Cassandra’s Tears

Tears of joy, tears of pain, we are reflected in the salt-water pools we create. So let us build a fleet of paper boats and sail them on our ocean of indecision, laughing at the wind-whipped white-crested waves that would wash over us, drowning us in our own despair, yet somehow never vanquishing us in the end.

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Location: Lennoxville, Quebec, Canada

Friday, December 28, 2007

Waiting for Edward

     I opened the door and walked into the lobby, the sound of toilets flushing behind me, my neck still damp from the cloth I’d held to the back of it, and I wished, not for the first time, that I had never met Edward, that we had never begun this tawdry affair, or that he would divorce that harridan wife of his and make an honest woman of me already.

     The bright lights of the crystal-dripping chandeliers made me squint and I fished around in my handbag for my sunglasses, the darkened lenses affording me some small relief as I made my way to a couch between two enormous potted palms where I could sit and wait for Edward to arrive. If only I hadn’t woken up with that damned migraine, if only I weren’t so weak and malleable that I leapt at Edward’s every beck and call.

     What did I see in the man anyway? Could I not have found love elsewhere, real love, with someone who wouldn’t keep me dangling on his every whim, meeting him for lust-filled weekends at fancy hotels like this one all over the country? Someone who enjoyed my company for my wit and intelligence and not just as a sex toy?

     At least, that was what I was feeling then as I waited for Edward to show up, late as always, my head pounding in pain, my left big toe blistered from my new high-heeled pumps (Edward liked me in sexy footwear). That would all change, I knew, when he swept me up in his embrace and carried me off to the bridal or some comparable suite to frolic for two days non-stop in satin sheets, whirlpool bath, with champagne, caviar and chocolate profiteroles. On that particular afternoon, I was not interested in the pleasures ahead. I only wanted to die quietly in a corner, preferably a dark and silent corner, but of course, that wasn’t part of Edward’s plan.

     As I sat on the couch, pretending to be interested in a sculpture of a cowboy on horseback lassoing a steer, not a badly wrought objet d’art, but the subject matter certainly not to my taste, I was joined by two men deep in conversation about some kind of pathology. It occurred to me that they must be there for a medical conference. I tried not to appear interested in their conversation, but I couldn’t help eavesdropping, medicine something I had begun studying before dropping everything to be available for Edward’s lecherous whims. What a fool I was!

     The doctor next to me looked at his watch, said something about catching a train, and was gone, leaving a gap between his colleague and me. For the first time I got a good look at him: youthful middle age, full head of hair starting to gray at the temples, a neat beard, also gray, and horn-rimmed glasses framing the most amazingly blue eyes I’d ever seen. I was so astonished I took off my sunglasses to see them better, when he caught sight of my own bloodshot eyes.

     “Miss, are you all right?” he asked. For a moment I considered whether or not I should answer him. Imagine, a stranger like that taking an interest in me, the proverbial mouse, Edward’s mouse at that. But then, there was genuine concern in his voice and expression, he was a doctor, and he did have those gorgeous blue eyes.

     “As a matter of fact,” I began, “no, I’m not all right. I have a migraine that would fell a horse, I haven’t had anything to eat since breakfast, my friend is late and I have an annoying blister on my left foot from these damned shoes!”

     Suddenly, he was next to me, looking in my eyes, touching my head, all very professional of course, but I realized at that moment that Edward was over, he was a thing of the past, of no moment whatsoever, that the whole point to our tawdry trysting had been to put me in this particular place at this particular time so that I could meet this man and say to him, “Are you busy right now? Could I interest you in tea at the coffee shop across the street?” and for him to answer, “Why, I’d like nothing better.”

     And so, arm in arm, I with dark sunglasses on against the bright afternoon sunlight and limping slightly, we left the hotel lobby where Edward no doubt eventually arrived, only to find me gone, no one to slide around with on the satin sheets or feed oysters to, while I discovered that the adage “the good ones are all taken” was about to become true.