Title of Book: "Only Moments"
Publisher: Publish America
Date of Release: June 2007
You can purchase ONLY MOMENTS by clicking here!
ONLY MOMENTS EXCERPT:
We are always in two worlds at once, and neither of them is the world of reality. One is the world we think we are in, the other is the world we would like to be in.
—Henry V. Miller
People are lonely because they build walls instead of bridges.
—Joseph F. Newton
It was the day before the concert. Angela was now forty-five minutes late for our last full rehearsal. The sky was brilliant, cast in a deep blue pastel. There was a change in the air. Cool Canadian waves of high pressure were undulating through the Eastern seaboard. I fretted over our poor level of performance and wondered how to bring it to where it should have been these
last few months. Where I knew it had been for years, before she moved out.
The rhythms were not crisp; the dynamics were mercilessly flat. So much was pent-up inside, we could still barely look at each other. I could not fathom how we would get through the biggest show of our careers. The doorbell rang.
Angela had kept her key and usually just let herself in. I walked to the door surprised to see her on the small security monitor.
“Hi! I’m sorry I’m late, I got caught up in some things and I forgot my
“Better late than never, come on in.”
She set up, tuned her instrument, and started her warm-up exercises. I decided that this was the appropriate time to converse in regards to my concerns for tomorrow night’s performance. I had waited far too long as it
“Angela, I think we need to talk.”
“About what, Chris?”
I knew the routine. The gamesmanship. First, I would have to get through the hardened shell of denial. Everything had been kept civil, as long as we stayed on the margins. Stability was a fleeting mirage.
“About where we’re going.”
“You mean Carnegie Hall?” She began playing her scales louder and would not make eye contact.
“Indirectly.” I was about to back off and leave it be. I could see that she was becoming agitated already and I feared that we would lose the only fragile tie we had. She stopped playing.
“What do you mean?” she said challenging condescendingly. “What are you talking about?”
I couldn’t help myself. Something took over and burst forth. I knew this was it, the head-to-head confrontation that I had been expecting. I took a deep breath and let it blurt out.
“I guess what I mean is, is this our last performance together? Where can we go from here?” She didn’t seem to expect this and looked taken aback.
“I don’t know if I want to talk about that now, Chris.”
“Look Angela, if we don’t, we may not make it there tomorrow night. I certainly don’t want to perform at the level we’ve been rehearsing at.”
She was stunned. I was questioning her ability for the first time in her career. She looked at me straight in the eye with a serious face. Her bow raised and pointed at me.
“You’re right. It’s been put off for too long.”
It was her time for a deep breath. I wanted her to talk and was relieved. I needed to hear what she felt and what she wanted.
“Chris, I really thought time would help work things out for me, but it hasn’t. I guess I should really move on and let you live your life without me complicating things any further. If that means not performing tomorrow night, then so be it.”
“Angela, I love you. The hell with Carnegie Hall! I want to talk about what it is that’s bothering you. I just don’t understand why you are acting this way.”
“You certainly don’t act like you love me!”
“What do mean, what are you saying?” I demanded.
“I’ve been out of the house for three months now. You have made no attempt to get me back, to fight for me. You only call when we need to rehearse, or if we need to coordinate our schedules. You don’t react to anything. I was attracted to you for so long because of your hopes and dreams. I was drawn to your sense of purpose, to your passion. I don’t know what happened, I really don’t. The life I was leading years ago now seems to have worn hollow…empty.”
I listened intensely to every word. I was angry, my temper fully stoked, my pulse quickened.
“I don’t react to anything? My insides are ripped to shreds! Damn you to hell! Don’t you dare tell me that I don’t react—that I don’t care! As far as being a dreamer, yes I am, but I have come a long way from merely dreaming.
Maybe, just maybe, you are begrudging me that I have. Maybe you’ve given up on yourself!”
“I don’t think so,” she huffed. I pushed on.
“You were the one who needed to move out for more personal space to sort things through. Is this a high stakes head game? Does all this rationalization make you feel better about yourself? Does acting like a coward and transferring the guilt and blame to me make you feel better?”
“No, it doesn’t, Goddamn it! I don’t even know what you’re talking about.
I cannot understand how someone can tell me how much they love me, and yet do nothing! You’re the fucking coward and you don’t make any sense!”
She was screaming as loud as I have ever heard her. She was over the edge.
A shouting match had taken the place of communication. She was not going to let her guard down and tell me her deepest thoughts. She then lunged at me with hands-fisted, swinging madly in the air.
