“Yes, what’s up Walt?”
There was silence on the other end except for his breathing into the mouthpiece. It wasn’t that labored prank phone call breathing, but something more contemplative and measured. It was laced with beats not everyone could hear. Its feeling unregulated. She waited for his litany.
“I think you need to come over here right now. I mean really because there is something you have to try. It is off the chain.” She could feel him fidgeting over the phone; could see the tremble in his hands and the tapping of his toes he did unconsciously that she always noticed.
“Walt….it is a really long drive for this time of night.”
“I know, but you have to,” he insisted. His insistence was always child-like and never offensive. The power behind his asking was always knowing that she would say yes. This made her predictable and in turn made her irritated with herself. “Ok.”
***Marnie pulled into the dirt driveway and made a mental note of the sound the stones made under her tires. It reminded her of the day she found out her grandfather died. He was old and crazy and mean and now dead. For some reason it didn’t stir her heart towards him, but she liked the sound just the same. It was dark now that she was in the country out by the lake. Marnie had hoped the moon would have given a bit more reflection off the water, but like most everything else, it disappointed her. She was egotistical for even thinking the moon would be so gracious.
Walt her the creak of her car door and stood on the porch leaning on the pillar. He was smoking a joint and Marnie liked that smell too. She told herself she wasn’t going to smoke. She couldn’t afford being loose in the mind. It disintegrated her inhibitions and made her reckless. She shuddered with the memories too many to count. Walt’s toes were still tapping his internal beat. They were his metronome and sometimes they were hers too.
"Ok Walt. I am here. What is so fucking fantastic I had to drive out to the boonies for?”
“The well,” he said matter of fact.
“The well? I drove all the way out here for the well? Seriously Walt, I am damn tired. There better be a fucking baby in it that I have to rescue.”
“No, no baby in there. You have to taste the water….it’s off the chain.”
“You asked me over here to have some water? God, why do I always say yes?” Marnie turned to go back to her car. If she left now, she could still get home before she was deathly tired…before she ran herself off the road.
Walt grabbed Marnie’s arm gently. She looked at his fingers in the dark and then at him, but all she could see was the glow from the lit joint on his lips. He sensed she was irritated about being touched. He could feel it on her skin and so he let go.
“Wait Marn…come on. Just come taste it and talk to me.”
“I’m pissed right now Walt and you don’t want to talk to me, seriously.”
He took her hand this time. He liked the softness of it so he held it awhile. They said nothing. He put all his good energy into that hand sitting lightly in his. He felt Marnie’s body slacken a little the longer he held it. He felt her mood soften some. It was time for the water.
“Come on,” he whispered.
n the dark, Walt led Marnie to the well even though she
knew where it was. She let him take her
there…let him have this important moment.
She didn’t understand what was so great about the well and what, if
anything, it had to do with her. She
closed her eyes as he walked her there.
It was too dark to see anyway.
Marnie knew Walt would not let her fall.
The well was traditional and stone built with a bucket. It made Marnie want to make wishes and she supposed she had made a few a time or two without telling Walt she did. In the blackness, she listened to the pulley haul the bucket up from the water. There was that rush of the pail ripping the placid surface and the cascade of splashes as it spilled over the sides on the way up. Walt pulled the bucket from the center of the well and let the rope go limp behind it. He set it on the edge and cupped his hands into the cold, clean earth driven water.
Walt offered his hands to Marnie. “Here, drink this.”
“You want me to drink out of your hands? Are you being a pervert?”
"No I am not being a pervert. Just drink the fucking water already!”
Marnie hated it when he swore at her. It was unlike him and now she knew they were both irritated. She stepped closer to him and reached out in the dark to find his wet hands. They had a slow leak and the water was dripping onto the tops of his shoes. There was that beat again. Always a beat. She held his hands in hers and drank from them as if she had her face in a stream.
The water was beyond anything she had ever tasted. Her mouth felt alive and her thirst doubled and tripled with each slurp. When she had drank it down so low, she began to lap it up like a cat. She stood there in the dark licking the water off the texture of his skin. Her head was spinning. Her heart was bursting with light. Her body feather like. Her thoughts somehow free. Free. Free.
Walt took his hands away from her mouth and put them on her shoulders. By the well in the night they had shared something. They both knew it.
“I just saved you,” Walt said quietly.
Published by Not From Here Are You? Guest Writer, 1/11