Petite Carême refers to a short dry season in the middle of the rainy season
STORY: Petite Careme
AUTHOR'S NOTE: Terry has a problem, the girl of his dreams is getting married to someone else. What will he do.
At your own risk, you can try to read this without reading It rains in July but I think it's best if you do.
Kiss the rain whenever you need me
Kiss the rain whenever I'm gone too long.
I had a dream the night before and surprisingly it was different that the others. In this dream I found myself walking around in a dessert, the sun was blistering hot and my skin was burning. Red blotches covered my arms and the part of my neck that was exposed felt raw as a passed my hand at the back of my head. I looked to the sky to cruse the sun but when I looked, there was no sun in the sky, there were only think black cumulus clouds, threatening to release rain. Looking at the clouds I suddenly became aware of how dry my throat felt… I felt like water didn't touch my lips for years. I stuck out my tongue in anticipation of the rain but it never came… instead the heat from the invisible sun scorched my tongue.
The dream was so vivid… I could feel the heat even as I sat in the office with the cold air dancing around me. I felt like there was an impenetrable barrier that locked me in a little heated cocoon.
I loosened the tie from around neck and took a sip of water. It wormed down my throat but didn't quench it. I felt so thirsty. For the entire day my throat was itching because of how thirsty I felt. I passed my hand over my smooth low cut hair and leaned back in the chair and looked at the other people in the room.
Everyone was watching me… Why was everyone watching me? "Yes?" I asked
Jonathan Price, my ass of a boss, looked at me and his brows frowned. "Sleep then come, don't come to sleep." He said. This was something he always told me and every time he said it I felt like throwing whatever I had in my hand at him.
"I'm not sleeping," I said.
The other ten people in the room managed to laugh at this. They were all ass kissers and I never cared much for them. They all thought life began and ended with the The Herald. I on the other hand could not give a flying fuck about the paper. I was just passing time.
Jonathon looked at me disapprovingly and shook his head. "Terrence, Neil just suggested that we do a piece on Michael Green: Living the Dream."
I was so fucking tired of pieces on Michael Fucking Green. Wasn't there any other footballer we could talk about? "Didn't we do a piece on him two months ago?"
He shrugged. "But now he's getting married so… it seems like everything is perfect; playing for a top club in England, huge salary, endless sponsorship deals, captain of the national team and now he's getting married."
I sat up, trying not to start throwing obscenities at him. "Um… but do guys really care about him getting married. It's a sports magazine… not a…well you know."
Everyone looked at me like I was an idiot.
"Anyway," Jonathon said. "We'll see if we can hook that up in time to meet Tuesday's deadline. I'll take this one; he might be more willing to talk to me. We haven't gotten an exclusive from him since… well… it seems like years."
Richard raised his hand eagerly. "I'd like to do the One Day Cricket piece."
"'Why is female boxing so popular' for you Cindy," Jonathon said. As the only woman in the group, she always got stories about how women's sport doesn't suck as much as people think. She always gladly accepted them
And me being the youngest, always got:
"Terrence, you'll cover all the Secondary School football."
I got the same fucking shit to do every week. And when Wednesday rolled around and I pulled out the magazine from the paper I would turn to page fourteen and see my designated twenty line article on the matches squeezed in a corner at the bottom of the page.
I half listened as he called out all the other interesting things other people got to do. When I heard the chairs pull out I knew it was time for me leave. I got up, taking my note pad with me and walked to the lunch room where all the others were going.
The lunch room was a large area with mahogany tables and soft lighting. For some reason the owner of the paper thought it was a good idea to have a beautiful lunch room but leave the offices as small crammed cubicles, wherever the space was available.
I walked out the back door of the lunch room, into and open air gallery that was nice place to sit when the weather permitted. There were two people who used this part of the room, I was one of them and other was the person at the paper I managed to develop something resembling a friendship with.
"Cigarette?" Ali asked me.
I took it out of the pack and used my own lighter to light it up. Sometimes it was the other way around and I offered her a smoke instead but the past two months it had been me and her alone, smoking on the balcony, talking about how much we hated our job. She was older than me, by at least ten years I think. I was never rude enough to ask but I guessed based on the amount of wrinkles she had. Her name was Fazisha Ali and I used to call her Mrs Ali but she hated the formal tone so I took to calling her Ali.
"You look tired?" she said.
"I didn't get much sleep last night."
