Ask For Help
Copyright © 2014 by Michael Litzky
Traveling to Germany posed several problems.
Sally and Lavinia did both have passports, Sally from family trips to China, Lavinia from her varied travels. But their passports, both just shy of expiring, were back in Braxton, where they had both lived until they made Lavinia’s camper their home.
Sally could have gotten an emergency passport in San Francisco but the clerk who “helped” them later that day recognized Lavinia from newscasts and informed her, with the special smirk of the elderly civil servant who delights in finding creative roadblocks, that she couldn’t have an emergency passport because she was dead. So they were going to have to make a quick drive up the Central Valley just to get their passports.
A bigger problem was that they had both quit their jobs when they started traveling together and were living on savings and the income from Sally subletting her apartment. Between them they had about the price of a BART ticket to Fresno.
But that night at the maple wood table in Jesse and Walter’s kitchen, Jesse said to Sally as they drank green tea, “Dear one, you don’t have to do this alone, just the two of you. You have friends and supporters. Ask for help.”
He quietly repeated the phrase, “Ask for help,” looking at his husband communing with Lavinia like they were two trees in the morning sun. Once again, Sally saw in his eyes a trace of sadness and worry. Sally, mind still reeling from the idea that people might give her money just because they believed in her, understood vaguely that he wanted to talk with her about that sadness. But she had never in her life been anyone’s confidante and had no idea how to make such a talk happen.
Walter said matter-of-factly, “We should all go to this place in Germany together. I’ve seen it too, you know, but I’ve never been out of the States so I didn’t know where it was.”
Does everyone know about this, Sally wondered, shocked. And when Jesse nodded thoughtfully, she realized that Walter had told Jesse all the details of his visions as a matter of course. She must have imagined the worried look; Jesse and Walter were even closer than she and Lavinia. It had taken her weeks to tell Lavinia the crucial detail of the dead hiker in the forest.
What was on her own face as she watched Lavinia communing with Walter? Certainly not fear of Lavinia taking Walter as a lover. Even though Lavinia was as non-monogamous as they came, she had given Sally a promise. Anyway, she’d only once in her life had sex with what she called “the X-chromosome impaired.”
No, she was still seeing the wistful longing on Lavinia’s face as she touched the trees and called them brothers and sisters. I’m worried that my wife will leave me to become a tree with another man. Jesus, it sounds so silly when I even think it.
It seemed even sillier later as they lay entwined in Jesse and Walter’s guest room. The pleasure that exploded when she let her eyes lock with Lavinia’s was as white as a fireball, as exhilarating as a snowfall she had once been caught in. She’d never known she could be this happy; she should just confess her worries to Lavinia and they could laugh together.
But not yet. Time later to talk about that and about the council of war Jesse was already planning for next week after she and Lavinia had made the trip to find their passports. Time later to fret that Charla would be aggravatingly there, and Malcolm, who had killed her sister, and that kid Jeremy if Sister Amanda could manage to find out what had happened to him. Besides, she had asked Lavinia in the grove if she was thinking of going “that way” and Lavinia had said no.
For now she leaned back on her elbows as Lavinia’s dark head, gleaming faintly from moonlight through the high window, trailed kisses closer and closer to her sex. On the advice of a self-help book, she’d once looked at her vagina in a mirror; she knew the pleasing sight which that delicate ring of pink around the darker core would present to her love.
As Lavinia began to kiss and tongue her, she flung her head back.
KerriAnne’s ghostly face in the high window looked hungrily at her.
“Yaaah!” she yelled. Her body jerked Lavinia away.
“What, what, tiger?”
The window was, of course, empty.
Don’t wait weeks to tell her something that might be important. “Did you just see my sister?” she demanded, more roughly than she intended.
But Lavinia shook her head, looking at her with sympathy, and Sally, heart still pounding, realized that the vision must have been guilt playing out. KerriAnne was dead and her body had been consumed and she had shoved the tangle of complicated feelings about that whole mess out of sight weeks ago.
The brief glimpse must have been wish-fulfilment anyway. For the only time in the last ten years, KerriAnne had looked unreservedly happy.
In the next room, Jesse thought about the story Sally had told, especially Sally’s red-faced tale of seeing a little fairy, and how she had instantly told Lavinia about it.
Before his dancing mind could stifle itself with the thousand different “best” ways he should start the conversation with Walter about his fears, he pushed out the words “Lambchop, I have something to talk to you about” in an unexamined rush.
Walter took his hand and looked at him encouragingly, though with that tenseness with which any lover greets those words. Jesse still didn’t know how to start. But at least now he had to say something.
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