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Friday, 13 June 2008

Just the Three of Us - Part 2

By Rabon Saip of Elder Times

[Just the Three of Us - Part 1]

Rabonsaipbadge_2 We left the hotel, still listening to Gary’s recollections, and walked the short distance to an old and stately rooming house. It was November, foggy and cold. Gary and I walked close on either side of Kathleen. He ventured an arm over her shoulders, which she didn’t seem to mind. All three of us wore overcoats and as we walked under a friendly streetlight we laughed at the monolithic, three headed shadow we cast on the sidewalk. Kathleen broke into song, altering the lyrics of an old tune.

"We three, we’re not a crowd, but we are such good com-pa-ny; there’s Gary, there’s Rabon, and me."
As we were leaving the hotel I realized I had hardly ever seen Kathleen on her feet. And then I couldn’t help but notice the subtle swinging motion of her hips. She moved like a dancer, and her body held a music of its own. I was darkly excited and internally conflicted at my thoughts.

Kathleen’s room was on the second floor. She motioned us to be quiet as we climbed the carpeted stairs up to a dim lit hallway. I had an impression of three tipsy teenagers sneaking in after curfew. The room was plain and simple, with not much to suggest it was home. A double bed, a few books on the night stand; a dresser, a small table and straight backed chair, and two easy chairs. Kathleen asked us to be comfortable and excused herself to her bathroom.

It was strange. Gary and I couldn’t quite look one another in the eye. There was an awkward silence. I think we were both wishing the other guy wasn’t there.

"Wow, she reads Faulkner," Gary picked up one of the books by the bed. "‘Requiem For A Nun’" He glanced in my direction. "You ever read this?" I was uncomfortable with the slight tone of challenge I felt in his question.
"I don’t think so," I said, feeling less than sophisticated. He continued to look at the book until Kathleen came out of the bathroom. I don’t know what I expected, but I was definitely relieved to see she had on a long robe that completely covered her body.

"Thanks," she smiled. "I needed to get out of my work clothes." She then arranged herself in one of the big easy chairs, drawing her shapely feet up onto the seat and under her robe.

"Sit down, you guys," she said. "Take off your coats and stay a while. You can throw them on the bed. The only thing I can offer you is some wine, there on the dresser, but only one glass. You guys won’t mind drinking from the bottle." She seemed nervous, not exactly the self possessed woman to whom I had become accustomed. Was she leading up to something? Was she working up her nerve?

"And I have this," Gary ventured, as he pulled a small flask from his coat. "Medicinal brandy." Gary took the other easy chair, still holding the book from the night stand in one hand, and I pulled the straight chair around to face them both. Kathleen noticed the book in Gary’s hand and let out a deep sigh.

"The past is never dead," she quoted. "It’s not even past." I later learned this was a quote from Gavin Stevens, one of the characters in Faulkner’s play.

"I’m so glad you guys are here," she continued. There was a different tone in her voice. She seemed oddly subdued. "I really do appreciate your company," she hesitated. "Especially today." There was another long pause.

"Why especially today?" Gary asked. Then I noticed the glistening tears that had begun to form in her eyes. Gary started to get up and move closer to comfort her, but she held out her hand to stop him and he sat back down.

"A year ago today," she said, so quietly. "My little boy, Jacob, was killed in an auto accident." Silence. In all our conversations, she had never mentioned anything like this. I didn’t know what to say and obviously Gary didn’t either. But, after a long moment of staring at Kathleen’s quiet tears, I managed to speak.

"I am so sorry," I said. "What can we do?"

"Just listen, I guess," she whispered. "It helps to talk about it."

We learned that she and her husband, also a musician, had separated after the accident. He had been driving drunk, against her objections, and then she couldn’t forget or forgive. The two of them had suffered only minor injuries, but the little boy, asleep in the back seat, had been thrown in such a way that caused internal injuries and his neck was broken.

After a few months of agony, she had left Los Angeles, traveling from place to place, and finally wound up in Monterey. Gary and I listened in silence as she laid out the story that had so drastically changed her life. The wine and brandy were gradually consumed, but there was no drunkenness. The three of us just drew closer. It was nearly dawn by the time she gave us each a quick hug and said goodbye.

During the next few weeks, Gary and I accompanied Kathleen home several times. The bond between us grew deeper as we each told stories about our lives, practicing what I would experience years later as "check in." We had become family, and somehow, more than family.

Gary struggled over his relationship with his father, who was back in Jackson Hole. He couldn’t remember a time when the man had ever said "I love you." Gary had spent years of his life trying to prove himself to someone who forever remained unavailable. He shared the painful letters he had written to his father but never sent. The three of us worked on composing just one letter that he finally did send.

My turn came when Kathleen noticed how I pretended to read rather than hold one of Gary’s letters up close to my eyes. In spite of my contact lens, a product that hadn’t been around for very long, she intuitively picked up on my habit of playing blind-man’s-bluff. It was such a relief to finally unload my pent up shame and defensiveness around not being able to see as well as others. I had never felt safe enough to do that with anyone before.

Our three way relationship lasted for a little while and then came the day when Gary didn’t show up any more. Kathleen understood why better than I did, but I already knew how much it hurt him that he couldn’t have the relationship with her he wanted.

"I do love him," she said to me. "But I just can’t give him what he wants."

I never saw Gary or the inside of Kathleen’s room again, and before very long, she too had moved on.

[EDITORIAL NOTE: The story cupboard is nearly bare. Time for any readers inclined to share yours to send them along.]

Posted by Ronni Bennett at 02:30 AM | Permalink | Email this post


Wow! I am overwhelmed by the sheer drama of your story. You told it so well that I became part of it for a time. What an intense and beautiful friendship you three shared.

It' sad that some relationships move on, but you were there for each other when you needed to be.

Great story, Rabon.


A very powerful and poignant story. So well written..I enjoyed reading it and agree with Darlene.

She said it all.

I agree with Darlene, too. It's sort of sad, though.

You are a magnificent story teller. We don't encounter material like this on the Internet very often, if at all.

This story was deliciously told, slow in pace and kept us waiting for the secrets and mysteries to be revealed. A heartwarming story about real people. Thank you for sharing it with us.

I really like how you made the transformation between sexual fantasy, passion and yearning, into human tragedy and compassion.

So sad, yet so beautiful. Many times we have wonderful relationship which still are not kept forever. Remembering them is one of those sweet things we call sacred memories.

Dorothy from grammology
remember to call your gram

What a great storu!!!!! I really loved it!!!

What a wonderful story! You must be a professional writer... ?

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