…some work in progress from the Cazique of Poyais story…
“What do you like?”
Jose lay on the floor, dry but without warmth, staring at the ceiling. It was not a question he had given thought to much before and certainly not over the last few months, but he managed a response, “I used to like looking at a church in Belize Town. I thought it was amazing how a group of people had built it with materials brought in from afar and then they had all just disappeared. The church will last, for a time at least.”
“It’s nice to think of things that are bigger than us.”
“What do you like?” He asked her, turning to his side to face her, realising he knew so little about her, but had always felt the attraction nonetheless from that first moment when she hit back at that bastard Thomas Clink.
“To dream. It’s nice to wrap yourself in something else for a while. Helps to forget all the unpleasantness that seeps into the day to day.”
“I guess that’s another way of believing in something bigger than yourself. What do you dream about?”
“Two things usually. Security. A home, something to sustain me and any family I would have had. It’s why I went to Poyais, that dream. The other is to be a part of excitement, but with the fallback of that security.”
“Yeah, I guess we are doing that without the security now. Maybe we can find a way to make it better.”
Emma thought for a moment, leaving in to face Jose, “do you think we’ll find our security in Parsons Green?”
“No, I think we’ve lost that here. Perhaps we can find it again though. Either way, I have to see the place.”
“And this package we have to deliver. It must be something slightly nefarious if he won’t deliver it himself or through the post.”
“I’m sure it’s a scheme of some sort that he has with the Bishop. We just need to drop it, get paid and get out.”
There was a awkward silence as both of their minds raced to think of the next best thing to say. Jose contemplated asking about her life before Poyais, but it didn’t seem right to ask. Emma knew what she would say, but wanted to build up the courage, so she filled the space, “this isn’t so bad here, but I’m glad we will be on the road tomorrow.”
“We May be on the road for some time.”
“It’s not your fault, you know.”
“I know this isn’t, but it was foolish of me. Maybe I always knew it was too good to be true, but still wanted out.”
“No, your Uncle.”
“Ahh, well, I’m not so sure.”
“We have to forgive ourselves for things largely out of our control.”
“Wasn’t it in my control though? Without the promise of this fiasco and my desire to embark on it, he would still be here with us.”
“Would he be alive, though?”
Just a quizzical look from Jose gave Emma the permission she wanted to proceed, “he died a long time ago based on what Noemi said. Just because the flesh walks around doesn’t mean we live. Ask yourself, would he have never committed suicide if you had stayed?”
“I can’t answer that.”
“Of course, only that which has happened is, in one sense. My point is that the main thing that drove his decision wasn’t you. He made a decision long ago. That’s why he had the means to effect his decision so close to hand.”
“Still, my actions created the push.”
“Perhaps, to a degree. You can’t let yourself feel the guilt as if killed him with your own hands. It just isn’t the case. I barely know you, but it was crushing to see the residual effect of this.”
“I have to carry it. I can’t forget it.”
“Carry a piece of it. Use the rest of you to live and make something out of this.”
He knew that he loved her then, if not before. Without her he may do something with his life, but he wouldn’t be living. His Uncle would be reincarnate in him. That wasn’t living.
In the darkness there he wanted to kiss her. He wasn’t experienced in such things so was overcome with a paralysing sensation. The fight or flight response system in his brain had kicked in and chosen to do neither.
For his sake, at least, there was no need to do anything as Emma rolled over and gave him a light kiss on his lips, sending a warm sensation through his body. It was quick and what it lacked in passion it made up for in love. This was a kiss worth remembering for what it meant. Emma had decided that she would live as well. Not necessarily as a wife or lover, though always with a kindred love.
“We should go to bed,” she said softly, still thinking of that kiss, “there’s a lot for us to do tomorrow and who knows when we’ll have someplace as dry as this to sleep.”
She rolled onto her back as Jose absently responded, “Yes, of course,” as he stared at her and thought of that kiss. How lucky he was that he hadn’t been forced into digging himself out of his paralysis or of another regret weighing down his soul.