~ The Music Within ~
by S. Anne Gardner
"Leave me alone!" She demanded at the top of her lungs. She ran out the door and the car screeched as she pulled out of the driveway.
"Wait Eve! Wait!" The man ran out the door as he saw the car pulling away.
She kept wiping the tears from her eyes as her driving became more strained. She almost hit another car and pulled out quickly onto the shoulder of the road. Her head rested on the wheel and she screamed at the top of her lungs and let out all the rage she felt inside her.
She sat there for what seemed like a long time. Eve told herself she was never going back. She didn't care; let them all handle it. They had made enough money off her. She needed to run away, to run away to somewhere beautiful. Surely, their must still be something beautiful left in the world.
She looked up and watched as the cars passed her and she thought what a mess her life was. She was tired of being the perfect daughter, the talented virtuoso, the stylish wife, the mother without the child?that was the only thing in her whole life she had not messed up. Jonah had been the only real person in her life and now he was gone.
They had mourned her son the expected month or so and then they expected her to go back on tour; to act as if nothing had happened. Her parents were off to the Riviera again and Jonathan was busy re arranging their portfolio. Only problem was that it was the money she earned on tour that he invested. That's what she was to all these people, money. It had never been about the music.
When did she give such a damn anyway? As long as they left her to her music she never cared. She didn't need it. She had been born to money; it had never been important to her but it was to Jonathan. She never cared about the schedule or the tremendous pace of the tours. She loved her music. It never mattered that is until Jonah was born. He had changed everything?. No, he not changed everything. He had changed her, but he was gone now.
Eve Salinger had been a child music prodigy. It seemed she had been born to play her music. And as such it gradually became her life. She was temperamental, and spoiled. She was the only child of Edith and Jefferson Salinger of the Boston side of the family. They were old money so the idea of their daughter becoming a pianist was an acceptable one. Her father had not only encouraged but also had provided the best private tutors his money could buy for his beautiful and talented child.
Eve was capricious, egotistical, insolent, and brilliant. When she met Jonathan he was the golden boy of Wall Street. They made a beautiful couple. Eve saw it as a way of getting out beneath the eternal vigilance of her family and a way of pursuing some life of her own.
Jonathan knew of her?he liked to say?. 'eye for the ladies' as he put it. With that out of the way they made the perfect couple. He would make sure she was left alone, made her wealthier and in turn made him self wealthier. The family lawyer had insisted on a prenuptial agreement, which Jonathan was not thrilled about, but he knew that the money from her tours would be pouring in for years to come. He was to get an occasional lay and would look the other way when her eye for the ladies roamed. It was the perfect arrangement he would live a life that he believed he was suited for and she would have her freedom to create and to play her music.
It was the perfect arrangement until Jonah was born. She remembered she had been upset when she found out she was pregnant but got used to the idea right away. And when her son was put in her arms he became her universe. That was also when the problems began.
Eve drove through all of New York and New Jersey. She looked around and found herself driving through a very picturesque little town. She pulled up next to the ocean and just got out of the car. She walked up close to the water than just sat down until it got dark. There was no hurry after all no one was waiting for her.
Kate had noticed the stylish Jaguar when it had pulled up right across from her house. Something about the woman that got out of it had caught her attention. She had seen her just walk out onto the sand then sit. Kate had walked by the window a few other times during the early evening and the woman on the beach had not moved.
It must have been around 9pm that Kate went by the window again and again saw the silhouette of a woman but this time she got up and started walking towards the water. Something told her that she had to keep looking.
Kate watched as the woman walked into the water. At that moment she knew she had to hurry. She dropped the cup she was holding and ran out towards the beach.
Kate ran as fast as her legs would carry her. As she ran she tried to keep looking where it was that the woman had just walked into the ocean. She jumped in and began to swim.
She dove into the dark cold water.
"Why? Why did you pull me out?" Eve growled as she gasped for breath.
"Because is won't change anything. Life is a gift," Kate said back breathlessly as she let herself fall next to the woman she had just pulled out of the dark water.
"I don't want it!" Eve sobbed and dropped on her back on the sand. "I hate my life!"
"Change it" Kate, said softly in the dark that surrounded them.
"If you hate it change it" Kate answered.
"You don't understand" Eve said sadly. "I have nothing. All that mattered is gone"
Eve spoke to a stranger she could not see and did not know. And yet?why not? She had nothing else to loose.
"Sometimes, in losing everything we find our way" Kate spoke into the darkness as well.
"I don't want to find anything. I just want it to end" Eve cried very much like a child in pain. "I'm all alone"
Kate took her in her arms and held her.
"I know you do. And you are not alone. I'm here with you" Kate said as she caressed the strangers hair.
