One by one/We
close our eyes/And returned to that place/As a thousand nights go
Eastern Glow – The Album Leaf
Pt. 1 – Cassandra
Well I'm pushing myself to finish this part/I can handle a lot/But one thing I'm missing is in your eyes
Eyes – Rogue Wave
In the dark of her apartment Cassandra Weathersby finally began to cry. She would be crying for while because there were four months of tears pent up in her ducts. If not more. She could have really gone for a cigarette. But she didn't. A couple things kept her from walking outside and lighting one up at that very moment. First, she didn't have any. Or a lighter. Secondly, it was raining, and she hated to get her clothes wet. Thirdly, there was an eight and a half-month old fetus gestating in her stomach. All that crap about low birth weight and placenta previa. What the fuck was previa anyway? It sounded bad, but as bad as her not having nicotine immediately? That was debatable. Besides, her insomnia would probably kill it first. Still there were the first two reasons which were good enough to help her keep her eight month record clean. So she did the next best thing. She cried.
She had all the right in the world to cry. Nothing was going her way. Nothing. Her gasps for breath accented the cadence of the rain. And in all its months of darkness and loneliness, her dark and lonely apartment had never seemed as dark and lonely as it did that night. And cold. And small. And messy. Slowly moving about, not because she was especially tidy, or disgusted with it to any extent, Cassandra began cleaning her place. She was an anxious cleaner. The amount of dust around her was directly proportional to her happiness. She just needed to do something. Anything. Scrubbing the pots was enough to satisfy her. It just gave her hands something to do. So she fell in to the gentle back and forth motion of the ablution. Back and forth. Back and forth. In cadence with her heartbeat. It was enough to calm her. But then the tears started. In the dead of night and the silence, she finally let go. Her boyfriend had left her. Her brother was dead. Her parents were disappointed, which was worse than any other emotion they could express. All the emotions she had resisted feeling for so long rushed forth and overcame her in her moment of weakness. At least the floor was clean.
And then it wasn't. It was wet. So were her legs. Damn it to hell, her water was broken. Gently laying down the sponge on the counter, Cassandra walked over to the phone. It was a bit too much to handle. A premature birth on top everything else ripped and frayed her last thread of emotion. She lifted it from the cradle. 9. 1. 1. Her voice was entirely devoid of any feeling. It felt like going through the motions. Hello. Yes, I'll hold. Hello, my name is Cassandra Weathersby; my water broke and…Yes I'll hold. Hello, my name is Cassandra Weathersby and I believe myself to be going into labor. 237 Holden Drive. Apartment 11C. Thank you. Click.
With one of about a million issues in her life handled, Cassandra fell to sopping up the mixture of blood and amniotic fluid. Out damned spot. The phrase bubbled to the surface of her memory. It was Patrick Gonzalez who had introduced her to MacBeth. To Shakespeare in general. Patrick was the English major who had opened her up to a world of literary fascination. Patrick was this crazy young man she'd fallen in love with. Patrick was the unpredicatable person who could go nights without sleeping or days without talking. Patrick was the asshole whose semen has caused this debacle.
He was not like anyone she had ever met. In fact, when Cassandra found out she was pregnant, she wasn't even that surprised. Patrick was able to memorize and recite every lyric of every song to every CD produced by The Strokes, he could name every country and capital in Africa, so why couldn't he overcome the odds of a 98 percent effective condom. And he'd seemed so excited to have a protégé, which maybe should have been her first hint that this would be an ill-fated conception. But hindsight is always 20/20. Still she persisted, in fact encouraged by his positivity and zeal. Then like a Houdini he vanished. Not from the Earth or reality – he still lived five blocks south of Cassandra's apartment. He just vanished from her life. Without rhyme or reason, he locked himself up in his miserable flat and shut off the outside world. Of course, at the time, Cassandra didn't know this and could only assume he'd met some sort of grisly fate, the fate which became more grisly as the days progressed without any signs of life. Then he showed signs of life, right before he left her forever. He babbled like an idiot for half an hour about the reasons he'd be a terrible father and husband and, in spite of her pleading, he would not relent in his decision. So Patrick Gonzalez had been the equivalent of a tornado in Cassandra Weathersby's life. He was not like anyone she had ever met.
Of course, if she had to compare to anyone, it would be that odd kid that frequently visited the record shop where she worked. What was his name? Richard Something. He was such a strange kid that…an intense pain shot through her body. A crippling contraction. Cassandra fell to her knees in her own broken water, her breathing raspy. She clutched her stomach. A cold sweat broke out across her brow and hot tears began to spill down her face. Richard Evans. That's what it was. He was her favorite customer at the record store where she worked and not just because he was the most frequent visitor.
He had days where he would burst through the door ranting and raving about some band or other. So lively, a fire in his eye. When Richard Evans talked about music, she heard in him a passion that she never heard from anyone else. Except Patrick. Another one. More painful than the last. Her suppressed scream came out as a chortled grunt. The baby was too much for her to handle. Where the fuck was the ambulance? Her mind wandered warily back to Richard. Anything to think about that wasn't Patrick Gonzalez or his spawn clawing its way out of her stomach at the present moment. He had these days that he would slip into the record shop almost silent, were it not for the tiny bell on the door handle. He was like a shadow those days. Quiet and observant. His responses to her warm greetings and personable questions were grunts or monosyllabic. The only thing that was constant about him was that he was always alone. Then there were days, stretches of days where he would not appear, just like Patrick. Fuck. He was a twin, he'd told her once, that was something Patrick wasn't. A fraternal one, and his sister Rebecca Evans was about five minutes younger than him.
Panicked banging broke the spell of silence that had descended over Cassandra. Her legs were too weak from the barrage of painful contractions to stand. "It's unlocked," she called, only considering as the words came out of her mouth that the person on the other side of the door wasn't here to help her, but was a rapist or burglar. Or worse, Patrick. Her fear was quickly assuaged when the lanky individual who eclipsed the ceiling light, though of a similar build, was Isaac Mendel.