a heart made out of water.
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  1. #1
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    a heart made out of water.
    On March 24th, at 12:43 PM Edie Marner drew up divorce papers with her lawyer and told no one. She had felt haunted by them, sitting there in her drawer. There was no room to breathe in the beach house on expensive LA property. She would leave them like a ghost, she imagined, and soon they wouldn't even remember her. She loved them, sure, but love had never been the most important factor in anything. Anyone who believed so was a fool, a sap, a sentimental waste. Her husband was as good as gold, a tried and true sort of gentleman who spent his inherited fortune on an outreach program for LA youth, and she loved him, but she loved him because she envied his ability to love so easily, to care indefinitely about every child that walked into that program, almost as though they were his own. But they weren't. At five, Jeremiah Marner was a scrappy kid with perpetually dirty hands that Edie was always wiping clean with the fringe of her skirts. And she loved him, but wore motherhood like a heavy suit of armour, clunky and awkward, all encompassing, no part of her skin exposed. She drew up papers and hid them in her drawer. She would pack a bag the next day and fly.

    On March 24th, at 7:49 PM, after dropping off a member of the LA outreach program he ran, David Marner's SUV was stopped at a red light. The members of a small Honda beside him exited the car and demanded money with two firearms. David emtpied his pockets and the glove compartment. Two blocks away, police lights flashed and scared the two teenagers demanding money. They fired four shots at random into the car as they retreated, one of which hit David, and three of which hit his son.

    When the police notified Edie Marner, she was stoically silent. She did not call any of her friends or family. She did not begin making funeral arrangements. She turned all the lights off in her beach front property and unplugged all of the phones and clocks, one by one. The police would turn up three days later to request her identification of the bodies to find her sleep-addled and squint-eyed at the door. She had slept for three days, without interruption, and could have slept longer.

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    <font color="#000000" size="1">[ August 07, 2007 02:06 AM: Message edited by: midnight radio ]</font>

  2. #2
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    My brother Danny has everything I ever wanted, the house, the job, the car, the family. He lives the life I was meant to live and I hate him for it, so we don't speak, and that's just that. I hate his kids, I hate their spelling bees and their braces and their soccer games and home videos and the birthday cards in a shoebox that I forget to send. I hate them. I hate his wife with her blonde hair and Barbie doll heels and her cookie baking on Sundays. We used to compete with each other, who got the new car first, whose kid was getting better grades and now I have no kids, and no grades, and no report cards to put the grades on, no school to send the report cards. I don't even have the new car anymore, just the old one that still runs and gets sensible mileage. I don't have a life anymore. I don't have anything but credit cards and a vacant dizzy feeling in the morning.

    He still calls on holidays, calls me Edith, says the same old thing, and I delete the message every time because there is no listening to ghost voices on your machine anymore, there is no replaying that old memory. I threw out the tapes with David's messages on them. I have one home video locked up somewhere. I hid it and now I can't find it. Sometimes I tear my room apart and look for it, and once I find it, I hide it in a new place again. So I forget. And then I tear the room apart all over again. There's no fixing it. I am a creature of habit. I look at your face and I see everything I don't have. There's a hole I want to fill, literally, a concave space in my body that needs to support something or else I'll claw myself inside out. I swear, no more pills, no more glasses of wine, no more anything, just let this work, let my body work for me just this once and then you can send whatever you want to poison it, just let me do this one thing worth doing.

    I meant it when I said yes. I meant it when I said I want what you are offering. I do. I want it. The thought of it consumes me. I feel as mad as Alice down the rabbit hole. I would eat or drink anything that would make me big enough or small enough to slip through the door. Yes. Yes. I will give you two weeks. I will slip you my valium on bad days. I want this one thing, and I want it enough to start looking for a job.

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    <center>

    Practically starting from scratch. An awakening. We have not been picked out simply to be abandoned, set loose to find our own way. We are entitled to some direction, I would have thought.</center>

  4. #4
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    In the dim light of Edie's bedroom, her walls were made of glass that was run with a curtain. It closed with a press of the button on the side of her bed, shut out the light, turned her room into a cave. When she was impossible to drag from the bed, she would spend time just flooding the room with light and then banishing it again. The flood was her own self torture. It was the removal of light that made her feel comfortable, in control. Now, her bed was no longer her own. Beside her, Joel Martin slept like a baby, sprawled out on his stomach, his cheek crushed against a broad arm, his mouth closed, but breath heavy. She watched him. A breath in, the lift of his back, the expanding of his shoulderblades. A breath out and everything sank back again.

    It was the same rhythm of the whirr of the curtains across her windows. Open, closed. Open, closed. In, out. In, out. But which part was the torture? Which part was the control? She lay naked, stripped of even her robe or her nightie, her hands pressed under the pillow, her mouth dry as the Nevada desert floor. Under her ribs, she felt the telltale knock of her heart, a subtle battering at a locked door. A wretched little organ that was shrugging off the dust, tending to its broken bones, pulling off the bandages. It was weak and miserable. It needed a wheelchair to roll around in, someone to push it from point A to point B and back in time for Jeopardy.

    When she touched him, it was because the want and curiosity won. She wondered if Joel was the kind of man who grabbed your elbow, standing on the sidewalk when a car rounded the corner. The kind who would throw an arm across your chest when he braked a hard stop, cut off in traffic. Was he the sort of man who put his hands on your hips when you walked up to him, and he was seated? Plucked eyelashes off your cheek? Wiped away a daub of cream at the corner of your mouth with his thumb and that wicked grin and his pretty upturned nose?

    She thought by touching him, she could discover these things. Discover some things.