"Ohhhh,?." Eve cried with all the agony her soul possessed. And the arms around her became tighter.
Eve woke up with the smell of an ocean breeze. Her skin felt very hot. She opened her eyes and all her senses seemed to suddenly kick in. Her eyes began to focus as she looked around the room and she realized she had no idea where she was. She looked down and noticed that she was sunburned.
Somehow that didn't seem to matter to her as she was filled with a sense of peace. Such a simple thing really?and yet it had escaped her her whole life. She felt with her hands and then looked down at pristinely white sheets. She was totally naked under them.
Almost as soon as Eve sat up on the bed the door opened. In front of her stood a dark haired beautiful woman who made her body react immediately. Eve looked down and pulled up the sheet to cover her nakedness.
"I'm sorry, I thought you were still sleeping," the woman said softly as she walked in. "Ready for breakfast?"
"I?." Eve didn't know quite how to act.
"I'm Kate." She said with a smile.
"Well Eve, come on ?breakfast. Here is what I came in for." Kate put down some clothes on the bed and started walking out. "Meet you down stairs as soon as you are done. You can take a shower if you like. The bathroom is through that door" Kate pointed. "There is a clean towel and new tooth brush on the counter for you" she finished saying then closed the door behind her.
Eve sat still for a moment in a trance. She did feel hungry she thought and she had to admit this whole situation had thrown her for a loop. She got up grabbed the clothes and headed for a shower.
Eve walked into the small kitchen.
"There is some coffee in the pot over there" Kate said as she was flipping a pancake.
Eve walked over to the counter and saw two cups in front of the coffee maker.
"Look you don't have to do this. I can get breakfast somewhere" Eve said suddenly feeling very uncomfortable.
"Its no bother. Just sit" Kate said as she put the skillet to one side of the stove and went to fill the two cups of coffee. "How do you like your coffee?"
Truth was Eve didn't drink coffee.
"I?milk and sugar"
"Just the way I like it myself" Kate said and poured the delicious smelling brew.
She put the cup down in front of Eve and went to the counter and placed a stack of pancakes in front of them.
Eve brought the cup of coffee to her lips and sipped it.
"Thank you, I'm glad you like it" Kate said as she started serving Eve and herself the pancakes.
Eve started eating and when she was finished she realized she had done it without so much as saying a word. She looked at Kate who was looking back politely waiting.
"Ohhhh?. sorry, I'm not much for talking" Eve said embarrassed. "I usually?."
"It's all right. Nothing wrong with being quiet" Kate said as she started picking up the dishes. "Would you like some more coffee?"
"Yes, thank you, I would"
Kate took the cup and filled it again along with her own.
"Here you are"
"I'm going to do some window shopping on the promenade. Wanna join me?"
"Why are you doing this?" Eve suddenly asked. "Are you a psychotic killer or something?"
"No" Kate said with a smile.
"You usually bring perfect strangers home?"
"You aren't a stranger," Kate said softly.
"Lady I don't know you. Do I?" Eve was beginning to get agitated.
"No, we have never met. But, yes I know you"
"Well, if its money that you want?"
"Is your life that empty?" Kate asked bluntly.
Eve just sat in silence taken aback from that last statement.
"You don't know anything!" Eve got up suddenly.
"I don't want anything from you. You are the one that needs something. I am offering you a place to stay until you find it." Kate said simply still sitting down.
Eve looked down at her as if she were crazy.
"You don't know anything!" Eve suddenly yelled.
"I know that I pulled you out of the ocean two days ago" Kate stood up now and took the coffee cups and walked over to the sink.
"I didn't ask you to do it. I don't owe you anything! Two days ago?"
"I am not asking for anything and yes two days ago" Kate said as she turned to face Eve again.
"Two days?God!" Eve said in surprise.
"You needed to rest and someone to make sure you got it"
"I don't get you"
"You needed someone to care and I was there, that's all. My name is Kate."
"Do you always go around doing this?" Eve asked incredulously.
"Someone helped me once." Kate answered.
"Oh no, a favor for a favor!" Eve shook her head sarcastically.
"I don't want a favor."
"Then what do you want?"
"I want to go window shopping on the promenade. You coming?" Kate said as she walked past Eve.
Eve shook her head in disbelief but strangely enough she followed.
"My name is Eve."
Kate stopped and turned around to face her. Her head tilted to one said with a smile and then she began to walk again.
"What?" Eve followed in confusion.
"It suits you."
Kate stopped and Eve that had been following close by walked right into her. They were a mere few inches away. "Your name?it suits you."
They walked and talked and window-shopped. Eve had never felt this light headed. This was another world. A world that held no memories for her and that had no pain.
They had lunch at a little place where Kate introduced Eve to the joys of an Italian hot dog and chilled beer mugs.
