Материалы к занятию
I divide the giant omelet into two, then dish up a serving for each of us. Cade’s hand shakes a little as he holds the fork, and a few bites fall to the plate before they reach his mouth, but he eats, and when he finishes his plate I offer him the rest of mine, which he happily takes.
I think of all the things I have to do: plan the wedding, get Cade set for the brain injury program, begin the monumental task of finding out what happened to him, including figuring out what James knows or doesn’t know. And write about it all. But I don’t want to do any of it. I just want to be right here, in this moment.
After breakfast, I quietly clean up the kitchen while Cade sits on the couch with Eddie. By eleven he’s dozed off, and I suspect that he’s years behind on his rest.
I slip out to the porch to call Tracy, letting him sleep as long as he needs to. “Hi,” I say quietly.
I hear the hospital in the background. “Why are you whispering?” she asks.
“Cade is here. He’s sleeping.”
“Cade’s at your house?”
“Yeah,” I say. “I brought him back here last night. I didn’t know what else to do.”
“Is Ryan cool with this?”
“He’s not here,” I say. “He’s on a business trip to Portland this week.”
“Oh, Kailey,” Tracy says. “And so, what, he’s just sleeping in your guest bedroom?”
“Well now, yeah, but last night he actually slept in my bed. I mean, not with me. He just sort of fell asleep there.” I swallow hard. “I gave him a bath, got him cleaned up. He’s wearing Ryan’s clothes.”
“Wow,” Tracy says, taking it all in.
“I know,” I say nervously.
“He’s going to start that program at Harborview soon, right?”
“Yeah,” I say, pausing for a moment. “But I was thinking, maybe it would be better just to have him stay here. I’m the only one who really knows him. He could live here, in the guest bedroom, until he’s well enough to be on his own.”
“But, Kailey, you’re not a medical expert. Cade needs rigorous therapy and rehabilitation. I mean, don’t get me wrong, I’m sure you would take excellent care of him; it’s just that he needs more than that.” She’s quiet for a moment. “You and I both know that Ryan’s never going to be comfortable with the idea of you caring for Cade for an extended period of time.”
I shake my head. “Ryan would understand.”
“Really?” Tracy counters. “Here’s a man you once loved with all your heart, and he resurfaces, and you take it upon yourself to be his personal nurse and caregiver.”
“He’d do it for someone in his past, too,” I say.
“I’m not so sure he would, or that anyone would. I think that for you, this is different. I know you. You lost this man once and your heart can’t handle losing him again. I get that. But, Kailey, playing house with Cade isn’t going to save him. If you care about him, you’ll make sure he starts the program at Harborview. You’ll let him go so that he can get better.”
I sigh. “You’re right.”
“You know I am.” She’s interrupted by a work matter, then returns to the phone. “I’ve gotta go,” she continues. “But, Kailey, I think there is one huge way that you can help Cade.”
“What do you mean?”
“Find out what happened to him,” she says. “Ever since you told me about the John Doe report matching his description from 1998, I’ve just had the creepiest feeling.”
“Me too,” I say.
“Cade had a full life and a thriving business when he left, or when we thought he left,” she says. “I think someone may have wanted a cut of that, maybe someone who had something to do with his state today.”
I nod. “Yeah,” I say, lowering my voice again when I see Cade through the window stirring on the couch. “I think so, too. Something’s not right.”
“Help him make it right,” Tracy says before hanging up.
The rest of Tuesday passes, and by Wednesday morning, I’m struck with how time can barrel along when you’re not doing much of anything. In my case, sitting on the porch with Cade, sharing quiet meals at the table, telling him stories that I’m not sure he remembers or even understands. But for every split second he looks at me as if the light has blinked on, it warms me in a way I cannot describe. This happens mostly when I play him music, old records we used to love. In those moments, I see his spirit lift. I see the old spark in his eyes.
When Ryan calls that evening, I step onto the back porch to answer the phone.
“Hi,” he says.
“Hi,” I reply.
“I miss your voice. I miss you so much.”
“I miss you, too,” I say, tugging at a stray piece of yarn on the sleeve of my sweater.
“How’s your week been?”
“Ah, good,” I say.
“I tried calling you at the office, but you haven’t been answering.”
“Sorry,” I say. “It’s been nuts.”
“I know it has, honey,” he says. “Listen, can I just say…” He pauses, “You’ve just been so distant. I know you have something on your mind, something you’re not telling me or aren’t ready to tell me, but whatever it is, please, I hope it’s not going to come between us. Kailey, I can’t bear to lose you.”
My eyes well up with tears, for Ryan, for me, for my past and my future.
“You’re not losing me,” I promise him. Inside the house, I hear the sound of glass shattering. “But, Ryan, I’m sorry. I have to go. I’ll call you later, okay?”
Cade stands in the living room staring at his feet nervously. The Chihuly piece, a ridiculously expensive gnarled blend of multicolored blown glass that Ryan’s parents gave us for an engagement present, lies in pieces on the floor.
“It’s okay,” I say, rushing to his side.
He kneels and picks up a shard of glass and then another, pushing them together in an impossible attempt to fix it. A moment later, I notice blood trickling down his hand and I gasp.
“You’re hurt,” I say. “Just leave it. I’ll clean it up later.”
I jump to my feet and return with a damp cloth and a bandage. “Here,” I say, taking his hand in mine to tend to his wound. He doesn’t let go when I’m finished. Instead he squeezes my hand in his.
“Thank you,” he says in the voice I knew so well. A voice that made me laugh and cry. A voice that told a thousand stories and uttered even more “I love you”s.
OCTOBER 17, 1997
I glance at the clock on the wall in my apartment: six thirty-five. Cade’s an hour late.
