“True love never has an ending. Its tremors echo through time.”
Sunday Early Morning
I woke up next to Jack, hearing a telephone ringing. It didn’t sound like a cell phone. When I thought about it, I had never heard Jack’s cell phone ring either. I wasn’t sure if maybe it was the phone in the bakery below us. It was still dark outside, so the bakery was not open. It rang four times and then stopped. About thirty seconds later it began to ring again. I began to gently shake Jack to wake him.
“Jack, baby. There is a phone ringing,” I said, trying to wake him. He was really sleeping.
He woke up, but only laid there for a minute, trying to process what I was saying. When it rang again, Jack flew out of bed.
I had been in his apartment enough times to know if he had a LAN phone. I sat up a little, peeking into the kitchen. Jack was sitting on the floor with a phone cord coming out of the cabinet under the sink.
“Grandpa, why are you calling so late?” Jack asked.
He was talking to his Grandpa?
I reached in my bag that was laying on the floor, and pulled out my cell phone. It was three in the morning.
“Grandpa I have company right now, can I call you back tomorrow?” Jack continued his conversation. Whatever they had to talk about, he wanted kept private. I knew his secrets were his own, but it made me feel like I was not important enough to share things with. If this was some problem he was dealing with, did he not think I could help him?
“Okay, make it quick, I’m listening,” he said. He listened for a moment, and then began to whisper into the phone. I could still make out every word.
“What do you mean they know? How?” Jack asked through the phone. There was silence from him while he listened.
“Shit. That might explain the black car I saw. I haven’t seen them since Thursday. I only made one person, although there could be more. I saw them at two different times that day, but haven’t seen them since. The plates were government plates.”
What was he talking about?
“If they were going to do anything, it would be pretty damn hard. This place is full of tourists. Plus I’m above the bakery, which is always busy,” Jack said, sounding condescending.
Was someone looking for him? I wish I could have unheard everything that was being said. My heart was sinking.
“No, no, no! I’ve done everything I can to stay hidden, just like we discussed. If I’ve truly been found, then it wasn’t anything I’ve done,” Jack said, sounding hostile.
Everything he had ever hinted toward was coming together now, and it explained why he had been so private about the past. What he told me was true, he wasn’t here by choice.
“Don’t you dare even think it. She wouldn’t do anything like that. She’s a good friend,” he said, in reply to some accusation.
A friend? Is that all I was to him?
That statement left me feeling alone, and used. Tears fell silently down my cheeks and over the bridge of my nose. My anxiety was immediately felt in my breathing as I tried to control my tears.
Maybe I was overreacting and he was only saying that to get off the phone. Regardless, I could not take back what I had heard. His secrecy had gone so far that it was treading on my heart. I almost felt betrayed.
“I’m not leaving, Grandpa. I’m going to play this out. If I feel I need to leave for a bit to throw them off, it won’t be an extended leave” he said.
He listened to his Grandpa speaking back to him.
“Fine. If it will make you feel better, I’ll leave Friday.”
Leave? Going where?
My heart was pounding in my chest and I felt ill. I couldn’t keep my bottom lip from quivering from the anxiety I felt.
“Grandpa, I don’t think you get it - I’ve started a new life here. I had to move on, and no, I haven’t forgotten! Dammit, how could I? I died that day,” Jack said with quiet hostility. I was getting half answers from this one-sided conversation. It was beginning to make me crazy.
“Yes, I’ll leave Friday, but only for a short stay. I’ll book a flight in the morning.”
He said good-bye and hung up. He didn’t immediately return. I waited close to ten minutes for him to return before I decided to sneak out of bed. I peeked out into the living room only to see him standing at the bay window. I stood for a moment, watching his side profile.
He looked upset, and I was afraid to go talk to him. I climbed back in bed, and shortly thereafter he laid next to me. I was not going to fall back to sleep, my mind was too busy. He said he was leaving. Would he take me with him or ask me to go? I couldn’t take it, and I began to panic. I rolled over, and clung against him, burying my face in his neck. I began to cry, noticeably.
“Maddy, what’s wrong?”
“I heard you, Jack. I don’t understand this. What is going on, and why are you leaving?”
Jack held my face in his hands, and began wiping my cheeks with his thumbs.
“That was my grandfather. I have to put him in an assisted living home. My grandmother can’t take care of him anymore.”