    And so she did, out of bravery, she touched a man in her bed who was alive, who was not a mirage or a dream before her alarm went off, who was not a brief, cold flash and a clammy feeling at the back of her neck, like she needed more ghosts. She had plenty of ghosts. The idea of another one whispering her way into Edie's life was frightening. Some woman she would never be and he would always want. And wasn't that the case for her? Joel would never be David, poor dead David with a bullet in his brain.

    But she had never wanted David. Once, maybe, in her youth, when he seemed interesting and worth her chasing. And now. But now. Feelings were not meant to be discovered at thirty-three, with your husband and child in the ground, just a thirty minute drive away.

    Would she take him to the graves one day? Walk him through rows of the dead, hold out her hand and say once, once this was mine. Once, I was the sole possessor of these things in the ground, and now I own nothing. She did not think she would. She did not know how she would survive if she did not.

    Was Joel the kind of man who would grab your elbow, pluck your eyelashes, pick you up when you are sprawled on the ground over the grave of a boy that would now be ten? Was he the kind of man that would pick you up or let you lay, face to the warm dirt, mouth open, fingers digging in, smelling the sweet breaths of the thing deep below, listening for a flutter of motion like the gurgling of organs under muscle and bone. His heart tapped in her ear. Hello. Hello. Hello.

    Edie swallowed a breath and pressed a hand to her pelvis, prayed for the stirrings of biology and future, the slow latching of DNA into place.

    And this would make her feel not alone. And this would make her feel as though she now had a friend in Joel Martin.

  5. #5
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    "Naked man in your room."

    "Jesus Christ, Marita!"

    Edie had nearly jumped sky high at the sound of the housekeeper's voice as she shuffled through the kitchen, a bundle of laundry in her arms. Her hand was splayed over her chest and she wore her robe, a slinky thing at nearly noon.

    "I see him when I go in to get laundry. I get his pants and his little panties. You like the little panties? I always know you like dirty things." Marita dangled the mesh hospital panties that Edie had been stowing away in her room. The housekeeper showed up twice a week, cleaned up the woman's mess, scrubbed the rooms in order, made conversation. If Edie had any friends besides Joel and Ava, she figured Marita would be one of them.

    "He's going to be spending some time here. His stuff is dry clean only. Drop it off for me, I'll pick it up later." She reached over and tugged the slacks free of Marita's pile of tumble dry laundry.

    "He is cute! I think I scare him a little bit. He screams like a little girl."

    Edie cracked a smile and gave Marita a wink. "Well then you should have heard him last night."

    The housekeeper lit up. It was like she had just heard that Christmas was coming early. In all the years that Edie had employed her, Marita had known her intimately, known her losses and her gains and the months where it was impossible to drag her up before four in the afternoon. And this, certainly, was cause for celebration.

    "This is good! This is new leaf! You need to have a little fun. Someone young for Ms. Edie. Maybe you go on dates, you have new boyfriend?"

    "Take it easy," Edie grinned over her cup of tea.

    "You want I should clean the room now?"

    It was the only room in the house that Marita didn't touch. Edie liked it that way. Edie preferred it in its pristine state, the bed unmade, the toys still on the floor exactly where her son had left them. In five years, she hadn't gone in but for a few quick glimpses that left her in shock.

    "No, I think we'll wait on that a little longer."

  6. #6
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    a heart made out of water.
    It wasn't nearly as humiliating as it could have been. She was pretty in the backseat of some LA cruiser, her hair a mess and her legs crossed. Her arms cuffed behind her. Edie was a docile thing. A nice little lady in the wrong place at the wrong time.

    The cop slid into the front seat ahead of her and she leaned back with a sigh. "Bad day, ma'am?"

    "Yeah," Edie sighed. "Bad day. Bad fucking life."

    "Happens all the time. We all lose our temper. Unfortunately, your temper's gonna land you in a holding cell for a couple hours till Miss Margeson over there decides if she's gonna charge you with harassment and assault with a deadly weapon."

    "A deadly weapon? That shoe doesn't even have a heel on it!" Edie peered over her shoulder at the brunette woman streaked with gray, still warbling to another officer. "Fucking cunt," she breathed.

    "Now now," the officer warned as they pulled off. Edie lurched forward, her knees against the back of the front seat.

    "Shit! How come I you can pull me over for not wearing a seatbelt, but I don't get to wear one back here?"

    "S'complicated, ma'am. We gonna have a rough ride back to the station or are you gonna sit and behave yourself?"

    "Sit and behave, sit and behave," she drawled.

    "Who're you gonna call at the station to come get you?"

    Joel, her head said. But.

    "Nobody," she said confidently.

    "Gotta have an escort when you leave the station, ma'am."

    "Well, then looks like I'll be there for a little while."

    "You been drinking this evening, ma'am?"

    "No. I had my last margarita yesterday. Why do you keep calling me ma'am? It's just the polite way of saying bitch. Like white separatist is the nice way of saying neo-nazi. Speaking of, shouldn't you be busting up some hipster gathering over in Silverlake? I just got rear ended, for Christ's sake, I already pay too much in insurance, I just spent a shitload of money on a .." Edie stopped. The guy didn't care. She was saying everything to him she wanted to say someone else.

    "Silverlake's not my precinct, Ms. Marner."

    "Goldman."

    "ID says Marner."

    "Not married anymore. Never changed it back."

    "Silverlake's not my precinct, Ms. Goldman."

    Edie leaned back in her seat, watched as they cruised past the Whisky-A-Go-Go. She wanted a drink. She wanted a rewind button.

    "Much better."

    <font color="#000000" size="1">[ August 15, 2007 11:46 AM: Message edited by: midnight radio ]</font>

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