“You look agitated,” Tracy says, looking up from the couch, where she’s watching a rerun of Friends.
I open my mouth to speak, but Tracy continues. “Did you read your horoscope today?”
I shake my head.
She nods. “Mercury’s in retrograde. It’s throwing everything off, but particularly for Aquariuses.” She frowns. “I hate to say this, and I know how much you and Cade love each other, but things are looking a little rocky in the relationship department.”
“Well,” I say with a sigh, “you know I normally don’t buy that stuff, but”I glance at the clock again“I have to be honest: I’m starting to.”
“What’s going on?” she asks.
“Cade’s late again,” I say. “He was supposed to be here at five-thirty.” I stare at the dinner I’ve madesea bass and steamed asparagus, which is now coldand sigh.
“Did he call?”
“No,” I say, slumping on the couch beside her. Jennifer Aniston’s hair looks perfect on the screen as she sips coffee from an oversize mug. I run my hands through my hair and consider a new haircut, maybe changing the color. Maybe changing everything.
Tracy nods knowingly.
“Something’s wrong,” I say.
I shake my head. “It’s Cade. He’s…changed.”
I sigh. “Cade is the most brilliant person in any room, the funniest, the most engaging. I knew it when I met him, and ever since that day I’ve been swept up in his whole being. When his sun shines on you, you just…feel it. But when it shines elsewhere, it’s cold.”
Tracy turns off the TV. “It’s only a phase, a bump in the road,” she says. “Every relationship has them. You two are meant to be together. I know it. You know it, too.”
“And besides,” she continues, “your horoscope says that you can work through this rough patch and come out stronger.”
I force a smile, then turn to the door. It’s Cade, looking sheepish in the doorway. “Hi,” he says, running his hand through his hair. “I’m so sorry I’m late.” He walks toward me and places a quick peck on my lips. I smell alcohol on his breath and turn away from him.
“I’ll just head out for a bit and…let you two talk,” Tracy says, standing up and reaching for her sweater before going out the door.
“Baby,” Cade says, taking my hand. “My meeting ran late, and then Steve from Everlandyou know that band we just signedstopped into the office, so I took him out for a drink, and I”
“Cade,” I say, “it’s fine.”
“But it’s not,” he says tenderly. “I can tell.”
I sigh, looking out over the city. The maple tree with its brilliant orange leaves practically looks on fire on the street below. My heart actually feels on fire. I turn to face the man I love. “You seem off lately,” I say. “You’ve been late to everything we’ve planned to do, and it just seems, well, that maybe you’re losing interest in me…losing interest in us.”
“Oh, Kailey,” he says, his eyes narrowing, concern washing over his face. “That’s so far from the truth.”
“Then how can you explain it?”
“I’m just overwhelmed, I guess.”
He furrows his brow. “Yes. And other things.”
He looks away. “Nothing to worry about.”
“Cade, tell me,” I say.
“Listen,” he says, raising his voice a decibel. “Trust me when I tell you not to worry.” He stands up and walks to the window. “I don’t want to involve you in something that…” He pauses, then turns back to me. “Oh, baby, I’m so sorry. My tone, it sounds terrible. Forgive me.”
I nod, feeling tears well up.
Cade kneels beside me. “I promise,” he says, “just give me a little more time and things will be better.”
He reaches for my hand, and I let him take it.
“Whatever you’re going through,” I say, “I’m here. Just please don’t shut me out.”
“How could I ever do that?” he asks.
But I fear he already has.
Cade sits quietly with Eddie on the couch. Earlier, I called Dr. Branson and learned that he can move into his new apartment in the brain injury program as soon as the day after tomorrow. And while it’s good news, I hate the idea of seeing him go, and the unsettling feeling of knowing that without my protection he could just get up and leave and disappear again for a day, a year, or maybe even forever.
I sit beside him and notice how he continually brushes his long hair from his eyes. I remember the electric clipper upstairs in the bathroom cabinet. Ryan occasionally uses it to trim his sideburns. I run upstairs to find it, along with a pair of haircutting scissors.
“Let’s give you a haircut,” I say to Cade, smiling.
He gives me a confused look.
“I can do it,” I say, pulling out a chair from the table. “In the kitchen.”
He doesn’t move from the couch, so I walk to him and take his hand. “I’ll be gentle, I promise.”
Cautiously he follows me to the kitchen and sits in the chair placed on the tile floor. I drape a towel around his shoulders and plug in the clippers, remembering the way Cade’s hair used to be. Short up the sides and a little longer on top. He flinches a little when I run a comb through it. “It’s okay,” I whisper, first cutting off some of the length before shaving up the sides. His brown hair falls to the floor in clumps. He sits still, hands in his lap, as I snip and trim and comb his hair into submission. I move to his beard next. “Let’s just get this trimmed up a bit.”
He doesn’t protest as I run the clippers over his face, freeing inches of coarse facial hair. I brush off the hairs from the back of his neck and set the towel aside, then step back and have a look. He stands and runs his hands through his hair, then touches his face. The transformation brings me to tears, and when he catches his reflection in the mirror on the wall he looks deeply moved, as if he’s seen a ghost. A ghost from his past.
“You look…great,” I say, equally if not more moved. “Just as I remember you.”
He continues to stare at his reflection as I sweep up the hair on the floor and tuck the haircutting supplies back in the case. There’s a stack of dishes in the sink, but I don’t feel like dealing with them right now. Instead I walk to the record player, the one that made Ryan affectionately roll his eyes. A carryover from my days with Cade, who swore that everything sounded better on vinyl. I rarely use it anymore, but I can’t bear to part with it. Even if my old records, precariously balanced on a bookshelf, do nothing but collect dust, their mere presence gives me comfort.