Previously in this blog serial...
Now the HAUNTING continues...
I am lying awake in the comfortable motel bed. Comfortable because Eddie is next to me, his body against mine. His arm is draped over my side and I feel the steady rhythm of his breath against my neck. Gently pressing his hand against my chest, I wish I could join him in deep slumber. Nothing sounds better than to drift into unconsciousness with Eddie beside me, our bodies entangled in the sweet calm of afterglow, but I can’t.
All I can think about is what brought me back to Sturgeons. It would be so much easier if the man curled up next to me was the only reason. There would be no reason to leave this bed. No reason to get dressed and turn on my phone. No reason to sit down at the writing desk and pull out a blank piece of paper. No reason to explain my actions, to confess to being a liar. Lies born to hide my pain and anger from others, from myself.
My mother keeps to herself these days, rarely leaving her home. That’s what I told Eddie, but I didn’t explain that her home is in a psychiatric ward. Between dealing with my father and her overwhelming grief over Tommy, my mother slowly withdrew into her own mind. Watching her fade away from us, from me, was excruciating. Even the doctors stopped pretending there was any chance of recovery. I just hope that my mother has found Tommy in whatever mental world she created for herself.
My father died last year. That much is true, but I lied to Eddie about the heart attack. He had been drinking more and more, fueling his rage against the lawman. Not a day went by without my father blaming Straker for everything. Tommy’s disappearance. The destruction of Sturgeons. My mother’s deteriorating mental state. After she was committed, my father couldn’t take it anymore. I came home one day and found him dead from a self-inflicted gunshot wound. He was finally at peace, his anger and pain forever silenced, but mine continued.
There’s more I should tell Eddie, but maybe It doesn’t matter. No matter how much I explain, he will have questions. Questions with answers that he doesn’t need to be burdened with. Even though I can claim I’m protecting Eddie, I know that deep down I’m a selfish man. I just hope, no matter what happens, he believes I care.
I don’t want Eddie waking up to think our night together meant nothing, that he was just a warm body. This time together, although brief, has been life. A sweet breath filling my lungs, turning our old friendship into something deeper, more meaningful. At least this is what I tell myself as I gently slide his arm from around me.
Slowly sitting up, I quietly leave the bed and walk to the bathroom. The harsh lighting is almost blinding, but I stare at my guilty reflection in the mirror. I tell myself Eddie will try to understand because that’s who he is, who he has always been. Eddie Newcastle is a thoughtful man who will forgive me, even though forgiveness will be the last thing I deserve.
The HAUNTING continues on January 18, 2022
Thank you for reading or listening to my half-blind words!
I’m John from Nebraska.🌽
The JLH Collective is my ridiculously named online home.🏠
A home where you can find…
Way too much about me and my half-blind eyes.🤓
(click the pic to explore ⤵️)