, it’s time. You need to be able to at least support yourself, so if there is another mistake, it’s not as bad. Get your own place. And don’t quit your job and your place the minute you get another guy. We both haven’t been very good at picking guys so far, so maybe we both need to start with, we picked the wrong guy and let them prove they aren’t. Give it time before you give up your life and become their prisoner,” Eve said feeling nauseous.
Eve nauseous hated this discussion, it made her feel bad about her own life and she hated that feeling, trying always to avoid it. Eve walked towards the door backwards slowly, her feelings for Sarah pulling against her own survival instincts. She hesitated once she reached the door, Sarah still sat on the couch giving no sign that she was trying to delay her departure.
“Look Sarah, I am moving away. I have a new job in a new state and I am in need of a new life too. You are going to have to take hold of your own life. I can’t always save you,” she said as she opened the door feeling relieved that she had finally got the words out and she knew it was late in coming. Eve wanted to get away from all of it, including Sarah.
“What do you mean you are leaving? You can’t leave! What will I do if you go? I need help now and what kind of sister runs out, to some far off place, when the other one is in this situation? Who is going to help me move?” Sarah said as she finally got up off the couch.
“Look Sarah, you will be fine and I can still help you but I am moving, so things will be tight for me too. I make good money, but I am not rich you know,” Eve replied, trying to stand her ground and leave. She opened the door wider, her arm outstretched.
“I have to go, I have stayed too long already, I sent you money and I will send more if I can. We will keep in touch, ” Eve said backing up and almost tripping on the small step.
Sarah rushed towards Eve and just as Eve caught her balance again, Sarah latched onto Eve’s legs sobbing.
“ I need help, you can’t leave now, please don’t, “ Sarah pleaded tears further smearing her expired makeup.
Eve pushed back unable to release herself from Sarah’s grasp. Sarah was good at reeling her in and Eve resisted holding back the tears of her left over feelings, convincing herself that Sarah could do it on her own.
“ Sarah stop it, really, you aren’t a kid and I am your younger sister. You just need to get stronger and stop expecting men to make your life better. Obviously that is not where the truth lies. I haven’t gotten it figured out either, but hey we have ourselves and we are strong enough to get through everything on our own. I have and so can you. Stop expecting everyone to save you,” Eve said and as she spoke these words to Sarah, Sarah finally released her.
Eve wrapped her arms around Sarah lifting her up “Just get back on your feet. You can and we both have to, ”she said sincerely wanting both of their lives to be happy but had lost hope on Sarah’s.
She tried not to be obvious on how much she wanted to get out of there. Once she opened the car door and got inside she felt relieved it was over. Maybe she could still save Sarah but she couldn’t for now, she had her own hell to escape.
The car felt extra good as it sped off down the road to Eve’s new freedom. It wasn’t an expensive car, but it was an American muscle car, a Mustang. Eve loved the way it lowered as she pushed down on the pedal, power she could feel. She felt free, away from Sarah, away from that place, away from it all. A new life was what she needed and it was just a few states away and she was ready for it. No more bad luck, no more mistakes.
As the road continued into long stretches of farmland Eve considered more of her life than she cared to. It was a past she wanted to forget; failed relationships made her feel unlucky and sometimes cursed. Eve barely noticed the small towns go by as she focused on getting as far away as she could get, as fast as possible. The early morning dawn blinded her overused eyes as her gas gauge signaled off loud in the early morning quiet. She knew she had gone as far as she could without pausing. Eve sighed, not wanting to stop yet but relenting to it. The town was small, maybe too small for comfort Eve thought, her anxiety increasing because of it.
Suddenly, a classical song with a symphony of violins filled the car and it made Eve jump. For the last few hours the radio gave her nothing but static. Eve’s laughed and turned the music to a lower level than the rock and roll she had heard last. She recalled other long road trips of in and out signals along long empty roads. Eve then turned her focus back to her blinking reminder that she was almost out of gas. As she drove she worried that this early hour might be too early for this sleepy small town.
“Finally,” she said as she spotted a gas station with an attendant dressed in the uniform of the past, white hat, white coveralls, standing at the ready for her.
Eve knew that this was not that unusual for small American towns, that often held onto past traditions while cities constantly changed.
“How you doin’ Miss,” said the tall lanky young man.
“Am I in a dream?” She said out loud without intention.
“I’m sorry miss, excuse me? A dream? Nope I am as real as the sun and this gas pump,” the young attendant replied giving her a puzzled look then a friendly chuckle.
“I’m sorry, I have been driving all night and it might be a good idea to stop soon and sleep,” Eve replied.
