-Strange – 14 Pages –
As she opened the door, it was like entering a crypt sealed to life. The smell of death permeated her nostrils. The thick dust, was like snow piling up from a storm. Petrified cake lay where the boy had left it. Darkness, death and dust where everywhere. On the table, a trumpet lay lifeless. The little boys toys were scattered about barely visible. Pictures of Catch, the woman and the little boy lined the mantle.
She stopped, aware that she was being watched. Turning abruptly, a scream all but died in her throat. She sliced through the darkness with her flash light to fend off the terror, but you can not fend off, fight or postpone death. Trembling fearfully she headed towards the stairs in this empty tomb. Her hunger kept her moving forward, one foot, then another, the hunger drove her on. She needed to chew, digest and swallow this house of death, in order to help the man she loved. Step by step, she climbed the stairs of the crypt “deeper” into the bowels of this tomb she crept, pausing at the top of the stairs, she remembered the day of the accident, it seemed to her that the family was not at fault.
The driver of the truck Chris Lamson of Trumble Connecticut was intoxicated and had never stepped on the brakes or tried to warn the approaching car. Even if he had, the fully loaded semi truck certainly never would have stopped. The results would have been the same, two D.O.A. and one male with severe head trauma. She remembered holding the mans hand for an instant, hearing the approaching sirens, she went to set up a blockade to keep the onlookers away, other police officers were already taking statements from witnesses.
In his copper clad clanger
Catching and corralling
Her mind raced back to the night before, they had driven up to Danbury Connecticut for a delicious seafood dinner at Jim Barbarie’s Restaurant. She had the Alaska king crab. Jordonna savored the thought of dipping the fresh succulent crab in the warm drawn butter. Remembering how it had melted in her mouth. Chuckling to her self, she will never forget the look on Catch’s face as Samantha the waitress placed the king cut of prime rib, which they are famous for, in front of him.
His mouth literarily hit the floor. Stammering as he spoke , all he could manage to say was, “I feel like Fred Flintstone about to eat a brontosaurus steak.”
The owners, Thomas and Michelle Barbarie were personal friends of her brother John. Johnny had brought her there years before, she had immediately loved the ambiance and the way that they treated every patron like they were a king. It was not unusual to see the owners or the chef Ernie going from table to table making sure “the patrons were completely satisfied”.
To be tasted and swallowed
Chewed and digested
Delicious as the sunshine
Refreshing as the rain
A feast of reality
After the meal, she and Catch had taken a walk on the boardwalk along the lake holding hands, taking in the sights, the arcade, the vendors, the tilt a whirl, inhaling a deep breath of air, she realized she was falling in love. Catch never talked about the accident, or his past. Almost as if his mind had been wiped clean, like a slate blackboard in school.
As they strolled by a club, the “blue” sound of a saxophone drifted outside, still holding hands. Catch suddenly stopped, as though he had walked into an invisible wall. He stood in the door way, having let go of her hand when he had walked into the invisible wall, she noticed that he was moving his fingers to the bluesy sound of the saxophone, she watched intently as his fingers played the invisible instrument. “Catch,” she said, “do you like the blues?” as he still continued to play the instrument only he could see. He ignored her question, “Catch do you want to go inside?” only when she grasped the sleeve of his jacket and tugged him inside did he stop playing, she led him to an empty cocktail table in the front.
The old man, on the stage continued playing that soulful blues sound. The saxophone moaned as the old man sat on a stool, she tugged on Catch’s arm, sit she beckoned, Still watching the man he sat, he watched the man intensely as the song ended. She turned to order drinks from the waitress, whose name tag read Crystal. “I’ll have a coffee,” Jordonna said, “with cream and sweet n’ low on the side, what would you like Catch?” She turned towards him as she asked the question, Catch had got up as though in a trance, she repeated the question again, but he was deaf to her voice. He headed towards the stage, which was empty.
The black man, had moved to the back of the stage where someone was handing him a beer. Catch walked towards the steps of the stage where he proceeded to climb them, still in a zombie trance, sitting on the same stool, the old black man had sat on a moment before, he reached for an abandoned trumpet, which sat lifeless on a crate, next to the microphone.
She looked around, no one in the room had noticed him walk on the stage.
