Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Return of Who?

Bad Girl stood there, silent, eyes downcast, pink leather collar dangling from her left hand.
Master stared through the pier window. She couldn't see him, not only because her eyes were down, but because of the crazed one-way glass. Even if she had looked up, stared right at him, all she'd see was a kaleidoscope reflection of herself. On his side of the glass, inside this house, he could be any denim clad statue, himself, the housekeeper or any of the train wreck of roommates he'd had since she'd disappeared three years ago. He opened the door.
"So who are you today? Cassie?" chucking her under the chin. "Alice, maybe? No, you're not. Are you Bad Girl?" She flinched, shook her head. "Are you Bad Girl come to see me? Come back to me for whatever god-forsaken selfish reason you could have? Come back to me to fix whatever nasty mess you've gotten into this time? Hmm? What now?
"Drugs? Alcohol? Work? Mick? Jerkwad still hanging around? Cynthia? Some one else? Someone new or shall I just go through the list of usual suspects? Stop your crying, I can't stand your BS. Come in, you're causing a scene. I don't need Gladys Kravitz calling the HOA on me."
She shivered as the air conditioning hit her, so much colder than when she was in and out all the time. He never ran the AC when she was there, called his bedroom "the little rain forest" but with only himself to please, or himself and whoever wasn't her, he had at a more typical temperature. The in-line skates, the orange and brown sweater draped over the chair, so not like him, alien to her memory, added another layer of cold. How much had he changed?
Master pulled a throw off the sofa and draped it around her. "Stop shaking. Come on. I'll boil water for tea. Cassie... please." Filling the kettle, fear and disgust played ring around the rosy in his mind, desire and love, yes, love, played in his heart. What was she doing here? "Why don't you put the collar on? That's why you're here? You need me to tell you? Put it on, go ahead."
She stood there, still except for the shivering.
"Yeah, you know better. Wear it with anyone else, no, no. Mine, that's it, right? You returning to your rightful owner? Huh, yeah, rightful owner. Sure, tell myself another lie. I never owned you, not even a fragment. Bitch owns me, though, heart and soul, she does. Did I say that? Here. Drink your fucking tea.
"So I guess you're here just because you missed me? I already lowered the AC, don't worry about hypothermia. Drink."
She looked at him, then into the mug, trying to read the leaves but could only see the stains left inside by long ago nights. They were all Greek or Serbo or anything she couldn't read anyway. She took a sip. "I shouldn't be here. I have to go."
He says nothing, but takes her arm and leads her into the living room. He removes the orange and brown sweater, pushes her towards the chair. She curls up in it, sips the tea. That chair, the same chair he was sitting in, reading "I am a Strange Loop" the day she left, closing the door with a gentle click of the knob. Her toothpaste and nail polish were still on the bathroom vanity.
In the few minutes it took to register that she was gone gone gone, no answer to email phone letter, he even sent flowers to her office, everything marked ‘return to sender unknown' he lost his taste for philosophy. He left the book on a fast-food table.

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