A romance by
It had been six months. Six months, three weeks and two days, according to Cynthia Calard. 'The day of our anniversary, and yet I find myself here. In this luminous yet cold elevator, taking me to the twelfth floor and whatever I may find there.' Depressing thoughts such as these had gone through Cyn's head ever since she left The Riverside Trailer Park on her way to Anaheim, her hometown.
She had passed her high school, where they had met, the vacant lot where they smoked, even the a beach they had stopped at on there first road trip. So many memories had filled her head since she had left for Anaheim.
Though they had never gotten married, they had a sure partnership far beyond the position of boyfriend and girlfriend. It had lasted all through high school and in to their twenties. Seven years, Eight years today, and all of it a waste.
The interior of the elevator had golden mirrors and blue patterned carpet. It glared at Cynthia, spiteful and harsh, her own reflection shown back at her with malicious laughter. She couldn't stand it but she had to know.
The doors opened. 1209, a horrible number. Four doors down from the elevator. The hallway continued on for an eternity. She turned; looking at the door that would seal her fate. She held the key card in her hand. Sunset and palm trees advertised the hotel from hell. Cyn dropped the card into the slot. A small red light died and a green one ignited. She opened the door. It was true.
Something choked in Cynthia's throat. She remained silent. They had not heard her come in. She stood in silence for seconds waiting for her words to find her.
"How can you do this with her, when you're wearing part of me?" she said softly. They heard her. Each looked up, Horror in Her face and astonishment in His.
Cynthia spoke again. "Six months, three weeks, two days." She said slowly. "It's the 18th. Do you even care?"
Fury could not become Cyn neither could tears. Only her shaking could produce any sign of emotion. A cross hung from His neck. "That used to be worth our love. Now it's worth only the money I paid for it. Seventeen dollars can kill me!"
The two said nothing and Cynthia turned, walking briskly, she closed the door behind her. Cyn walked down the hallway, she stood by the elevator doors. The down arrow glowing. Several painful minutes passed as the cruelty of the situation welled up in Cyn. The doors opened and a seven year old girl trailing a pink suitcase emerged from the elevator. Behind her a woman carrying a small toddler directed her down the hall. The girl looked up at Cyn as she passed; she had brown eyes, beautiful brown eyes. Cyn gazed at them as they met hers.
She stood in the elevator. The doors closed. She eyed the number pad and jabbed at the star. She looked at the red numbers above the door. Eleven, ten, heat rose in her face, eight, seven, tears filled her eyes, five, four, She dropped to her knees, two, one. The elevator was flooded with her tears. The doors began to open and she stood. She ran into the lobby. David moved toward her, and she dropped to her knees. "Cyn?"
"Why, David, why?" she stammered then vomited, then collapsed to the floor. People began to gather around Cyn, they were reacting but she didn't know how. They were shadows. All Cyn had left was the image of those eyes, those beautiful brown eyes.
Cyn sat in the back seat of a cab, fingering the cross hung around her neck. This was an ironic cross, that meant little to Cyn, yet she still wore it everyday. Cyn had bought it during the summer at a fair. She paid seventeen dollars for it. The quality was poor and the religious meaning meant nothing to her. She just liked wearing it, so she did.
Cyn's friend Lynn sat next to her. Lynn too was looking out the window but not with the same dreamy gaze as Cyn. No, she was merely watching for the place they would be dropped off.
Lynn spoke breaking the silence in the cab. "Thanks, you can drop us here."
Cyn opened the door and stepped out on to the curb. She stared at a little white flower as Lynn paid the driver. The numbness she felt, as she stared, broke when Lynn's brown eyes moved in front of hers. "Come on Cyn, we gotta go get the camera." Cyn looked up. The two crossed a small oval patch of grass to an ancient gum strewn walkway. They passed other feeble attempts at cheap landscaping as they walked toward a large cement building. They entered a hallway of bluish doors each leading to a separate, identical room. They stopped at the third door down.
The number 129 had been spray painted in black about two-thirds of the way up the door. The door handle had to be pulled up rather then down to unlatch the age-old mechanism that held the door shut. The girls stepped over the threshold in to what might be a colorful room. 'Colorful lack of color.' Thought Cyn, standing as she usually did when her and Lynn went to retrieve a camera.
Lynn gave a quick jester of "hello." to the man behind the teachers desk, then began to weave quickly in between student desks and she stopped. Lynn stooped and picked up a hard plastic case and set it on the desk closest to her. She laid it flat and opened it, pulling out a camera she put the strap over her head and straightened up. Closed the case and crossed the room back toward Cyn. "Let's go."