"That was good, thank you" Eve said as they walked.
"You are welcome."
"I like it all. Never had beer before" Eve said with a giggle
"Well, now you have. Do you like it?"
"Not sure yet" Eve said seriously and continued to walk as Kate looked at her and then began to laugh.
"Nothing, nothing at all. Come on, I want to go into this store here"
"Oh god Kate, another soap shop! Why can't we go to that one over there" Eve pointed.
Kate looked at her for a moment. "Okay, lets go to that one then" Kate put her hand around Eve's arm and pulled her.
An hour later they walked into the house laden with packages. "Are you hungry?"
"I'm famished" Eve admitted as she put the bags down and followed Kate to the kitchen.
"How about if I grill us a pair of steaks and we make a nice salad?" Kate looked towards Eve. "After dinner we can hang the wind chimes okay?"
"Sure, sounds great" Eve answered.
"Okay, why don't you get the things for the salad out of the fridge while I start up the grill" Said Kate as she pulled the steaks out of the freezer and walked out towards the grill.
She walked back in a few minutes later and found Eve standing in front of the open refrigerator door.
Eve looked over to her. "Where and what do we need for a salad?"
Kate laughed for a moment and walked over to Eve. She looked into confused eyes and reached out and lightly caressed Eve's face. "Its okay. I'll show you were everything is" Kate smiled and Eve looked at her first in confusion then in wonder.
"This is the vegetable drawer?"
They had both made dinner and had eaten it in quite solitude. After dinner they both sat on a swing in the front porch after they had hung the wind chimes that had been bought earlier. Eve kept staring at the crystals as the light came through them? such simplicity she thought?. Such simplicity in just breathing and looking at the beauty of the light.
They sat in quite agreement till the sun began to set. Eve seemed mesmerized by the ocean. And Kate sat next to her waiting for the moment that sooner than she had expected came.
"My son died 6 weeks ago" Eve spoke barely above a whisper as she kept looking towards the ocean.
Kate closed her eyes for a moment as the shock of the words made everything clear, then opened them again and looked towards Eve in sad understanding.
Eve turned and looked into the eyes of compassion that she had so solely needed. She then put her head down on Kate's lap and closed her eyes shutting out the pain that began to fill her very soul again. Kate caressed her hair and let her cry as the night held them in a bubble together.
Eve told Kate all the things that she had held inside her that night. She spoke of her life and her child. For the first time in her life she hid nothing and it seemed so right as she was telling it. All the words that had been locked inside her burst out and came into the open. Eve told her of her loveless marriage and the cold business like feel of it. She spoke of the love that Jonah had filled her life with?the sadness? the unbearable sadness that she could not bear after loosing him. Eve finally let out all the pain that she could no longer hold inside her. He hated her husband, loved her son and led a life that she didn't want anymore. Eve wanted to just exist?she needed to find the strength to just breathe again?. She was filled with anger?so much anger and pain that it was choking her to death. And she also confessed her desire to just die that night that Kate had pulled her out of the dark water.
Kate listened and didn't judge her. Kate consoled and encouraged her to talk. Kate never asked any questions.
Eve had spent a few days of just existing as she put it and it felt good. Days turned into weeks as they both settled into a quite existence together. To most it would not have made any sense?to most it was insanity that two strangers had quietly and without question become so quickly immersed in one another. They smiled sweetly at one another; were courteous and kind to each other. Like children they giggled at the silliest things?.innocently trusting, giving and taking what their souls so badly needed. And these gifts were freely given and taken? and had not been questioned. One night Eve walked out onto the porch and sat down on a rocking chair and smiled thinking how Kate sat here almost every night and spoke to her about the little things that somehow seemed so important to her now.
Eve sat back and rocked back and forth. The simple motion of the rocking filled her with a peace that her soul yearned for and needed. She had to admit she had never known such solitude before. She wasn't sure exactly what it was. Perhaps it was the sound of the Ocean that always filled her senses, or perhaps the salt that filled the air. Then there was Kate?Kate who was always so gentle, so thoughtful. Kate had just given her the time and understood her need to sometimes be silent and alone. Kate?Kate, Kate filled her world with peace. Eve contemplated all this and realized that Kate would be home soon. Kate had gone to the store to get some fresh vegetables for dinner and she had suggested that Eve stay and relax. Eve got up and paced up and down the porch not knowing exactly what was buzzing in her head that wouldn't come out.
And it suddenly hit her that she was anxious for the first time since she had been there. She stopped and thought about it. She missed Kate! How silly and how simple. It occurred to her that she knew nothing about Kate, not really. I mean she knew that Kate was kind and giving and loving? Kate had taken her in simply because she had needed it. Eve had never known anyone like her?. and ??and Kate was beautiful.
