“Is something wrong?” I asked, noticing the sudden change in his demeanor.
“Um no. Well yes, sort of…” he stumbled over the words.
“It’s just… those were Elizabeth – my ex-wife’s clothes.”
“Yeah… well if she’s your ex, why do you still keep a box with all her stuff in it? Why didn’t she take it?”
He made his way to the divan and slumped down, taking a huge sigh. “Because she never had the chance.”
He paused briefly before continuing.
“Elizabeth and I were married for just over a year. I’m not sure why she ever married me in the first place. She detested everything about me.
“Finally one day, she came home and told me she had been having an affair for the last 5 months. She wanted a divorce and she was going out of town with him the next day.
“She packed her suitcase and left. She said she’d get the rest later.”
He took another deep breath. “She died the next day in a car accident.”
He was pale, I was pale. We both faced each other silently. It wasn’t fun anymore, now that I knew the truth about everything. His wife had an affair, and then died. The words kept running over and over in my mind. His life was more serious than I thought. Filled with dark crevices of haunting memories, living in complete, lonely darkness.
I wanted to say something, but it was one of those moments where anything, perfect or not would sound awkward and ridiculous, and anything beyond comfort. He sat there, drifting off, as if I wasn’t even there. I stepped back, and looked down at myself, it felt eerie to wear a dead person’s clothes.
“Do…do you mind if I go for a second? I need some fresh air,” I said, shifiting nervously.
“No, not at all…” he said hopelessly.
“Pierre,” I said making my way towards him, “I’m…I…I’ll be right back.”
I closed the door behind me as I left, my passion drained. Izzy lived on the floor above Pierre’s, and I needed her now more than ever.
The hallway leading to Izzy’s flat smelled heavily of the peppery drift of marijuana and essential oils. There was a definite ruckus inside the flat, banging loud music pulsing through the walls. I knocked on her door, pounding my fist against the cracking red paint. The music stopped, and footsteps were heard up to the door.
“Marco? Mi bonito, I told you, packages are strictly delivered to Dmitri’s house. I don’t want no stinking deals here,” she hissed throught the door.
“Izzy? What the…”
“Oh, Menina! Uh, um, just….come in. Go, go,” she said, opening the door just barely enough for me to squeeze through and pulling me in quickly.
“Ninguém, nobody,” she said, with a shrug. I should know not to ask about Izzy’s male aquaintences, but the name Marco has been popping up a lot lately.
“So menina, tell me about your sexy, sexy man.”
“That’s why I came over here…”
“He’s blind. And his wife died. Recently, or something…”
“Yeah Iz, It’s true,” I said, half believing it myself.
“So, are you still going to get together?”
“Izzy, I just found all this stuff out. Its a little hard to comprehend all at once.”
“Menina,” Izzy said sternly, “You can’t possibly date a blind man. It’s just unreal. What the foda are you two going to do together? And a wife? He’s damaged goods, meu amor.”
“Izzy, really…” I pleaded, sinking down into her sofa, and stealing a ciggarette and match from the table.
“Oh no no no, menina. You can’t be…” She hissed, pacing across the floor.
“Be what, Izzy? In love?”
“No, I mean, we don’t know each other very well, and therefore, I have to be reasonable. I’ve just started this thing out all wrong.” There was a knock on the door, Izzy scampered hastily to the door.
“Isabella, il mio amore,” a man’s voice chimed through the door.
“Pablo…” she purred. Isabella looked from me to the door and back with a pleading look.
“I’ll go, I’ll go…” I offered.
The man at the door was let in as I was let out, I barely saw his face as I was pushed back into the hallway. I hesitated as I got to Pierre’s door. I knew I had to do this right. I let myself in, and wandered around looking for Pierre.
I finally found him in the bedroom, huddled on the floor in a heap. His face was wet, probably from crying. I kneeled next to him, and held onto his shoulder.
“Pierre,” I whispered. He seemed dazed.
“Elizabeth?” He mumbled. I was taken aback, and I shook him lightly.
“Elizabeth, is that you?” He continued, tears falling. I had no idea what to do, he was delirious. He reached out and touched my face, stroking my cheek. My stomach felt like someone had punched it.
“Pierre, its Marguerite,” I whispered back to him.
“Yes, I’m right here.” He began to sit up, facing me.
“I’m sorry, so, so sorry,” he said. I began to wipe the tears off his face. I was terrible at crisis situations, and I didn’t know what else to do, so I kissed him.
I pulled back, but Pierre tried lingering a little too long for comfort on that sudden kiss. I helped pull him up and set him on the bed like you would a child who had scraped their knee.
“Stay there,” I commanded, leaving the room. I made my way to the kitchen, trying to find the only remedy I knew that could cure anything from a broken heart to getting a hole in your favourite sweater. I started boiling a pot of tea. Drinking the tea didn’t matter, but the process of making it was a whole different story.
I poured Pierre a cup, and brought it to him. He didn’t say anything, but he held the warm mug in his hands and closed his eyes.
“Elizabeth never made me tea,” he said after a moment of silence.
“Tell me about Elizabeth,” I requested, sitting next to him on the bed, “Why did you marry her if she hated you?”
“I don’t want to talk about her,” he said sternly.
“Then what do you want to talk about?” I answered.
“You,” he said quietly, “Do you love me?”
I had no way of answering that.
“Pierre…I…erm…” I stammered, trying to conjure up all the honesty I could, “No, I don’t love you.”
“Oh,” he said, almost if the words had punched him.
“But,” I said, touching his shoulder, “That could change.” He lifted his face towards mine, and his lips parted as if from an immediate shock.
“Marguerite…” He said, reaching out to find my face, which he felt, up and down gently with his fingers, as if he were trying to see my face through them, “I love you.”
“Are you sure?” I said, a little taken aback, “We haven’t even had a real conversation, you don’t know anything about me, and I have no idea who you really are…”
“That could change,” he said with a smile. I couldn’t help but let out a small laugh in response.
“Pierre,” I said, “right now, lets forget all about love, and everything and start over fresh.”
“Alright,” he said, “starting fresh.” He pulled me into a kiss. We were shortly interrupted, when we heard the flat door open and close.
“Its John,” Pierre said grumpily.