I didn’t know if he intended to place us together again in that sentence, and what it meant if he did.
“I thought I wanted to make art,” I said. “Then I thought maybe it
wouldn’t be so bad to help others make art. To express themselves.”
He shook his head. “You can’t make art or anything beautiful. It
wouldn’t last.” He gestured out at the thick, watchful silence. “This is
our legacy. We were born to it.”
I understood what he meant. “Does it feel like we’re cursed?”
“It’s not about us, Laura. It’s bigger than us.”
He stood and leaned against the railing, reaching a hand out into this
cavernous grave. I half expected some wispy specter to rise up and greet
him, but if we were really surrounded by ghostly remains, they evaded
me. I tried through an act of telepathy to pinpoint the spot where my
father had died, but all I got back was more emptiness.
“Let’s go.” I stood as well. “This place is freaking me out.”“You don’t like it?” He looked troubled.
“I’m cold. It’s the coldest time of the day.”
We were quiet walking back. I followed him and placed my feet in
the prints he left behind, so it looked like only one of us had returned.
Back in the truck, he cranked the heat up to the highest setting, and we
sat there warming up. I must have reached for him first, because he said,
“I can’t, Laura. I can’t.” But when I tried to pull back, he held on to me.
Please. Please, God, please.
He was crying when he started kissing me, slowly at first, almost innocently. Each time he paused to catch a sob, he came back hungrier,harsher. I didn’t care for his trembling lips or the salty wetness of hisface, but what got me what his need, how much there was of it. Andsuddenly I needed him, too. The immensity of my hunger flooded me,and I wanted so much to believe in God. I ached for some kind of grace.
We did it like teenagers. Pete made the seat fall back, and our kneesand elbows dug into each other as our bodies found their way into theawkward positions meant for our younger selves. Impatient, his handsyanked at my jeans. He avoided looking at my face, which made methink of Rosalind, and I knew that he was never this way with his wife,that he never pulled or twisted her underwear, never covered her eyeswith his hands or pushed her head to the side. I would never know whatit was like to be Rosalind, but Rosalind, in fact, was only a figment ofherself. The last piece of it, I had destroyed. Now she was as flawed and