8.13.2009

_jack & monica

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"the long and winding road that leads to your door,

will never disappear, I've seen that road before
it always leads me here, lead me to your door."
Lennon & McCartney




Then you tell me, how can this be? How can these things happen to her, like this, out of the blue and end up like that? If I tell you, it'll sound like I’m lying. If it was with me they'd laugh and would lock me up in the mental home (not that she didn't feel like going in by herself). The fact is: things like this don't happen outside of a movie screen! Unless she's around...

It was a whole year of insanity: she was working hard to be normal, but suffering in silence to deal with the obsession. She didn't tell anyone about it, aside from her therapist, who never found a convincing enough answer for her, a prospect, nothing. It would be easy to say she was crazy, if all of this hadn't started regardless of her intentions, from a dream that she never asked to dream. This was exactly what arose the therapist's curiosity and, instead of actually treating her, she decided she would sit back and watch where that was going to end up. And that's why this was a lonesome distress. Everyday she would wake up and go to bed with the same idea buzzing her very thoughts, the same image rammed in her brains, but she would face her routine as if that was only a pin inside her shoe or a slightly tight pair of jeans: “it's bad, but I can take it”.

From all people she talked to, only one would bring her any peace. It was Naele – a friend that she met on Facebook, an older woman, writer, living overseas, with whom she had long daily conversations that would relieve the heavy weight of her obsession. Naele never even dreamed of her friend's anguish, they'd talk about politics, books, movies, screenplays till late at night, until the fatigue would get great enough to guarantee her a night without any dreams.

She pressed Skype's green button and waited, but no one answered. Maybe Naele was already in bed... She tried again. After three or four rings, someone answered it. It wasn't Naele.

- Hi
- Hi, who's this?
- Jack. I just got here and I heard the Skype ringing...um…I’m nosy.
- Ah... hey... how are you? Where's your mother?
- Good question... hold up.

After a while, Jack came back to the computer.

- I think she was abducted!
- hahahaha!
- There's nobody in the house. It's only you and me.
-That's fine. I'll talk to her tomorrow... thank you Jack.
- Are you going to bed?
- No, but I'm hanging up.
- What about me?
- What about?
- Is it that bad to talk to me?

That night, Jack undertook the task of helping her to get tired enough to sleep as if he had been delegated to this mission. He heard his mother tell him many stories about her friend, and somehow he already cherished the same admiration. That was how the first friendship's fruits had flourished with Naelle: the conversations with Jack had begun to be constant. Many times Naelle was in the office and Jack in his bedroom, both talking to her, and when Naelle was away, it was Jack who filled her nights with caring and laughter.

Anyway, Jack and Naelle were a palliative... a pain killer... a little Tylenol pill. Days still had twenty four hours, and the three or four hours spent with them were nothing in comparison to the other ones, when the obsession would strike mercilessly. Every pause at work, a Google search to check on the news or gossips on her obsession's target... every look in the mirror an imaginary conversation; every mile driven an impassioned scene, a kiss on the lips, a killer line, a wish to lock herself up so she would undergo a sleeping therapy until the world was gone.
When she lost a dear person, the pain pushed her to let her obsession aside so she could breath for a while. Once again, the relief of the pain lived in Naelle's voice and in the presence of Jack in her cell phone, her e-mails, her nights.

Jack was perfect, if it wasn't for his main three problems:
1. being the son of a dear friend
2. being immensely-hopelessly younger than her
3. not being that person who inhabited her mirror every day

Anyway, there were nights that turning off the computer was the only way she would escape temptation. There were moments that Jack stepped away from her, and she even started feeling jealous as she mixed longing and anger for being far away from him – in every way. There were days that a new suffering would add up to the usual, and its name was Jack.

What about the therapist? Nothing! The therapist was thanking the lord when Jack stepped into the scene. At least he was real. “Real? He's more than unreal! He is inconceivable! He doesn't exist, period!”
During these days, to open the Google page and occupy her mind with the image of Mr. Obsession, was the best remedy.
Time passed and little changed. Jack would come and go, as if sometimes he needed to stay away and sometimes he couldn't live without knowing of her existence. The old obsession kept taking her sleep away splitting her days between hours of lucidity and hours of insanity.

