directed drift by parenthesized

24 May

The clock read 12:00.  He imagined for a moment that he owned a grandfather clock that would dramatically chime on the hour in an ominous tone.  If that were true, his day would certainly be more interesting. Brian switched on the television and flipped through the channels.  Just when he was about to give up on the quest for entertainment, a familiar face passed on the screen.

The show was older from the first decade of the 2000s.  He could tell by the poor quality, but her face was unmistakable.  Pausing the show, he considered her.  This was after she had become a star he guessed, or perhaps, during.  It was certainly after they had drifted apart as young, troubled couples tend to do.  He smiled fondly.   He had loved her dearly, had spent countless nights writing songs about her, silly songs he had though even then.

Maybe he should give her a call, for old time’s sake. He remembered how much he loved to talk to her.  After that awkward meeting on the bus to New York, they had immediately settled into comfortable conversation, an almost effortless process.  It was what he remembered most about everything.  It was what he most liked to remember.

He found her number in his contacts list.  She lived in California now, Los Angeles, that is.  It was only nine over there.  Surely, it was still early enough to call.  When she answered, he felt a rush of happiness hearing her voice again.

“Lisa, it’s me Brian.”  He sounded young again, eager.

There was an intake of breath, then “Brian?”

“Yeah, I just saw one of your shows and I just wanted to call you.”  Silence.  “I hope I’m not bothering you, am I?”

A broken, angry chuckle across the line.  “You have some nerve, Brian Samson, calling today.”

In the background, he heard a little girl call for her mother, then an abrupt click.  He dropped his phone on the table, trying to wonder why an old friend, even if she was an ex-girlfriend, would react like that.  Then he sighed.  He was a fool.

He had stumbled back into their tiny studio apartment smelling of smoke and stale beer.  She had stayed up waiting for him.   She had been sitting on their couch in his old high school t-shirt memorizing her lines.  He had drank too much after he was heckled off the stage.  After he had fought with the loudest of them.  He won the fight and lost his job.  It was his fifth job in as many months, and all talk of a record deal had disappeared.

Bitterly, he had mumbled that they did not have enough money for a baby.  He remembered just the way her eyes looked, how tired and frail they looked in the lamplight.  He told her to get rid of it.  Then he passed out.  And, a few weeks later, she did.  She never said a word about it.  He assumed that she had been practical.  After all, she had yet to make enough money to support a child on her own and he could not hold a job.  It had just made sense.

He had not thought about it when a month later she moved out of the apartment to live with people from her new show.  It was closer to the shoot and no trouble to him to take the subway there.  He thought nothing of her schedule growing increasingly busy until it was too late and they had fallen apart and the only things in his apartment were labeled BRIAN SAMSON instead of LISA AND BRIAN.

And now he was just as oblivious.  Today their daughter would have been sixteen.

He was a damn fool.


We met Brian last week in new.  Lisa also appeared last week and was first seen in the script.


One Response to “directed drift by parenthesized”

  1. jmforceton May 27, 2010 at 2:02 pm #

    At least he knows he is a fool. Maybe at some point he’ll find out he was a ‘damn fool’. Nuanced complicated issues, well done.

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