Always. Занятие 32

Запись занятия

Материалы к занятию


file_zip_72x72Интерактивные карточки Anki

Аудиоверсия занятия



I lean in closer on the couch. “James, what happened to him. You know, don’t you?”


He nods gravely. “Things were getting better. I’d signed a few bands that were looking promising. We were going to turn a profit that year, or so it seemed. It was August, and I’d bought a boat with my savings. The Stella May.”


“August first was the last day, until this fall, that I ever saw Cade,” I say. I swallow hard. It was the day I was going to tell him about the baby. “You might have been feeling flush, but I was devastated.”


“I know you were, which makes the next part of the story even harder to tell.” James pauses. “Alexis and I wanted her maiden voyage to be extra special, so we hired a full crew, complete with waiters in tuxedos and bow ties. Just as we were setting out, Cade showed up at the marina. He was drunk, belligerent when he got on. I wished he hadn’t come. He was angry, and he said some ugly things to Alexis that I don’t know if she’ll ever be able to purge from her mind.” He pauses for a moment. “I tried to calm him, but we argued and it escalated. I’m not sure who took a swing first, but we ended up in a fight, right there on the docked boat. I was as bloodied as he was, but I landed a lucky punch. The impact opened a huge gash on his forehead.”


“His scar,” I say. “That explains it.”


He nods. “There was so much blood. Alexis begged us to stop fighting. She always said we were like two brothers hashing out a lifelong grudge, but this time, both of us too stubborn to step back and apologize for our respective mistakes, we took it too far.”


“Why didn’t you call for help?”


His voice cracks then. “I wish I had, Kailey.”


“But you didn’t, and something happened.”


“That’s just the thing,” he says with a sigh. “I ordered Cade off the boat. One of the waiters and I dragged him onto the dock and then we launched.”


“A waiter in a bow tie?”


“Yes,” James replies solemnly.


“You left him there bleeding?”


“My actions were cowardly, but I thought I had a good reason,” he says. “Alexis was pregnant, Kailey. I’d just found out the day before. What if I was charged with assault? I was about to become a father, and I couldn’t fathom any of it. I had to protect my family.” He sighs. “Listen, he showed up on my boat and ruined my party. Besides, I didn’t believe he was hurt that bad.”


He looks at his hands as if they still have Cade’s blood on them.


“You said he just had the gash on his forehead,” I say. “But the medical report from 1998 mentioned possible brain trauma. How do you explain that?”


James shakes his head.


“I don’t know, Kailey. Something else must have happened to him that night. I’ve been burdened with guilt for so long. When you walked in to my office that day and told me he was alive, I was shell-shocked. Cade was never someone who disappeared. He was always present. And when he wasn’t, I assumed the worst.”


I shake my head. “I don’t know what to say, James.”


“It wasn’t me, Kailey.”


My eyes widen. “If not you, then who?”


“I wish I could tell you.”


“What about all the money, James? Did you take Cade’s money? Cade was worth at least eight million when he disappeared that night. I’ve hired an attorney and a forensic accountant. They’re going to try to recover what is rightfully his.”


“As they should,” James says, exhaling deeply. “Oh, Kailey. I’m in this so deep.”


“What do you mean?”


He rubs his forehead. “The money’s all there. Invested. I’ll cooperate, of course.”


“James, please, can you think of anyone who would want to hurt Cade?”


He shakes his head, then after a long moment his eyes suddenly flash with urgency. “Where is Cade right now?”


I shake my head gravely. “I don’t know. Ryan, my fiancé, confronted me tonight about my feelings for Cade, then broke off our engagement. Cade heard everything and then…he left.”


“We have to find him.” His expression is worried, anxious.


“Where do you think he could be?” I say to James as we run to his car. “I’ve already checked downtown, his old apartment, the usual places.”


“I have an idea,” he says, suddenly perking up. “Let’s head downtown.”


I fasten my seatbelt, then dial Dr. Branson’s cellphone. “Hi, it’s Kailey,” I say.


“Kailey, is everything all right?”


“No,” I say. “It’s Cade. He’s missing.” I explain Cade’s fear of being chased by someone.


“It’s frightening, yes,” she says. “But it’s unlikely that someone is after Cade. In fact, these types of bouts of acute anxiety are quite common among brain injury survivors. When the brain is healing, it’s a lot like a broken record, trying to get to the next chorus, but instead it keeps hitting the same scratch and repeating past trauma, playing the same stanza over and over again.”