Eve sat back down on the rocking chair and really began to come to life again. Who was this woman who had taken in a perfect stranger and offered her compassion and tenderness with no thought of recompense? Eve still could not understand that. Worst of all she knew that she was grateful to Kate and she didn't know why it made her feel so uncomfortable all of a sudden. Kate had done more for her in a few weeks than her whole family and friends had her whole life. And Kate unlike all the others asked for nothing at all. She gave of herself expecting nothing and that Eve was not comfortable with. She was not used to the new rules. And it seemed wrong somehow to think of Kate the way her body was making her think.
She had omitted the fact that she liked women when she had poured her heart out to Kate that night that she told her about Jonah. She felt like she had deceived her somehow now. Eve had never felt ashamed of herself before; not really. Now with Kate, it seemed wrong to want her that way. Want her? Did she want Kate? Kate was beautiful?yes, Kate was so beautiful. But, Kate wasn't like her?'Kate was normal', a favorite expression of her mother's. Yes, Kate was normal.
Eve spent the next few hours that Kate was gone and thought about a lot of things she never really bothered with before. Kate had not said a word of criticism and yet with her gentleness and caring she had made Eve sit and really think about her life.
In the end Eve came to the only conclusion left to her; the only good thing in her life besides Jonah was her music. She had always had her music, that is something she might still have. The question was did she still feel it inside. She had not touched a single key since she lost Jonah. In the beginning she had sat down on her piano and she had played but the pain coming through in every note was more than she could bear. That day she had lost her music too. That's what drove her over the edge as the days and weeks went by?in the end she had realized she had nothing left. It was all gone.
That day she left she had just wanted to run from it all. She had driven most of the day and ended up in this little town of Cape May. Something had made her just stop and get off. She had walked and sat down on the sand. The ocean was so big in front of her. And suddenly, that night she just wanted to become one with all that dark water in front of her. She couldn't stand one more minute of her loneliness.
That's when Kate came into her life. She had literally pulled her out of the jaws of death. Kate?. wonderful, beautiful, gentle Kate.
Almost as if summoned Kate pulled up into the driveway and got out of her car with a big smile and waged at Eve. At that moment Eve knew.
"Hi" Kate said as she got out of the car. She walked to around the back and pulled out two bags from the trunk.
Eve walked up to her and took the bags from her. She suddenly stopped for a moment and looked at Kate who stared back with a smile that went all the way to her eyes.
Eve smiled back and walked with a talkative Kate back into the house.
They both walked into the kitchen and Eve put the bags down on the kitchen table.
"I want to give you some money. I haven't contributed?." Even began to say.
"You have given me your company. That's good enough" Kate said simply as she began to take the groceries out of the bag.
"Kate, I want to?Please let me." Eve asked humbly.
Kate stopped and looked at Eve. "All right, you can buy the groceries next time"
"No, I want to do more" Eve insisted.
Kate put her hand on Eve's arm. "Eve, I don't owe any money. I live simply"
Eve walked out of the room and Kate followed. "Eve, please wait!"
"I don't want?." Eve trailed off and became suddenly uncomfortable.
"You don't owe me anything Eve" Kate said softly. "You don't owe me a thing"
Eve turned around and felt ashamed. Kate always seemed to look right through her.
"I'm wealthy Kate"
"I know that"
Eve stared surprised. "You know that!"
"I saw you pull up in that fancy car of yours" Kate said simply.
Eve stared not knowing how she felt exactly.
"I figured, your money didn't help you then. So, you don't need it"
"It's not that simple"
"Yes, it is" Kate said softly. "What you need money can't buy you. And I don't need it Eve, but thank you for offering to help."
Eve stood not knowing yet again how to talk to the woman in front of her. So she paced and ran her fingers through her hair in confusion.
"You can however help me make dinner," Kate said with a smile.
Eve suddenly stopped and nodded as a smile filled her face.
"Dinner then" Eve said.
"Yes, come, I need your help with dinner" Kate smiled and walked towards the kitchen.
Even shook her head as she smiled and followed Eve to the kitchen.
"Where is she?" Albert exclaimed exasperated.
"I don't know!" Jonathan yelled back.
"Jonathan we have a tour that begins in two weeks and millions of dollars committed to it."
"Don't you think I know that!"
"Have you contacted her parents?" Albert asked curiously. "Perhaps she went to spend some time with them"
"Yes, I thought of that. She just took off Albert"
"It's not the first time she takes off in a frenzy you know that"
"But its been weeks. Eve may be a lot of things but she has always been committed to her music. She knows about the tour" Albert insisted.
"She hasn't been the same since Jonah?"
"Did you taker her to see?."
"Because I didn't think it was necessary. He was my son too and I didn't react like a lunatic!"
Albert remained silent.
