She Walks Alone And sleeps Surrounded By Mirrors
Use to be, I didn't give a fuck what people thought about me. Now...
Friday nights at the community center are picking back up and we're not getting the "looks" much any more, but neither of us do any interacting with the people here. We don't do much interacting with each other for that matter. Our world seems very lonely now.
I usually walk home, and I use the word "home" very lightly because it doesn't feel that way anymore, by myself when I'm finished at the store. Lora stays at the center till after helping prep for the dinner crowd than joins me for dinner at Brier Rose Court. We talk, but it's very detached and meaningless. The love is still there but all the passion walked out the door and left us broken at the top of the stairs.
Two days ago on my way home I passed The Raye House, as it's unavoidable to do so on my walk home, and David was standing on the porch. I haven't spoken to him since the incident and when he saw me and motioned for me to join him, I was a little scared.
"I was waiting for you," he said, surprising me, as I walked onto his porch.
"I guess I owe you an apology," I said.
He smiled, "C'mon in," then walked inside holding the door open for me. I was a little reluctant, thinking that I would walk in and Beth would be there and I wouldn't know what to say to her, but she wasn't.
He led me into the kitchen and asked if I wanted some tea, pulling two cups out of the cabinet. As the Japanese will tell you, it's very bad manners to refuse a cup of tea in someone's home, so I said yes.
The tea smelled good as he poured it into my cup. Tea arouma should be inhailed before sipping it so you get the full flavor. The smell adds to the taste.
"I've never seen her open up the way she did with you," David said out of nowhere.
"Who?," I replied, then immediately thought, "Beth."
"Do you know why Beth came to the community?," he asked.
"Bad break-up, I heard," came my answer.
"Yeah, that was part of it, but she was thinking about it before the break-up." I didn't reply and he continued. "She hated Sacramento. It was the `big city atmosphere' I think she hated. She use to ask me a lot of questions about this place. She smiled a lot when I would talk about it. Actually, talking about it to her made me miss it so much that when I came back I decided to stay. Then when I heard she had broken up with Mark I invited her here for a week vacation, and she hasn't left. She hasn't even mentioned leaving."
He took a sip of his tea.
"I'm sorry," I said looking into my cup.
"You don't have to say that. Not to me, at least," he said.
"I guess I owe her a big apology," still looking into my cup. "Where is she?"
"Out walking. She wakes up around noon, eats, then goes out walking until late. Mostly in the woods, but she walks to town and explores Quincy, too." He paused, then stood up. "C'mon, I want to show you something."
I followed him up the stairs to the second floor, and when we got to the top, "She's not really welcome here anymore, you know," he said looking at me.
I smirked, "She isn't the bad guy in this."
"She's not," he said, "but you, Lora and Emily are loved here, and after what happened, especially with Emily leaving, everyone looks at her as the cause."
I felt really sad then. Not just for Beth, but just at the mention of Emily's name. David walked down the hallway then reached up for a cord hanging from the ceiling and pulled. A panel came down with a set of stairs.
"This is her room," he said.
"The attic," I thought. "It would have to be the attic."
He started up the stairs.
"Is this okay?," I asked.
"Probably not, but it's something you need to see."
So I followed him. He waited at the top with his hand on a light switch. When I got there he clicked it on and two small lamps lit up the room. It wasn't like my attic back in The McCullough House. This attic was clean and finished and smelled of lilac. Right away I noticed them. They were everywhere. On the walls, the ceiling, small compact ones on every table and dresser. Mirrors. Mirrors were everywhere.
"Wow.," was my first word.
"I thought you would appreciate this," he said.
"Is she a narcissist?," I asked.
"No. It's so 'she always knows that she's here. So she always knows that she exists.' Those are her words," he answered.
I stepped further into the room. Reflections of reflections of reflections of myself. Then, "Tell me about her," I finally said.
"I can do that," he said. "I can tell you all of her little secrets...and she would never know I told you. She wouldn't know that you knew all about her. If that's what you really want."
I looked at him knowing he had more to say about the matter.
"IF...you want to hear it from ME. Just ask me again and I'll tell you all about her."
I looked back at the reflections and felt sad again.
"No," I said, then turned and started back down the stairs, suddenly feeling very out of place there.
I thanked David for the tea then walked back out into the night. But, to me, it seemed like a different night somehow than the one I had walked away from. It seemed cleaner somehow, as if there were something new and unheard of that now existed in my world. Something I had to know about.