November 2002

Evelyn,

“Evelyn,” he woke me, his voice soft.  “Evelyn.  Open your eyes.”

“What time is it?” I asked him.  He straightened, and handed me a glass of water.

“Almost midnight.”

I sat up and looked around me.  My things were strewn around in a haphazard way, a way that means I’d been in the room.  His tie was draped over the chair.  

Adam's sleeves were rolled back and his voice was tense.  His hair was rifled through like the top drawer of your kitchen.  He looked young.  Does anyone afraid look young?  When was the last time you looked young or afraid?  The scene was plain to me.  He'd come and found me sick, taken off his tie, felt my forehead.  

“Is it time to go?” I asked him, hardly older than a child.  He handed me some clothes; a sweater, a pair of jeans, my coat, some long and mismatched socks.  

“Yes,” he said.  His voice was calm, but I was afraid.

“I’m sick,” I warned him.

He nodded.

“I know.  I’m going to take care of it.”

He lifted me like I didn't weigh anything, which was bullshit and I fought him.

“No, don’t.”

“Stop it, Evelyn.  Get dressed.”

His voice was calm but his hands were tense.  He helped me into my clothes, my hair sticking greasy to my face.  I was hot and my sweat stuck his hands to me.  He tied my shoes, my black Vans with the white rubber looking dirty in his lap.

“Come on, little girl,” he insisted to me.  He smelled like cologne and the scent made me heave.  He held my face toward the garbage, and I fought back vomit.  He scooped me up and we touched the merciful cold night air.  I shivered, the cold almost painful. 

Resentful of him calling me little girl, I thought about the differences in our ages before sleep came back to me.  I wasn't little and he wasn't old, he only liked to PRETEND he was, when we...when he...

He murmured things to me soft, that I should keep my eyes closed, over the feel of him walking and sounds like a train.  He had me wrapped in an orange blanket that smelled like must.  I drew it close, and kicked it away, and drew it close, and kicked it away.  

"I'm sick," I told a stranger with dark eyes. 

The ceiling came into focus, familiar, and the radiator ticked on.  How did I know the teal ceiling or the sound of the radiator?  Because in delusion and in nightmare...in dream and destitution...

"Wake up, Evelyn," Adam insisted.  

I fought him, my eyelids weighted and dreams so much more important.  

"I'm sick," I pleaded with him.

"I know," he said, his hand cold on my face.  I moaned and talked about crows.  

Evelyn, wake up.  Such a simple command, havoc wreaked within at it's notion.  Wake up, Evelyn.  WAKE UP.  A girl is lost in the woods, but when I met Bitter and he failed or succeeded in killing me, he gave me a direction to find what would find me.  In the auspices left in some dream, all the broken dolls of the world left to endure with me a twilight of uncertainties to ensure there was an idea that could never be abandoned.  

But wake up, Evelyn.  

Instinctively, maybe some part of him knew to keep me talking, and to apply for some assistance when it wouldn't work.  Where were you, Eve?  Tell me what happened?  Stay awake.  He rubbed hard both of my arms and when the dawn rose, it was on a gray winter morning in New York, the smog smearing low the sunrise over Van Cortlandt park.  Everything was shades of green and blue as fragile as eggs, and Adam sat me shaking into the old bathtub and sponged my shoulders off.  

"I almost lost you," he said.  

"Evelyn lives here," I told him, and he nodded, his mouth in a line.  

"Yes, she does," he agreed.  

But in a week, I would forget who she was, and find her only in a single song, played over and over.

-Evelyn

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