Материалы к занятию
Chapter II. Part II
He nods, then lifts his hand just as the piano begins, as if to cue it into motion. “Best transition, right there,” he says.
“You must be a musician, then?” I ask.
He shakes his head. “No, I can’t read a note. I just know music.” He pats his heart. “Just like I told you earlier, I feel it.” He pauses for a second, then says, “Right here.”
I should be watching the band, but I can’t take my eyes off him.
“Listen to that line,” he says softly. “‘I want to hold the hand inside you.’ Such a beautiful lyric. Gets me every time.”
I nod. “I discovered this song in college. I’d play the song over and over again.”
“What does it mean to you?”
I pause, feeling light and floaty from my second drink. I close my eyes, remembering for a tiny moment my naïve imaginings of love.
“I think it speaks to wanting to be entirely united with someone you love. Like the idea of being one room away from someone and missing them, or sitting right beside someone yet feeling this powerful desire to…”
“Be even closer,” we both say in unison.
I smile and look away. Cade’s eyes return to the stage. He reaches for my hand. I let him take it.
NOVEMBER 15, 2008
My heart beats furiously as the phone rings. I stare at the kitchen clock: 11:34 P.M. Tracy, you’d better be awake. Wake up. Wake up. Wake up.
“Hello?” She sounds groggy and grumpy.
“Thank God you picked up,” I whisper.
“Kailey,” she says, her voice robotic and annoyed. “This had better be important. I’ve been on call for a week straight. I just closed my eyes.”
“Sorry,” I say.
“Wait, why are you whispering?”
“I don’t want to wake up Ryan. You wouldn’t believe who I saw tonight.”
She yawns. “I give up.”
“Tracy, listen. I saw Cade.”
“Yes, Cade. Cade.”
“Are you sure?”
I hear a creak at the top of the stairs, so I tiptoe around the corner to see if Ryan’s woken up. He hasn’t. It’s only Eddie, my aging black Lab, on the landing. He’s eleven but still a puppy at heart.
“Yes, I’m sure,” I whisper. “But, Trace, he wasn’t himself. He…he didn’t even know me.”
“What do you mean?”
“Outside of the restaurant tonight, he was… he was…” I pause for a moment. I almost can’t say the word. “He was… homeless.”
“I don’t understand,” Tracy replies.
“I hardly recognized him under the beard,” I continue. “And his clothes were dirty, rags. I didn’t know what to do or say, after all these years. After he just vanished. I thought for sure he’d moved somewhere crazy like Australia, or got married, or something.” Tears sting my eyes. “But I think he got into some real trouble, Tracy. I think something terrible happened to him.”
“Wow,” she says. “Does Ryan know?”
“No,” I reply. “Not yet. I was so stunned. I just… couldn’t.”
“What are you going to do?”
“I have to help him,” I whisper, shaking my head at the enormity of the situation.
“How, Kailey? What if he’s on drugs? What if he’s dangerous? What if…?”
I shake my head. “No,” I say. “Cade could never be dangerous.”
Tracy is silent for a moment. “Do you want me to come with you?”
“Yes,” I say, wiping a tear from my cheek. “Could you?”
“I can,” Tracy says.
“I loved him, Trace,” I whisper. “I loved him so much.”
“I know you did, honey. I remember. I remember everything.”
As I wake, light streams in the window; I roll over and bury my face in the pillow.
“Morning, you,” Ryan says sweetly from the bathroom. He has a towel wrapped around his waist. Water droplets glisten on his muscular chest.
“What time is it?” I ask groggily.
“Nine-thirty,” he replies. “You haven’t slept like that in ages. I’m glad. You needed the rest.”
I stretch, which is when the fog lifts and the events of last night come back into focus. I saw Cade outside the restaurant. I sit up in bed nervously as Ryan slips into a pair of jeans and a T-shirt and flops down beside me. “What’s on tap for today, soon-to-be Mrs. Winston?”
I crinkle my nose. “Ryan, you know I haven’t decided yet about changing my name.”
He looks momentarily wounded but quickly recovers. “I know this is one of the most important choices you’ll ever make. I’m proud of you, and I want us to share a name as a sign that we’ve chosen each other.”
“When you put it that way,” I say, marveling anew at his romanticism, “how can I refuse? I promise I’ll decide soon.”
He rubs my neck for a moment. “Want to get breakfast?”
“There is nothing I enjoy more than your company on a lazy Sunday morning,” I say, “but I have too much on my mind to relax. The second piece in the series is due soon, and I don’t even have the background research finished. The business angle is new to me, and I can’t afford to make any rookie mistakes.” It isn’t so much a lie as a half-truth. I planned to interview some of the regulars in Occidental Park.
“All right,” he says. “Want me to bring you back something?”
“Nah,” I say. “To be honest, I’m still full from dinner. And I have to get some Tracy time in at some point. I’m sure she’ll insist on caffeine at the very least.”
