Without my permission, my body did a top to toe tremble.
His face came out of my neck, it got in mine, his hand returned to my jaw and he whispered, “Yeah.”
Then he pulled me away from the door and like a freak of nature, one second he was there, the next he was gone.
I stared at the closed door then moved to the window and checked and I was right. He was gone.
Then I turned my back to the door and stared into my messy living room.
And I was thinking I was pretty sure he felt the tremble.
The Day of Epiphany
My house was an old farmhouse that once graced fields but now was situated in a neighborhood of much newer houses, that was to say built in the last fifty years, on the close outskirts of Denver.
Once you made it through the narrow walls with kickass stained glass of the entryway, my house had a living room that ran the length of the front. To the right behind sliding inset glass doors was a dining room or den, but it was nothing now. Empty space. To the left, a swinging doorway into a big kitchen. Upstairs were three bedrooms, one somewhat small so I made that into my office, and a mammoth bathroom.
My father had not let me move in until he and his buddy Rick had installed a new bathroom. He said this was because the bathtub was imminently going to fall through the floor. I thought he was being dramatic because he hated my house and still does. Even so, why I thought this I really did not know because my father was not a dramatic person. Therefore I shouldn’t have been surprised when they started working on the bathroom and the tub proceeded to crash through the floor.
So Dad redid my bathroom, after, of course, he rebuilt the floor, and now it was gorgeous with claw-footed tub, pedestal sink, heated towel racks, the lot. He also redid the wood plank floors in my bedroom and the office and re-skimmed the walls in both rooms. Meredith and I painted my bedroom and Meredith made me killer roman blinds to go in the windows of my bedroom and in my office. My friend Tracy and I painted my office. I then proceeded to the fun phase of renovation: decoration, while Dad moved onto the kitchen on which he worked with Troy. The completion of this took five months because they both got sidetracked with other things like their own lives and the faucet in my half-bath downstairs not turning off and the roof leaking and the light switch in my bedroom not working and the furnace going out, stuff like that.
But now the kitchen was fantastic, cabinets painted a buttery cream; a big battered, rectangle farm table in the middle with six chairs; butcher block countertops; fabulous appliances that Dad sourced for me on the cheap through his construction network and because they were damaged but in places you couldn’t see. I’d decorated it in countrified charm with a whimsical twist. I wasn’t country, not by a long shot, but the kitchen was an old farmhouse kitchen so it demanded country and there were times I could be whimsical.
So after MM left, I went to my kitchen, made chocolate chip cookie batter, took the bowl, a spoon and a cup of coffee to the table and grabbed my phone.
Then I sat with one foot on the floor, one heel to the chair and stared at it.
I should call Camille. Camille was a straight-talker. She was smart. She was worldly and she had her head together. Camille was living with Leo who was a cop and they’d been together for five years. It was a good relationship, loving but challenging because both Leo and Camille had attitude. But if they ever broke up it would be like Goldie Hawn and Kurt Russell breaking up, that was to say proof that the world would soon be coming to an end.
Camille, however, knew all about MM and she thought I was part nuts, part crazy letting him come to me in the middle of the night and not knowing his name. She advised repeatedly that during the very next visit I should firstly, kick him in the gonads and secondly, call the cops.
I could also call Tracy. Tracy was a romantic. Tracy was not a straight-talker. Tracy would rather endure torture than say anything that would make you uncomfortable or hurt your feelings. Tracy had three boyfriends and they were all jerks but she kept them around because she didn’t have it in her to break up with them even though they were jerks. Before getting bored and moving on, which Tracy did frequently, Tracy put up with a lot of shit at work because my sweet Tracy didn’t have a backbone.
Tracy also loved the idea of MM. She was convinced one day he was going to reach out, turn on the light, frame my face with his hands and tell me the sun rose and set for him through me, promptly marry me in a fairytale wedding and thereafter treat me like a princess to the end of my days. Even after all this time she was totally convinced this was going to happen and she never faltered in that belief. MM’s most recent visit would probably make her dance in delight. She would never see it for what it was, jerky, intrusive and supremely annoying.
I couldn’t call Troy because after what MM said about him I was freaked out about Troy. Troy had always been just Troy. Troy had been around before Camille and Tracy. Troy had been around before I met Scott Leighton, when I met Scott Leighton, when I married Scott Leighton and when Scott Leighton broke my heart. Troy was a friend and the thought that he wanted to get in my pants freaked me out almost more than everything else that happened that day.
I stared at my phone and spooned up some dough.
Then I shoved the dough in my mouth, dropped the spoon, picked up the phone and made the first smart decision I’d made since MM’s hand hit the small of my back the night before.
I dialed, swallowed and put the phone to my ear.
“What’s up, girl?” Camille answered.
“The Great MM visited last night.”
Silence. No, total silence.
“He also came back today, he was here when I got back from doing something and he left just about twenty minutes ago.”
More silence, this even more total like all the noise in the world was being sucked into a vacuum.
“Cam?” I called into the void.
“He left just twenty minutes ago?” she asked.
“Yep,” I answered.
“He was there in the light of day?” she asked.
“Yep,” I answered.
“And his skin didn’t catch fire or anything?” she asked.
“Nope,” I answered through a smile.
It was then I broke the whole thing down for her from last night through Darla through Dog and Tack through The Great MM’s surprise visit, loving chat and gentle explanation of the boundaries of our relationship.