IndieCollege is proud to present our new feature: A Place for Authors. An author is “the person who originates or gives existence to anything.” Here at IndieCollege, we want to provide a pulpit for the stories and characters that writers have scribed into existence. These authors are not being charged a fee to have their work displayed – we are doing this because we think writing is an art, and we support all artists! If you like what you read, send us a note to request more from the author. Also, remember: it takes guts to share your writing with the world – please always be considerate in your comments.
Without further ado, our first author: Katy Tuveson of Minneapolis, MN
Listen and Read: People Are So Fickle – Kevin Devine
Alice Beasley hadn’t slept very well through the night. The faint but imminent sun was beginning to create shapes of yellow light on the ceiling. She stared at them as she pulled at the wrinkled bed sheets, pulling them up to her nose and tightening them around her body. She didn’t want the morning to come.
Geoff Westerly let out a long sigh, and at this Alice closed her eyes, pretending to sleep. He turned to face her, and she could feel his eyes staring at her.
“You’re not very good at bluffing.”
She opened her eyes to meet his stare and smiled. He kissed her on the forehead, then arose from the bed and walked sluggishly toward his suitcase.
Alice sat up in the bed, keeping the thin, white bed sheet wrapped around her chest. She watched as Geoff shuffled through his suitcase to gather his last set of clean clothes for their vacation. She loved the way he looked in the morning, with his tousled thick brown hair and the temporary impressions left on his tired face from the hours spent pressed against wrinkled pillows.
“What time does your flight leave?”
Her smile faded.
“1:00,” she said, barely trying to mask her lack of enthusiasm.
“So, I should probably drop you off around 11:00, 11:30?”
“Well, I did a lot of waiting around at the airport before my flight over here, so I would prefer to leave a little later.”
“Would you like to arrive around noon or so then?” he asked, seemingly unaware of her exasperation.
“I guess, yeah, I mean, I don’t really want to talk about leaving at the moment,” she said in annoyance.
“Are you all right, Alice?”
“I’m fine,” she said, but this time with a pang of anguish.
“Are you sure?”
“Okay, okay,” he said as he closed the bathroom door.
Alice threw herself back into the bed and glanced over to the wall opposite of the bathroom, trying to hold back her tears. The day that they parted ways for two to three months at a time was never easy for her, but she did her best to hide that from Geoff.
She stared at the clock. 7:42am.
The sound of the shower running made her even more unsettled, and she began to worry about whether or not she would be able to keep her façade of composure and indifference, if it was still even there.
She looked around the room, observing the remnants of their stay: an empty bottle of merlot that she suspected Geoff only pretended to enjoy for her, a few empty bottles of Corona that she knew she only pretended to enjoy for him, ticket stubs for a concert that they went to their first night there, the high heeled boots that she wore the night he held her hand as they ran tipsily to the Cirque du Soleil, and the leavings of their indulgent room service order, most of which was still on their respective plates.
She thought about the night of the Cirque du Soleil. They went out before the show for dinner, drinks, and conversation. She thought about the way that Geoff listened to her, asked her questions, and gave her an overall feeling of having a genuine interest in her life. She thought about how they made each other laugh, and how they lost track of the time and missed the first twenty minutes of the show.
Ben was to pick her up from the airport that evening back home in Michigan. She thought that she should begin making up stories to tell Ben about her weekend with Emma and Jessica, stories that she didn’t need to be too careful with since he only pretended to listen anyway, but she decided to reserve that obligation for the flight. As much as she didn’t want to fulfill that obligation at all, she knew that the time to start pretending was on the plane.
She thought about breakfast with Ben, and how she shouldn’t waste her breath due to his boundless lack of consideration for anything that she had to say.
“I think that I am going to visit my mother and the family this weekend.”
“That sounds nice,” said Ben, not even bothering to remove his gaze from the screen of his laptop in that short moment of time to respond in such a quick, careless manner.
“Yeah, it will be,” she said, waiting for his excuse for not going with this time.
“My stepdad is doing a lot better since he last saw the doctor, so he’ll be up to visiting with company.”
“Oh nice,” he said.
“Then I was thinking that I might take my sister to that new movie that she wants to see, and maybe taking my brother to the bookstore so that he can pick out his own birthday gift.”
Apparently, “nice” was the only adjective that he was capable of saying in such times of intense distraction and utter disregard for anything Alice was saying.
“Yeah, it will be nice. Then I thought that maybe after that, I would go sleep with your stepbrother. He is probably lonely since Lisa left him. But I might go downtown and shoot up some black-tar heroin instead, I haven’t quite decided yet.”
“That sounds nice.”
“Yup. Just my typical Saturday night. Very nice.”
Alice let out a long sigh, dreading the life that she would be returning to, unable to stop thinking about it even though she wanted to enjoy her few hours left with Geoff until the fall. She knew that once she saw his face and looked into his dark brown eyes, she would forget all about Ben until she got to the airport in Michigan, but the more that her life with Ben continued, and the more that she had to leave Geoff for months at a time continued, the harder it became to fake her agony and repeated heartbreak.
Surrendering to the daylight, Alice arose from the bed and walked over to the window. She looked over the notorious Las Vegas strip, taking in the sights that it had to offer her from the view of their 23rd floor window. New York, Paris, Excalibur, it all seemed cartoonish and ridiculous to her, but she didn’t say anything. That was where Geoff wanted to go.
The shower stopped, and Alice tried to collect herself before Geoff came out of the bathroom.
“Hey Alice? I think that we should go to Chicago next. Have you ever been there?”
“Oh. Well, did you like it? Would you want to go again?”
“Great. I’d like to try some of that world famous pizza. See what all the fuss is about,” he said as he emerged from the bathroom.
Alice turned toward him and began nervously tugging at the stiff curtain next to her, unable to look him in the eye. “Where do we go from here?”
Geoff let out a long sigh and sat down on the bed.
“The same places we always go. I go to California, and you go to Michigan.”
“That’s not what I meant.”
“Well, it’s going to be the same answer, regardless. And you can’t tell Ben, or anyone else for that matter, about this, situation,” he said, running a hand through his hair.
She began to worry about her lack of control. He always runs a hand through his hair when he begins to get frustrated.
“Do you really think that you need to address that? How long has this been going on? What, do you think that I’m going to go home and tell him all about it?”
“Well, no, not exactly. I just thought that you might do something that…”
“I’m not going to do that Geoff! Please, just stop bringing it up!”
With the look of regret in his eyes, Alice realized that she had crossed the line that she was so worried she would go over. She had so much to say to him, both good and bad, so much that she had been thinking about, dreaming about, ever since the first night that they had met, but she wouldn’t say anymore. She wanted to continue to have the moments with him that made her want to say those things, so she said nothing.
Maybe it was better this way, Alice thought. Maybe not getting to know everything about him, every little thing, is good. Never learning everything grand about him means that she will also never learn everything flawed about him, and the same goes for Geoff of her.
She loved Ben once. She once found him fun and interesting at one point, but now, she could hardly stand the sight of him. What if the same thing happened with Geoff if he did want more from Alice? What if she left Michigan, moved to California, and started a life with Geoff there only to discover that she will have the same feelings for him as she does with Ben? She knew that she was falling for Geoff, but she wasn’t sure if she wanted to possibly destroy the pure, almost otherworldly image that she had of him now. Maybe it should be this way, because if she never learns his flaws, then he will always be perfect.
Alice took in a deep breath and sat down on the bed next to him. Placing her hand on his face, she turned his head to face her, looked into his eyes and said, “Chicago sounds great.”