“Memory believes before knowing remembers. Believes longer than recollects, longer than knowing even wonders.” Wm Faulkner – Light in August
Bette’s Garden – Tina
As I finish my jarring story, Bette looks at me with the most unusual expression. “What Gypsy? Where’d she come from?”
“Can you whistle, Bette?”
“No. Can you whistle with your fingers, like for a cab or a dog?” I explain.
She puts two fingers in her mouth and sends out an alert in two beats. “Like this?”
From inside the house I hear Shane call out, “Yo!”
“What? You can’t do that?” Bette asks me in disbelief that mighty whistles are all that unique.
“No. I can’t do that.” I shake my head.
“It’s a tongue thing, really.” Bette says nonchalantly.
“It always is with you.”
Shane greets us back inside, “Hey! Stay and hang out with us, Tina. Alice has pizza warming in the oven.”
“Caesar salad, too.” Alice appears from Bette’s bedroom with a white jasmine scented candle. One I’d bought last spring and never lit. Alice places it next to Dana’s remains, and nods the bottle of wine at me. I should stay. I need to stay. They want me here.
Bette pours Merlot into the goblet we shared as I went back in time twenty years. “For you, T. It would be good if you stayed with us.” She reaches high up to the top cabinet’s latches. The ones I always had to get the stool for unless she was nearby to help. I look sadly at the soiled Starbucks cup that sits on the counter containing Dana’s ashes we stole earlier.
“Alice, I think I have a few nice jars and porcelain we can sort through for Dana. How many do you want? Four, three, six? What?”
It was uncomfortable going through all those emotions again. Feel drained, feeling disoriented by reliving them. I can almost feel the long, long arms of the Gypsy’s catching hold of me.
I remember the sawdust flying up as my feet dug in to run away. But the woman had held onto me and said, “You’ve been really hurt, child,” and the blood on my hand as I’d touched my back had confirmed a growing patch of wetness. She had told me not to worry, like her I would always have a Gypsy scar.