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Chapter 13 – The Forbidden Zone

There was a silence as Mike and Kay were heading towards the bridge, Mike kept looking in the side mirror from time to time.

‘Somebody you knew back there’?

Mike nodded slightly ‘Yes’.

Mike’s face had become an emotionless mask, something he would put on whenever he was worried or distressed. Ma, would often say that he never let out his emotions and therefore he developed this inward personality where everything was bottled in. Mike had trained himself to shut down, almost like an advanced security system which goes into lock down when it’s been violated. Kay looked at Michael, disappointed that the man she was getting to know towards the end of their meal, had disappeared.

‘He wasn’t obviously a friend, judging from the state of your knuckles’, Mike looked at his knuckles, they were swollen and stained with blood. Mike glanced at Kay as they entered the ‘West side’ again, driving towards Kay’s motel. ‘Shall I drop you home’? Mike asked without even giving Kay a look, ‘How about the ice-cream’? Mike looked at Kay as she smiled.

The town seemed strange almost peaceful, as Mike began to realize it was because of his company tonight that made this town seem different. Tonight he could bear being here, he didn’t mind driving around this town where in every dark corner lay a painful memory but tonight the ghosts weren’t there. Kay was that person who was making this happen but in a couple of days, she would be gone and so would the sunshine. ‘That’s your mother’s church, right’? Mike glanced at the church as they drove past, ‘Yes, the only one here’. ‘Will she be going tomorrow morning’? Mike thought about his Ma for a moment and everything she had said to him about not having God anymore. ‘I don’t know’.

‘I think it’s kind of admirable that a person believes in something, do you believe in religion’? Kay asked that even though she knew that a man like Michael has not believed in anything for a long time. They drove into the main town centre, stopping outside ‘Al’s’, Mike turned around to Kay, ‘Believing in something takes you away from reality’.

‘What is reality’?

Kay had spent a lot of time analyzing people, especially those who committed heinous crimes. Kay had written an award winning book on the subject called ‘Minds that Kill’, meeting serial killers who seemed to show little remorse for anything they did. Every mind has a ‘forbidden zone’, where they sub consciously keep the secrets of who they are and why they are. Michael wasn’t a criminal mind, but he was disturbed and Kay cared not about entering that zone to write a book or article, but she cared about him. Michael and Kay sat opposite each other, as they towered over their ice cream cups, once again Mike paid little attention to his food but more to his date. Kay played with her ice-cream as women do, she smiled at Mike then looked down. Mike smiled at Kay occasionally as he was thinking about the greaseballs across the bridge. They would be coming, he knew. Mike didn’t want to do what he did, Kay probably thinks he’s like Gabe and Vincent, but he wasn’t. He had to get back, just get someone back for what happened.

I wasn’t even in the game, I was so far down that I had no chance of winning this, but I had to get a point back just so that I could say ‘I had played’.

‘So you going back’?

Kay smiled ‘Yep, I have alot from this place, taken what I can and now got to go back’.

‘Don’t you get sick of just traveling from place to place, not settling down anywhere’? Kay took a scoop from her ice-cream, almost contemplating at the same time whether she should settle down. ‘Settle down? Are you proposing’? Kay laughed loudly as Mike felt embarrassed, but smiled too. ‘Is that how it sounded? I’m sorry’.

Kay was happy as Mike seemed to be back out of his shell again, his face was beaming and he had lost that mask.

‘After my divorce, I have been alone, just enjoyed my work and quiet weekends whenever I can have them’.

‘So you have no-one special in the city’?

‘Nope, I am so busy that a relationship wouldn’t work’. Mike was thinking of many things in his mind, he just wanted to say something to Kay, but he didn’t quite know what it was. He liked her, but didn’t know her, yet he wanted her to stay but she couldn’t. ‘If you ever come to Chicago, visit me’. Kay said as she finished her ice-cream and Michael had barely started his.

The hospital corridor was long and it seemed even longer at night, there was a silence but one that hurt regardless. Pain never sleeps, it just hides for a few moments before returning again. ‘Whenever I come here Emily, I always imagine that a day will come when I will be walking towards Rebecca’s room and she will just come out and she’ll be fine. All this will be over and my daughter will be able to walk again’.

Ethel sat down slowly outside Becky’s room as Emily peered in and saw that Becky was sleeping. ‘Mrs Martyn, just believe it’ll happen one day. I know you love Becky so much and love heals’. Emily looked at Ethel as her tears flowed, ’I had no time for my kids as they grew up, I was always doing something else sometimes I don’t even realize when they grew up. Becky probably wanted to talk to me many times but I was hardly there, and now I am here but she is sleeping most of the time’.

‘No Mrs Martyn, you are a wonderful mother and a lovely person’,

‘Emily I think I only loved Gabriel and when he was gone, I no longer loved anyone else’.

Mike parked his wagon outside the motel, as Kay smiled at him one more time. This was a tired smile it had been a long night and now it was coming to an end. It had been a strange night, one of many different conversations and reflections. ‘I think you better get home Michael and put some ice on that hand’. Mike looked at his hand as he smiled awkwardly at Kay, ‘That’s not me, you know. Whatever happened back there..’.

‘I know Michael. I know you are a good man and there aren’t too many people I have said that to in my life. Just stay who you are’.

‘I’ll miss you Kay, we never met enough.. really. I’ll come tomorrow and see you’. Kay smiled at Michael, ‘That would be nice’.

Kay opened the door and stepped out as Mike watched her, he didn’t know whether he should kiss her good night or not. He has never been the romantic type, but he wanted to tell Kay how he felt.

’Michael do you know a great man once said “those who fight monsters should be careful they don’t become one”.

‘I don’t understand what that means’.

’Kay smiled, ’Figure it out, I’ll call you tonight and ask you. What he also said was “If you stare long into an abyss, it will also stare into you”!

‘He who fights with monsters, might take care lest he thereby becomes a monster. And when you gaze long into an abyss, the abyss also gazes into you’.

(Freidrich Nietzsche, Beyond Good and Evil)

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