Материалы к занятию
I select my favorite Mazzy Star album, So Tonight That I Might See, and pull it out of its sleeve, setting the needle to the first track. The opening notes of “Fade into You” take me back twelve years to the night I met Cade. I don’t expect him to remember. Maybe he does. Maybe he doesn’t. But I do. And as I rock slowly, I remember the way he took my hand that night and led me backstage so we could watch together. I remember the way he looked at me. The way time passed so quickly in his presence. I close my eyes tightly, then reopen them when I feel his hand on my waist. At first I think it must be a dream, that I imagine his touch. But then he places his other hand on my waist and turns me around to face him. And when my eyes meet his, I can see his tears. His hands are still on my waist, and my arms, operating on instinct or muscle memory, move upward. I slide my hands up his chest, then to his thin shoulders, until my arms are draped around his neck. He pulls me even closer as we sway to the music, one track after the next, locked in this embrace, holding each other.
I know I should pull back. He’s too ill to know what he’s doing. Too lost. But this moment feels too real to deny. He holds me just like he used to. I want to say a thousand things to him. You remember, don’t you, Cade? Do you know how hard it was for me when you disappeared? Do you know how I mourned you? I didn’t ever stop mourning you. I didn’t ever stop loving you. Do you know that, Cade? And now you’re here, and you’re holding me in my living room. And I don’t know what the hell to do. I’m scaredterrified, really. For you, for me, for the life I’ve built while you were gone, which feels like it’s about to come crashing down.
These thoughts swirl around me like dandelion seeds in the wind, free and wild. And I’m suspended, too. I’m somewhere between two worlds, one foot in each, one heart pulled in two directions.
I lift my head from Cade’s chest and look at him for a moment. “The other day,” I say, “you said you remembered. Cade, I have to know. Do you really? Do you really know me? Do you remember the life we had together, the life we planned together?”
Tears stream down my cheeks now, and he tenderly wipes them away and nods.
Just then I hear a key in the door. Startled, I turn around to find Ryan standing, suitcase in hand, in the entryway, mouth agape.
“Ryan?” I step back, falling out of Cade’s embrace.
“Kailey, what’s going on?”
“Uh, well, I, you see” I look at Cade, then back at Ryan.
He sets his bag down. “I definitely see.” He remains on the tile in the entryway, as if there’s some invisible and impermeable line between us that he cannot cross.
“Ryan, this is Cade,” I say.
“Cade,” he says, nodding. “Of course.”
“Ryan, it’s not like that,” I say. “He’s been on the streets. He suffered a significant brain injury.”
Ryan gives Cade a long look. “This is the guy from in front of the restaurant. The one who practically accosted my mom?” Ryan nods. “That explains things.”
“Ryan,” I plead. “He needs our help.”
“Sure he does,” he says, rubbing his forehead. “And I see you’re doing a great job helping him.”
“I got him into a program at Harborview for people with traumatic brain injuries.” I turn to Cade, who’s now staring at his feet, and I hate this. I hate this confrontation for Ryan, but especially for Cade. “He’s going to be admitted Friday. He just needed a place to stay in the interim.”
Ryan shakes his head. “And you kept all of this from me?”
“I was going to tell you,” I say. “I just needed to find the right time. I feared you’d react…like this.”
Ryan sighs. “Like this? Kailey, how do you expect me to act? We’re getting married, and you can’t bring yourself to mail the save-the-date cards. I feel like I don’t even know you anymore.” He brandishes his keys.
“Don’t go,” I say, taking a step toward him. I feel like I’m caught between two crumbling worlds and I am powerless to save either one.
Ryan pauses for a long moment, gazing at me with those handsome eyes. Waiting.
“I’m going,” he finally says in a quiet, defeated voice. “I’ll stay at my friend Matt’s until we figure all of this out.”
“Ryan, please,” I plead. “I have nothing to hide.”
He looks at me, then Cade, and his face says everything. “Nothing to hide?” He shakes his head. “Oh, my dear Kailey, you’ve been hiding from the very thing you can’t ever escape: the truth. It’s time you face it, even if it breaks my heart to watch you do it.” He reaches for his suitcase. “Good night.”
Cade stands behind me as I stare at the closed door, wondering if I should run after him, plead with him to stay, to understand. Surely he can understand. But my legs won’t move, and my voice, well, it’s been swallowed up. I am paralyzed, and I fall to my knees and weep. I feel as if I’m drowning in my own sorrows, unable to stay afloat. Then Cade places his hand, like a life raft, on my shoulder.
Ryan doesn’t answer his phone that night; the next morning I call his friend Matt, who will be the best man in our wedding.
“Matt, it’s Kailey,” I say. “Is Ryan with you?”
