I hope you are enjoying the story and remaining intrigued. This week, we really get to Lindsey a bit better.
The Woman-Part 3
Charlotte packed her bag carefully. While it could hold a great deal more than it appeared, space was not unlimited. Three pairs of denim pants, three cute dresses, socks, two pair of shoes, her boots, three bottles of wine, incidentals, plus her candles, bowls, herbs, and stones all had to fit. If she had room, she would bring more to drink, these items, though, were imperative. Almost as an after thought, she grabbed a tiny wooden box, no bigger than quarter, only it was square, and put it carefully in a sealed pocket inside the bag. She got everything in, moved things around, and had just enough room for one more bottle. Smiling, she walked into the pantry and began digging through earthenware jugs, some a few hundred years old. It took quite a while but Charlotte eventually found the topaz colored bottle in the back of the cupboard, covered with dust, under a few spiders. As she put it in the bag, she began to whistle a tune she’d only ever heard once, played in the woods, a lifetime or two ago. “Oh, I have to hurry,” she exclaimed to the emptiness surrounding her, and began singing Lindsey’s name as she left her little home.
Lindsey awoke at about 3am and staggered to bed, dropping her dinner dishes in the sink on the way by. As she was sleepily brushing her teeth, for just a second, her reflection looked different; like she was not quite herself. It startled her awake, this image of herself as she might appear just before a big performance, but it was not, of course, real. Lindsey released the sigh that she had been holding, her shoulders falling back into their normal “relaxed” position she turned off the light and studied the floor on her way to bed muttering about seeing things. Sleep did not again come easily, she tossed and turned for an hour or more, before finally her exhausted body won over her mind, and she began to drift off again. As she did, she heard music-so loud it was as if someone had turned on a radio next to her bed…she opened her eyes but her room remained dark and empty, so she closed them again, and began counting the rhythm of the song, and name the notes.
Soon, she was on stage, wearing a blue gown, purchased and custom fitted for just this performance, her make up was perfect, and her hair. Her hair had taken hours to get ready; to call it an “up doo” would be far too simple of a description. She had had her hair ornately pulled, wired, twisted, sprayed, starched even, into coils that rose from her head, nearly twelve inches before falling in a cascade of braids in which were entwined ribbons matching the blue of her gown. The auditorium was full; her family was there, even a couple of cousins she hadn’t seen in many years were attending. The conductor had led the orchestra through the lead-in piece; the sounds of bells against the deeper bass of the oboe setting up the synchopated timing needed to achieve the true feeling of the piece. Slowly, these sounds worked one against the other until even though played separately, their echoes began meeting in the middle-it became impossible to tell where the bell ended and the oboe began. Then came the first clear note from Lindsey’s flute, and another, until soon, the auditorium was filled with the lilting sounds she was playing. Even seasoned attendees, who usually stayed stiffed backed, watchful, closed their eyes and swayed, dreaming of things only they understood. The rest of the orchestra had parts in the piece, but the flute was the star, and Lindsey played her part to perfection. As the orchestra came down from its crescendo, the flute continued, even as the oboe and bells lost their long standing synchopation, became separate again, oboe fading off to leave just the bells and flute, and still the flute played, softer, slower, competing at the end with no other sound, as even the bells had faded off. When Lindsey hit the last note, and pulled her flute from her mouth, the audience rose, clapping, whistling, throwing flowers, and yelling their support like it was a rock concert. It was too loud, too much whistling, no, that’s beeping, she thought. Lindsey was yanked from her dream by the alarm clock. She opened her eyes, realized she was in bed. Just a dream, again, she thought as she stumbled down the hall to turn on the coffee.
Once the coffee was started Lindsey began getting ready for her day; not like there was a lot to do, she didn’t have a job other than her crafting. She had no rent or mortgage to pay and therefore little financial obligation. As long as she made enough money to pay her utilities and taxes, she was okay; ‘at least I’m not worried about money,” she said to her cat as she walked into the bathroom. As she got ready for her shower, she began humming the tune from her dream without realizing that’s what she was doing. A quick glance in the mirror, and the image from her dream was there. She just started laughing, not a funny laugh, but a laugh that we sometimes share in place of a tear. She shook it off, looked around, and decided today, was no day for a quick shower. Today she couldn’t just rinse it away. No, today was for a soak.
As the coffee aroma drifted towards her, she decided today was for the big tub, and for the first time in two months opened the door to the master bedroom. She almost slammed it shut when the memories hit her, the smell of her husband still hung in here somewhere; and this was the paint he had wanted, the furniture they had picked on their honeymoon and had sent home. It was almost more than she could bear; the room bringing back memories of endless arguments; of the name calling, and other, darker things Lindsey pushed out of her mind. In order to get that soak, she would have to make her way through the memories, to the master bath-her bath. She had picked every detail when they were still newlyweds, before everything had started to turn so wrong. She closed her eyes and just counted steps, reached out her hand fumbled for just a second looking for the handle, turned it and opened her eyes as she pushed.
Lindsey immediately calmed once the bathroom door was open; everything about it was her. The purple paint matched exactly the shade from the home her grandparents had once owned, the tile work was a continual mosaic around the room that started on the floor as a spiral of blue, white and green continued up the wall alongside the vanity framing the mirrors, one in blue and one in green (this a clear indication of her indecisive nature), and then turned into a floral vine that trimmed the top six inches of the room, meeting over the bathtub, only to flow down the wall creating the image of trees and flowers, so that when sitting in the oversized tub (which was blue), one was reminded of being outside. The double sinks were actually only ever used by Lindsey; her ex-husband had no use for her special room-or has he eventually called it “that ugly fucking place”. The sinks colors were opposite the color of the surrounding tile, so that the blue sink had a line of green around it (Lindsey thought of it as grass by a lake), the green had a line of blue (she liked to think of this as the sky above the grass) and then a very thin bit of white, and the colors alternated until finally, the green sink was under the blue tiled mirror and the blue sink by the green tiled mirror.
She found her bubble bath under the green sink, her favorite towels under the blue, and gave the tub a quick rinse before starting the water. So happy and at peace was she that she had almost forgotten her morning coffee. “Don’t look up, don’t look up, don’t look up” she repeated all the way through the bedroom. Once she was out of there, the anxiety faded, but so many things had happened-“I just need to clean it out” she thought, “throw stuff away, redecorate”, but the truth is that took too much time in the seat of her memories. She couldn’t do it without help and there was no one around able to help her. If only her kids had stuck around, but she couldn’t blame them either. “Screw This!” she said, put down the “proper” coffee cup she was going to use, grabbed a larger one, brought the whole pot of coffee, the big mug, an entire quart of half and half, two bananas, an apple, a bagel with cream cheese, and her sugar container to the master bath. Again “don’t look up, don’t look up,” came from her mouth as she made her way through. Just in the nick of time, she was able to turn the water off. She put everything on the sink and went out again “don’t look up” to get a small table for her things. As an afterthought, she grabbed her phone and headphones for the tub. As soon as she was in the bathroom with all her things she was at peace. Not even the ghosts of the bedroom followed her here. She didn’t even check the water temperature, she knew it was still too hot, she just took her time, standing naked, organizing her snack, pouring her coffee, choosing her music. “I’ve got no where to be. I’ve got no one to see, It’s all day bath time for me”, she chuckled, but again…not a real laugh, just more choked off sadness at a life that might have been.