Moving to Where You Need to Be
Copyright © 2013 by Michael Litzky
When they first got together, Walter’s vast collection of movies had been a source of amusement to Jesse. DVDs, Blu-Rays and an aging collection of videotapes took up three bookshelves. But now that going out to the movies was impossible, it was nice not to have to pay the scalper prices the online services could get away with charging.
Jesse came bustling in the door with groceries about twenty minutes before the sun set. Walter said nothing about how close Jesse was cutting it, but his shoulders relaxed. He put an arm around his husband and gave him a peck on the cheek. Side by side in the modest kitchen, they prepared a simple but excellent pine-nut garlic pesto and arugula salad. Jesse took his plate into the living room and they settled down to watch. Jesse laughed: Walter had chosen Sleeping Beauty.
“Appropriate,” he laughed.
“Well, Buttercup, you woke me with a kiss. All honor to the prince who woke Sleeping Beauty, now.”
He watched tenderly as Jesse ate.
Malcolm Donald prepared to spend his second night in a tent in the plaza.
He resented his rash promise to live there half a year. He had, by now, heard of people protecting themselves when their cars broke down by just “living” in their car for one lousy night. Meanwhile he “commuted” to his office to get work done but had to be back in his tent in the plaza at night, had to eat his dinner here and sleep here.
What could the vampires do now if he reneged on the deal? But the god damned problem was, he wouldn’t renege. His rash commitment had only saved the crowd because he kept promises. If he’d had any “fingers crossed,” the vampires would have continued to pour in no matter what he said.
So he groused at his aides Tony and Elizabeth, found fault with the shelter they’d helped him rig, lamented how much the paperwork had cost which had gotten him special permission to be here for five months and 29 more god-damned days. He told them to “get out of here” as they nervously declined his invitation to “sleep over” and headed for their own homes where Tony lived with his 8-year-old brat and Elizabeth had her husband Sol and three hyper-sweet kids.
Charity Claire still felt transformed by her experience with Jesse and Walter, and the decision they had helped her to make.
She glowed as she arranged bell peppers and sprinkled cheese on the small flat of pizza dough. She was aware, without looking, of all the windows, including the one she’d had to pay to have fixed. She was making pesto pizza; blood red sauce would have made her nauseous right now.
Welcome, welcome, she thought nervously, trying to get up the courage to say it out loud when the moment came.
As Sally watched with admiration, Lavinia passed the slow-moving truck like it was standing still. She simply edged the British right-hand drive camper into the oncoming lane, asked Sally “Anything coming?” and with a confidence Sally couldn’t have matched in a hundred years, swung out blind. Now that Lavinia wasn’t a helpless mess anymore, there’d been no question as to who would drive.
Down from the hills they came into Pacifica, nestled against the ocean shore. They stopped to spend $58 on gas and for Sally to grab a big bag of Dorritos. One hour to sunset.
Traffic around them thinned and the remaining drivers became more urgent. Thinking about what they were going to try in just an hour she asked, hand on Lavinia’s knee, “Love? Sorry in advance if I put this wrong, but do you have any conflicts, any, oh, stuff about betraying your own kind? Vampires, I mean?”
Without hesitation, Lavinia replied, “You fuckin’ psychotic? What’s in it to be loyal to? I mean, Jeez, would you be loyal to, I don’t know, measles?”
Sally nodded happily. Lavinia continued, after a moment’s thought, “Maybe if more of them flew.”
Maybe if there were more like you, Sally thought. And maybe there are. She didn’t know whether to hope for that or not. The GPS continued to guide them to an address in San Francisco.
Sally’s thoughts spun back over this crazy, magical day. In the early afternoon she’d been exhausted from the nearly sleepless night and everything that had happened. But sleep had danced on the far side of an electric sea of acid.
Without looking at her, Lavinia had said, “If you want, don’t have to, but if you want, you can look into my eyes, I could, you know, hypnotize you. Try to. If you want.”
She’d looked up to see Lavinia stroking the fold-back pinewood paneling which covered the stove and oven. She remembered Lavinia’s reaction to the wooden stake and wondered what she was feeling. She seemed to be trying to listen to a faint conversation.
But then Lavinia had looked up at her, endearingly embarrassed at the offer she’d just made. “I’d love that,” Sally had said simply and flopped trustingly into Lavinia’s arms, feeling the same dear feeling of being a child as when Lavinia had carried her. Was this what she had sought all those times she’d given herself body and soul to a lover?
Lavinia’s violet eyes like the wine dark sea of Greek myths had dissolved the world around her in a different way than in that bleak nightmare. This felt, to use Lavinia’s uncharacteristic words, like a warm ocean of sweetness. She hadn’t dreamt but she’d been aware of time passing, of Lavinia’s arms cradling her, of hands stroking her hair, of those magnificent eyes adoring her.
Now she watched the sun fall directly on Lavinia’s face, as it had several times on the drive up. Lavinia breathed hard and muttered “Wow. Just, wow,” but kept driving.
She said to Lavinia, “Whatever you are physically, I feel more kinship with you –”
Than with my own sister. With painful guilt, she remembered all those calls and texts from KerriAnne. She could no longer avoid it. With sick dread, she fished her phone out of her pocket to learn at last what had happened to her sister.
KerriAnne’s head had an empty ache as she stared at dirty corrugated steel above her. She’d had only one conscious thought through the hollow night, except for hunger: keep moving, keep looking. But since that lovely delicious boy whose smart phone she had caught, along with a piece of his still-quivering thigh muscle, she knew where to go to satisfy the gnawing smoky ice desire.
The rumbling shook her helpless body. The truck had been sitting empty just before dawn. Now, in the day, she was moving, moving toward where she needed to be.
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