"You really should see someone about that."
I laughed and took a long drag before letting it out. I changed the topic. "Guess who's covering secondary school football again."
"Guess who's doing another piece on floral arrangements?" she asked in return.
We laughed at each other and then looked out at the building opposite us just so we could have something to look at.
"Well I did have another option," she said matter-of-factly. "They wanted a piece on Michelle Joseph, but she never talks to us…"
I dropped the ash over the balcony and looked down. "How much clout would you get if you do that story?" I asked her.
She laughed. "Are you kidding… everyone wants to interview her. How many Trinidadian authors do you know who has sold over 500,000 copies of book. And she's so young, must be raking in the dough. Did you read her book by the way?"
I took another drag and looked at her. "Several times," I said.
She looked surprised. "You liked it that much huh?"
I shrugged. "You know the character Lenny?" I asked.
She nodded. "Yeah… I was rooting for him, but he ended up being an ass in the end. I don't even understand what happened with him."
I laughed and looked at her as she tried to pin her hair against the wind. "Well what if I told you that he was based on someone real?"
"I kind of guessed that, you can't make that shit up."
"And If I told you that someone was me?"
She looked at me and tilted her head and laughed. "Stop messing with me Terry."
"I'm not messing with you… that guy is supposed to be me…. Well not all of it, some of it is me and some are other guys."
She laughed and rocked her head back. "Stop lying…"
"I'm not" I said. "I was actually engaged to Michelle Joseph."
She stomped her foot. "You're lying."
"It's the truth; I swear. The date was supposed to be May 28th 20-- on her 19th birthday."
She started to look at me like I was strange. "But I always hear that Michelle and Michael were together since Secondary school."
I laughed at this even though my instinct was to cry. "That's not true. She wasn't with him until we broke up."
She looked at me with incredulity. "And you never told anyone this?"
I shrugged. I didn't want to admit how impossible it was for me to talk about it. I still couldn't come to terms with the fact that Michelle and I weren't together anymore and that in a week's time she would be marrying Michael.
"So how do you feel now that she's marrying Michael Green?"
I laughed and out the cigarette under my shoe. She offered me another, sensing that I needed it. I lit up quickly and turned back to her. "She's not going to marry him?" I said simply.
"Really?" she said.
I nodded. "We have this… thing… and it makes it impossible for us to be with other people. She's not going to marry him."
"What are you talking about? She's not with you right now, is she."
I hated her for pointing this out. "I know but… she won't marry him. Don't ask me how I know… I just do. She's not going to marry him."
She looked at me and laughed. "I still can't believe that you know Michelle Joseph and you never said a word… do you have any idea how hard we have been trying to get an interview with her."
I shrugged again. "Well… she's a very private person."
"And she's all over the British tabloids."
"And I'm sure she hates it." I said, thinking about how much she hated the spot light. It was so ironic that I spend the last year taking magazines off shelves to find out what was going on with her. It was easy to tell what was true and what was not. I still knew her.
"So how do you think she won't end up marrying him?
I shrugged again. "I don't know… something will happen. I know it."
"So what are you doing here… shouldn't you be in England trying to stop the thing from happening. You want her back don't you?"
I leaned against the wall. "Something tells me I am right where I need to be. I just have to sit by and wait."
She laughed again. "You're weird."
"I know," I said.
When I got home it was almost eight in the night and I was soaking wet. I stood awkwardly in the elevator with muddy black leather shoes, a tie that was draped on my shoulder and shirt that was clinging to my skin.
I would have really liked it if no one came in the elevator at all, but of course a day that starts crappy always ends crappy. On the fourth floor Diane came in. To anyone else my appearance would have been a turn off or at least disturbing but it was only Diane who would look at me like she wanted to fuck me. I turned my head away from her gaze, trying to discourage any sort of conversation.
"Hello Terrence… you look like were having fun," she said.
"The opposite actually."
"Don't work too hard," she said putting on a grin that she thought was cute.
I nodded again and walked passed her when the door opened on the fifth floor. She waved at me and I walked down the hall and came to a stop at 509. I fished the keys out of my pocket and opened the door.
I liked my apartment. It was the one part of my shitty existence that was okay. I could always count on the fact that once I was in there I could let every thing down and just be who I wanted to be and do what I wanted to. I didn't have to put on a happy face if I felt like crap and I didn't have to friendly with anyone if I was mad at the world.
