The Things That Disappeared From Her Eyes
The following Friday there were less than fifty people at the community center. Elder Malcolm hadn't been there since that night. He hadn't even spoken to us. There were whispers from every part of the community about us. These were good and caring people that stayed together for all their lives and knew they could trust and depend on one another, but we showed them something different.
See, the place I live isn't like the place you live. There is no crime, or prejudice. No one hurts another and most are willing to go out of their way to help if you need it.
I've never really fit into that mold. (Razor says, "Bad guy!") I've always been accepted and welcomed, but I did the things that the others would never have done. But over the last two years, due to a change in my ways, I've had earned a lot of respect.
Lora, however, fit like a glove here and had earned a whole lot of respect. Until that night, of course. They weren't looking at me as the bad guy that drug poor Lora into this whole mess and she as the innocent dupe. They knew Lora much too well to believe I could trick or con her into such a thing.
They knew she had just as much to do with the whole thing as I.
But the whispers, the looks, the snide comments, none of that could equal to how Emily reacted.
At first there was silence. "I need to think about this," she said. Then she stopped having morning coffee with us and came to the store late every day. When she did come she would sit upstairs in her P.I. office unless she was needed for something. I never again saw her wearing her trench coat and fedora.
She wasn't happy anymore.
We knew she was hurting. Not the entire depths of her pain, but we knew we had fucked up and it was going to take a LOT to get Emily to forgive us. But again, we were fools.
That night we both decided to come home early. We were going to talk to Emily and see just what it would take to make things right. Walking home we discussed IOU cards for any thing or favor she asked. A party for her in L-Extreme. We talked about a lot of things. But when we opened the front door to Brier Rose Court and saw her old suitcase and gym bag we both froze for an instant in panic.
Lora ran up the stairs while I stood frozen and couldn't move. She got halfway up and I found that I was following her as fast as I could. It all seemed so unreal in those few moments. Lora froze up again at the top of the stairs and when I reached her and saw Emily sitting on the sofa, looking at her feet, an emotionless look on her face, I could feel my heart tighten up and almost fell to the floor.
"I have to leave," she said, not looking up at us.
For some reason I started counting in my head. One-one thousand, two-one thousand, three-one thousand... Then I pulled myself together and walked slowly towards her. I got down on the floor at her feet, both my hands on her knees, and started to try to convince her to think about what she was doing.
"You have to at least give us the chance to talk to you, baby." And, "We need you.," and of course, "We love you." I still think about how condescending I must have sounded to her.
Finally she spoke. It was soft and she didn't look at me when she said it, but it brought tears to my eyes as soon as it left her lips.
"I don't wanna be here... I don't want to be with you any more."
I started crying, "Emily..." I managed to stammer out through my tears. Then I turned to Lora and yelled, "Why aren't you saying anything!"
Lora just stood there with tears in her eyes not saying a word. She looked lost. Her mouth was open and she was gripping her purse strap so tight her fingers were turning white, but she didn't say a word.
I looked back at Emily and she hadn't moved.
I wanted to scream, "Don't you love us???," but was afraid. I was so very afraid to ask her that question. Because if she had looked at me and said, "No.," I would probably have went insane again right then.
She stood up and just said, "I have to go," then walked toward the stairs. As Emily passed her, Lora managed to get out a whispered, "Please..." but nothing more.
I jumped up and caught her at the top of the stairs and put my arms around her and held her as tight as I could, crying, "Please, don't leave me. Please, please, please!" but all she said was, "Just let me go."
And I did. And she walked down the stairs and out of our lives.