Funny how love becomes
A cold rainy day…
That rainy day is here
I met Faith one rainy day in Chinatown.
I came in to escape a downpour, and there she was in her raincoat, sipping coffee and smiling. She was the most beautiful woman I ever saw, but more than that, I was captivated by her radiant smile.
Her eyes brightened in recognition—as if she had been waiting for me all her life.
I’ve never been suave, especially with women—I’m terribly bashful and socially inept, but with Faith, it was different.
I walked over to her table grinning as if we planned to meet, and said; “I think we’ve both been rained upon enough today. May I join you?”
She was wearing a colorful scarf to keep her hair dry and she took it off, shook out her bright copper locks and lit up the room. “Buy me lunch, and I’ll say yes.”
How could I refuse?
Now, I’m standing by our curtainless window staring at gloomy sky, white drop cloths over the furniture and wondering how the years sped by.
“I’m worried about our finances, Jay.”
Her brow was furrowed with worry lines. She had curled up on one end of the couch, clinging to a brown velour throw cushion as if it were a teddy bear.
‘Why worry, Babe? It always works out. You know writers—it’s a fine madness, but all it takes is one best seller and we’re back in the black again.”
“But I always feel I’m in the black, Jay—and it’s not a good place to be—under a dark cloud, uncertain what the future may bring.”
“Don’t we always get by?”
She shifted uncomfortably, her face a scowl, as she stared into the fire. “We do get by somehow, but it can’t go on forever, Jay. Whatever happened to that old adage about saving for a rainy day?”
“There’s no writers’ pension fund if that’s what you mean. But you knew that when you married me.”
I knew my words had an edge, but I also knew she had a point. I’m a natural pessimist and figure I’m only one bad decision away from losing everything. Maybe that’s why I act reckless.
“It’s okay for you, Jay, but you’re gambling with my future here too. If something happened to you, where would I be?”
“Probably married to a banker from Bay Street.”
I regretted the words the moment they were out of my mouth—it was a low blow.
Faith was a commodities investor working for a major bank. She was all futures—investments and dividends. I was free-spirited and careless.
Maybe that’s why it worked for us then—but that was then, and this was now. She had a point, and I couldn’t always go by the emotion of the moment.
“Look Babe, I’m sorry—you’re right. I’m wrong. I’ll make an appointment at the bank tomorrow. I promise.”
And that’s how my relationship began with Vanity Hall.
“You’re wife is right, Jay—you’ve made a ton of dough, but you’re all over the map in your investments. I don’t see any strategy here at all—and certainly nothing that would secure your future.”
Vanity folded her shapely legs, tilting them to one side, and combed her perfectly manicured talons through her silky blonde hair.
There’s something sensual about grooming rituals, subliminal or not—and something fascinating about impossibly long red nails.
Come to think of it, everything about her was fragile and brittle—stilettos and lipstick-red nails. She was a slender, porcelain ballerina pirouetting on a pin.
Now, she was staring intently at me, fixing me with her enormous dark eyes. “You’re lost aren’t you?”
I was truthfully. My feelings were on a runaway train and I was watching it leave the station.
“I call this lipstick and high heel syndrome,” she chuckled softly. “It’s similar to white coat effect, when you’re in the doctor’s office having your blood pressure checked. Financial planning can be stressful.”
She was right. I would hate to have my blood pressure checked right now. It was caused by lipstick and high heels all right, but had nothing to do with the state of Bay Street.
“Are you finding it hard to concentrate?” she asked.
I blushed, thinking she read my thoughts, but before I could make some lame excuse, she went on, “Board rooms are ‘bored’ rooms, as they say, and somehow stuffy surroundings aren’t congenial to a relaxed perspective.”
She glanced at her watch. “It’s almost noon—why don’t we get out of here and continue our conversation over lunch?”
My heart began racing and I could hear the blood pulsing in my ears. “Sure—why not?”
I said it with feigned indifference, but had to clench my hands to conceal the trembling.
“I’ll clear up a few details here and meet you at Coro’s in about fifteen minutes. How does that sound?”
“Sounds like a plan,” I said.
There was a gleam in her eye. “Order me cab sav and fettuccine alfredo.”
“No salad?” I croaked.
“Do I look like I need to eat salad?” she grinned mischievously.
“No,” I grinned back, “definitely not.”
There were fifteen minutes between my decision and her arrival. I felt like Prufrock—strangely empowered, yet powerless.
“Time for you and time for me,
And time yet for a hundred indecisions,
And for a hundred visions and revisions,
Before the taking of a toast and tea.”
I was sitting in a window booth and it had begun to rain. I thought of another restaurant on another day, and a smile so radiant, it made the clouds go away.
“I got rained on.”
It was Vanity, droplets sparkling like jewels in her hair, giggling at her little misadventure while men’s heads in the restaurant turned her way.
It was intoxicating. I was drowning in chains of seaweed while my Siren was preening and turning men to stone.
“I cleared my calendar for the afternoon.”
We clinked glasses and wordlessly toasted our freedom, and I pushed aside a mountain of guilt.
“Bless me Father, for I have sinned.”
Breton slid open the panel behind the grate and the Good Father listened to a sad refrain—one he had heard many times before—just not from me.
“Have you told Faith?”
“No. I don’t think I can.”
He nodded as if understanding, but even he had to pause and stare off into space. “I thought you two had something special—I suppose no one is immune from the weakness of the flesh.”
It was my turn to nod.
“You’ve ended it, of course?”
I stared at him and blinked.
His countenance fell. “Oh Jay—you know I can’t absolve you. If you’re bent on continuing in this sin, it would be a sacrilege—living a lie. You have a choice—either admit it, or quit it. There’s no other way.”
“I sighed. “I know it, Father—I guess I just had to hear you say it.”
I left with no absolution, no penance—other than that huge mountain of guilt I was carrying on my back. I carried it two more months because I couldn’t let her go.
I left her a dozen times over those months—tear-stained and desolate, yet I always returned. In the end I was found out, as inevitably, I knew that would be the way things would fall out for me.
“What are these charges at the Park Hotel?” She was asking, but the crumpled MasterCard statement, said she already knew.
“Is it over?”
I shook my head.
“It is now.”
Three months and thirty thousand dollars in lawyers’ fees brought me to where I am now.
I’m standing by our curtainless window staring at a gloomy sky, white drop cloths over the furniture and wondering how the years sped by.
What happened to that adage of saving for a rainy day? Faith is gone and Vanity is too… with a banker from Credit Suisse near King and Bay.
I have my absolution. I’m living my penance every day.
Funny how love becomes
A cold rainy day…
That rainy day is here to stay.
© 2014, John J Geddes. All rights reserved.