Saturday, May 17, 2008


Here's the next segment of my novel-in-progress, Ginny Bates. Begins after my post of yesterday -- a brief respite to ya'll from the cliffhanger.

If you are already a familiar reader, begin below. If you need background, check the links in the sidebar on the right, fifth item down, to get caught up.

May 2012

Myra slid the chain free and stepped back. Allie came in and walked around the motel room, hands still in her pockets. She looked at Myra's laptop on the table, the neat row of new books along the windowsill, and the bags of Reece's Cups and Funyums on a chair. Myra wished the grapes and baby carrots she'd been snacking on last night were on display instead of back in the cooler. Allie stopped by the marine hardware arrangement on the dresser and an expression of bewilderment crossed her face. She pulled out a hand to open the top drawer, taking note of Myra's clothes, underwear, socks in tidy array before she shut the drawer slowly. She walked over to the trash can, full of plastic Coke bottles. Then she sat down on the foot of the bed, leaned her hands onto her knees, and burst into sobs.

It was worse than if she had yelled at Myra, or taken a punch. Much worse. After a stunned moment, Myra crossed to Allie and sat beside her. Allie didn't pull away from her, but her body language didn't welcome Myra in, either. After a couple of minutes, Myra heard a muffled phone ringing. She stood, thinking somehow her cell in the drawer had come on, but Allie pulled a phone from her pocket and answered it, choking back tears.

"Yeah, she's here...As far as I can tell, though I won't vouch for her sanity...I don't know, we haven't talked yet...Yes, I am...You can bet on it...Yeah, start with the kids, but include Alveisa, too, I called her yesterday...I will." She hung up and took the tissue Myra offered her. After blowing her nose, she looked up at Myra and said "You a stupid sack of shit."

Myra sat down in the nearby chair without answering.

"That's not how I meant to begin. I meant to begin with how sorry I am." Allie sucked back another start at crying. "But hearing Ginny break down like that..."

She went to the cooler and looked through it, choosing a quart of milk, opening it, and drinking it half down before returning to her seat.

"I should of told you, Myra. Maybe not at the time, because I couldn'tve handled you reaction, and Chris...well, she can't handle it now. But later. I fucked up. I did. Thing is, I'm as married to you as I am to Edwina. Not the same, but -- " She gave in and began crying again. Myra wanted to lie down with Allie, wrap herself around her and tell her it would all be okay. However, her body would not cooperate with this wish.

When Allie reached another spell of being able to talk, she said "I know you batshit about secrets. It wasn't a secret, not since that first year, it just...Myra, you know that wanting to fuck somebody don't mean love. It don't mean a thang unless we make it mean something. You of all people know that. And the fact that I have never wanted to fuck you has no connection at all to how I love you. Your boiler got big dents in it, honey. You ain't banged all of 'em smooth again. You still want it to be that the lies you got told about sex, that some of 'em are not complete evil. And me...I've chose to not pull away from you when you mix us up with what ain't us, ain't never been us. I've chose to say 'No' and stick close by. But it not been easy. I got all my own garbage to deal with, went over the line here. This run, this past two days, you was trying to punish me for how hurt you was by my limits. And that -- I expect better from you. Even when I'm fuckin' up, you can cut me a sliver more slack than that. You could've called me, middle of the night or no. You could've gone to see Nancy. Hell, you could've said to Ginny 'I'm about to go nuts', if you could pack a bag you could give her that warning, and she'dve listened. This kinda 'I ain't got nobody' crap is old, and you too old to be pulling it any more."

Allie finished the milk and set the carton on the dresser, having another survey of the items arranged there. She turned to Myra and held out her hand. "Now, you come get close and tell me what the fuck is up wif you."

This time, Myra could move. She melted herself onto Allie and felt Allie's arms, long and strong, around her shoulders. It was antidote to betrayal. Within seconds, she was crying so hard she couldn't stand. Allie got her to the bed and safely down on the mattress. After a minute, Allie began crying with her, which made it easier. When she could talk again, she said "I didn't know what to do."

"I know. That when you ask for help."

"But all my help -- you and Chris...And Ginny didn't want to hear it..."

"You dead wrong about that. Myra, this not like you. Is this blowback from Gillam?" Allie got Myra to look at her.

"There's something else. Something I can't tell you."

"What you mean, you can't tell me? You got your own secret?" Allie looked around for Myra's inhaler, and Myra pulled it from under the pillow to use it.

"It's not my secret. Except it is now, I guess" Myra said, breathing deeply to let the wheezing subside.

"Ginny know about it?"


"Anybody know about it?" Allie's voice was sharp.

"Yeah -- the person who told me. And I promised to keep it."

"Does this person know how crazy you get about secrets?"

Myra looked away to say "I can't answer that."

"Well, then -- does this secret have anything to do with sex or trust?"

Myra nodded. Allie blew out air and said "No fucking wonder, then. One too many pebbles in you mechanism." Allie patted Myra's cheek and said "You scared the shit outta me. I was 99% sure you was okay, but that 1%...And you kids, they wrecks."

"I did write Gillam again, I was worried about him."

"Margie worse" said Allie softly. "She with Ginny right now. Gillam, he stayed in Olympia 'cause he hoped you might go there."

"Oh, god" said Myra, realization beginning to hit her. "And Chris?"