The two exited through the bluish door and continued down the incessant hall way till they reached a walkway of asphalt and cement. They followed the walkway down stairs and around buildings, till they reached a football stadium.
It was sunny that day. The grass of the field and the walkways around it seemed to glow with the white light of spring. There where very few occupants in the stadium. Just two boy at the far end tossing a frisbee back and forth.
Lynn began to photograph things around her. Cyn studied the two boys. The two seemed interesting enough, close to the same age as her, and neither of them bad looking. She began to move toward them knowing Lynn would fallow. She just moved into ear shot of the boys when the frisbee looped off course and headed for her. Cyn had learned to catch a frisbee when she was ten and immediately complied to the throw. Cyn caught it one handed and held it up to show the boys her victory. Enthusiasm filled Cyn compelling her to through it back to the boys. As the frisbee left her fingers she could tell it had more force then she intended. It hit the closer of the two square in the face.
"Shit!" Cyn yelled, taking off at a run toward Him. "Sorry 'bout that."She squatted down next to him. "Are you okay?"
"Yeah, I'm..." he began, his hand on his nose. "Hey."
Meanwhile at the other end of the incident Lynn had caught up to the second boy. "Figures she'd do that." she said. Then turning to the boy, "Hi, I'm Lynn."
"David" he replied.
Beep! Cyn opened the old microwave door, and took out the T.V. tray. Multiple colors patch worked onto a plastic tray and a beer were dinner tonight. Not just tonight, this had been diner for the last two months or at least as long as the trailer been parked at Riverside. Cyn carried her dinner too an old orange chair set in front of a small black and white television set.
She sat there twirling her fork around in the unattractive golden mix that was supposed to be corn. She ran her fork trough what was supposed to be mash potatoes and the speared a bit of the tanish meat substitute on the end. Cyn had just taken this bite when the phone rang.
It wasn't a normal ring. It was a piercing ring. It shrieked at her once, then subsided. Cyn swallowed her potatoes. It shrieked again, she chewed her meat. It shrieked a third time she downed half of her beer. A final shriek began she picked up. "Hello?"
"Yeah it's me, listen you better get down here."
" Down where, Anaheim?"
"Yeah, my morals just couldn't take it."
"Couldn't take what?"
Cyn sped down the high way, taking the fastest and most common rout to Anaheim. She hit play on the long neglected tape player. "Oh Darling!" She sang "Please believe me, I'll never do you no harm."
Cyn thought about her life leading up to this point. She thought about the six months she had been alone. It was Him, He told Cyn that He'd return in six months after He got a job. Had it been six months? It had been. It had been six months three weeks and two days. 'He never came back'
Cyn was driving past the coast now and she watched the ocean go by as she drove. Abbey Road continued to play in the background as she took an off ramp to Summerland.
Under a bridge and across another road. Cyn came to a halt. Three short chimes issued from a bell as a striped railing came down in front of the bumper. A train rolled over the tracks. Panels of light fell on her windscreen one after the other. She watched the silent conversations of children, parents, aunts, uncles, wives, husbands, and lovers. The train continued to pass. The rail began to rise once more. The final smile mocked her as it passed. The bathrooms would be soon to close if they hadn't already. Maybe she could catch a janitor finishing up and request to use the toilets. Her tires made a miniature echo of the train as they rolled over the tracks.
The lot was almost empty. Cyn parked next to a tan Saturn and watched an elderly lady clime out of the drivers seat and allow her small poodle to stretch it's short legs. Cyn stepped out of the van and shut the door automatically behind her. Pocketing her keys she glanced at the old lady again only to receive a glare. She ducked her head sadly and continued toward the toilets.
Cyn noted the beauty of the water as she emerged from the left side of the cement building. She crossed to the chest high chain link fence pulling a cigarette from her pocket lighting it. It was just becoming dark and Cyn admired the sight of the twilight stars over the ocean.
The drive from Summerland to Anaheim was long and seemed to last for days even though there was very little traffic. When Cyn reached the hotel David had said to meet him at, she looked to the sign; "Radison" she wouldn't forget this hotel.
She parked the car and crossed the lot toward the lobby door. David was standing in the window. Cyn wondered how long he had stood there. Had it been since he had called or just in the last thirty or so minutes.
The automatic doors opened and the inside of the lobby glowed with a faint tiredness. "David," began Cyn.
"Here take this," he said handing her a key card, "They are on the twelfth floor room 1209."
"No," whispered Cyn, "Oh God no."