He held the trumpet, tenderly, for what seemed like an eternity then he placed his fingers on the keys and lifted it gently to his lips and started to softly play. The sound penetrated her ear, like an arrow shot straight in to her heart. The crowd hushed, the old black blues horn player turned to see, someone dimmed the house lights as Catch continued to play the old horn.
The deep sound was like a woman moaning in a deep voice. Never before had she heard such a deep moaning sound. She loved the voice of his female trumpet, that he held the way she wished he would hold her. His lips pressed to the trumpet like he was french kissing, the way she longed him to kiss her, she noticed the old man on stage pick up a shiny flute, bright as spring day, just after a rain storm, you know, like when a rainbow appears.
He walked over and sat on an old beat up stool next to Catch and began to play with him, the moaning trumpets sound and the bright sound of the flute filled the club. She turned to look around to see the crowds reaction and noticed the waitress Crystal was standing next to her holding her coffee in mid air, the small crowd had hushed, a golden silence shattered only by the moaning trumpet and the shrill sound of the shiny flute.
The old man played the same notes as Catch, only slightly after he did. It sounded like the horns were calling each other in a mating call, suddenly, Catch lowered his head and stopped. The old man continued to play, the flute called over and over to it’s mate, lifting his head and opening his eyes. Catch pressed his lips to the trumpet and this loud shrill sound answered. The trumpet calling a scream to it’ mate, fast high notes, a cold blasting sound, the old man stopped, mesmerized by the sound. The waitress Crystal all but dropped the coffee she was still holding. Then there was just silence, as Catch lowered his hand once more and released his love hold on the trumpet, and lowered it to the crate once again, the crowd exploded with applause and the house lights were raised brighter.
Catch walked towards the stage steps and slowly left the stage, he walked past her and continued towards the front door Throwing down a five, Jordonna grabbed her jacket and followed him out of the door. Catch, she called, had he turned around he would have seen that she was two steps behind. Outside he stopped and she was able to catch up to him. “My god”, she cried, I didn’t know you could play. I didn’t know!
he stood still in silence.
a skinny man with a hat and gotee yelled, “Steve! Steve Lambert!” running up he said, “Steve I was upstairs in my office and heard this beautiful sound! your sound! I knew it was you. I haven’t seen you in at least two years. It’s like you fell off the face of the earth.”
Catch backed up.
“Steve,” the man said, “I’ve been looking for you.” as he grabbed Catch’s arm like a long lost sibling.
“Get away from me, I don’t know you!” he said.
“Steve, it’s me, Nick, Nick Tartell from Tartell Music,” holding his arm even tighter so as not to loose him again.
Catch reacted pulling his arm away with a violent jerk, “I told you, I don’t know you!,” he said as he pushed Nick, the man with the hat and gotee backwards with such force that he lost his footing and fell backwards onto the ground. Catch started walking down the sidewalk, she followed silently.
That which comes nearest to
Expressing the inexpressible,
Well said to be the speech of angels
The only language in which you
Cannot say a mean or sarcastic thing
Our dream, music, harmony, perfection
The dream is heaven
A communion with the primitive soul
Sweetest of all sounds
The voice of the woman we love
An organ to the soul
The stair creaked as she stepped on it, jolting her back, back into the reality of the dust filled crypt. Stopping at the top of the stairs, she peered into the little boys room, dust covered the toys, like moss on the rocks of an ocean bay, hundreds of action figures in piles heaped like discarded abandoned trash. She backed out of the room slowly, turned and stepped in the woman and Catch’s old room. She tried to consume the sights to learn more about the man she was falling deeply in love with. Clothes were still laying on the unmade bed, a lifeless bathrobe entombed In dust, lay half on and half off the bed. The silhouettes of pictures on the wall, caught her eye, she wiped the years of dust away and stared into their lives, she could tell by their faces, that they were in love and happy.
She felt like a grave robber stealing memories.
The nights after they had gone to dinner and the blues club were restless ones for her, not knowing who the man she was falling in love with was “unbearable”. Finely she could not take it anymore. Dressing in the middle of the night, she had driven to the police station where she worked and pulled up the accident report on the computer. Catch’s drivers license read Steven Lambert, 27 years old, residing at 13 Midland Ave, Yonkers New York. Now at 3am in the morning she was touring this crypt searching for the door to Catch’s mind.