It was November when Naele invited her to spend the Thanksgiving week at her place in the mountains. The end of the year was always a time of little work and great sadness, that's why she accepted the invitation, even thinking about the possibility of finding work around there so she'd go on with her stay. “Who knows if the problems might get interdicted in the immigration and finally left behind?”

~~.~~


November 20th.

Monica, her notebook and her suitcase got to the door at Naele's house, in Mammoth Mountain. The cold felt obviously sharp-edged in the ski station this time of the year. All wrapped up in scarfs, gloves and hood Monica stretched her arm out of the car, and rang the bell right next to the gate.

- Hello?
- Hi, it's Monica.

The big iron gate opened up as if it was the Playboy Mansion, while she double-checked the address in the crimped up email she reached out from the bottom of her purse. In one year of conversation with Naele, she never knew that her friend lived in such a house. “If this is the winter house, I wonder what must her home look like?” She went up the long driveway till she got up to the entrance of the house, where a security guard received her. He opened the car door and asked her if she had any luggage.

- Inside the trunk...

- I'll take care of that.

Surreal…very surreal. She always imagined Naele like a simple woman, with her computer on in an improvised office next to the kitchen, the dishwasher on full speed while they spoke with each other... And Jack? She pictured Jack as a handsome but poorly dressed man, who would drink beer watching the game with his friends sitting on the green faded velvet couch. And why did she imagine all that? I wouldn’t know!

The guard opened the front door and told her to make herself comfortable. Before she could ask anything the door was shut down behind her and there she was all by herself in this huge, rustic living room, with a fireplace almost as tall as she was.

-Hello? Anybody there?

She started out by taking her gloves and coat off, started to unwrap the huge scarf when she heard the sound of a slamming door in another room. She left her things on a couch and followed the sound, walking around the house.

- Hello...?

The kitchen’s revolving doors flapped up open and Monica saw what would turn out to be a ghost: Barefoot, white t-shirt and jeans, messy hair, there he was: Mister Obsession himself with his ultragious blue eyes, his tanned skin, his amazing smile...

-Hi? - he said with a curiosity flair to his tone.

She took an eternity to be able to answer, so he tried again.

-Is everything OK?

-Err...hi. I…I think I'm in the wrong house…I have the address here, but I think I...

More surreal! It could only happen with her, I told you so! She traveled for eighteen hours, got a rented car and drove up the mountain, and the jet leg was not helping her understand herself. What was that creature doing in that address? Was he friends with Jack? Was he a ghost? Was she dreaming again and would finally wake up and find herself back in the plane anytime soon?

She could barely move.

- Are you alright?
- No. I mean... I don't know.

She walked up to the living room where she had left her stuff behind, got the paper from the purse as he got near to read it.

- Give it to me...This is the right address. It's here.

But he frowned when he read the name printed on the paper, unfolded it nervously, read the whole email.

- Monica? You're not Monica!

Even more confused than before, she answered yes…she was Monica, what made him react not that well.

- You're kidding right?
- No... why would I? I AM Monica! But how would you know?
- I live here. Jack. Me.

Hello? The world fell apart!
Jack and Mr. Obsession were the same person? During a whole year she was splitting her attention between Jack and Jack without knowing so? During a whole year she made Jack and Jack switch places to relieve the passion in her heart from one of them and the obsession for... himself?
But Mr. Obsession's mother's name was not Naele! No... it was Meredith N. Lindermann. Oh…Meredith NAELE Lindermann, mother of Jack Lindermann, born Jared Nilsen Lindermann –- Hollywood hunk, superstar, top of the list, one of the most desired single men in the showbiz.
And what about the therapist? Fuck the therapist! Now everything was even more confusing...or not.