It was an odd feeling though one Cyn'd had before. Cyn studied the pipe in her hand. "Don't you think it would be safer to do that on the ground?" said the boy at the foot of the tree she was rested in.
"I like it up here. Besides, what do you care?" Cyn answered.
"Just don't wanna see you fall and get hurt."
"Then you can close your eyes."she laughed.
"Come on, Cyn."
She jumped down and looked him in the eyes, "Pipe?"
"You brat." He said, "Glad you came down."
Cyn smiled sitting down next to Him. He put his arm around her and took another hit.
"So what are we gonna do after high school? Assuming we last that long."
"We will." He said, "Well, we could get a van and travel the world in it."
"How would we make money?" Cyn asked.
"Money? What for?"
"We'll steal it!"
"No the food"
"What about the gas?"
"We can steal that too."
"What sneak up on cars in the middle of the night and pump the gas tank?"
Cyn slapped her forehead.
"What was that for?"
"Stupidity." the two laughed.
"Come on, let's get out of here."
Night at the Bar
The lock clicked and opened, Cynthia stepped over the threshold. She switched on the light. Cynthia's apartment was small and consisted of arty furniture, most of which she'd had since her college days. There were blank canvases leaning against one wall, an isle in the corner with a basket of paint and a spotted rag next to it.
Cyn dropped the bag she'd been carrying and took off her coat. Other than the paintings the apartment seemed very empty, and lonely. Cynthia was tired of her quite nights watching Jeopardy, and painting. She longed for company of any kind. 'Another night at the bar.' she thought.
She sat at her usual place, with her usual drink. She twirled the stir stick around the ice of her empty glass, thinking about perhaps getting a cat.
"Hey there, think I could buy you a drink?" Cynthia spun around in her seat.
"Uh yeah, sure."
"I'll have a Acapulco Sunrise."said the man.
"I'll just have another of these." Said Cynthia indicating the glass.
" That a girl, well my name is..." Cynthia note the cross he wore around his neck. It looked just like the one she had bought at the fair during one high school summer some fifteen years before. She also noticed the dent in the mans left ring finger. This man was married.
"My name's Cynthia."
"Cynthia, huh, I remember a Cynthia."
One year after high school and they were doing what they had always dreamed of. They were listening to Abbey Road and driving south down California's coast. Cyn drummed on her lap and sang out loud. Her boyfriend was driving it was quite like Him to drive.
Another rock shifted out of their way as they past it and Cyn could see the ocean again. She rolled down the window so she could smell the breeze coming off the waves.
"You wanna get off here so we can go down to the beach?" He asked. Cyn smiled her response. They took the off ramp at Summerland. They drove under a weather beaten bridge, and over a set of rail road tracks into a small crowded parking lot.
It was difficult to maneuver past other vehicles, all fighting for a parking space. After squeezing between two motorcycles they claimed a parking spot by a large white pick-up truck. Cyn climbed out of the passenger door and stood starring at the ocean while He stepped out from the drivers side. He opened the sliding door and rolled it back to reveal a wadded up yellow blanket. He pulled it out bits of lint and paper and other litter came with it falling to the ground as he shook it slightly. He shut the door with a steady footed slam and the small light inside clicked off.
The two crossed a short stretch of grass to a chain fence that reached up as far as Cyn's chest. He passed the blanket to Cyn and pulled a cigarette pack from his pocket, He tapped it twice on his palm drawing out a cigarette and lighting it. He clutched it in his teeth as he took the blanket back from Cyn and unfolding it and wrapping it around His own shoulders and then around hers.
The two stood wrapped in the blanket, holding each other closely, watching the waves come in and reseed back out. The sun sinking slowly behind a palm tree strewn horizon.
Cynthia drove past billboards and thousands of light shining duly from buildings, traffic lights and advertisements all spaced along the road she drove on. She knew what had to be done, though it killed her to do it. She had loved him so long.
'He's married.' she told her self. His vows, made to another woman. Her own vows she had made to herself. 'How did I let this happen?' she asked herself 'How did I not see it coming?'
Cyn turned it a parking lot. She glanced up at the sign, she read it, even though she already knew what it said. 'Radison' ; would she ever forget it. She brought her car to a stop facing out of the parking space as if she would be in a hurry to leave afterward. Cyn wasn't sure why she did this, it was something to do she guessed, she knew it didn't matter.The time it would save wasn't worth the bother.
She stepped out of the drivers side and gazed down at her car. She was thirty years old and she was already burning out, she was doing exactly what she had always said she wouldn't. From things like the empty apartment to the way she parked her car all things her twenty year old self would laugh at. But when you are twenty you don't really picture yourself at thirty. Particularly not in the way you see the people around you.