"Oh come on Albert. I loved him too"
"Yes, of course you did Jonathan. But, Eve is not like us. She is an artist. Artists are different than most people. And Eve is not just a simple artist." Albert began to explain.
"I know all about Eve's brilliance!" Jonathan said sarcastically.
"Do you? She's unlike any pianist I have ever known. And as such she is not like most people. Eve is her music. Without it she does not exist. That's why you should have taken her to Dr. Pascall. For Eve to have stopped playing is like you and I to stop breathing"
"You are being dramatic" Jonathan answered as if he had heard all this before.
"You know Jonathan, Leslie said you were an asshole, but I didn't realize how much of an ass hole" Albert blurted out his frustration.
Albert Von Holta was one of the most respected managers in the business. From the very first he had heard Eve play he had seen that special magic. Few artists possessed it. Albert knew that they were often sullen and different from most people. He knew how to handle them and cajole them. From the moment that Eve married Jonathan he had a bad feeling. Then he had seen how Jonathan really had no impact on his young pianist so the marriage became inconsequential.
However, Albert had seen something totally different when he had come to see Jonah for the first time. Albert saw how much Eve poured herself into her son. He saw the change in her music immediately. Eve matured and it showed. And when at the age of three the little boy had been diagnosed with Leukemia he saw the belief in miracles in Eve's eyes. She never expected Jonah to die. Her life had always been charmed; she never believed for one moment that she might loose her precious son. She had hoped and loved and believed till the last moment. And even when she was told that he was gone she could not accept it.
Eve Salinger had lived only for her music till her son was born. The music seemed to reside in her. The day that she realized that Jonah was really gone all the magic, all the passion in her died. He had come to see her every day after Jonah was gone. She was so ill she had not been able to attend the funeral. For three weeks she did not speak. He had seen her get up one day and play one of Chopin's saddest Etudes and the pain that came from her music was palatable. Eve did not finish it; she got up from the piano closed the it and did not play a single note after that. Eve was the music and the music was gone.
Albert knew that something should be done immediately. Her parents agreed with Jonathan that it would pass. But, none of them understood her. How could they? They never really understood how extraordinary she truly was. She was the most gifted virtuoso he had ever seen. She had lost the music. She was dead inside and none wanted to see it. How could she not run?
Albert was disgusted.
"I'm going to make my own inquiries"
"Albert, don't make this a public spectacle." Jonathan said sarcastically.
"Suppose she's dead Jonathan? Did that ever occur to you?" Albert said and he saw his words register in Jonathan's face.
"She wouldn't do that." Jonathan seemed to be trying to convince himself.
"Wouldn't she Jonathan? You know what? Leslie is right. You are stupid! Not just ignorant?. But down right stupid!" Albert yelled and walked out of the room leaving behind a man with a shocked expression on his face.
"Here, you can cut the lettuce" Kate handed Eve the head of lettuce.
Eve stared at it. 'What was she suppose to do with it now?'
Kate looked in her direction and smiled.
Kate came over to her and took her by the hand. "Wash it" and she pointed to the sink. "Then cut around the heart, remove it and cut the rest into eatable sizes."
Eve stared at her than very determined at the head of lettuce. "I can do that," she said very seriously.
"Of course you can" Kate said softly.
Eve looked towards her as Kate leaned in and kissed her lightly on the cheek.
Kate walked out of the kitchen to check on the barbecue as Eve stared at her leaving. She raised her hand and touched her cheek.
Eve sat up with a start and realized that she had been wakened by her own scream. Within seconds the door to her bedroom burst open and Kate stood in the doorway.
"Are you all right?" Kate said gently as she sat on the bed next to Eve.
Eve stared in silence.
Kate brushed her hair away from her face and gently pushed her back down. She caressed the stoic face.
"It's all right Eve. It's all right, it was only a dream" Kate said softly.
"No, it was very real" the words sounded hollow.
"Do you want to tell me about your dream" Kate tried to coax her into talking.
"It was no dream"
"Sweetheart, yes it was" Kate said gently as she caressed Eve's face.
"No it wasn't. My son is dead" Eve said with a voice full of anger.
"I'm sorry" Kate's face suddenly looked very tired. "In time you will only remember the good things?. The pain will become a little more bearable?in time"
Eve sat up and went into Kate's waiting arms. Eve's body began to shake and as her sobbing became audible Kate held her tightly to her.
No explanations were given and non-were asked. Both women held on to one another and managed to get through the night in order to survive another day.
When Eve woke up Kate was already gone.
Eve put on some shorts and a T-shirt and went down stairs. Kate was not around. She then walked out onto the verandah and saw her on the beach. She found herself walking towards the beach as well.
"Hi" Said Eve as she approached Kate slowly.