“Well we do have a small hotel in this small town Miss if you want to sleep. I am sure they have vacancy,” he said as he tipped his white paper hat politely towards her.
“Thanks for the tip, I just need gas for now,” she replied.
“That’s fine Miss, fill her up?” he said, his hand already grasping the gas hose.
“Yeah great, thanks for doing it,” Eve was grateful she didn’t have to leave the car, which would make this pause towards her new life shorter.
“No problem I enjoy doing it,” the man said as he pushed the nozzle in.
Eve smiled at him, he deserved a smile he had been so friendly and nice, even if she didn’t feel like smiling. She thought about how he seemed so happy, doing this simple job, which she was sure, didn’t make for high end living.
“All filled up!” his voice woke her out of her mind drifting to this pondering.
“Great thanks again here you go,” she said as she passed him the money.
“No bank card? That’s different,” he said as he grabbed it.
“Yah, you would think it doesn’t even exist anymore sometimes. But cash is still king,” Eve responded, it was a response she used before, it kept people from having a wandering mind about her use of cash.
The attendant lit up, “Oh yah, cash is good we all still like it. It makes it all quicker and easier really and less expensive for businesses. You know they take a piece of every sale we make with those bankcards. Yah those bank guys they sure are smart eh?” he said without considering her desire to speed away.
“Well OK, sure, thanks again I have to get going now,” Eve knew she needed to cut it off to get out of there, whether she agreed with what he was saying or not.
“Oh sure, you have a nice day Miss and thank you for stopping by,” he said tipping his hat slightly again.
Eve gave him a socially correct smile again and pushed her foot down on the gas speeding away to her new life. She drove longer than she had ever done, and eventually had to accept a brief stop was a must to sleep, if only for a few hours.
The motel was old and quaint and the only one in yet another small town she passed through. The night attendant came out wiping his old eyes to adjust to the light. The tiny bell on the door as she entered was his alarm.
“Good evening miss, or is it morning now?” he said in a friendly but tired tone checking the old clock ticking in the corner of the small check in table.
“I believe it’s morning, kind of, I just need a room for one night. I will be off early tomorrow,” she replied.
“Of course not a problem, slow season, and we have plenty of rooms and welcome the business,” he said politely as she filled out the paperwork and he held the key ready to give her.
When she handed him cash to pay the bill along with her credit card he said. “Cash I don’t see that anymore but it’s good to see when I do.” He smiled at Eve passing her the key. “Keep your credit card I trust you,” he added.
“Thank you that’s wonderful. It would never happen where I’m from,” she replied.
“I won’t ask and hopefully you don’t have to stay there,” he said sincerely knowing some places could be really different when it came to people.
“I already left, thank you and goodnight. I have an early morning ahead of me and not much left of this night,” Eve said heading towards the door to go to her motel room.
“I won’t expect to see you in the morning then just leave the key on the table by the bed before you leave. Safe travels miss, goodnight,” he said going back through the door behind the desk he came out of.
The motel room was basic and served the needs of travelers who were looking for nothing more than a clean bed and a shower. She went to sleep immediately not even pulling the bed cover off which was what she normally insisted on. Within just a few hours her phone alarm was sounding off and before she was fully rested she was forcing herself up to get back on the road. She only had a short time to get far and was glad about every mile that passed. Throwing her bags in the car she got in and sped off again.
As she finally turned the corner into the neighborhood that her new home was, she was exhilarated and energized by excitement. Old growth trees, witnesses to more than any single life, created a rich green canopy all the way down the block. The dappled light showing through the leaves made beautiful cathedral like patterns. Homes on the block were all perfectly kept and manicured, with a pride of ownership that beamed with beautiful blooming flowers in perfect rows. Nothing was out of place, no home stood out better than the others. They were all in a line of perfect social harmony. These people all belonged together, not a mishmash of you never know who lurks there feeling here, she thought to herself.
Ignoring her aching shoulders from the long road to this place, she purposefully crushed it in her mind to hold onto her feeling of happiness in having arrived. She had only seen pictures online of the house she leased, but what she saw was beautiful everywhere and these homes were in line with the online vision presented to her. When she did it, she thought it might be a too good to be true deal, but took the chance. From what she was seeing it was a good bet after all.
“33336 OK I am getting real close,” she said out loud excitedly, watching the street numbers with careful concentration, not wanting to pass it by.
“33366 it should be right there, yes, great there it is!” Eve could not hold in her exuberance and sped into the driveway with a push on the gas pedal that gave it an extra zoom.
It was beautiful, perfect in every way and she could feel joy again, a feeling that she had missed having for so long. Eve felt her shoulders again, but it paled with the smell of the fresh grass, emerald green and perfectly manicured rushing into her senses. This was followed by a combined wonderful floral scent from the blooms in perfect force.
