I woke up and stretched feeling very groggy. “Hi sleeping beauty. We’re here.” I was disoriented. I rubbed my eyes and sat up looking around. It was Golden Gardens Seattle. We used to come here once a week with, Amy. “Why are we here? I thought I was going home.” Alice smiled, “You need some fresh air. I couldn’t think of a better place to take you.” I smiled, “Just promise me, no airport after wards.” She fake sighed, “Oh come on, Starbucks coffee?” I shook my head, “Listen, reliving the shit I did with my husband, isn’t going to make me smile.” Alice got out, and walked around opening my door, and pulled me out. “Listen, I’m not trying to make you smile, I’m trying to show you, it’s ok to hurt. I know you’re still in shock. It’s going to take time. Jesus Christ, I won’t bullshit you. It’s probably going to take therapy to get on with this. Honestly though, staying home won’t help you. Scott and Amy would want you to remember the good times you had. Coming here was one of them.” I looked around, and could remember pushing her stroller. She had a great smile and beginnings of a giggle.” The tears came to the surface, but stayed behind the dam I’d quickly built.
I missed the, “Look who’s home Amy.” At least they had each other in their new life. Neither of them would ever be alone. They were together where ever you go after you die. Some say, Heaven, some say reincarnation. I was left in Hell. The fire licked along every thought of happiness I had of them. It burned like someone held my head in a blistering flame. The memories were painful. I hated the expression, “You can’t live in the past. You need to live in the present, and dream for the future. Well let’s be honest, fuck the present, and I had no future. I only had the past. It’s where I had my daughter, and husband. The present held such pain, and depression. The future was bleak, and lonesome.
We walked along the paths. A chill was in the air. I watched as countless families past us. Finally we settled on a bench, and looked off. I still wore my engagement, and wedding ring. I looked down at them. "You did great today. I'm really proud of you." I sighed, "I should become an actress then." She wrapped both her arms around me, "You weren't acting, and you put on a brave face. You were trying to do something you love. Baby girl, it's only been a month. Nobody expects you to be miraculously better. I'm here for you. If you need me to lay there and hold you, shit I will do it. You need me, and I need my best friend." She kissed the top of my head. I shifted wrapping my arms around her waist; letting my head rest against her chest. "I'm always here no matter time, or day." I smiled and relaxed against her. "So after this can we hit Starbucks, PLEASE? I laughed, "Fine then. I haven't had a Pumpkin Latte this year." Alice smiled, Great! Then we’ll quickly look at that car?" I tensed, but she was right. I could no longer put it off. "Yeah I guess we can look." She smiled, "I will be there the whole time. If you decide to wait, that's fine as well. We could ask Steve to go with us." I thought about it, "Alright bring him along. He'll be able to help. He's great with cars." Alice held me a little tighter. It wasn't easy sitting here. My body ached, and my emotions were raw.
"Amy look up at the airplanes." She smiled kicking excitedly, as her arms flapped up and down. Scott squatted beside her stroller; I stood behind holding on the handlebar. She babbled, and giggled. She was wearing pink Capri’s, with white embroidered flowers, will yellow centers on them. Her top was a sleeveless, and matching covered with flowers as well. She had a pink sun hat, which had purple ruffles around the edge of the brim. Scott wore khaki colored cargo shorts, and a Doctor Who t-shirt, which showed the Tardis. He had on his usual leather cuff bracelet on one wrist, and the watch I bought him for our wedding present to on the other. He turned to look at me, and smiled.
I felt someone shake me, “Esme answer me please.” I blinked a few times; the cold took a few minutes to bring me around, “What’s up?” I looked at Alice. She looked so worried, “What happened, you went quiet on me, and scared the hell out of me.” I swallowed, “Nothing. I must have dozed off. I’ve been tired.” She looked at me, “No you were completely out of it. You were leaning against me, motionless.” I sighed, “I think I dozed off, and I was dreaming of when I was here with them.” She pulled me close again, “Oh baby girl. I’m sorry.” I stood up pulling away, “Let’s go please. I knew this was a bad idea. I should have gone on my gut. “Esme, talk to me.” She grabbed my arm, and I pulled away. I was mortified, and just so upset. “Listen, I can’t help you if you don’t talk to me.” She grabbed my arm once more, “Stop.” I whipped around, “You want me to talk. I’m fucked up Alice. I’m not Esme; I’m a bag of damaged god damn goods. I sit there, and it’s like I black out. I can’t hear anything around me. I’m no longer there. I relive the great times I had. I remember when we brought Amy here. I could remember everything she was wearing. We were sitting on the same set of benches.” I didn’t know what to do about this. “Listen, I know you don’t want to hear this, but I think you need to talk to a professional. Those are great you relive memories, but the feeling of blacking out, well that’s not.” I sighed and rubbed my face. “Can we please just go?” She nodded, wrapping an arm around my waist and walked me back to the car.
We made it back to the car. The warmth enveloped me. We were sitting in the car at a red light, when she moved her hand over to mine holding it. “We’ll get through this together. I can’t reiterate that enough.” I gently squeezed her hand acknowledging her. She started up once the light turned green. “Have you found someone to talk to? I’m only asking because I care about you.” I sighed looking down at my knotted hands. “Not yet. I’m just not ready right now. With time, and after really doing some research, then I will. That’s a promise.” She gave a half hearted smiled, “Alright. Thank you.” The drive was quiet, except for the radio playing softly. Daylight came on the radio, and I froze, “Here I am waiting, I’ll have to leave soon.” We were singing that in the car just before the accident happened. I lifted a trembling hand, and tried to change the station. Alice quickly turned the radio off, “Breath Hun.” I inhaled deeply, and pinched the bridge of my nose.