"Do you want to tell me?"
"Do you?" Kate suddenly asked angrily.
Eve stared at her for a moment then looked away. "I think that telling sometimes hurts more"
Kate said nothing.
"You don't owe me any explanations. I'm the one who owes you" Eve said in earnest.
"Three years ago I had an affair." Kate began to speak softly
Eve waited patiently.
"My husband came home unexpectedly with our son. They had gone on a fishing trip upstate but the weather was awful so they came home early to surprise me. He found me in bed with?." Silent tears overflowed as Kate spoke.
Eve put her arm around Kate's shoulder as the woman continued.
"He took Danny and?. He ran a stop sign and?." Kate fell to the ground sobbing.
Eve felt the horror of what she was saying.
"Frank died instantly. Danny lived for almost 5 days," Kate finally said as if in a trance.
"Oh God Kate?I'm so sorry" Eve sat down and held her tightly.
"My family?his family?they all turned their backs on me. I deserve their hatred."
"Don't say that Kate" Eve argued.
Kate pulled away and got up.
"Yes, yes I do. I should have controlled it?I had a life. I had a family," Kate was yelling irrationally. "I lost my son because I had to?." She was unable to finish and ran back towards the house.
Eve just stood and watched. What could she say to someone who would not listen. No wonder Kate understood?she was dead inside too.
That night they both ate dinner quietly and as usual they sat out in the porch and listened to the peaceful song of the waves.
"What kind of artist are you?" Kate asked without looking at Eve.
"I was a pianist" Eve also answered without turning her head.
Kate turned to look at her now. She looked down at Eve's hands and smiled.
"You have a pianist's hands"
Eve looked back at her now with unspeakable sadness.
"The music will come back" Kate said with all the tenderness that she felt inside her.
Eve's eyes filled with unshed tears.
"It will come back" Kate whispered as he put her hand over Eve's.
Eve just looked out towards the ocean and allowed the tears to run down her face silently.
The next few days they were polite strangers avoiding each other and yet not able to. They both walked on eggshells in fear that their pain would drown them. Now they each knew?.they were both exposed.
For Kate Eve's arrival had brought all that she had left behind back to life. And yet how could she not help her when she perhaps more than anyone understood her pain. In Eve she found that bond that only someone who hurt as much could offer her. Eve was as much her life jacket as she knew she was hers. Perhaps, together they could survive it all. Eve had come at the moment when she thought she could no longer go on. She understood only too well the need to find no more tomorrow's.
Eve functioned because she had to as much as Kate did. She told herself that she had to show Kate. She could only imagine the horrible circumstances that Kate must have found herself in. Then after loosing her husband and son she had also lost her family. Eve could not imagine how that must have hurt. Kate had saved her from sure death. She had said that the pain would become bearable?. When? When would it become bearable?
Gradually the days went by in quiet harmony between Eve and Kate just as the weeks passed so did the months. They fell into a slow and mutually satisfying routine of chores and long walks on the beach. They sat with one another through the silences and held each other on those nights when one would wake up with nightmares that they never discussed in the morning.
The relationship between the two women was one not only based on a feeling of understanding and affection but of need. They clung to one another in the desire to survive. Eve found in Kate the tenderness and affection she had never gotten in her life and in Eve Kate found the strength and loyalty she had lost from the life she had left behind. The fact remained that Eve had stayed?. She had not judged her and had held her through the pain. Eve had been the only person that had offered her any words of kindness. Eve understood and held her when the pain would not leave her. They each had the other.
"I sold my car" Eve suddenly broke the silence as they sat in the verandah one afternoon after dinner.
"Didn't need it" Eve answered non-chalantly. "They gave me $40,000 for it"
"Eve won't they know where you are?" Kate asked the question that neither had ever said out loud.
"No, that's where I went this morning. I sold the car two hours away from here." Eve said obviously having thought the whole thing out.
"Is there not someone looking for you?" Kate asked in barely a whisper.
Eve looked into Kate's eyes as she answered. "There is no one"
Both women searched each other's eyes until the depth of their search became uncomfortable. Eve smiled and broke the contact.
"Planning on going shopping?" Kate asked as sat back to look at the ocean again.
"Nope." Somehow Eve's answered had taken away that nagging fear that Eve would leave.
"What then?" Kate asked playfully.
"Well, I thought I would give it to you" Eve was still looking out towards the ocean.
"Eve, I told you I don't need any money" Kate sat up straight now looking at her friend.
"I know. But I still want to give it to you"
Eve sat up straight too and looked towards Kate.
"I like being here with you. It would make me feel better about it. I want a part of this life too Kate" Eve insisted. "Let me please?"
Kate smiled and nodded. "On one condition"
"You let me buy you something," Kate said mysteriously.
