The hard rain battering the roof of the car couldn’t drown out her wailing sobs. She sat behind the wheel shattered, shaking and drowning. Parked up the street. She both knew exactly why she had come here and the terrible fear over what it meant, what it could do. She no longer remembered driving here. She had no concept of what time it might be now, other than night.
She’d circled the block so many times she lost count, talking herself out of it, talking herself into it. Each time around, each little skirmish between head and heart, took its toll.
She parked in the pouring rain and what fingernail grip she may have had on herself, let slip. She simply broke. Screaming her frustration out at her windshield. Pounding out her fear and guilt and anger and unyielding need, on the steering wheel. Tears pouring from her eyes. Shattered. Shaken. Drowning.
She threw the car door open and started stumbling in the downpour, before she even had time to accept what she was doing. She was walking to the house. Fuck it. FUCK IT! Her mind screamed at the other voices inside, battling for her heart. Soaked now, her hair matted to her face, she trudged up the steps to the door and knocked, and knocked, and knocked.
The door opened and she didn’t even hear the words “Oh my God! Lisa! What happened?? Are you OK??”
No, Lisa didn’t hear the words, because she found immediate solace in just SEEING Sarah’s beautiful face. She took a deep breath and professed,
“Sarah, I don’t care anymore. I don’t care about. Colin or James, I don’t care what people think! I just don’t fucking care anymore….”
James is heard in the background, “Sarah? Who is it? Is that LISA?!? What did we AGREE??”
Sarah stands shocked and wells up at her friend before her, lost.
Lisa know that time is up and begins to rush all her words and thoughts and pain, “Sarah, babydoll, lover…I can’t…I just cant do it! I love you. YOU! I need you! I want you! You. I do Sarah, I love you and I know…I KNOW you love me too! I just…i just fucking know you do…” she cant finish and collapses to her knees, sobbing on the porch. Raw, open, heart flayed for Sarah to do with as she pleases.
James appears at the door. Phone at his ear, “…no, shes here on our porch….fuck you, come get your wife!…..HELL NO, she stays right where she is. You control her, Colin, I swear to God!” And he pulls Sarah inside.
Sarah mouths the words “I’m so sorry.”, quiet tears of anguish rolling down her cheeks.
Then the door slams and locks.
Lisa is paralyzed with soul crushing pain. Crying so forcefully now, sound no longer comes out of her lungs. Time stands still in her world. She doesn’t hear the rain, she doesn’t hear the muffled shouts from the house. She doesn’t even hear the car pull up. Or the door shut or the quick footsteps up to the porch.
The first thing she hears, as he kneels down and embraces her, is her husband, Colin, compassionately say,”Shhhh, come on, honey. Come on, its OK. Lets get you home.”
He helps Lisa stand, and with an arm around her, leads her through the falling rain, to the car.
As they near it, Lisa explodes, “NO, Colin! NO, it is NOT ok! Ok???” The war within her, spills out onto him as she spins to her oblivion. “I just gave up everything to tell my best friend that I’m in LOVE with her! And I…CAN’T…HAVE….HER!!! And I’m destroying you…US in the process! And….and I’m so deep now I have no idea how to climb out!”
Colin doesn’t know what to say or do. He finally asks the words he already knows the answer, “Do you love her more than me?”
Lisa kicks the car, “YES! And it kills me!! It FUCKING KILLS ME!!”
“It’s ok, Lisa. Shhh, it’s ok. Lets just go home and talk.” Trying to do anything to settle her. She turns, leans against the car and slides to sit on the wet street. The sobbing returns.
Colin sighs and takes a wet seat next to Lisa in the rain and waits. He’ll wait as long as it takes. After a long moment, maybe two, she does speak.
“Colin, I love you.” She starts, putting her hand on his. ” You’re my friend and have been a great partner. I don’t want to have to make this choice. But the way I feel, the way SHE makes me feel? The choice is made for me. And…I know what that means. And I know what I’m saying to you. How much I must be hurting you. I’m so sorry, Colin. I fought it. I fought hard. I cant fight anymore. I love her, Colin.”
Through softer tears, she adds. “I need her like breath. Do you know what I mean?”
Colin stars at the rain bouncing off the pavement, and after a beat, whispers, “Yeah, I know what you mean.”
He looks up at Lisa and with resolve in his voice, he asks, “So if the choice is made, what do we do about it?”
“What, like divorce?” She asks back.
“Well, yeah, I guess we’ll get to that.” He answers with a deadpan sad chuckle, but not what he meant, “What do we do about Sarah? Do you even know yet? Does she want the same thing?”
She leans her head back against his car, letting the rain soothe her burning eyes and says with a sigh, “No, I don’t know.”
A silence that can only be called finality, settles in. Colin knew to fight would do nothing, would push her further away. To try and force someone to love you is about as possible as draining the ocean with a teacup. He did love her. He always would. He knew what she wanted now and that was all that mattered.
“Get up. Take my keys and start the car.” He said, standing, soaked.
Lisa was confused, “What?”
“Take my keys! Give me yours….and let me see your phone.” He insisted.
She took his and gave both her keys and the phone to him. He played with the phone for a moment, then handed it back.
“Start the car, keep it running. When I come back, I’m going to jump in quick. As soon as I’m in the passenger seat, GO! Do you understand? JUST GO, like we robbed a bank. I’m about to talk to James. I fear we may need a quick exit. Do you understand??” Colin said to Lisa, as a loving husband.
“Jesus, Colin. Don’t! He could kick your ass and you know it!” She warned.
“That’s why I need you ready for our getaway. Be ready, I love you, Lisa.” He kisses her cheek and heads up to the porch.
Lisa climbs in, starts the car and waits. Even with wipers on full, she cant see what’s happening on the porch. A minute turns to two, then three. She begins to worry. She hears James’ yelling from here. Fuck. She is about to shut the car off and call the cops when the passenger door flies opens. She hits the gas almost before he can shut the door.
They are screaming down the block when she yells, “Jesus of all stupid things you’ve done, that’s right up there!”
“Do we really want to talk about stupid things, babydoll?” Says Sarah, dropping the hood she wore to protect her from the rain.
Lisa slams on the breaks, fishtailing the car until the ABS kicks in.
She just stares at Sarah, her lip quivers as the tears start to roll. Sarah leans over and takes Lisa in her arms. They kiss like lovers from ancient lore. A kiss for the goddesses.
When they break, Lisa asks through tears of abject joy, “wha? How? I don’t understand?”
Sarah shows her a text she received. It read…
Sarah, I’m texting from her phone, because I know you’ll read it immediately. I wish she looked at me with half the love she does when she looks at you. That’s a once-in-a-life kind of love. Don’t let that pass. Ill distract J for you. Shes out front, waiting. Please love her well.
Lisa brought a trembling hand to her mouth and understood, with a slight laugh of gratitude for what Colin had done. And how much he truly means to her and how much she means to him. To step aside for her and Sarah. That’s a debt she may never be able to repay. That’s a gift of real love.
“Lisa, lets drive.” Sarah says, hoping James isn’t out looking yet.
“Where to, babydoll?” Lisa says, laughing with more joy now.
“Just somewhere new.” Sarah replies, clutching a big wet purse that contained a few essentials, that letter from Lisa and one infamous black nightie.
As they drove off, on that rainy night, they both laughed and cried and knew this was a once-in-a-life kind of love.
Like that of ancient lore.
For the Goddesses.