I don’t want anything of his when he is gone. Not a damned thing.
We didn’t talk for 20 years, and now he tells me stories. He tells me things about my mother I never knew, and I tuck them away like perfumed handkerchiefs in small drawers. I may never open them again, but they are there, preserved for posterity. Someone will want them and treasure them. Or someone careless will throw them in the trash.
One day in London turned into Petra and Robert replaying the good parts of Niagara Falls. The first two days were spent fasting, and nearly dehydrating, in their hotel room. On the third day Petra and Robert ventured out, finding their way to a restaurant, and then to a racetrack, somewhere Petra could place a bet. It could have been anywhere, but Robert did love the horses. They got his heart racing in a way that nothing else could with the exception of the roulette table. Petra went along with it without much to say. She could live without gambling for once– the entire escapade a gamble, whether they lived or died, together or alone.
I miss what Twinkies tasted like before. I can’t eat them often, but now and then it would be nice to have one taste like it used to
I am still going through boxes and downsizing since the move. It was hard to get rid of some things then. Now, a little easier, but sometimes I still sit with a paper in my hand, or a book, or momento and I can’t let it go.
Didn’t Charles say that he would always take care of her? Petra opened the expansive closet doors in her suite and surveyed what her husband had filled it up with. Dresses, gowns in several colors, skirts, blouses, an alpaca jacket, a pair of beaded lounge pants, and every ridiculous hat in fashion in both Paris and New York. Below were shoes, not shoes like someone might take on holiday, but shoes that a woman might accumulate over a lifetime. She did not react or squeal or get particularly excited or giddy, because this was her life. He had said she would never be left wanting and he had kept his part of the bargain. Her part was simple in theory–do everything he askd of her. So far she had done so, and without question. He had never had to get rough with her or even order her about. She was a tough girl and a little sadistic, just enough to enjoy what she was doing.
“Petra can’t be forced to be a witness at my trial. She’s my wife.” Robert took a long drag on the cigarette Margil handed to him from across the table. The guard watched closely from across the room, but allowed the exchange of cigarette and words between Robert and his lawyer during the ten minutes allowed on this prison visit.
“She ain’t your wife Robbie–she’s his wife, ain’t she?” Margil brought him back to the present, then followed the question with a raucous hacking cough. Still, he took another drag off the cigarette, watching his old friend and client. He was exploring every avenue to try and help him but he was running out of options.
“Then drag her in here!” Robert stood quickly, upsetting the folding chair. The guard took a step in his direction but he held his hand up that he was done, setting the chair to rights and sitting back down. He lowered his voice, leaning forward over the table. “Bring her in to testify. Bring her in here first, so we can find out what she’ll say. She knows the truth. She knows that I didn’t kill her aunt Sadie. Hell, I never killed nothin’ but time.”
Niagara falls was heavenly. The weather was perfect for September and the landscape was lovely, just starting to change to the many hues of Autumn. Petra lay back on the bed. For two days she and Robert put aside the sadness and worries of Chicago. It turned out that Aunt Sadie had a brother from Altoona who didn’t like how long the police were taking to solve her murder. They were treating it like a random burglary gone awry, that Sadie had discovered the burglar and a gun went off in the panic. Unsatisfied, Uncle Max had put out a reward for information leading to the capture and arrest of the murderer. All the details rolled over in her head as she looked through the window at the falls from the bed in a honeymoon suite in their hotel.
As we return this year to an older feature, ‘Tantalizing Tuesdays’, let’s finish our peek at the work of Greta Garbo we began in December.
I never said, ‘I want to be alone.’ I only said, ‘I want to be left alone.’ There is all the difference.
– Greta Garbo
Mesmerizing. When Greta Garbo is on the screen, it is her eyes I am seeking out, her many-faceted expressions that add so much more to the dialogue than just words. It is more than tactile, innate beauty. There are many people born, as some would say, ‘classically beautiful.’ But there was something else, something I cannot name, coming from inside her.
She held the handle of the hairbrush
I wondered what was about to happen
what was going to happen
when she took the steps across the room
to reach me
or my feet, frozen to the floor
would make their way to her–
I didn’t know her very well
but she knew me
She knew every spot on my body
that made me stay
every spot on my body
she knew where to touch
to get her way, every time
She said, ‘I like this neighborhood
I want to stay
to find a little place where I can paint
a little place to paint and say
I’ve been somewhere
and I belong somewhere
where someone loves me.’
Love, did she say love?
my mind and body confused
she wanted to stay and I wanted that too
but the word got in the way
four letters got in the way
but not that day, that day
we went everywhere she wished
without leaving my place
Years later I think of her fondly
I remember her soft hair
I remember how her hair lay over my chest
but I couldn’t say
we went every where she wished,that day
but four letters got in the way
and I couldn’t say why
but I wasn’t ready to say, ‘stay’.