Friday, April 25, 2014

Caller Identity

We had a very successful trip into the city yesterday.  It was a bit chilly with the wind by the time we passed into the afternoon everything was very nice.  I saw several people I knew in rather odd places along the way and it fed into the legend that my children have about what it is, exactly, that I do.

I haven’t corrected any of their imaginings.  After all, as my dear great aunt used to say, “Why let the truth get in the way of a good story?”

Hopefully this will be a good story.

“That Call”
by Jon Stark
April, 2014

It had been years since Nicky’s heart had raced at the sound of her phone ringing.  At first it had always been a mix of hope and terror – that she had been found alternately by him or them.  Then the seasons went by and, although she was disavowed, no hit squad ever showed up at her door step.  She stopped moving as often.

She faced the only truth left.  Nobody cared about the secrets in her head.  She was a loose end that didn’t matter.  It was a little bit of a relief that her former employer didn’t seem care though she knew from personal experience that what didn’t matter Monday was a matter of national security on Tuesday.  What bothered her was him.

She wasn’t exactly waiting but she wasn’t hiding as deeply as she should be and on those mornings when she woke up after feeling especially sorry for herself, she always wished it was him there and she wouldn’t have to take the walk of shame.

When he escaped them in New York she had thought it a matter of weeks before he reached out to her.  He’d found Marie just a month after Paris.  But that wasn’t what happened and as the years went by she found it harder to believe that it was amnesia that kept him away rather than choice.

Maybe she didn’t want to be with him anymore.  She still woke up sometimes remembering how cold his eyes were that afternoon in Berlin when he would have killed her and never given it a second thought.

Yet here she sat, alone at a table outside L’Asino d’Oro staring at her mobile as it rang.  Unknown number.  Him or them?

She answered.  She knew the voice.  Would never forget the voice.  “Who is this?” she asked.  The most important question in her life.  Who was calling her?  What did this mean?  Her hands trembled.

“It’s David.” he said.  She looked around.  Every face.  Who was on phones? Cars nearby?  She was exposed.  It was habit.

“David?”  Was it really?  Or was it still Jason.  Was he playing her.

“Yes.  May I join you?”

She saw him.  In the doorway of the restaurant.  He looked like Jason – haunted, tired – but he looked at her like David.

She put her phone down.  She should run.  She should watch for bag man in the other direction.  She should go to him.  She should dive to the street.  She should…

But it was too late and he was there and she was in his arms and it was David and it had all been a bad dream and it was over and they were together.

“You told me on the way to Morocco that it was hard for you.  With me.” he said.  “I wanted to give that back to you.”

“You were someone else in Morocco.” she heard her voice say.  His arms were strong around her.  He was warm against her.  She knew she was crying.  “Who are you now?”

He kissed her.  “I would never have done it if I’d known there were going to make me forget you.”

“David.”  She melted against him.

“We can’t stay here.”  He guided her to the street and through the plaza.  “Nobody is looking for you.  I made Pamela promise.”  He turned her to look at him.  “But they can’t let me go.  Especially now that I know.  That I remember.”

“Don’t leave me again.” she said.

“Are you sure?”  He watched the Polizia gathering at the other side of the square – talking together, gesturing wildly.  Pointing at him.

She nodded.

“Do you have car?”

She led him to her Alfa.  Handed him her keys.  He was Jason now but she wanted it that way.  Jason was their only chance to be together and, in a dark corner of her soul, she loved him too.

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