He lied. He’s lying to me.
What he was telling me did not match with what I had heard. I didn’t want to ask any more questions if I was only going to be lied to.
“I’m coming back,” he continued to say. “I’ll only be gone a few days.”
I only nodded back, but my sobbing didn’t subside, and neither did my anxiety. He pulled me close to him and tucked my face into his chest as I cried.
I had no doubt that his reason for leaving was not true. But I had to be sure he was coming back.
“You’re coming back for sure? You promise?” I asked.
He kissed the top of my head. “I swear, Maddy. I’m coming back. It should only take three days.”
I left it at that because I felt stupid for asking. I shouldn’t have to ask, he should just want to tell me.
The desire for truth was devouring my mind and heart. I would not be able to enjoy my time with him fully, knowing he was hiding things from me. My eyes were closed, but I laid awake until I saw the sun rise.
I felt Jack get out of bed, and I heard the door to his apartment open and close. I jumped out of his bed and ran on my toes toward the kitchen window. He was at the back of the house when I reached the window, and he walked to the shed.
After he put in the padlock code, he went inside. I waited at the window for a while. What was this? One minute I was living my dreams, and now it seemed as though they were dieing. I was not about to let my dreams die. Jack needed to know he could trust me, and that he didn’t need to keep secrets from me.
He stepped out of the shed and locked it. I ran back to the bedroom, laid back in bed, and closed my eyes. He came back and met me there. I pretended to wake up as he laid next to me. My own deception sickened me. I was not this person.
I sat up in bed, causing Jack to stir.
“Hey. Good morning,” he said, lightly smiling at me.
I felt I had to force a smile to appear as if everything was okay. I was not good at it.
“Hi. Hey, I have to go to the ballet studio this morning at ten. I have to teach a small class. When I’m done with that I’ll probably stop by the gym. I haven’t been in a while,” I told him, hoping he wouldn’t ask to come watch.
He leaned up and kissed me on my shoulder.
“That’s okay, sweetheart. Do what you have to do. I will probably work at your house today. I know it’s Sunday, but I would like to get your new roof on before Friday,” he told me.
At that, I climbed out of bed and put my bra on. Jack watched me for a moment only to stand up, and grab hold of me. He lifted me off the floor with his embrace. I loved him. I so badly did not want to find something that would change who I knew him to be.
He kissed my shoulder and neck. His five o’clock shadow, which he always appeared to have, sent chills down my spine: the good kind. His hands moved up to my bra and it unsnapped. I let it fall through the space between us. I had not been into the bathroom yet, so I had no idea what I looked like. I hadn’t brushed my teeth, either. These insecurities started to affect my readiness to perform.
“Jack, I’m going to use the bathroom real quick,” I said.
He kissed me a few more times on the neck.
“Okay, me too.”
I grabbed my bag and walked to the bathroom that was off the living room. I quickly brushed my teeth and pulled my hair out of the knot I had it tied in. I rubbed under my eyes, which still appeared sleepy. I knew I had a lot to do, but what if it was the last time we made love. I instantly kicked myself for thinking that. That was not going to be an option. My anxiety engulfed me. So much so, that I could only think about throwing myself at Jack and never letting go. I decided to remove my underwear before I left the bathroom.
Quickly, I walked back into the bedroom. I didn’t have to throw myself at him because he was already kissing me all over. He kissed down my body, and my fingers clawed at the sheets from the fervent appetite that came with each and every kiss. In that moment, the deluge of anxiety I previously had been feeling seemed to dissipate.
His lips found their way back up to mine, momentarily satisfying that lustful hunger. As if my continued existence depended on it, I used my legs to pull him inside of me. At this, it was as if he could stop holding his breath, and his cheek brushed against mine as he exhaled heavily. The weight of him on top of me brought further comfort; comfort and security. My troubles and concerns had been taken away. He kept me warm and safe from my own insecurities.
I brought my legs out to either side of him as he effortlessly brought me to the edge of the mattress, and stood up, looking me over. His bed was the perfect height for this. He moved his hands around the thigh of my left leg, gliding them toward my foot. I naturally pointed my toe and watched as he kissed from my knee, down to the bridge of my foot. He held onto my long leg, gently massaging as he rested his cheek against the inside of my foot. His right hand lightly maneuvered over every inch of my flesh, as if worshiping my every curve, giving me all of his adoration, and reverence. His stare of admiration over my skin was giving me a new sense of pride. To know someone could enjoy every part of me so much, brought me unexplainable satisfaction.