“Goddamn you! Goddamn you, Chris!”
I was able to grab her left arm mid-air. The right however landed to the side of my throat and harmlessly glanced to the back of my neck. The blow would have hit me squarely in the face had I not quick reflexes. I snatched her right forearm and stood in disbelief and amazement at the physical violence to which she had been driven. I released her arms, pulled back, got hold of
myself and then sat on the love seat opposite the piano. She stood with fierce eyes, in another world. There was silence for some time. I wasn’t angry over her attempting to strike me. I was saddened and pitied her. I decided to move on with the subject, lest it all be over now. I would deal with the attack afterwards when she could understand what she had done. Now was not the time to stir an overwrought madwoman even further. I looked up from the sofa. Her head was down.
“I am not like you, Angela. I am not outwardly assertive,” I said calmly to help dissipate the overcharged emotions. “I do things quietly, but forcefully. I am not a showman like you. We could have never survived together this long if I was.”
She looked at me and put her violin back in the case. If she was going to leave, then I would now strike directly at the heart. Let the blood spill.
Apparently there was nothing left to lose.
“What is this really about? Why are you creating these diversions to avoid the real issues? For that matter, what the hell are the real issues? What do you feel for me, Angela? Anything? Anything at all?”
She sat down on the Victorian side chair and stared blankly at the wall.
There was no answer forthcoming.
“Damn you, Angela, talk to me! I want to know what you are thinking! I want to understand what I’ve done! Just tell me you don’t love me anymore and I’ll go away. I want to be able to understand.” I got up and walked over to her, face to face.
“Tell me you don’t love me, tell me right now!”
We looked at each other with no expression. She couldn’t say anything, her upper lip quivered slightly. I turned away and sat back down. I spoke slowly and seriously without looking at her.
“I don’t know what else to say to you, or how to deal with you, but the one thing I do know is that I love you. That I know for sure.”
I felt the heartache of time eternal bearing down harder than ever. The reality of the end hit hard with sharp and sustained grief. There was no more to say, little else to hammer into minute pieces for introspection. Adrenaline surged. I closed my eyes and squeezed my arms together, not wanting to see her walk out the door, forever. Let the images of the better days last, there was no need for the finality to be replayed endlessly.
“Chris, I can’t run anymore!” she suddenly cried out.
I opened my eyes stunned. I had no idea what she meant.
“I just can’t run from it!”
I could only sit and stare, wondering what was to come. Eye contact was the first thing that did. She stood in front of me, but at a distance. I absorbed her sad look, but made no move and remained expressionless. There were no smiles exchanged, the bridge could have collapsed at any time.
“Run from what?” I asked almost obligatorily.
“I don’t want to be close to anyone.”
Again, she stopped, afraid to continue revealing her true thoughts and fearing it was too late for their revelation.
“Angela,” I quietly began, “please go on. You’ve obviously got things to say and I’m beside myself waiting to hear them.” I looked directly at her. “I love you, Angela.”
“That’s the problem, that’s it,” she sobbed. “I don’t want to love you, but I do so very, very much. I’ve tried to sever the feelings; I’ve tried to make the situation much worse than it is, to have an excuse for you to give up on me. I’ve come up with every lame scenario I could to rationalize our separation. I tried so hard to convince myself I was right; that it was right, but I just can’t seem to shut the door on you. I wanted to believe that my feelings stemmed from our insecurities, from co-dependence. I was reaching for any excuse outside of myself.”
She was crying now, but I did not go over to console her. I knew that I still needed to get to the truth no matter how bad it hurt either one of us. At least we were getting to real emotions, real feelings. I wanted to know all of it no matter what the consequences.
“Why, Angela? Please tell me why?”
She lunged forward and dropped to her knees on the carpet, her hands in her face. She opened them to expose a teary face that was full of child-like fright and panic. She reached for her purse for tissues to wipe the tears away. I was profoundly affected by the sight of sheer terror she had revealed and didn’t move a muscle. She composed herself and kept her head tilted down as
she sat on the back of her legs.
“I’ve been thinking a lot about my life and who I am. I’ve been going to therapy and there are many things in the past that affect me greatly now.”
I was happy to see that she had finally sought professional help. Whenever I brought it up, her rebuff had always been swift. As much as I tried through the years, there was always a lover versus lover game, and neither of us would completely let the other in on every thought, emotion, or skeleton lurking.
