[One year later – almost dawn]
– So ?! Tomorrow you’re a free man ?!
Hawk grabbed me around the shoulder.
– It’s over man, i’m going home, i never felt this before, not that powerful. Tell me you’re be alright man … promise me.
– Only if you promise me to take care of my sister, she is special you know ?! She really needs to be happy, we had some ups and downs in our lives, she deserves to be happy, at least the time you’ll be together, take care of her.
I reached my hand to him and looked him in the eyes.
– I promise !
I turned around and exit the iron bars door and i heard Hawk loudly.
– Hey Mark !
I turned around.
– You were right man !
– With what ?!
– The encounters man !
Smiled to him, turned around and walked away.
Stood in front of the huge prison metal door as it opened slowly, siren ringing like the romans were attacking. It was a little windy outside and that siren was making the day more gloomy that it was necessary. The set was perfect for a movie scene and the kid in me felt that.
Clouds in the sky, the wind blowing, the only light was from the light beacon going hand in hand with the siren, here and there, as the clouds moved a faint light touched the earth. I was looking to the ground, the only thing missing was the revolver and the cigar in the corner of the mouth.
I looked up, in front of me, by the side of the road, near a solitary light post there was my trailer, Carla was leaning on it, hands crossed.
– Need a ride handsome.
She couldn’t hold a smile for the cliche she said. My face went stone cold.
– No !
– What ?!
– You called me a jerk you know !
She opened her arms with the cutest smile on her face.
– Huuuuug ?!
We hugged and kissed like the world was about to end … how can i describe the feeling … oh … i know … we were so in love.
We got in the trailer and went with the dusk, i was driving, and Carla was resting her head on my shoulder with her arms wrapped around my arm … she fell asleep … i could feel she was relieved.
We drove the long road back, she slept like an angel, and i kept kissing her hair from time to time.
The clouds were going home, the sun was pushing them gently and started to embrace the earth with his warmth, the colors were just like in a fairy tale, deep green in the grass, deep yellow in the fields, marble clouds felt alive as we entered Happyville.
I parked the car back at the docks, Carla woke up.
– Morning … sorry … what did i miss ?
– Me ?!
– Haha! You bet !
And she shot me with a kiss … i loved that.
– Mark, do you remember the first time you saw me ?
I reached my hand to her.
– Let me show you.
She grabbed my hand impatiently and i took her to the window of the trailer, she sat down, i put my hand on her shoulders and get my head leveled with hers.
– See ?! You were coming along the docks … 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10 and you went around the corner.
She turned and looked into my eyes.
– And it was enough ? …
– No ! It will never be enough.
I felt a tremor in her body, her eyes were drowning in joy. I get down on her still holding her hands in mine.
– Carla ? …
– Yes …
– I love you.
– I love you too.
– Please merry me.
– I will, i will, i will.
I woke up with her in my arms, i just can’t get enough of looking at her, she’s my angel now, she will always be, i kissed her hair again. She woke up.
– Morning angel !
– Sorry, morning.
And again she shot me with a kiss.
– Mark, you know what they say … you have to meet my mom …
– Haha! Alright.
– Mark ?!
– Would you please take me home, i have to tell her the big news, you know Mark, i have to prepare her, she is old and sick and i don’t want to shock her … i love her very much.
[SFX: rrriiiiiiiing, rrriiiiiiiing, rrriiiiiiiing]
– Mr. Lecter ?
It was Carla, she was acting, playing.
– This is Mr. Lecter speaking, with whom i have the delight to talk?
– This is Carla.
– Oh, my dearest Carla, what can i do for you?
– I have the greatest pleasure to invite you tomorrow for lunch at the Fleurs de Lys mansion.
I couldn’t resit laughing.
– Fleurs de lys ?! Hahaha ! You crazy you …
– Hahaha !
I must admit, i was so nervous, i was feeling very peculiar, but the process was good for the moral.
Here i was, so fresh, so clean, dressed up, i went classic, the prettiest flowers in one hand, chocolate and wine in the other and to bring a touch of originality i printed all the photos of us starting with the first picture i took her, glued them on those old, vintage looking paper, punched some holes on the sides and wrapped them all with a red ribbon, pretty clumsy but honestly nice if you ask me.
[SFX: knock, knock, knock]
She was rushing down the stairs, she opened the door … light … she opened the door of heaven.
– You look great.
– You’re not that bad either.
– These are for you …
– Oohhh, they’re so beutiful … thank you, come in , come in.
She rushed me in.
– You’ll be alright! Come, she’s upstairs.
We went up the stairs hand in hand … she opened the door of a room so neat, very clean like every thing was supposed to be there, warm rays of light where invading the room, Carla’s mother was in bed, she turned her head slowly hearing us.
– Oh no ! Please God, no !!!
– Mrs. Hackelby ?!
My atoms stopped moving, Carla was not far.
– Do you know each other ?!
Mrs. Hackelby and i went right at the same time.
– Yes !
Carla’s mind was spinning.
– How … when … where ?!
– It’s ok Carla … ok … we’ll explain. Mrs.Hackelby …
Mrs. Hackelby took a deep breath like she wanted to finish this once and for all. She looked at me to get a silent approval that if she leave outside some things, i should be alright with that. I approved.
– Carla my dear, this world is huge, there are many people living on it and you have to pick the craziest, annoying, pushy, “i’m going to extremes” guy on the planet …
– Why are you saying this ? You have to continue mom …
– We met while i was at the “Thousand Oaks Hospital”, we had some unpleasant talks … that in time … became interesting …you know Carla, he helped my with my hand.