I usually began my stripping ritual at the door and by the time I reached my bathroom I would be naked and ready for the shower. I discarded all the weigh downs at the door and walked through the apartment dropping clothes as I walked and I reached the bathroom and turned on the shower. I usually took cold showers but given that I spend about the two hours in wet clothes I decided to take a warm shower.
I noticed right away that it was easier not to think about her when the water was warm. I would always think about her in the shower. The drops of water would remind me of her finger tips on me cold and gentle.
As always I spent too long in the shower and only got out when I saw my hands wrinkling until they were unrecognizable.
I dried myself quickly and put on a pair of boxers and a T-shirt. I felt tired, my entire body felt tired but for some reason I just couldn't get to sleep. I went to the front door where I left my laptop and took it back the room. I had my notes recorded on a voice recorder so I decided that I would upload it. I connected the recorder to the USB drive and saved all the files. In the window I looked to the side and I could see the other folders available. There was, My Computer, My Documents and My Pictures. I let the mouse hovered over it slightly.
"Stop it," I told myself.
I wanted to stop but of course I didn't. I clicked on the file and released a heavy sigh as the window opened.
I read the bottom of the file… It was up to 648 images. I didn't even know when I collected most of them. Over the years we were together I took about 400 or so of her, she sent me a couple while she was in university and all the recent additions were what I got off the internet. I actually paid for most of these images so I wouldn't get that rude watermark on them.
I couldn't stop looking at her, she was so beautiful. I loved the way her skin looked like perfect smooth chocolate, even with dreary England as the background, I loved the way her eyes lit up in pictures, her eyes were so expressive. I loved the pictures with us together. I loved the way she let me hold her. I love the ring on her finger… the one I gave her when I returned home…
Looking back at those pictures I always remembered that time.
She opened the door and I saw her jaw dropped when she looked at me. She jumped up at me and she wrapped her legs around me. "I guess that means you're happy to see me."
"You came early; I was going to the airport to meet you."
I laughed. "Then we wouldn't be able to do this," I said leaning in to kiss her while I wrapped her legs further around me. I led her in the door and shut it behind me, knowing that the neighbors were watching us. "God, I missed you," I said while kissing her neck.
"I missed you too," she replied. I walked with her around my waist, down the hall and to her bedroom and opened the door. I eased her down onto the bed and looked at her. "So do you agree with that saying?"
"What saying," she asked with her eyes following me.
"That absence makes the heart grow fonder."
She smiled and bit her lips and passed her hand over my low cit hair. "Yes, I miss your hair so much."
"Miss anything else."
"I miss your eyes." she said and leaned up and kissed my lids that closed just in time. "And I miss your nose," she kissed the tip of my nose. "You're cheeks," she said laughing now, "And you lips," I kissed her again before she could kiss her. I eased my body onto the bed, using my hand to be slightly elevated above her.
God, I loved this girl and her obsessions with skirts. I slipped my hand under her skirt and moved my hand up her leg slowly. She raised her body up to meet mine and tilted her neck to the side. I missed her neck. I Licked on that spot below her ear while my hand reached the seams of her underwear. I started to pull it down slightly but then I stopped myself. I sighed and collapsed at the side of her. We laid there and looked at each other. She laughed at me. "Do you want to show me the pictures?" she asked, trying to help me out.
I decided that could calm me down. I got took my camera out of my back pocket and switched it on.
"This is where Robert lives…" I said showing the two storey house in a suburb, this is his wife Janet, she's a editor of a newspaper… you should see her office, it's crazy. And this is… Joshua, he's my brother."
She looked at me and smiled. "That so cool what's it like having a little brother."
"He talks a lot," I said, remembering how much time he spent showing me his all his pokemon toys and Harry Potter broom and Quidditch robes. "He said he wants to start to play soccer now." I flipped through the pictures and she looked at them and looked at me to see my reaction.
"Do know what Robert had in his office?" I asked her even though I knew she didn't know. She shook her head. "You know how right before you play a game you take a team picture?" She nodded. "He ordered a huge one off the internet and he has it in his office at the paper."
"That's so sweet." She said.
"He has a lot of things like that. He even has pictures of me and Joshua all over the house. Isn't it weird how much you we look alike. You can't even tell we're half brothers."
She smiled at me and pressed her hand behind my head and leaned her forehead against mine. "I'm so happy for you Terry."