“He was,” he says. “He said that if he can’t be with you, he wanted to be alone.”
“So I’m guessing he told you about…”
“He did,” Matt says.
“I was going to tell him myself, but he came home early from his trip, and the way it went down…” I sigh. “Oh, Matt, the timing couldn’t have been worse.”
“Kailey,” he says, “you’re really going to leave him for a…homeless guy?”
“First of all,” I say, “I’m not leaving him. And Cade isn’t just some homeless guy. He’s my ex-boyfriend. I spent two years with him.”
“So you can see why Ryan’s devastated,” Matt says.
“I know,” I say. “It’s a mess, and I want to make it right. But I do have to help Cade. He has no one.” I lower my voice so as not to wake Cade, who’s still asleep upstairs. “He’s only been staying with me because he has nowhere else to go. Tomorrow I’m taking him to Harborview. He’s being admitted into a program for people with brain injuries. He’ll live there, supervised by experts who can help him get his life back in order. He’s going to have to relearn almost everything.”
“I understand,” Matt says. “And I’m not judging you, Kailey. It’s just that…”
“Ryan’s your best friend,” I say. “I know. Please know that I never wanted to hurt him.”
“Thanks,” he says before hanging up.
On Friday I select a fresh change of clothes from Ryan’s closet and help Cade dress. He’s silent in the car as I drive to Harborview, and I am, too.
“Good morning,” Dr. Branson says when we reach the second floor. We spoke a few times earlier in the week about Cade when she called to check on him. “This is my assistant, Tess. We’ll take you over now, if you’re ready.”
I nod for both of us, and we walk down a long hallway to a different set of elevators.
“I’m assuming you will be his emergency contact?” Tess asks, glancing at the clipboard in her hands.
“Emergency? What emergencies?”
“Just a precaution,” she says, “in case something happens, like a patient wanders off. As I briefed you on the phone, TBI patients are prone to volatile behavior.”
“Oh, sure,” I say, swallowing hard as we reach the ground floor and walk outside to a pathway that leads to what looks like a brick office building. “Yes, of course, you can put my name down.”
Dr. Branson points to the building ahead. “Here we are,” she says, smiling. “The Edward Miller Center for Brain Injury Treatment and Recovery.” She turns to Cade. “This will be your home for the year to come. You’ll have your own apartment. In fact”she points to the corner window on the top floor“I believe that one right there is yours.”
He looks up, then at me. I can’t tell if he’s scared or confused or both.
“The facility is staffed twenty-four/seven, and each day you’ll have a series of talk and physical therapy, brain scans, and rigorous rehabilitation to help you relearn everything you lost after your injury.” She places her hand on Cade’s arm. “We intend to help you get your life back.”
The elevator lurches up, and we step out on the third floor. Tess walks ahead to a door marked 304, and inserts a key. We follow her inside the studio apartment. It’s small, and the air smells of Windex and floor waxcertainly a far cry from Cade’s Pioneer Square apartment, but it’s clean and sunny, and the high ceilings mitigate the boxy layout.
I watch Cade walk the perimeter of his new home, first stopping at the twin bed with simple white hospital-grade linens, then turning to the brown love seat and coffee table. The tiny kitchen consists of a sink, some cabinets, and a mini fridge.
“For the safety of all, we insist that our residents refrain from using ovens or stoves during their tenure in the program. All meals are provided in the first-floor cafeteria. Breakfast is served at eight, lunch at noon, and dinner at five sharp.
“I hope he will thrive here,” Dr. Branson says to me.
“Me too,” I say.
“Now,” she continues, “it’s time for you to say your goodbyes. He has a full day today. Orientation, meeting his occupational and physical therapists. A team of neurologists will be here at two for an evaluation. The idea is to establish a baseline so we can monitor his progress over time.”
I nod and take a step back.
“It’s always hard to leave them,” Dr. Branson says. “But I promise he’s in excellent hands here.”
“Thank you,” I say, glancing at Cade once more before turning to the door. He’s at the window, looking at Seattle’s Capitol Hill neighborhood, an expanse of record stores. The Space Needle pokes up over the cityscape. “I’ll come by tomorrow and check on you.”
He stares ahead; I’m not sure if he hears me. Tracy is right. As much as I yearn to keep him hidden away from the world so as not to lose him again, I need to set him free. And this is the safest place to do that. But as I take the elevator to the ground floor and find my way back to my car in the parking garage, I can’t help but feel as if I’ve left a piece of myself in apartment 304.