Fumbling with the keys, she started the car engine. “vroom” it sprang to life. It was good to hear and feel life again. Crying as she drove, Jordonna headed to the woman’s mothers house to find more answers to her questions. As the river she was crying slowed to a trickle, she parked. It was a quiet neighborhood, the little green house at the end of the street seemed peaceful enough, as she walked to the door she noticed that the small yard was meticulously maintained, unlike the dusty crypt she had just left. Knocking once, she turned to look at the flowers by the front door, they seemed so full of life. As the door opened, she turned and said “hello, my name is Jordonna.”
“I know who you are, the old woman said. Please come in, Catch has spoken of you many times, I’m glad he has fallen In love again.” As a surprised look came over Jordonna’s face, the woman spoke more. “Catch is starting to regain the memories, but you can’t rush him, he’ll come around in his own time.”
She told the woman how she had just come from the dusty crypt that once was Catch and his family’s home. Now the old woman seemed surprised.
“I just wanted to know more about him. It’s like he’s two different people.”
“Honey, Catch lost his son and wife, my daughter, in that accident, but he is getting better, he has his apartment, and he has fallen in love again with you. About every two weeks he stops by and I give him a little money from the settlement.”
“But who is he?. I was at the scene that day and held his hand until the ambulance arrived.”
Again the old woman looked “surprised”.
“I checked the department of motor vehicle records, and know his real name is Steven Lambert.”
She told the old woman about the incident at the club and the old woman smiled a bit.
“Steve Lambert was a professional musician, he had just recorded his first album “Racing with the moon” and was to go on his first American tour after his son’s 7th birthday, “the day of the accident”. Steve’s injury caused him to have temporary amnesia, he is coming around slowly, but you can’t rush him.”
“She told the woman how he had driven Catch to the cemetery the week before, but he could not deal with it.”
“How could you have done that to him!, It’s been two years and I still have trouble going there. I still can’t deal with it. Please don’t rush it, you are in love with him and he is in love with you. he’ll come around in his own time. He is not crazy you know.”
I’m crazy, crazy about the way you love me,
Baby, I shiver every time we touch
But sometimes I worry when you’re not around,
I’m thinking is this love or something else we’ve found?
But I keep on falling
Keep on falling in love and falling back again
I keep on falling
Keep on falling in love.
She’s crazy, so wild and free
It’s not easy loving a man like me
All the miles between us and all the time alone Seem to fade away when
we are alone
When you hold me and keep me up all night
You make it easy
To forget about the trouble that we see
Should anyone love someone this much
That this madness is magic to me
It’s crazy, it feels like it will never end
And it’s stronger, stronger, than it’s ever been
As the years go by it will lift us higher
And there’s no way, to ever, ever put out the fire.
But I keep on falling
Keep on falling in love and falling back again
I keep on falling
Keep on falling in love
Jordonna finished her tea, said goodbye and hugged the old woman. That evening she went over to Catch’s, apartment and knocked on the door. Catch opened the door “hi” she said, “listen, tomorrow is my Mother and Father’s 40th wedding anniversary and they are going to recite their wedding vows afterwards there is a reception at there house, would you come with me?”
“Do you want me to come?” Catch asked.
“Yes.” she said.
“Then I’ll go with you.”
He kissed her goodnight
A tender kiss
A flashing chance at bliss
Now late in the evening
He turned the lights down low
I love you so
Your still running around my brain
I can’t get you
Out of my mind
Now the rent is
A month behind
Your still running around my brain
“Soon Catch fell into a deep sleep”
Awake my princess
Wipe the dreams from your eyes
Choose your day
The days divinity
The first thing that you see
You can’t remember where it was
Has this dream stopped?
The snake was real gold
Glazed and drunken
We were afraid to touch it
The sheets were
Hot, dead, crisp and she was beside me
I run to the mirror in the bathroom
Look she’s coming in here!
I can’t live
Through each slow century of her morning
I let my cheeks
Slide down the cool smooth tile
Feel the good cold stinging blood
Catch awoke to the
Smooth hissing snakes of rain
The cool jeweled glass of the window
Looking at the alarm clock, he noticed that it was three in the afternoon, salty tears must surely be flowing down Jordonna’s face, as Catch pulled his pants on he reached for a cigarette, crumpled the empty pack, and fumbled through the ash tray, pulled out a butt, almost a half of a cigarette he thought. Looking at the telephone Catch lit the butt and took a deep drag. Exhaling as he picked up the telephone he dialed Jordonna’s toll free number but there was no answer as the voicemail picked up he hung up the phone.