Carla was relieved.
– I will never forget that day, you caress my hair and you touch my face for hours.
I smiled, Mrs.Hackelby looked at me, she smiled back.
Fog was gone, we were all at peace and i felt warmth again … it was the rays of light or the way people feel when they are honest and open. Mrs.Hackelby sent Carla away to get something from downstairs and as soon as she left she looked at me and show me to sit next to her on the bad.
I was sitting next to her, she put her hand on my leg.
– Mark, you have to promise me something, look into my eyes and really mean it when and if you’ll promise me.
– Alright Mrs.Hackelby.
– You have to be very, very, very sure you’re in love with her and you want to be together, take your time, and if you’re really sure, do what ever it takes to make her happy … i am sure she can do this for you. You know Mark, she took care of me since she was little, she sacrificed for me, i’m old, i’ll be on my way soon with my sorrow but she deserves a life full a happiness and joy.
I looked into her eyes.
– I promise you she will be the happiest.
Tears were coming from her eyes … she reached for her pocket and hand me the green envelope.
– Mark, I want you to have this … please look at it every time something goes bad … then, you should see that others felt more pain all their life.
I took the envelope, opened it and read it again.
– Do you still miss him, Mrs.Hackelby ?
– Every second of my life … i wish i could see him just one more time … i chase him away … i chose this path … i met my doom.
As i listened to her i was looking at the letter, the writing of a man in despair but still a strong writing, everything on the letter, the size, the spacing, was radiating sorrow, but in the end he kept his back straight, the signature was so proud … John Powers, with a little cross like the cardinal points, up on the J.
That cross up on the J … my mind was rewinding, fast forwarding, people, faces, places, papers … oh my God … it can’t be …
– I have to go !!!
I flew from the room, rushed down the stairs, bumped into Carla, she dropped the tray.
– I’m sorry !
– Where are you going ?!
– I’ll be back soon ………….. i promise !
Got in the car, slammed the door, start the engine and put the pedal to the floor … behind me, havoc, oleander leaves were flowing in the air.
I hit the brake so hard that everything was thrown at the front of the trailer, got out of the car, left the door open, went into the bakery running, i looked at Mr.Rivers.
– You are John Powers !
– I beg your pardon ?!
I put the letter on the table and pointed the signature with my finger.
– The little cross up on the J, i saw it the night before the festival when i was helping you get the papers in order … the cardinal points, you are Captain Powers.
He looked at me, his face went from rage to a smile, he leaned back on his chair …
– And Carla ……………….. she’s my daughter … my sweet Carla …
– Why did you do that ?!
– She wanted me to promise her i won’t come back for her and i kept my promise, i sailed for miles and miles but i never stop thinking of Jane, she was my north star, i cried inside but kept sailing. When i find out she was nailed in bed i couldn’t resist, this was the thing that got me away from the sea, i changed my name, changed my look, hair, weight, beard, you know, what could be changed dramatically, came here and opened this bakery, my father was a baker. I kept my stupid promise half way because of Carla, she is an angel and i love her so much and i saw Jane whenever i could, in the evening or night, when she was sleeping, i found any stupid excuse to help Carla. It was so hard but it worth it.
– Life …
– Yes my boy … life … mistakes, vanity, pride, love, hate, suffering, secrets, happiness.
– You have to have it all or nothing …
– Yes my boy.
I explained everything to Carla, she got back with her father, in fact he was like her father all this time, they cried together and stayed in each other arms, they were happy.
But we all have the greatest test ahead, to tell Mrs.Hackelby about Mr.Rivers. For days we asked ourselves how can we say this to her, made thousand scripts but in the end we agree on something.
I said to her one day.
– Mrs.Hackelby ?! … What do you think happened with Captain Powers ?
– Hahaha … oh my son … he must be on the oceans of the world or better with his wife and kids and maybe nephews.
– You know what, Mrs.Hackelby ?! What if i’ll go search for him ?!
– Hahaha ! You crazy boy, i know you can do that boy, you’re crazy enough ! Your wedding is coming around the corner, you have nicer things to do.
– Never say never …
I smiled to her.
It was indeed the happiest day, Carla indeed was an angel when i saw her in the white dress floating on her body like milk on the finest chocolate, i felt again the atomic explosion and the shock wave, but this time it was massive.
Everybody was there in the back yard.
Emily and the other kids were helping Carla to but ribbons in the trees, Doc and Dorothy were talking about the latest treatments, even Lizzy was there with her gold tooth laughing as she blow a hand mill, Mr. and Mrs. Fredrickson were walking around hand in hand, Mrs.Hackelby was in her wheelchair and i was next to her.
– Isn’t it beautiful Mark?!
– It is … maybe this is happiness.
– You’re right.
Suddenly, the back yard gate opened and this tall strong man was walking towards us, he was dressed as a ship’s captain and he was holding a big flat box in his hand.
Mrs.Hackelby was shocked, i grabbed her shoulder, she felt i was here for her, Carla came and take my hand in hers.
Captain Powers came in front of Jane, one knee on the ground and he gave her the present.
– I was thinking you can paint now … feeling better with your hand.
She burst into tears and they have embraced like the world was ending.
– You came back to me …
– Yes … you were always the reason.
We were alive, we were together, we were happy.