I drive through Pioneer Square. The second article in the series has stirred up even more passionate debate than the first, but that doesn’t change the fact that there are still too many people on the streets with nowhere to go. The third article, profiling the developers and their proposed “displacement packages,” was all facts and figures. Yet I haven’t yet managed to complete the piece on Cade. The article is unfinished because Cade’s story is unfinished. But slowly I am writing it. It’s always on my mind, as is he.
I’m so lost in thought, I hardly remember sitting in traffic, or merging onto I-5, or taking the Forty-fifth Street exit home. But when I park on the street, my heart warms at the sight of Ryan’s car.
“Hi,” I say from the entryway, where he stood last night with a face that looked as if his world was crashing down.
“Hi,” he replies, glancing up from his laptop at the kitchen table.
“I didn’t expect to find you here,” I say.
He stares at me for a long moment, then stands to walk to me. “Kailey, I’ve had a chance to think,” he says. “I’m hurt, but I may have overreacted the other night.” He takes a deep breath. “How can I fault you for the things I love most about you? You are generous and kind. You care deeply about people. And you are loyal.”
My eyes well up with tears as he takes my hands.
“The past is hard to face, but it’s just that: the past. And you have pledged your future to me. If you still feel the same way, I’d like to continue that journey to the future, because I love you. Plain and simple. I love you more than I’ve loved anyone. And I’m willing to see you through this. I’m willing to give you the time and space you need.” He looks at me intensely, eyes ablaze. I know he’s hurting. I know he’s frightened. “What I’m trying to tell you is that I want to marry you no matter what. I want to love you and take care of you and spend my life with you. And I don’t think your past, or mine, should complicate that.”
I nod, falling into his embrace and letting my tears spill out. “Oh, Ryan,” I say.
He holds me for a long moment, then pulls my face upward so that my eyes meet his. “I think we should take a trip together,” he says.
“What do you mean?”
“Five days in Mexico,” he says. “I was just checking flights and hotels. I can book us at the Pedregal, that resort I showed you in Travel and Leisure recently, remember? Every room has its own infinity plunge pool. We can sleep late, and drink margaritas by the pool, and while the days away napping and talking and getting massages.” He smiles. “We could leave in a week or two. How does that sound?”
“Wonderful,” I say. “But can we really get away? We both have so much going on at work, and…” I think of Cade just starting out in his new apartment. Can I leave him? Will he be okay?
Ryan silences my worries with a long, passionate kiss. “We’ll make this our holiday celebration, and we have so much to be grateful for,” he says. And when he pulls me closer to him with the strong arms that have comforted me and loved me for so many years, I melt into his embrace.
“Okay,” I whisper. I close my eyes as his lips move from my face to my neck to my shoulder.
“You look like a total babe,” Tracy says from the doorway of the bathroom, where I’m applying glittery gray eye shadow to my lids.
“Aww, thanks,” I reply, turning around. “Do you think this dress is too…?”
“No, Cade is going to love you in it,” she says.
Black, fitted, and covered in sparkly sequins, it was on a sale rack at Nordstrom last week and I bought it on a whim. But I feel like an impostor somehow.
“Really?” I ask, tugging at the waist. What I don’t tell her is that I’m doubting everything from my dress to Cade’s love. He’s been so distant lately, so…not himself.
“Trust me,” Tracy says. “You are going to be the hottest girl at the party.”
“Well, next to you,” I say with a grin.
She looks down at her red sleeveless dress and shrugs. “We’ll see if Mark even notices.”
I knew they were having trouble of late, but I was happy to hear he would be joining us for Cade’s annual Element Records party.
“He will notice,” I say. “You look beyond gorgeous tonight.”
She takes a long look at herself in the mirror over my shoulder, tapping her fingers to the imaginary bags under her eyes. “It’s hard to date in medical school,” she says. “It’s all one exhausting and emotional blur.” She sighs, then laughs. “Maybe I should have ended up with Wes.”
“Yeah,” she says nostalgically. “He was in love with me.”
“But you weren’t in love with him,” I say with a smirk.
“But he was so handsome, and so…nice.”
“Mormons are very nice.”
She nods. “But he had braces.”
“The poor guy,” I say. “Didn’t he leave on his mission only to come home and be dumped by you?”
“A solid two years in Jackson, Alabama, yes,” she says, deep in thought. “But he was a terrible kisser.”
“The braces,” we both say at the same time, bursting into laughter.
“Ready?” I say, brushing my hair a final time, then pulling it back into a tidy low ponytail.
Tracy looks at her watch. “Yeah, Mark gets off in an hour. He’ll meet us there.”
We’d walk, except we’re in heels, and it’s one of those miserably frigid days when it’s cold enough to snow but the atmosphere doesn’t quite have what it takes, so Tracy hails a cab outside the apartment. When we arrive at Cade’s, it’s five after eight, and about a dozen people have already arrived.