“My brother was gone before I even got to know him.” She continued on regaining her composure. “I never cried for him. I didn’t understand the impact of his death at that time. It was never something I wanted to give any thought. He was killed in such a far away place I couldn’t even visualize, and my life just went on as usual. The notice in the paper was the only thing I saw that made it official, made it real. I never even went to the service for him. My
mother and father felt that at nine years old, I was too young and didn’t want me to go through such an ordeal. I wanted to be involved some way; to share my pain outwardly, but there was no one with whom to share it. I was afraid to talk to them about it. My parent’s sadness occasionally broke through their act of indifference that was manifested for my sake. They thought they were doing the right thing by keeping me from the harshness and built walls of
isolation. My father suffocated me with restrictions and rules out of fear and love, as a teenager I resented it. I wanted to be able to do things on my own, and they were so protective of me. They were afraid that they would lose me as well. They couldn’t understand how they were affecting me; they were just dealing with the loss of their son in their own way. I was shielded from their emotions, they never cried about it in front of me; they hid it the way they hid
many of their emotions. I got used to ignoring it and never thought about it. They were not cold people; they just reacted in the only way they knew. They were trying to protect me. I just figured that this was how people were supposed to be. I had never expressed my true emotions and really felt the strong bond of love until we met. I thought it was all that I needed to make up for everything I didn’t have inside.”
“I don’t understand what this has to do with leaving the house, and not wanting me to love you.”
“Don’t you see? My brother and father are dead and I still cannot come to terms with any of it. I can’t accept it…and I can’t bear to love you…then, to lose you as well…”
“There’s got to be more to this. Why are you so afraid? Why have you hurt me and yourself so much?”
She looked away, drew a deep breath, and tilted her head toward the ceiling.
“I’m sorry for the agony I’ve put you through. I’m so sorry and embarrassed for losing all control and hitting you, Chris. There is absolutely no excuse for that. I don’t know what’s wrong with me. I wouldn’t expect you to forgive me for that.
“God, I wish we didn’t mean so much to each other, Chris.”
“What are you talking about? Why would you wish we didn’t love each other now?”
“Chris, I feel like my own life is meaningless. Each morning I wake, I wish I were dead. I’ve gone through the motions, and for all the work and sacrifices, for all the time invested. I feel old. I feel drained dry. For all we’ve done, I have no sense of accomplishment. I need to know what to do to be happy, it just has not come to me. I want to run away from it all to a place where no one knows who I am, or where I’ve come from.”
She bore into a heavy groan of agony and I went to her and held her in my arms. She was shaking and I was crying as I rubbed her back and whispered “It’s okay, it’s going to be all right. I understand why you lost control and hit me. You’re very depressed and bitter, you are going to get through this – there is hope, Angela. You have to surrender and accept what you cannot change. You must stop beating yourself up for things that you have no control over. You are the love of my life. I’ll be here for you, don’t shut me out.”
“I’m sorry,” she blurted out, “I just can’t handle it. You don’t deserve this and I don’t deserve you. My insane neuroticism has driven me close to madness. I keep churning so intensely inside, I can’t deal with all of the hurt I have caused you and all of the selfish things I’ve done. I don’t know why you still want me; I’m not worthy of your love and understanding. I have used and
abused you; I regret all of it. Chris, I never wanted to hurt you so badly. I’m not a good person. I don’t know how I can make it up to you and my soul aches deeply for what I’ve allowed to happen.”
“You have to believe in the power of your soul, Angela. You have to believe in yourself the way I believe in you. You are a good person you have just done some things that are not so good for me. When I think of you not being here, it only makes me want you all the more. The thought of a time without you forces me to understand how precious the time is that I am with
“If you knew of all the things I’ve done to make myself feel better, you wouldn’t want me. I don’t want my compulsiveness to hurt you any longer.”
“You mean drinking?”
“It’s more than that,” she mumbled as she moved away.
“There’s nothing you can tell me that is going to make me feel any worse than I do right now. I have been walking in shattered pieces as a zombie day by day, not feeling anything but numbness and deep hurt.”
She looked up at me as if she were about to deliver a deadly message.
“It’s an addictive disorder, that’s what my therapist tells me. I get stoned and drunk or abuse myself with whatever pills are available. I have slept with more men than I want to remember in the last few months. All of this has made me feel even worse.” She was waiting for a reaction. I said nothing. I had assumed she was going to be with other men but I was not expecting this.........
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