“Could I finally be this lucky?” she shuddered.
Life seemed like an endless struggle for happiness for so long that she wasn’t sure anymore whether life could be different for her.
Eve grabbed a few bags and entered the house noticing how clean everything was with every step she took. She swung the door open and confirmed that it was just as beautiful on the inside, as the outside in every way.
Each room seemed to be professionally done by an interior decorator that fit her style of comfortable and cozy. The kitchen was fully stocked with a week’s worth of food and wine, just as beautifully as the house was furnished and designed. Her exuberance escalated and she could not contain it running around the house being excited about how much she loved everything she saw, until finally entering the bedroom and jumping backward onto the bed laughing.
The bedroom, like the entire house was a dream. If she never believed in perfect before, she did now. Her stomach let out a growl and checking her phone she realized it had been hours since she had her last meal on the road. She still had bags to get from the car and needed to unpack. Also, getting on the road again to grab a bite or cooking a satiating meal from scratch, was more than she was up for. She searched her phone for the local pizza place and called for her order.
“I wonder if pizza is different here,” she thought as she placed the order.
She could hear the flurry of a busy restaurant behind the voice on the phone that answered the call. Minutes later the doorbell was ringing. Eve glided through the house towards the front door and reveled in the clean smell of flowers filling the air. A communion of floral scent permeated the entire house from the flowers that bordered every wall and breathing the scent in deeply, she felt like she was in heaven.
There was a dark heavy wooden front door that had an extravagant carving on it and the large brass handle felt cool and soft in her hand as she grabbed it with the confidence of this is her home.
“Hi Miss, here is your pizza hot and fresh,” the man standing there said happily.
Eve gaped at him thinking he looked like a young Adonis, fit, sculpted crystal blue eyes, golden blond and for a moment she wished she were just a bit younger.
“Great, I am really hungry,” she said feeling awkward in her delayed stare, handing him the cash.
“You new here? Just move in?” he asked with a friendly tone.
“Yes, just today in fact. I just got here,” she answered stumbling, his handsome looks making her giddy.
“That’s great, hope you enjoy it here and the pizza of course,” he said with a smile that tried to melt her.
“Thanks, yah thanks me too,” she said but she her felt too short for her as she debated letting him go away without a chance at seeing him again.
She walked towards the kitchen, pizza in hand and felt like she just saw her first crush. “Stop it Eve,” she thought to herself but she couldn’t help smiling, though she was determined not to make another mistake in love again. Eve wanted to do it different this time, make sure it was right for her, not just another girlhood mistake of falling for the very wrong guy.
Her cell phone sounded off and as she looked down at the number, she saw it was Sarah. For a moment her happiness and joy left and she felt anxiety replacing it. Eve didn’t want this moment ruined again by Sarah. She wondered if Sarah was psychic knowing when she was feeling happiness to ruin it. Sarah had ruined enough good moments already for Eve and she knew she had to draw the line at some point and that point was now.
Eve didn’t answer it and heard the familiar tone of the voice mail notification. Her resolved strengthened when the phone silenced, deciding the best plan was to not listen to the voice mail this time. She pushed the phone aside and took another bite of the pizza that was delicious and quelling the growling inside. A new life, a new plan, she was starting over. No one was going to take advantage of her again. She needed to focus on her finally, the one thing she kept leaving behind, herself, in every story line in her life. Her hunger satisfied, she felt the aching sensations from the long road trip and the need for sleep tugged at her.
Eve wasn’t ready to end this night despite her body’s own signals. She poured a glass of wine deciding to take in the beauty of the backyard and the stars shining down on her, before giving in. She noticed that the intricate carvings that bordered the French doors exiting to the backyard matched the style of the front door. Eve petted it gently as she passed by to exit the house, in appreciation of its great artistic beauty. Beautiful foliage could be seen bordering the entire backyard that even the dark night could not hide its magnificence.
The rich wood deck smelled sweet and Eve took a big relieving breath as she looked up to the stars above. They all seemed to be winking happily down on her. Suddenly a shooting star, more brilliant than all the others in the night sky, burst into view. She assured herself this was a sign of the goodness that had finally come her way. She placed the wine glass down and decided to give in to the night. By the time she finally laid down on the bed her feeling of bliss allowed her to drift off into an easy deep sleep.
“Is it her?” a soft voice hours said, breaking the pure silence of the night and woke Eve.
Picking up her phone she hoped it was close enough to morning to just get up and get at her next wonderful day. But the time disappointed her back to sleep, ignoring the soft voice that woke her.