“So you’re saying Cade just dreamed it up?”


“In a sense,” Dr. Branson continues. “But be certain that to him it is all very real.”


I nod. “I’ll find him and bring him back.”


“Kailey, your love for him knows no bounds.”


Goosebumps erupt on my arms. We’ve never spoken about my love for Cade, but she knows. Of course she knows.


“It doesn’t,” I say after a thoughtful pause.


Foot pressed hard on the gas pedal, James races to the on-ramp. My heart beats faster by the second. James takes the Stewart Street exit, then guns the engine. “The market,” he says. “He’s got to be there.”


“Pike Place?”


“Yeah,” he says. “Cade loved Pike Place.”


Of course. Pike Place Market. The memories rush in, one after the next. The walks we took through the market after dark. The little wine shop he always stopped in at. The fishmonger he befriended over a shared love of turbot. The street violinist he tipped with a twenty every Friday afternoon. And then James and I look at each other and open our mouths in unison.


“The phone booth,” we say together.


When we arrive at the market, James parks near the iconic copper pig at the entrance. It’s dark, but the cobblestones, coated with a layer of fresh rainfall, glisten under the streetlights. A row of lit Christmas trees line the entrance, and a wreath hangs beneath the Pike Place sign.


James and I jump out of the car and run ahead. We look right, then left. It’s been a while since I’ve been down here, and I know why. Too many memories. “Which way?” I ask James. Normally bustling with people, it’s a ghost town now, aside from the hum of the sleepy pigeons in the rafters above us.


“Downstairs,” he says, pointing ahead.


I remember now. Down a flight of stairs, around a dimly lit walkway, past that old tavern he used to love and the spice shop that perfumes the air with cinnamon and curry, and then the phone booth, cherry red, with TELEPHONE in black letters across the top. It’s a genuine London import.


Of course, the phone booth. Cade swore he could think better here, so much so that he purchased an identical copy for his apartment in Pioneer Square in 1998.


The phone booth is just ahead, and though it’s dark we can both make out a figure inside, slumped over and possibly sleeping.


“Cade!” I cry, running closer. I place my hand on the little iron doorknob, and he looks up. When our eyes meet his face brightens, but then he sees James and the smile that has begun to form disappears.


“Cade,” I say, “don’t be scared. I talked to James. We’re here to help you.”


He stands up cautiously and steps out of the phone booth, facing both of us.


“Sorry, man,” James says, taking a step forward to Cade. “I wish things had turned out differently. I’ll live with that for the rest of my life.”


Cade nods. “I remember.”


“I know you do,” he says, breaking down. “I’m so sorry, for everything I did and didn’t do. I’m going to make it right to you, I promise I will.”


He’s silenced by the sound of footsteps behind us, and when we turn around, a police officer approaches.


“Everything okay down here?” the officer asks, casting his gaze at me.


“We’re making amends,” I tell him before he nods and continues on his patrol. I want to believe that I’m speaking the truth.


Cade’s mouth opens. I know he has more to say. “I remember what happened that night, after we fought.”


Both of us hang on his every word.


“Somehow I found my way home,” he continues. “I was sitting on a bench with Ivan.”


“The man who lived outside your building,” I exclaim. “You were so kind to him. You gave him a blanket once, and your leather jacket on New Year’s Eve.”


Cade nods. “Another man came around. He wanted money, but I had nothing in my pockets. Ivan was an old man. He was scared. I told him to come with me, that I would take him to a safe place. We started to walk away, and that’s where my memory stops.”


“Your final act in your former life was trying to help someone,” I say. “That’s the Cade I know.”


“I’m no saint,” Cade says. “And I need to take responsibility for my actions. I lost track of my life.” He looks at me. “I lost track of my love.”


I blink back tears.


“I want my life back,” Cade continues, eyes tender with emotion. “I want to make up for all the time we lost.”


“We will,” I assure him.


James slips his hands into his pockets and looks at us, overwhelmed with emotion. “And I let my best friend down.” He swallows hard. “All the money, the company. I’ll pay back what was rightfully yours, man. I give you my word.”


Cade nods. His body looks exhausted. But there’s a spark in his eyes, a fire that I haven’t seen since 1998. A spirit awakened? A life reclaimed? I am hopeful.


“Can you ever forgive me?” James asks, his voice cracking.


“I already have,” Cade says, taking a step toward his friend. They embrace, and I wipe away a tear.