He nods, kisses my forehead, heads for the doorway. When his footsteps quiet and I hear the front door close, I reach for my cellphone and call Tracy.
“Can you come over?”
She groans. “Can I at least sleep another hour?”
“No,” I say urgently, in the way that only good friends can speak to each other. “I need you, Tracy.”
“Okay,” she says, letting out a long yawn. “Let me get dressed and maybe inject some coffee into my veins. I’ll be there in a half hour.”
“Thanks,” I say.
“Kailey, you don’t sound like yourself.”
“I’m not,” I say honestly. “My life just got turned upside down.”
I push down the filter of my French press, pour myself an extra-large mug, walk despondently to the living room, and sink into the couch. Eddie sidles up beside me, leaning his head on my lap the way he did as a puppy so many years ago. The way he did with Cade. I look up when I hear the creak of the door.
“Come in,” I say. “Thank God you’re here.”
She doesn’t waste any time. “Tell me everything.”
“Well,” I say, setting my coffee mug down. “Like I said, I was at Le Marche with Ryan, and there he was, right outside the restaurant.”
Tracy nods. “And you’re sure it was him?”
“I’m positive,” I say. “At least I think I am.”
“It’s been a long time, Kailey,” she says. “Maybe he just looked like Cade? Or he’s been on your mind and you had some sort of transference? Like you saw his face in this homeless guy’s face. That’s a thing, you know. Psychics talk about that stuff.”
I sigh. “I don’t know.”
“What are the chances that he’s been living, unrecognizable, under our noses all these years?” Tracy continues.
“I know it seems impossible,” I say. “But I saw his eyes. I know those eyes.”
Tracy nods. “All right, let’s go downtown and see what we can do.”
“What can we do?”
“Get him some help, social services, that sort of thing.”
I nod, thinking of all the connections I’ve made in my reporting on Pioneer Square, and yet part of me feels paralyzed, too. “Trace, I hardly know where to begin with this.”
“First off,” Tracy says, “we’ll talk to him. See what he says. See if he wants our help.”
“And if he doesn’t?”
“Then that’s his choice. We can only offer.”
I bury my head in my hands. “What do you think happened to him?”
She shrugs. “It’s hard to say why people fall into homelessness, and I’m just a humble pulmonologist. But it’s pretty well accepted that mental illness is the number one culprit.”
I shake my head. “Cade had his challenges, but mental illness wasn’t one.”
“Then it might have been something else,” Tracy says in her clinical voice, one that I so rarely hear.
“There are countless possibilities. He might have had some sort of accident that left him with acute amnesia. Some people never recover.”
“So you don’t think there’s any chance for him, then?”
“No, no,” she says. “I’m not saying that at all. We wouldn’t be able to accurately assess his condition without a thorough examination, brain scans. And, frankly, I’m not convinced this guy you saw is even Cade.”
I clear my throat, unable to accept her doubts. “And if he recovers…,” I say, pausing for a moment, feeling the weight of it all. All these years, I thought he’d gone away for good. And now he might be back. “Tracy… I’m getting married.”
“I know, honey,” she says, her face softening. “This has to feel very heavy. But let’s not jump to conclusions. Don’t worry just yet. We’ll find him. If it is him, then you can proceed from there.” She squeezes my hand. “A lot of time has passed. We’re not even the same people anymore.”
I let her words marinate for a moment. Eddie licks my hand, and I reward his affection with a scratch on the sensitive spot behind his right ear.
“Maybe you’re right,” I say, looking around at the beautiful home I share with my fiancé. The mantel is punctuated with little objects we’ve found together on our travels. The paintings on the walls he commissioned from a favorite artist. The dining room table where we’ve entertained dozens of friends, and so many more to come. My life is seemingly perfect now. How can I let my past tarnish the carefully curated present I’ve worked so hard for? I wince inwardly.
“Speaking of past lives,” Tracy says, flipping through a magazine on my coffee table, the latest issue of Dwell. I’ve dog-eared a few pages to show Ryan for our remodel. “You know who I ran into at the grocery store the other day?”
“A cheerleader from my high school,” she continues. “Chrissie Gearheart.” She shakes her head in awe. “She lives in Seattle with her husband and two kids. And I will admit that I do take comfort in knowing that the prettiest girl in school has officially let herself go. Chrissie Gearheart. Every boy’s dream.”
“Funny,” I say, chuckling, “why is it that everybody can always remember cheerleaders’ first and last names?”
“You know, you’re right,” Tracy replies. “I can’t even tell you the last names of the girls I sat with at lunch all through the ninth grade, but Chrissie Gearheart just rolls off the tongue.”
“Sheena Thompson,” I add. “Roosevelt High School’s it girl with pom-poms.”
“Weird how the past gets embedded,” Tracy says, standing as she tosses the magazine onto the coffee table beside a stack of bridal magazines that I keep telling myself I’m going to find time to browse through. She buttons up her coat and takes a deep breath. “You ready to face the present?”
I nod, giving Eddie a final nuzzle before I stand up. “I think so.”