"Is that all?"
"Okay?wait! As long as it doesn't cost all the money I'm giving you" Eve said trying to outsmart Kate.
"Okay, it's a deal then?"
And they both shook on it and laughed out loud as they sat back on the swing and as they both again looked out onto the ocean they smiled within.
"Where did they find the car?" Jonathan asked irately.
"Apparently she sold it in Atlantic City" Adriana his assistant answered looking down at the papers on her desk.
"Atlantic City, its in New Jersey, Jonathan"
"What is she doing there? And what the hell has she been living on? I know she hasn't made any withdrawals neither has she charged anything. The bank would have called me"
"She might have other moneys"
"I would know" Jonathan spat out.
"Maybe she is not as detached about her money as you thought" Adriana teased.
"Be quiet Adriana! The revenues from the tour would have been only the beginning. I had contracts and royalties from the recordings all set up. Eve has ruined it all with this mental breakdown of hers. We have lost millions!"
"Well, I'm sure you will find some way of getting your hands on some more of her money" Adriana said with a smile.
"Get me Gordon on the phone. We are going to have to do something about this situation. She is obviously unstable. And that may be all I have to prove"
Adriana nodded and began to make the call.
"Albert where is my daughter!" Demanded Jefferson Salinger.
"Mr. Salinger, I wish I knew"
"My wife is concerned. She hasn't spoken to Eve in a few months and Jonathan just says that she needs space. When was the last time you saw Eve?" Salinger inquired as the concern began to show its ugly head.
"Eve was not well when last I saw her?"
"Eve seemed to be sinking deeper and deeper into her depression after Jonah" Albert said honestly. "I told Jonathan he should take her to a doctor. He seemed to think she didn't need one"
"Well, we agreed with that at the time" Salinger said defensively.
"Eve is not like most people. She couldn't play anymore. I think that's what pushed her to run" Albert voiced all of his concerns.
"Thank you Albert. Edith and I will be flying back to New York in the morning. Obviously, inquiries must be made. Eve must be found. I will call you on our arrival and I would like to speak further with you about this matter"
"Of course. Let me know when you arrive"
Kate covered Eve's eyes from behind as they both walked slowly into the house.
"Don't peek" Kate said into Eve's ear playfully.
"I promise. I won't peek" Eve laughed.
"Okay, just a little further then you can see your surprise"
"Ouch!" Eve yelled as she stubbed her toe.
"Sorry" Kate apologized.
"Just don't let me fall down a flight of stairs okay?" Eve said jokingly.
"Well?" Asked Eve as they stood still now for a moment.
"Okay, close your eyes and don't open them till I tell you okay?"
"Okay, okay" Eve laughed.
"Now, open your eyes"
Eve opened her eyes and the smile on her face faded. She stared and suddenly she turned towards Kate in anger.
Before her stood a beautiful piano. The ivory keys called and toar at her soul. It hurt. It hurt even more still. She turned her pain and anger towards Kate.
"Why did you do this?" Eve was visibly angry.
"For you. I did it for you" Kate said as her smile now faded as well. "Its good for you"
"How dare you presume that you know what is good for me?" Eve said indignantly. All the arrogance that had not been visible during her stay with Kate came gushing out of her. "How dare you presume to know me at all?. You are no one; you know nothing!"
"I know that you need it" Kate said softly.
"I don't need anything! Specially someone that presumes to know me."
"Eve, you need to let it out!" Insisted Kate trying desperately not to let the words coming our of Eve's mouth wound her.
"Like you! Like you let it out!"
"You know so much don't you Kate! You know so much that you fucked someone in your own bed and got caught!" Eve spat out in a rage.
Eve walked around in her anger lashing out randomly. "And you pretend to know what I need! Well lady you?" She finally noticed Kate as she looked at her and saw all the pain in her eyes. Eve suddenly realized what she had said and froze.
"Kate?" Before Eve could say the words Kate took off running. "Wait! Please Wait" Eve ran after her.
Kate bolted out of the house like all the demons from hell were chasing her. Eve ran after her. Kate ran down the now lonely beach as fast as her legs could take her. Her flight was one of desperation and unbearable pain. Kate had been running for three long years. Eve had bluntly struck her on the face with the truth of the horror she held onto inside her. Her pain had not allowed her to live, to feel or to grieve her loss. She was running. She was running because she could not bear to look inside herself. Eve overtook her, and as she tried to stop her, they both fell on the sand. Eve landed on top of her as she began to struggle beneath her.
Eve pinned her down as Kate tried to push her off.
"I'm sorry?I didn't mean it" Eve pleaded.
"Leave me alone. Oh God leave me alone" Kate sobbed and continued to struggle.