- Jack? It can't be...
She laughed and got closer to him but he stepped back.
- You're not Monica. Monica's old.
- I am old.
- No you're not. Monica is my mother's age.
- No. Your mother is sixty-two, I'm forty-five.
- You just can't be serious.
- What?
- Look at you. I spent a year thinking you looked just like my mother, and you show up here like that...?
- Like what?
- Like that! –- he pointed to her, looking up and down –- look at your face! Look at your body! Look at your... everything...why didn't you...

Growling in anger, he pressed his lips and punched the sideboard next to the couch scaring Monica.
- Jack...calm down... why so angry?
- I am so very much angry. I'm hating you, Monica. You have no idea. NO idea...

She couldn't even recover from her first blow and now she was trying to make sense of one more part of this crazy story. He got even louder:

- Do you know how many nights I wanted to smash my own head against the wall until I stop thinking of you? Do you know how many times I almost got into a plane to tell you that “fuck it if you are a hundred and ten years old and you're rotting away, because it's you I want to stay with? Do you have any idea of the things I had to go through? Of how much I drank myself? I went to a schrink, for fuck sake!
- Jack...

He got close to her face, with a heavy hatred expression printed all over it:

- Do you know how many stupid women I went out with, knowing it would take forty years for them to get even close to the person you are? Do you know how many women I've fucked to try to like somebody? And now you show up, twenty years younger...
- Twenty years older than you.
- It's seventeen. And fuck it!
- And a friend of your mother's.
- Screw that as well... for fuck's sake, Monica, I turned into garbage! Why do you think I went through many periods when I wouldn't show up online? Because I had. to let. you go. you see? I had to try to find something else to do, cause anything would be better than torture myself. But you know what? There isn't anything!

She smiled as she shook her head...
- And now, looking at you there, all beautiful, makes me even angrier to think that you had that stupid crush on that guy you wouldn't tell me who he was! Before it was okay... you're my mother's age and he must be old as hell, so, it's your problem! But it's not like that, is it? Who is he, Monica?
- Jack, I just arrived...
- Who is he, Monica?
- I'm tired, on jet leg, just saw your face for the first time, I haven't even pulled myself together, and you're throwing the most absurd jealousy fit I've ever seen!
- Absurd my ass, Monica! I'm mad! I'm feeling like an idiot, a fool, betrayed to the bone!
- Jack...
- What bunch of BS! Betrayed by you and Mrs. Meredith who deserves to die!
- Jack...come here.

She got closer to him, tried to give him a hug, and
he got away abruptly, pushing her arms away.

- I don't need any hug from you! Get away!

Without a word, she turned away grabbing her purse and coat.

- Where are you going?
- Where's your mother Jack?
- She'll only be here at night.
She kept walking.
- So tell her that I'll be back when she gets here.
- Where are you going?
She walked up to the door and answered without looking back.
- Just tell her!


~~.~~


November 21st

- Mom, where's Monica?
Without taking her eyes away from the computer, a way too calm Meredith (oops! Naele) answers:
- I don't know... You tell me.
- Hasn't she come back?
- Have you seen her around?
- Mom, I don't believe she hasn't even called you. Speak!

Naele spun her chair around slowly towards him, got her cigarette case, offering it to him.
- Smoke?
- No mother, I want to know where Monica is, that's it.
- Did you try her cell phone?
- She won't answer. Did you talk to her?

She lit her cigarette, had a few puffs breathing the smoke out slowly.

- If it was you, would you answer it, Jack?
- Mom, she's alone somewhere. She SLEPT alone somewhere. Tell me you know where she is.
- I know where she is, Jack, but I won't tell you and you won't go after her.
- I need to.
- No. SHE needs some time. You lay on her all of your little speech and wouldn't let her speak. You screamed and got fierce because you think you suffered so much, son... but she went through a lot of worse things. She didn't have a speech but could have had a heart attack the second she saw you.
- What do you mean? Why?

Scanning through the words she was going to say, Naelle told Jack what the friend told her, crying at a Cafe downtown. The entire obsession tale, since the very first dream, till the moment Monica noticed she was in love with Jack and tried to avoid it. All the conflicts that she had to live during that whole year for she thought she was crazy, in the beginning she was in love with a picture, then she was infatuated with her friend's son, twenty years younger...