We continued driving, and I dozed off. Alice pulled out her phone, and called Steve. “Hello?” Steve answered. “Hi there buddy. I need you to meet me at the dealership.” Steve laughed, “Ok Hun. Seen you soon.” He hung up the phone. Alice slid hers back into her coat pocket. I woke to the scent of coffee, and pumpkin latte filling the small space of Alice’s Audi Q5. We were parked. I was disoriented, "We're not moving." She smiled, "Nope waiting on Steve, who's pulling up now." I stretched looking around. "Let's go." Alice pulled me from her car.
Once we were together, we walked around the dealership, Steve walked over greeting us, "I love my family, but baking is not my strong suit." I smiled, "Thank you. It needs to be done." Steve wrapped an arm around my shoulder, "We're going to make you laugh, and possibly embarrass you." I shook my head, "Could today's adventure end up on air?" Alice was beside me, "Maybe." I shook my head once more, "Leave it to you two." They exchanged a high five.
This guy who had his hair spiked, with way too much gel. Walked towards us, "Hi everyone. I'm Collin. What can I help you with today?" He looked right at Steve. "Actually this beautiful lady right here is the one looking." Steve patted my shoulders smiling. The sales guy glanced at me, and then went right back to Steve, "She's actually interested in the Jeep Cherokee Laredo 2013 model." The guy sized me up and down, "We also have smaller SUV's." At this point my fuse was running short, "Listen I'm buying the vehicle, not my friend Steve here. So if you would like my business, and hope to earn some commission, start speaking to me. Steve here loves me as a sister, and that's all for your assumptions. He's happily married to his husband Jonah, and they have two children together. And Alice here, is as hot as hell to get in my panties, but right now I'm not interested, although I'm glad she's attracted to me. So let me see the Laredo, or I walk away, and your ego which inflates your tiny little pecker, will deflate. Are we clear?" He swallowed nervously, and was beyond embarrassed, "Yes Ma'am." His voice cracked, and I smiled. "Let's go." He started walking toward the Jeep's. "I thought she was going to kick in him in the junk."Steve said. "I was shocked she didn't." Alice smirked.
He told me all that he knew, and started reading off the paper with all the information on the back window. "Listen what are you twelve? You don't know what you’re talking about. You're sitting here with your spark notes on this car, and talking out of your ass. Now I've gone to college, graduated with a major, and have an amazing job. I also can read. So you can toodle-loo on your way, and let me be." He looked at me and nodded, and left me. "Oh shit what did she say?" Alice asked aloud, peeking out from behind another car. Steve smirked, “Whatever it is, she’s on a roll.”
I walked around the truck, peeked in through the windows. "Hi there, I'm Mike Crawsorf. I was told you're interested in the Laredo. I must say great choice. I have the keys if you'd like to climb in. Test drive?" He moved closer, "I'm sorry about the little shit before me, Ms. Guthrie I understand if you're reluctant, I could drive, or one of your friends." I shook my head, "I'm going to be the one driving. So I should know how it feels." I took the keys, and handed him my license, "I'll be right back." Steve and Alice moved in closer, "Want us to come?" Steve asked. I just gave a small nod. “Why did it have to be broadcast to the whole world? I don’t need stranger’s condolences.” Steve rubbed my back, “Well we get our trucks from this dealership.” I sighed rolling my eyes.
Michael walked back over handing me back my license, "Alright, let’s go." I climbed in, Alice climbed in back with Michael. Steve sat beside me. "So this is tiptronic. You can drive either automatic, or a stick shift minus a clutch. You don't have to downshift, tiptronic does it for you." Steve smiled; it's nice to have both options." I turned on the radio, and put on a station. "You have an amazing sound quality. Plus there’s a digital display, along with traditional speedometer. You can program the truck to the way you want it." I listened as we drove off the lot.
It had been weeks since I drove. I drove to the grocery store which was a mile down the road. This was different, because this might be the vehicle I owned. I drove cautiously, as a knot clenched in my stomach. My nerves were being held hostage. My knuckles were white as they held onto the steering wheel with a death grip. "If you'd like, you can take it on the highway." I took what little excitement I could muster, and headed for Interstate 90 Expressway.. Steve rubbed my shoulder, "I can take over if you need me to." I shook my head, "I'm ok. Let's do this." I quietly entered the on ramp, and drove quietly. "It has great pickup." I merged easily with traffic, and drove a little ways, then headed back. We all climbed out, "So?" Steve asked. "It's great. I can buy it outright. I will actually have extra for insurance. Our car, plus what we got for Hunter's, well we made out good." After some paperwork, and such I was picking up my car Monday.
Alice and Steve accompanied me home. I retired to my crook in the couch, and pulled the blanket around myself. I flipped on the tv, and flipped through the channels. I finally stopped on a Law & Order:SVU marathon. There I was safe. No love story. It was usually all sadness. I watched quietly into the later part of the evening when I finally slipped into the darkness of sleep. "She's asleep. I will stay the night." Alice spoke. Steve put away the last dish, "Sounds good. Peter, and I can come by tomorrow. The kids are going with the in-laws." Angel smiled, "Sounds like a plan. She's just so torn up. I wasn't lying earlier. She's not really eating. Her cabinets are bare. She loves to bake, and cook. She's just lost." Steve stood beside Alice, draping an arm over her shoulder, "We'll help her. No matter how long it takes."