"Please Kate. I'm sorry. I'm so very sorry" Eve began to cry as well. "I was angry. I didn't mean it"
Kate could not stop her crying but stopped struggling and Eve began caressing her face and kissed her head and her forehead. She continued to kiss the face beneath her with all the tenderness that she had bottled up inside her. "I'm sorry Kate. Please forgive me. I'm so sorry" she continued to caress Kate's face and naturally kissed her lips lightly. "Forgive me" she whispered softly and she kissed her lips again but this time the kiss was longer.
It had seemed so right to kiss Kate. Kate had saved her, taken care of her. Kate had made living bearable. Once her lips had touched Kate's once it just seemed natural that they should want to kiss them again. Slowly her mouth sought Kate's again and the kiss deepened and what began as comfort turned into more.
Eve felt as Kate's body trembled beneath her. Her whole body came alive and nerve endings that she had never felt before suddenly burned in their heated brilliance. The kiss had taken a life of its own. Her body became fused with the woman that lay beneath her and as she felt arms pulling her down harder, the fire that burned inside her had somehow made her realize that she was alive. Her body began to want more, to need more?her hands began to need to touch Kate's skin as her leg went between Kate's legs. The heat of Kate's core called to her like the water that is needed for life. Eve was pure and raw fire as her body hungered for more, she needed more, wanted more?.. Kate's whimpers reached a part of her that brought her slowly back to reality.
After what seemed like an awakening of another lifetime Eve lifted her mouth from Kate's and two sets of surprised eyes met in question. The fire of the desire that had fused them but moments ago still burned deeply in their eyes. But, suddenly confusion and horror made them pull apart.
Eve rolled off Kate and sat down beside her on the sand. "I'm sorry"
Kate just stared and got up.
Eve looked up at her.
"I?." What was she going to say? Eve could not find the words.
Kate just stared. "I can't?. I can't do this?. Oh God I can't do this" Kate started walking away quickly.
Eve got up and caught up with her.
"Kate! I'm sorry. I shouldn't have kissed you?I just?. I'm sorry Kate"
"I can't do this Eve?. I can't" was all that Kate kept saying.
"You don't have to do anything?I'm sorry?. Please listen to me" Eve was becoming more fearful by the second.
Kate kept walking quickly.
Eve reached out for her arms to stop her.
"Don't touch me!" Kate screamed as she pulled away from Eve.
Eve was shocked into silence.
"When am I going to be given some peace? Do I have something stamped on my forehead or something?" Kate ranted.
"What are you talking about? I don't understand" Eve said in frustration and confusion.
"I can't help you anymore Eve?. I can't" Kate said as she started walking away.
"What? You are just?like the rest aren't you?" Eve cried out. "You don't give a fuck about me!"
Kate turned around and faced her. The distance began to grow between them.
"I can't help you?. I can't even help myself" Kate's words expressed the pain inside her.
"I believed you?. I believed you" Eve cried out like a wounded animal as she fell on her knees. "I really believed you" she began to sob and the anguish in her cries moved Kate's heart.
Kate walked over to her and stood above her for only a moment before she knelt down and took Eve into her arms.
"Kate?. Kate I can't survive alone. Kate, I need you. I won't kiss you anymore. I'm sorry." Eve begged as she held tightly to Kate. "I should have told you"
Kate held her to her and caressed her hair without uttering a word.
"I won't touch you like that again Kate. I should have told you how I am" Eve finally looked up with tear filled eyes.
Kate's eyes were dry now. Eve noticed the emptiness that suddenly filled the eyes of the woman before her.
"I should have told you?. At first I didn't think it was important?. Later I was afraid that you might be upset by it" Eve finished saying not breaking eye contact.
"That you were a lesbian?"
"Yes" Eve answered
Kate held her and Eve buried herself into the embrace.
"Please forgive me Kate?. You are the only friend I have ever had. I won't ever do anything like that again?. I need you. Please say you forgive me" Eve begged her.
"I need you too Eve. I need you too" Kate reassured her. She released Eve and got up. She extended her hand and helped Eve get up.
"Forever?" Eve asked soberly. She gave Kate a childlike smile ? "Forever huh?"
Kate looked at her for a moment. Eve had been honest with her.
"I can only be your friend Eve. I can't be anything else" Kate said suddenly and very seriously.
"I know Kate. I know that. I'm sorry if I offended you" Eve said sadly looking away.
Kate stared then suddenly she took in a deep breath.
"Frank caught me in bed with a woman" Kate said soberly.
Eve's head quickly turned to face Kate. The surprise registering on her face was obvious.
Without a word Kate turned and started walking back. Eve walked along side her in silence. Suddenly, the world had turned into yet another axis. Kate had forgiven her and that was all that mattered?.Kate was still in her life. That confusion inside her would have to wait.