And I do love you, I have for years now. And the only regret I have about that night, about leaving that life behind, is that it meant losing you. But I knew that I could never truly have you, so w...
“He never got the letter” she whispered.
Jamia was looking at her guiltily.
“I’m sorry Escher, I was just a dumb kid and I was hopelessly in love with guy I could feel slipping away from me”
“He never got the letter” Escher repeated.
“No…it was open when I got it out of the letter box and I just had a weird feeling, so I took it and read it and I never gave it to him”
“Oh my god” Escher said quietly.
“I really am sorry”
Escher had barely heard Jamia’s apologies, feeling as though a great weight had been lifted off her shoulder suddenly. She reached across the table and grasped Jamia’s hands who jumped slightly.
“Please do me a favour Jamia,”
“Don’t ever tell him about that letter”
“What? But it was beautiful…”
“Please, like you said, we were both stupid kids hopelessly in love. It’s the past. I appreciate that you wanted to tell me this, but it’s all in the past, it has nothing to do with Frank and I today”
Jamia opened her mouth as if to speak and then closed it resignedly.
“Thank you Jamia, it must have been hard for you to tell me this, I appreciate it but I have to go”
Escher stood up abruptly and tugged on her suit jacket, swigging the last of her martini and leaving a crumpled note on the table as she walked out.
She decided to walk to the subway station and found herself lost in the memory of arriving in New York from Belleville six years before. She had been so daring, so brilliant in her flight from Jersey, but the panorama of the huge, soulless city coming in to view through the train window made her realize how small and insignificant she was. In a world so large, with so many streets to walk down, so many people to run into, how could she possibly make the right decision? She had rented a small bed sit in a shitty part of town until college started in the fall and had resigned herself to getting a job.
Escher had been used to being brilliant, to being able to talk her way into anything. But she discovered in her first few days job hunting for an entry-level position in PR that she was a small fish in a fucking huge ocean of other people just like her with the same brilliance and qualifications. And she had found herself, soon enough, hunched over a copy of the New York Times circling job advertisements for short order cooks and waitresses. That’s how she had found her job at Saffron, she was under age, so she had had to work in the kitchen, peeling potatoes for minimum wage all day and then going home to her lonely apartment.
And she had cried. For everything, for everyone. She cried for herself mostly, curled up on the lumpy single bed at night, with the streetlight across the road falling on her in dappled, sepia waves. She cried for the parents she had lost, even though she’d never really had them; she cried for her dream of being a shining star in the big city that had crumbled to being all but homeless in a walk-up; she cried for the beautiful clothes and car and home she had run from; and of course, she cried for him, she cried for what she had let happen, she cried for how she had treated him afterwards and she cried for losing him, for walking away.
So, weeks after she had left she had written him a letter.
I’m sitting at the tiny desk in my apartment in New York, and for the first time in weeks it’s silent.
It’s so silent that I can almost hear the digits flicking over on my digital clock, like the heavy tick and sorrowful tock of my grandfather’s gradfather clock.
It’s been weeks since I left Belleville, I hope that you noticed I was gone, not that I deserve it after the way I’ve treated you. I couldn’t stay any longer…my father knew about you. He didn’t know about what happened that night, but he knew that something had changed, that I wasn’t the same girl anymore.
And I’m not Frank, I’m different for knowing you, for having had you. I’m stronger, and more free. The truth is I’ve cried myself to sleep every night since I came here. I’d never cried before, not really and I feel as though I’ve finally let out all those years of being stoic and can move on. I’ve cried for everything, for having awful bickering parents, for what I’ve left behind for a bed sit apartment and a minimum wage job in a kitchen, for you.
I’ve cried for you Frank, for wanting you, for losing you, for pushing you away. You deserve to know why I did it. The night that we slept together was the most magical of my life, it made me believe again. Before then I was ajust a girl who grew up way too fast and was cynical before her time. But seeing your lips hovering over mine, your eyes open and reflecting the night, feeling you wrapped around me, made me believe that what I want, what I deserve, is possible.
So you see, loving you released me, it gave me the strength and the belief to do it on my own, to get out of Belleville. And things may not be working like I wanted them to right now, but you’ve given me the belief that they will.
And I do love you, I have for years now. And the only regret I have about that night, about leaving that life behind, is that it meant losing you. But I knew that I could never truly have you, so where is the sacrifice really?
If you didn’t throw this letter away as soon as you realized whose pen it flowed from, know that you are loved Frank, that you have been loved. That somebody was watching and believing in you all these years.
I love you Frank,
She had sent it quickly, without thinking about it. And she hadn’t thought about it in years, had all but forgotten its existence until Jamia brought it up. She cringed, glad now that Frank didn’t have such tangible proof to use against her in their little war.
She jumped as she felt her phone vibrating in her pocket and let her hand still over it, expecting the call to be from JB, who she didn’t feel like talking to at the moment.
She would have to, eventually, he knew something was wrong. But how do you explain to your boyfriend that you’re confused about your feelings for the boy you loved years before? She shook her head, she wasn’t confused, she couldn’t be. Her silly 17-year-old heart had let her believe that pretty eyes and a quick fuck in the park had meant more. Thank God he’d never gotten that letter.
She looked at the phone and saw the call had been from Gerard. She pressed the call button to ring him back.
“What’s up?” She asked impatiently, standing now at the entrance to the sub way.
“Um…we lost Frank”
“You lost Frank? What do you mean?”
“Well we went out, he was drinking. He got totally wasted, started saying something about you and Jamia ganging up on him”
Escher sighed heavily.
“Yeah well, long story short, he fucked off and I think he might be headed to your place, so this is a heads up”
“Why would he come to my place?”
“He wants to ‘sort things out’. Brian told him he was being a wanker and that you guys don’t have a ‘productive working engagement’ at the moment”
Escher could almost see Gee using air quotes and heard him inhale against a cigarette.
“Great so I’ve more than likely got a drunk, pissed off midget at my apartment waiting for me?”
“That’s the gist of the call, yeah”
Escher sighed heavily and rubbed the bridge of her nose.
“Ok, thanks for the call Gee”
Escher thought about calling a taxi instead, but fuck it, if the little shit wanted to show up at her house, then let him wait.
The subway ride only took ten minutes and she walked to her apartment quickly. She scanned the foyer for any sign of Frank but couldn’t see him. Stopping at the reception desk she asked Natarsha if he had come by.
“No Mrs. Drake, shall I turn him away if he does come though?”
Escher tapped her foot, smiling at the thought.
“No,” She said almost regretfully, “He’s a client, let him in, just…buzz me first to warn me”
She let herself in to the empty apartment, switching on the chandelier that had been a birthday present from Johnny after he had published “Blank Pages”. It threw patterned light over the large, open-plan living area. She poured herself a glass of wine in the kitchen and went upstairs to change, throwing on a pair of shorts, a tank top and a long, white silk dressing gown. She was surprised the others weren’t home. But then remembered that Laz was doing the close at Canary and Sarah was more-thank-likely out on a date.
She made her way back downstairs, switching on the television and stopping in her tracks as she saw the elevator doors swing open, framing Frank. What the fuck had happened to Natarsha warning her?
“We need to talk” He muttered as he stepped into the apartment.
AN: I am so excited about the reviews I'm receiving. The last chapter was a long time in coming I know, mostly because I've just started a busy new job and I didn't have it written. But the next few chapters are pretty much done so I'll be able to post them quickly.