I didn’t fight the whimpers that my heavy breathing produced. I took my right leg and crossed it over my left. Jack held onto the tops of my thighs as my feet rested on his right shoulder. I was ready to go, and would be shortly. I could have died in that moment, and I would have willingly shut my eyes to the world, knowing everything had been satisfied.
All the elation and happiness I was feeling intensified with every movement. Jack held himself inside me, and I could feel his tight stomach against the back of my legs. I vehemently felt heat wash over my entire body, down to my toes and through my fingertips. My body fortified, I felt my lips quiver. I grabbed my breasts in an attempt to restrain my body. Pulling at them to repress the intensity only intensified the feeling.
Jack quickly hoisted me up, causing my legs to uncross. He supported me against his body, waiting until my turbulent sensitivities and shaky breathing, had subsided. I rigorously held fast to his back as he kept me suspended, but slowly moving me against him, so as not to cheat me out of any sense of feeling I deserved.
As soon as my impassioned intensity had reached a calm, I relaxed my head against the muscles of his neck, trying to steady my breathing. After a few moments, he brought me down onto the bed and lightly kissed me before walking into the bathroom. I only sat on the edge of the bed, feeling delicate and tired. All of my energy dwindled on this afterglow that poured over me. It could also have been due to my lack of sleep.
The euphoria had escaped my heart too quickly, and I felt detached again, knowing our relationship felt dishonest at this point. I had no doubt he loved me, and what we were feeling was real. Jack, however, was hiding a part of him that he may, or may not, have been proud of. I set these negative emotions aside for now until I had clear answers.
I walked to the bathroom on the other end of the apartment, and I climbed in the shower. When I finished cleaning up, I put on a tank and some yoga pants. I pulled a long sweater and some boots out of my bag. The temperature had dropped and the morning was cold. I felt bad that Jack was going to work outside in forty degree weather. I brought the long sweater over my head, taking one quick look in the mirror as I pulled my hair up into a knot. I walked out of the bathroom, and Jack was putting his work boots on in the kitchen
“I have to run home first,” I told him.
Which was the truth.
“I forgot my ballet shoes, so I’m going to get going.”
“Okay, I should be over there shortly,” he replied as he walked over to the kitchen table, turning his laptop on.
“I have to do some office work real quick. It should only take a half hour or so.”
I knew what he meant by office work. He was going to book a flight, and I was going to let him. For all I knew, he was booking a flight to Iowa somewhere. That truth remained to be discovered. We gave each other a long kiss good-bye, and I was out the door. As I walked down the stairs I looked at the small shed in the back of the bakery. There was not much in his apartment, so it lead me to believe this was where he stored pieces of his past. Pictures possibly.
I walked into my house and greeted my mom, who was rummaging in the kitchen.
“Hi, Mom. I am going to ballet class and then the gym for a while,” I told her, before she could ask me what my plans were.
My mother looked at me puzzled as I started to walk up to my room.
“Wait. Are you okay? How did everything go last night?” she asked.
I raised my eyebrows at her.
“Seriously? You are asking how things went at my boyfriend’s place last night. Do you really want to know that?” I asked her.
“I am not asking for details, Maddy. I used to be married once, you know. Do you have any questions?” she asked me in all seriousness.
“Oh my god, Mom!” I shouted, bringing my palm to my face. “Are you kidding me? You are so nosy. Is, ‘I’m not a virgin,’ what you want to hear?” I said.
“There is no need for hostility. I’m only trying to be helpful because it’s different for a woman. Sometimes she needs to tell the man how to please her. There is nothing wrong with talking,” she continued to say.
“Good talk, Mom. And I know what an orgasm feels like. Going to class now,” I stated, holding up both of my thumbs. I stopped when I was halfway up the stairs.
“Oh yeah, Jack is coming over to work on the house today. For the love of god, do not try to give him sex advice like you just did me. Actually, it’s probably best you just stay indoors. It’s cold outside anyway,” I told her.
“But its Sunday,” she replied.
I shrugged my shoulders at her.
“He doesn’t have anything else to do today, and he wants to get it done,” I explained.
“Alright then,” she said.