- And what do you think of all this mom?

- I think you two lost a lot of time. You could have asked me to see a picture of Monica; I have access to millions of them. You could have told me what was going on, I would have made you two meet each other before. She could have told about one of those passions of hers and I would have helped – with any one of you two...

- You could have thought it was a bad thing that she was your friend, and the age difference, could have been mad at me, I don't know.

- Jack... you're my beloved son. She's my beloved friend, and if she wasn't, I wouldn't tell her to come over in the first place. I want to see the both of you happy.

Jack gave his mother a kiss as she held him in her arms for a long time.

- How dumb can you be, Jack Lindermann...
- What do I do now, mom?
- Go take a shower and look your best.
- But mom...
- I'm telling you...do as I say! go!

As soon as he left the office, Naele went out. As she got inside the car, she spoke to the guard:

- My friend Monica will arrive soon. Put her bags in Jack's bedroom's living area without letting her know, and tell them that I'll be back on the 24th to receive the guests.

When Monica arrived, the house was empty and silent. She walked around the rooms and didn't find anybody... Walked into the kitchen, went through many rooms, walked up the hallway. There was some music coming from one of the bedrooms. She then went up to the door, turned the door nob around slowly, the sound was getting closer. It was a small living room with a couch, TV, pictures of Jack on the shelves... and another door that she tried to open but was locked. She knocked.

- Jack?
No answer.
- Jack? Open. It's me.

She knocked again. Cleck. The door was unlocked. The door nob spun around slowly. The door was open ajar.
With his hair all wet, no shirt, a “half Jack” showed up.

- Hi.
- Hi... I need to tell you something that you don't know.
- Hum... I'm afraid of the things I don't know.

Both were leaning over the door, half of Monica inside, half Jack outside, pausing words, short phrases, both of them speaking softly, almost in a whispering tone, very close to each other. Jack pretending to not care much about what she was saying. Monica lowered her head to speak.

- That guy I told you about...
- Hum...
- … that I fell in love with hopelessly...no return...?
- Yes...?
She looked up to his face.
- He has incredible eyes...
- Really?
- Yeah... and a smile.
- Hum.
- ... it's almost a proof of God’s existence...

Jack smiled with his sparkling eyes and teased her:

- What else...?
- His body...
- What about it?

She leaned over her forehead and touched it against his chest:

- It's too much for me... Jack.
- No it's not... - holding her – …tell me more.
- His hands?
- What about them?
- It seems that if I give him my hand... if my hand fits inside of his... and it does, I can go on forever and I’d never be afraid of anything again.

Jack held her hand, covered it with his own, and entwined his finger with hers. She smiled, and with the other hand she grabbed his jeans’ waist band and pulled him close to her.

- But even if he didn't look like that, I...
- You...?
- ...I’d be crazy about him anyway...
- Come here, old lady...

He pulled Monica inside the bedroom.



(sigh…)

There are things that don't happen outside of a movie screen, but I swear: they happen to her!




Now you tell me: Is it life that imitates art, or art that listens to the livings' dreams?



This is a work of fiction, any similarity or likeness to any events or persons or Hollywood hunks living or dead is purely coincidental.

©Mercedes Gameiro - October 6th 2008
Translation by @AliceSalles with a tiny tiny colaboration of @mgmyself
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6 comments:

2in2u said...

It's a beautiful story...Glad I was able to appreciate it in Portuguese as well.Felt just as giddy & emotional.

MgMyself said...

GabyGaby,

so you're the only one to know that they got married. lol! I just deleted their "happily ever after" final.


:)

Tristan said...

This is one of the reasons why I love you Mer. I expect a good story and read an incredible one. Then I get all pouty because it's over and it just wasn't long enough. Why can't I just be a fly on the wall and watch them forever? *sigh*

MgMyself said...

Tristan,

You can watch them in the next episode...

:)

Tristan said...

Squeeeeeeeeee! There's another episode!I'm excited!

MgMyself said...

Hahah! Not exactly an episode...but yes there is another Jack & Monica.

I love when you jump!