2004-12-15 - 5:51 a.m.

Chapter 10

The best thing about attending an afternoon symphony in the winter is that it’s dark when you leave. It would have been difficult to carry the mood and movement of the music out into sharp daylight, but the dusk was just exactly right.

Grissom hailed a taxi and asked it to bring him to Newbury Street. No, no particular block, he’d let the driver know when he was ready to get out.

Traffic was slow, taillights glowing ahead of him. He slumped a little in the cold seat. Maybe “Pathetique” wasn’t the best Christmas shopping primer. Of course when he’d obtained the tickets last month he hadn’t planned on an evening of temptation as a prelude.

Released from the cab at the Mass Ave. (and therefore less expensive) end of Newbury he began half hearted window-shopping.

The Trident Bookstore and Café’ looked like somewhere Sara would shop. He found himself inside, not sure why. It smelled of patchouli and espresso. The lights somehow made it seem like it would have a homey darkness cast on its shelves even on the brightest summer day.

Grissom browsed the racks and picked up a few books that he thought might interest him. He ordered a coffee and felt like a criminal for not ordering something more exotic.

Seated at a table close to, but not directly in front of the window he flipped through the first of the hard covers.

“He thinks he’s saving me or something.” A girl’s voice, without looking up Grissom guessed at her age, putting her in her early 20’s. She was at the window seat with another woman, their seats too close together for him to not overhear.

“I think he’s selfish. Where does he get off thinking he can tell you how to feel?” The second woman was obviously warming up to the idea of ripping apart some poor guy.

“He says he’s bad for me. Screw that. Like I’m some kid.”

“What an asshole.”

“I mean,” the asshole thing cut girl one. She moved to defending him now. “I know he’s doing it so I don’t get hurt. I know it’s killing him to push me away, but I wish I could make him understand how much more it hurts that he won’t even try.”

“I think he just wants to keep you on a string. Not close enough so that you have anything to say when he decides to screw around, but close enough that he can get to you with a wink whenever he’s in the mood.”

“If he’d just let me be with him, then if I get hurt I can go, well, screw him. He was right, he sucks. This way though, if feels like there’s something wrong with me, I’m not even good enough for him to hurt.”

Gil got up, left his still steaming coffee and neglected books where he had set them. He nearly tripped over the hurt girl’s chair trying to get out of the tight tangle of tables.

“I’m sorry.” Was he apologizing for hitting her chair, or for the guy who wouldn’t let her in? He wasn’t sure.

Back on the street he shopped his way down two blocks. This time he made purchases, a few small things for the people with whom he shared his days. He hadn’t found a thing yet for Sara, nothing seemed right.

Tchaikovsky scales played in his head, spiraling downward into the words “I’m not even good enough for him to hurt.” His bags felt heavy in his hands, the cold beginning to bite through his gloves; he sought refuge in a restaurant with a bar downstairs. He chose the bar over a table, too lonely to sit one at a table today.

He ordered a merlot, downed it and ordered another. He didn’t particularly care for the wine, too dry for his taste. He would have preferred a scotch, or even a beer but he heard himself order a third glass of the merlot.

He made small talk with an attractive graying woman on a neighboring stool. She picked at the pretzels in the bar and his mind crazily informed him that Sara would know better than to eat from a bowl sitting open on a public table. The woman rambled on about Christmas shopping and family coming in for the holiday, all of it inane but Grissom was happy to have someone talking at him. It was less…pathetic, you should excuse the overuse, than drinking alone, and at least she didn’t expect much from him in response.

He wasn’t certain how long he sat there, but when he stood his legs felt filled with concrete, and the outside had gone from dusk to dark.

Not wanting to sit alone in his room he walked toward that Public Gardens and Boston Common. Sara had said it would be a winter wonderland and she was right. Pure white snow glistened under trees swirled with red, white, green and blue Christmas lights.

The wine didn’t do a thing toward changing his mood. He almost wished he’d had enough scotch the night before to show Sara she was good enough to hurt. He couldn’t get her out of his head, tangling her words and motivations with the music and the girl in the café.

The Frog Pond at the Boston Common was covered in people ice-skating. Grissom watched for a long time, picking out couples that were apparently mismatched, by age or size or any other prejudice we put on ourselves. They all reached out to one another, depended on one another and laughed with each other. When was the last time he’d reached out, depended, laughed?

He moved closer to the ice without really noticing. A dark haired girl skated by, holding the hand of a child. Her back was to him but it was so familiar Grissom figured he’d begun hallucinating. He tried to see where she went but lost her in the crowd. This time he moved closer on purpose, searching for her.

When Sara came around again the little girl was skating backward in front of her and talking animatedly.

Merlot sloshed against a deafening crash of fireworks in his head.

“Sara!” he half ran toward her, slipping on the snow and crashing onto the ice. He took down a teenage boy with him who was back on his feet and skating away before Grissom had the opportunity to be embarrassed.

She hadn’t heard him, but she’s seen the commotion and turned back to see if anyone was hurt. That couldn’t be Grissom on the ice, could it?

click here to add to the 2 comments so far

previous - next

about me - read my profile! Get your ow
n diary at DiaryLand.com! contact me older entries newest entry read other Diar
yLand diaries! recommend my diary to a friend! Get
 your own fun + free diary at DiaryLand.com!