As Jordonna walked up the brick steps of her mother and fathers house, the memories filed her mind like a damn holding back the cool black water. These were the memories she kept pressed between the pages of her mind. Thoughts of her older brother and her playing in the yard, in the hot summer, her mom would come out with big pitchers of lemonade with ice floating in the pitcher as the cool breeze blew against her face, she remembered the cold winters with snow deep within her mind, snow drifts as deep as her warm thigh. She was just about to knock on the door, when it flung open, it was her brother. His mouth dropped to the ground as he ran up, scooped her up in his strong arms and hugged her tightly. She loved her brother Johnny but she hadn’t seen him in three and a half years since she and her father had that big fight. Her dad had always smacked her mother around but on that day the door in her mind had opened. Jordonna couldn’t take it anymore. on that day she ran up to her father and started slapping and punching him back, while Johnny had done the same thing he always did, just stood there and watched.
The birds fluttered and flapped their wings in Catch’s stomach as he stood by the wrought iron gate of the cemetery, his hand trembled with trepidation as he opened the latch, he stared with his eyes wide open, he was filling the blank pages of his mind. As he looked around, the care taker, who was raking a few graves away, paused from his work to wipe his forehead.
In a deep voice he said, “Did it ever occur to you that all skeletons laugh. Now why should a man die and laugh for all of eternity?
As Catch continued looking around he saw this tiny grave stone with a huge bouquet of yellow roses, he bent down to read the epitaph. It read “sixty-five roses” He read the date etched in time, the little boys name was Richard and he was only seven when he had died of cystic fibrosis.
“Sixty-five yellow roses” on your grave
We placed today
Then got on our knees and silently prayed,
No, not for you our sweetie
For we know “you’re” safe in heaven
But for us whose hearts have never mended.
We want to thank you Richard and need to apologize,
We stood by your grave today and told you our reasons why.
“Sixty-five yellow roses” lay beautifully on your grave
To signify the illness that took your life away.
We always knew this is the place
Where in your youth you’d lay
And all we asked and wanted was for it to be maintained.
Many people loved you and many heard our plea, For each time we come to
We find things placed anonymously.
“Sixty-five yellow roses”
We placed there today
“Sixty-five roses” is what took you away.
“As Catch turned he realized”
There’s no place to hide
When the lightning is hurled
God’s in his heaven
All that’s left of the world
Looking at the bright white grave stones that marked the graves of his wife and seven year old son, he knelt and said a silent prayer.
If tears could build a stairway
And memories a lane
I’d walk right up to heaven
And bring you back again.
Wiping his tears that where rolling down his cheeks, he started to talk to his wife and son, trying to make his peace, he needed to do this. Catch told them about the accident that day, and how he had lost his memory, and how for the last couple of years he had had to start his life over, crying a tear as he told his wife that he would always love her. “till death do us part”, he remembered the priest had said.
“But for soul mates, death not ends it”.
He told her how losing his memory had changed his life, he also told her about Jordonna and how he had fallen in love again. “Your mother is doing fine, she misses you honey. I swear that I will always take care of her and I know you will always take care of our son.” He mentioned to her about the little boy and 65 Roses. “Take care of him to my love, keep him close, a play mate for our son. Somehow when I played at the blues club it all came back to me, if I hadn’t lost my memory, I could never have made it. Your mom brought me back bit by bit and Jordonna piece by piece. I love her honey but I’ll always be in love with you, she knows that. How’s our son Chance?.”
“Here are some toys that I brought for you. Some of your action figures Chance”. Still kneeling Catch placed the toys by his sons grave stone.
As she stood up from placing the presents on the floor, Jordonna saw her mother coming towards her, smiling, “Did you make it to the church?”
“No mom I was waiting for Catch.”
“Well where is this mystery man you have been telling me about for the two years? You told me that you where going to invite him”
“I did, Catch said he would be here”, I waited outside for him for a bit, but…”
“He stood my baby up. What kind of man is he?.”
“Mom, he has problems”.
“Yes, I see, and keeping his promises are one of them,”
“Mom, oh forget it.”