Cyn was now the last thing she would ever have wanted to be. Though Cyn never wanted to be another suburban mom, she hated even more the idea of living in an empty apartment with nothing but paint and a job as an intern to keep her going. Chasing around a married man meeting him at hotels all over the city.
Cyn crossed the parking lot to the Lobby and met Him at the door. He already had the keys.The two crossed the lobby to the elevator. He pressed the up button.
They took the elevator to the top floor of the hotel, floor twelve. 'This floor has history.' thought Cyn, recalling the last thing that took place here. Cyn was just remembering the look of that little girl she passed on the way to the elevator when she realized she had been focusing only on the blue, spiraling carpet in front of her. She looked up quickly to find that He hadn't even noticed.
Cyn took a shower, while He lay in the bed, His eyes focused subconsciously on the T.V. Cyn turned the nob on the shower and the amount of water faded, she pushed back the curtain and stepped over the tub wall, reaching for the towel hanging on the hook by the door. Wrapping herself up she stepped out to confront Him. He turned to her and smiled, "Are you ready?" Cyn nodded, the thoughts of ending it pushed firmly from her mind.
The next morning Cyn lay on her side facing the window, He was still asleep. She closed her eyes tight for a second then stood up. She crossed the room to the table and chair. She pulled on a bathrobe and picked up her small grayish bag, searching for her keys. She removed his house key from the chain and lay it down next to His wallet. She put the key chain back in the purse, zipping it up and turning. Cyn turned back to the table, picked up his wallet and opened it. Inside were two credit cards, His drivers license, three dollar bills, and a picture of His family. He had two children a boy of ten and a little girl of about six. She had beautiful brown eyes, just like her fathers, the very eyes that took Cyn's breath away sixteen years ago in the empty football stadium.
Cynthia turned around again, setting the wallet down, just as He began to stir. "Goodmoring." he yawned.
"Good morning. Listen, we need to talk."
Lynn sat in a square, pinkish, hospital chair, reading a magazine. Next to her sat David a book lying open on his lap, though he was not reading it. He was starring straight ahead. Cyn had been out for about four hours, but the two still sat patiently for her to wake.
Lynn closed her magazine. "Planning on reading that?" she asked David. David shrugged. Lynn took his hand, "You can't blame yourself she had to know." He looked at her. Lynn read his eyes slowly, the greenish tint around the pupil that usually indicated his mood was gone, replaced only with a dark ring. She kissed him.
David had known about his friend's fling with Her, for the past two months. David tried hard to convince himself that the matter would resolve it's self and He would return to Cyn. But it didn't and He wouldn't return.
Cynthia's eyes shot open. She didn't move just lay there staring at the ceiling. David and Lynn stood and moved forward. Lynn rested her hand on Cynthia's. Cyn's head turned and tears rolled down her face. Sliding at first down her cheek and the dropping silently onto the white linen. A stain of darkness began to form there and another tear rolled over her nose and followed it's fellow down the path to the bed.
Lynn knelt down next to her friend. She took her hand. whispering comforting words into her ear. "You can come stay with us, Cyn." Lynn said."It's gonna be ok, I promise. We're here for you."
Cyn turned her head. A nurse entered the room, Lynn looked up at David. The two exchanged worried looks and David moved to speak to the nurse out side. "She'll be staying with us for a while, is there anything you'd recommend to comfort her? To help her stomach settle and let her sleep?"
Cynthia: After breaking it off with "Him" for the last time Cyn packs up her things and moves north to an apartment right off the coast. Where continues to paint and has success in selling her paintings. She also adopts a cat who she names Baxter.
Lynn and David: Lynn and David get married and have three beautiful girl, Melissa who is the oldest, Sadie who is two years younger than Melissa and Synthia who is three years younger than Sadie. The family visits Cyn every Thanksgiving and the girls refer to her as Auntie Cyn.
"Him": Has yet another affair (busy guy) with a collogue at work and divorces his wife when she walks in on them having sex in the den.
Hello, my name is Gwyn, I wrote this story last christmas (Dec 2004), and enjoyed the whole process. I have writen two other shot stories. Heros and White Ceilings and Hannah. If you enjoyed this story then you should definately get ahold of the other two. I'm in the process of writing Blare. Which will be a much londer story.
I dedicate this story to Becca for being an angel, to the truck that says "Baxter," and to my dog Tasha for breathing in such a loud and well timed fashion.