“In the first act of my new life, and yours,” James says, swallowing hard, “let me see you two home safely. Can I start there?”


I look at Cade, then back at James. “Yes, please. Let’s start there.”


At the Harborview security desk, James waves goodbye. Cade takes my hand, and as we step out of the elevator, I feel lost and found at the same time, secure and scared.


“Stay with me tonight,” he whispers into my ear as we cross the threshold to his studio. His touch is so electric that for a moment I almost step back. But I don’t, and when he pulls me closer, I relent to him.


Here we are, together. His hospital apartment isn’t home, nor is the Craftsman I jointly own in Wallingford with the man I was supposed to marry. But somehow I know that home is where Cade is. Maybe I’ve always known that.


It’s completely dark, aside from the city light filtering in through the windows. Our Seattle. Someone in the high-rise apartment building across from the hospital has put up Christmas lights around their window, and I smile, remembering the year Cade and I hung lights around his staircase so long ago.


There is no music, but there is a melody. Ours. And as we sway, I think of how far Cade has come. It’s been an uphill battle, this fight. And perhaps it always will be. Two steps forward, one step back. Memories held hostage. Mental fogginess. Years lost. Jumbled sentences. Confusion. I’m aware of it all, and I accept it all. Because I love this man. With every ounce of my being.


“Cade,” I say, “I need to talk to you about something.”


He touches my cheek lightly in response.


“I’ve written something about you, for the Heralda piece about your story. But it’s more than your story, it’s a story for anyone on the streets, anyone who’s found themselves down on their luck. Anyone whose life didn’t turn out as planned.” I pause. “I don’t have to publish it. I”


“Publish it,” he says. “It’s your story as much as mine.” He kisses my neck, and his lips travel up to my chin, and my cheek. And then he pulls me close, the way he used toarm on my waist, hand in my hair.


“Cade,” I whisper. “There’s something else. Something I’ve wanted to share with you for so long.” Fresh tears stream from my eyes. “The last day I saw you, I wanted to tell you the news that…”


“What is it, my love?” he asks, talking to me the way he used to. He nestles his face into the crevice between my shoulder and chin.


“When we parted, that day at your place in Pioneer Square, I was going to tell you something, something very important.”




“I was pregnant,” I say. “I’d just found out. I was going to tell you, I wanted to, but then…” I wipe away my tears. “But then we had a fight, and then, well, you disappeared after that.”


He reaches for my hand.


“I had a miscarriage,” I cry. “It was horrible in every way, but mostly because you weren’t there beside me.”


He swallows hard and looks deep into my eyes, then holds me for a long time. His embrace says everything. I’m sorry. I love you. I wish we could turn back time and have the life that was robbed from us.


We don’t speak. There are no words. Not a single one would do. There is only love, the force that has bound us together for all these years, even while separated.


My back arches as he kisses my neck again, and I press myself against him. I can’t get close enough. I’ve never been able to get close enough to this man.


I think about this as he lifts my shirt up over my arms, revealing the inked toujours on my shoulder. I think about all the dreams I had for us. The children we would raise. The flowers we’d grow in our garden by the sea. The family photos we’d pose for, making silly faces or sweet ones, arms clutched together. Parties, laughter, and music, always music.


Cade lowers to his knees, fumbling with the button on my jeans, and as his lips touch my skin my body trembles.


“I never stopped loving you,” I whisper.


“I have always loved you,” he replies.


Always. My eyes fill with tears.


He lifts me into his arms, his bare chest and body pressing against mine, and when he sets me on the bed, we kiss as if it’s our last day on earth. And perhaps it is. What do we, or anyone, know of tomorrow? If I’ve learned anything, it’s that not only may tomorrow never come, but worse, that when the sun rises, the person who holds your heart may vanish, taking a piece of you with him. Here today, gone tomorrow, like a storied ship in the Bermuda Triangle, taken under. Sent asunder.


But now he’s here; my love is here, and I’m breathing in his breath, his skin. His hands are exploring every inch of me. I gasp and cry out.


And when our bodies become one, I know that all I want, for the rest of my life, is this. All I want is this love. I want it every day. I want it morning and night. I want to breathe it in. I want to drown in it. And it strikes me how wonderful and tragic it is that in a sea of people just one can reach you so deeply.


As Cade’s body rises and falls against mine, I close my eyes tightly and pray that he will never go. I pray that this love, so golden and true, will stay, this time and always.

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Диана Семёнычева

Диана Семёнычева