“How is dad?”.
“He is fine honey he is upstairs having a coffee, you know how he doesn’t really care for crowds.”
“Yeah I remember. Looks like the whole family is here!”
“Just about, your cousin Karen drove down from New Hampshire and Susan her sister flew in from Michigan. Your uncle Ed is with them in the living room.”
“How is he doing after his heart surgery at Columbia Presbyterian hospital?”
“Good! But we had a scare a couple of months back, we thought it was his heart but it was his blood sugar it went haywire and he had to go into the hospital. The young woman from the radiology department “Deloris” told him that he should get a dietician to plan his meals for a month and then he can just prepare them. The old fool! He thinks if he eats lots of oatmeal that he will be fine.
She felt a hand on her arm.
Turning she looked at her mother.
“Have you heard anything I’ve said?”
“Yeah mom, you said my cousin’s Karen and Susan drove in from out of state.” Jordonna turned her eyes back towards the stairs, she felt her mother gently nudging her.
“Go ahead honey, go upstairs and see your father, go ahead.”
She turned back to her mom, gave her a kiss on her cheek, said, “I love you” I’ll see you in a bit.
Jordonna started to climb the stairs 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, she stopped before stepping on the 7th stair, it always creaked, she took another step, 7 “creak” She turned back to look down stairs at her mom who was looking around the room at the guests. Jordonna turned around and continued climbing 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, “dad?”
Jordonna’s mother started up the stairs pausing on the 6th stair, she stepped over the 7th stair stopping on the 9th stair, she held on to the railing and quietly listened, watching her daughter and the man she was still in love with.
“Yeah, I’m in the den. Happy 40th anniversary dad.”
Jordonna’s mother stepped on the 10th stair and listened intently.
“So how is it going dad?”
“ok, how about you? are you chief of police yet?”
“No but I take New York City sergeants test in a couple of months.”
Her father sat silently watching the tv. It was off but he wished it was on so that he didn’t have to hear his daughter talking.
“How was the ceremony dad?”
“ok where you there?”
“No I wasn’t, I brought you and mom a gift, It’s down stairs by the door. Dad listen I want to talk to you, your my father and I love you. Do you want me here today?”
“ehh…” he said as he shrugged.
“Dad do you love me? I love you”
“he shrugged again”.
She turned and started walking towards the empty stairs. 13, 12, 11, 10, 9, 8, “creak” she was crying uncontrollably by the time she reached the last stair.
She turned and saw her brother Johnny holding her mom in his arms. As she walked towards the front door Johnny’s eyes followed her, she reached for the door knob, holding it in her hand for a second she paused and noticed that her mother was sobbing. Johnny’s eyes continued to follow her as she opened the door and closed it behind her.
Looking down as she walked, she started down the front walk way, she stopped walking and stared at the pair of black boots in front of her, raising her head she looked up into Catch’s face, he opened his arms and Jordonna ran up and hugged him. He held her tightly and said it didn’t go well did it? still hugging him she sobbed and said no it didn’t. He told her about going to the cemetery today. Jordonna stepped back a bit.
“I told my wife and son that I loved them.”
She was still looking down.
Catch gently put his hand under her chin and lifted her head slightly so that he could look into her eyes.
Jordonna looked into Catch’s face as he began to speak.
“Jordonna I love you, will you marry me?”. He had never told her that he loved her before.
She hugged him wrapping her arms around him tightly, “Yes,” she said, “I’m in love with you Catch”.
This time he stepped back, Jordonna looked him in the eyes as he began to speak, “My name is Steven Lambert and I’m a professional musician.”
Her mouth dropped as he spoke.
He put his arm around her as they started walking to her car.
The bride to be
Lies in her bed
To the sounds outside
I steal her, in a dream.
“Somehow when I awoke today it all came back to me like the dream stopped.”
Jordonna pulled out the car keys out of her pocketbook and opened the car doors.
Catch took the keys out of her hand and said, “I’ll drive, if you don’t mind?”
She nodded her approval.
“I might be a little bit rusty, I haven’t driven in a few years.”
She laughed as she got into the car. Jordonna looked at her mother and fathers house as they drove away and realized, “today she had lost her family” but was about to start her own.
‘RACING WITH THE MOON’
Copyright ©2005 John Faucett