I put the camera at the side of me and took her hand and held it tightly in mine. "I got something for you," I said.
"I told you not to get me anything," she protested.
"Okay, it's for us."
"For us?" she I asked.
I nodded and crawled over her to get off the bed and knelt down before her. I rubbed her legs and looked up at her. "Michelle," I said
"Terry," she replied looking down at me in amusement.
"I thought I would be nervous to do this but I'm not."
"Do what?" she asked laughing now.
I reached in my back pocket and took out the only thing I had been thinking about other than her for the entire night and held it out to her. Her hands moved to cover her mouth but I captured them before. "I had an idea of how I wanted to do this." I said. "I was going to send you a resume in the mail with a list of my qualification to be a good husband… so I started typing it out and I realized that that there was only one thing that made me qualified and that is that I love you more than anything or anyone in the Universe" I looked down at her hand and kissed it. "I'm not going to tell you should love me just because I love you, so minus any grand gestures… I'm here to humbly beg for the job."
I laughed. "I haven't asked yet." I said.
"Well hurry up and ask."
"Okay, Michelle Arachne Lisa Joseph, will you marry me."
"God…yes," she said leaned down to kiss me.
I slipped the ring on her finger and looked at it. "It fits perfectly."
"I love you, I love you, I love you, I love you." she mumbled between kisses as I stood up slowly and leaned her back against the bed.
I thought about her all the time.
Sometimes the slightest thing would trigger a memory and I would find myself sinking into day dreams about her. The fact that it was raining all the time made it even more difficult. Every time it rained I thought about her. I thought about our first month together when it kept raining. I wondered, if it wasn't raining if I would have ever worked up the courage to talk to her.
I got up from the chair and backed away from the screen
You're not doing this again Terry.
You're not doing this.
I turned away from the computer and walked to the nightstand and picked up a pack of cigarettes and a lighter.
It was ironic that the only thing that was keeping me calm was something she absolutely hated.
I had a fantasy that I would be lying in bed alone and there would be a knock on the door and when I answered it, it would be her. I would take in her in my arms, and she would melt into mine and everything else would be forgotten.
I thought about this every night, and I believed it would happen. I believed from the bottom of my heart that she would leave Michael and return to me. I believed this so deeply that I had a habit of preparing things for her inevitable arrival. When I went to the supermarket I brought food that she liked, when I rented movies, I rented things that I thought she would want to see, when I tried to cook something I always cooked more than I could eat my myself and when I smoked I absolutely didn't smoke in the apartment. I went out on the balcony to smoke and even though there was no one there but me, I went through ridiculous lengths to cover up the smell.
I walked in the living room and opened the large sliding door and gust of wind hit me. It was just drizzling slightly now so the entire balcony was not getting wet. I took a seat in a chair in the corner and rest my bare feet between the balusters. I lit up the first cigarette and looked at it before I placed it between my lips. I knew she would hate it but I believed she would hate the alternative even more. My hands were fidgeting again and they wanted to do what that red devil on my left shoulder was telling me… I wanted to ignore that little devil… so I gave my hands something to do. Smoking was actually saving me.
I took it between my lips and took the first drag…
I felt better already.
As I let it out, I closed my eyes and felt my entire body calming. The rain was sprinkling lightly on my legs and I imagined her again. I usually felt a sort of sickening despair when I thought about her but when I smoked and thought about her I just saw this period as some sort of transition…. a horrible and long one.
I took another drag and was about to let it out when I heard the door bell ring.
I stopped…and the smoke began to cloud my lungs and I let out a cough… I coughed and coughed while the ringing at the door continued.
Could it be?
I put out the cigarette on the banister and threw it off the building and went inside the house. The ringing was much louder when I went inside which made the urgency much more apparent. I started to walk to the door then I realized my breath most likely still smelled like smoke. I moved back to the bed room and closed down the laptop ( didn't want to look like a psycho) and went to the bathroom and gaggled some mouthwash before washing my hands and rubbing on some after shave…
"I'm coming," I said
And I walked quickly over to the door, picking up the clothes I left on the floor on the way there. I rolled them up in a ball and hid it behind a cushion on the sofa.
I examined the room one more time, passed my hand over my hair, and took a deep breath before opening the door.
Author's Note: So what do guys think. Are you shocked? Are you mad as hell?
Over the next couple of chapters you guys will see how all this happened.