Chapter Five; Part Two
Speaking of Tessa, my phone rings her ring. I glance at my phone and remind myself that I need to block her number. I didn’t after I first caught her because I was in shock, and then inertia took its course. Her calls came less and less, and I hadn’t heard from her in the past four days—a record. I wait for her text to come through. It says, “Megan! I heard about Julianna! You poor, poor baby. You must be hurting so much. Call me!” I erase it, then another comes through. “Patricia is gone for the week. Call me.” I snort and erase that one as well. If she thought she could seduce me into a tryst after what she did to me, she didn’t know me at all. I toy with the idea of pretending to go along with her and then rejecting her just as we’re about to fuck, but I decide I’m going to be better than that. A third text, “I am so, so, so sorry I cheated on you, Megs. I miss you.” The use of her pet name for me brings tears to my eyes. I can’t help but remember the times we walked on Stone Arch Bridge, late at night, holding hands and laughing unrestrainedly. Teddy Bear, her black chow, trotted between us, his blue tongue lolling out of his mouth. He adored Tessa, liked me well enough, and tolerated Patricia. It makes me meanly glad that Teddy never truly warmed up to Patricia, despite her being his walker. “Megan, you need someone in your time of need.” I block Tessa’s number, suddenly tired of her pestering. Almost immediately, I get an email from her, so I block her there as well. Next, Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. Blocked, blocked, blocked. I want her out of my life, and I never want to think about her again.
“Fuck that.” I turn over on the couch, thumping the cushions in anger. I hate thinking about Tessa because it messes up my brain. Any time I resolve to calm down, I get riled up again. I’ve tried slow, smooth breathing; I’ve tried meditation; I’ve tried imagining that I’m stabbing her with a sword. None of it makes me feel better, so I hope that the proverbial time will heal this particular wound. I pull a pillow over my head, and then I feel a cat ass sitting on it. A small one, so it’s Onyx. I reach up and remove her, setting her to the side of the pillow. Two minutes later, I feel the thump again. This time, she burrows her ass down firmly, as if that’ll stop me from removing her. I don’t mind her being so clingy, but not if it means a cat ass on my face. Even if my face is covered with a pillow. “Quit it, Onyx!” I say crossly, my voice muffled by pillow and ass. I move her again, this time turning on my side so she can’t repeat her trick again. She mews crossly at me before hopping up on the side of my ribs. She stiff-legs her way down my hip and settles on the side of my knee. That’s tolerable, so I allow it. Two minutes later, I feel a heavier body bumping against the small of my back. Jet in his usual spot, I presume. His warm, comforting bulk soothes some of my agitation, and I drift off to sleep.
Julianna’s mutilated body weaves in and out of my dream, showing gaps in her skin. A blood-drenched ribbon passes through the gaps, making a grotesque tapestry out of my friend’s body. There is some classical music playing in the background. Bach, Beethoven, Brahms. One of the Bs, though I’m not sure which one. It’s as soft and seductive as a siren’s song. Little bits of flesh crumble off her body as she floats, and there’s a rictus smile on her face. I’m in the dream as well, trying in vain to capture her with a large butterfly net. She keeps slipping through it, and I’m crying as I run.
“Goddamn it!” I sit straight up, clutching the pillow to my heart. I have shifted sometime in my sleep, and Onyx and Jet are snuggled in a ball at my feet. I race to the bathroom, dry-heaving into the toilet. I keep gagging, even though nothing comes up. Onyx and Jet join me, meowing anxiously at my feet. Once I’m done, I crawl over to the counter and pull myself up with difficulty. I fill a glass with water and gulp down several mouthfuls of water. It starts roiling in my stomach, and I lean over the toilet again. The water comes back up, and my stomach hurts from all the retching. I flop down on the floor, not wanting to move. I close my eyes, thinking how easy it would be just to go to sleep and never wake up. I don’t want to live in a world without my Julianna, anyway, so why not just let it all go?