"She got a double whammy. Turns out, she never told Sima, either. So they -- Chris pretty mad at you right now. Not for entirely fair reasons, I'll give you that. But some fair. You stupid sack of shit."

Myra pushed her face back onto Allie's coconut-smelling shoulder. "I know" she whispered.

They lay together for a while. Allie said "What you been doing here?"

"I rode the ferries yesterday. Looked at birds, went shopping. But mostly writing."

"What kinda writing?"

"Some poetry. Mostly a short story, though. About -- exile."

Allie pulled back to look at her again. "Well, we'll see if it's any good. You ready to go home? Nancy says she'll see you whenever you get there. 'Course, Ginny gets first dibs."

"Yeah" said Myra, fear hitting her. She reached to the bedside table and pulled out her phone. It had 31 messages on it: Jesus fuck. Rather than listening to any of them, she dialed home. Ginny answered before the first ring ended.

"Oh, god, Myra, oh my angel, I love you, thank you for calling!" Ginny's instant forgiveness was a blow like Allie's weeping. Myra said "I am officially a stupid sack of shit. Listen, we're heading home. I don't know how long it will be, I didn't notice how long it took me to get here, but -- "

"I'll be here. I love you, Myra, with all my heart."

"I love you too, Ginny Bates. Tell Margie I'm sorry."

Allie was packing Myra's duffel. When Myra stood, Allie held up one of the marine items and said "What in hell is this, some kinda weapon?"

"Not a weapon, but I don't know what it's for." Myra explained as she filled her toiletries bag. "I want to take 'em home with me, put them in the duffel."

As they carried things out to Myra's car, Allie said "You okay to drive?"

"Yeah, but stay close, okay?"

"On you ass like molasses" said Allie. "Oops, hope you didn't take that as a come-on."

Myra had to sit down on the curb, she was laughing so hard.

Allie took more food from the cooler in lieu of stopping for breakfast. As she and Myra looked at the map together, Myra said "How'd you talk my cell phone folks into giving up the GPS location?"

"I didn't. Davonn got a friend who's a hacker" said Allie.

Myra was sorry to leave Anacortes behind. She thought she could come back, bring Ginny for a retreat of painting and writing, but it was possible Ginny'd never want to hear the name of the place again.

As they began entering Seattle, Myra's mortification at the pain she had caused, and her shame at facing Ginny, reached fever pitch. She fumbled riskily through her CD case and found the disk with movie soundtrack selections. She slid it in and began playing "La Momma Morta" from Philadelphia. She didn't speak Italian, but she had listented to it enough to know the meaning of some lyrics.

I was alone.
I had no shelter.

I bring sorrow to those who love me.

It was during this sorrow that love came to me.
It said 'Live, still'.
I am life. Heaven is in your eyes.

I am divine.
I am oblivion.
I am love.

She let the music fill her body, stretching it taut, and breathed out only when she pulled into her carport. Ginny stood in the door, Margie's face visible over her shoulder. Myra hurried toward them.

© 2008 Maggie Jochild.


Liza Cowan said...

thanks for posting this installment so quickly. I have mixed feelings about the rescue. On the one hand, I get that everyone was scared and probably mad that Myra had bolted. On the other hand, she's a grownup, had written Gillam that she was ok, didn't have little kids or a job she had to tend to, and they might have just left her be. to work it out on her own.

I suppose she could have written a few more, I"m ok but need solitude" emails. so they wouldn't worry so much.

Maybe My and Gin need to start taking some vacations alone every now and then. too much togetherness isn't neciessarily a good thing.

Good grief, I'm acting like these are real people.

that's good, I suppose.

Jesse Wendel said...

I'm not surprised Margie's a wreck.

She's keep secrets from her Mother's. All three of them.

Sexual secrets are poison to relationships. The kids think they can handle them, keep them, that they're bigger than all that.

They are not.

Eventually, like a slow leak, the secret will undermine and eat away everything. It may take five, ten, even twenty years. But it's the foundation of trust which is being undermined. When it crumbles, the entire relationship may go with it, and have to be rebuilt. IF the home isn't too badly damaged when the foundation breaks.

Some secrets don't matter. In this sex-crazy U.S. culture, keeping sexual secrets does.

Margie's problem is also, of course, why Myra when a little bonkers. A long-term sexual secret was exposed.

It isn't that the entire world needs to know; it most certainly does not. But the people directly involved, they need to work it out.

It's the same with issues such as rape and molestation. The details aren't anyone's business, unless the target chooses to (or needs to) share. And she or he may only need to talk about it at all with a few people; it may never become broadly known. However it wouldn't be possible for me, given my sexual past, to ever be in a committed relationship without communicating that x happened to me or that I did y. Both because it would feel like a withheld communication if I didn't tell it, and because my partner would likely -- when it came out eventually -- feel I'd withheld something I should have said.

My point being, withheld communications about anything, are poison inside committed relationships -- marriage, parent/child, partners -- and they are sexual withholds are especial poisonous in the U.S. culture.

letsdance said...

I'm not going to argue whether Myra should have been left alone until she return home on her own. I'm just relieved that she is okay.

They ARE real people to me, Liza.

Margo Batiz said...

I appreciate your concern. I can't believe there is NO privacy among my way-too-many mothers.

Thing is, if I had pulled the stunt Myra did, they'd have called out posses of dykes in pick-up trucks all over the Pacific Northwest to search for me.

Some days we're all too real.