He didn’t flee. That struck me as odd. As I approached the porch, I was waiting for him to glance back at me and then slowly but purposefully, retreat into the safe confines of his home. Its become a familiar routine over the years; I show up, he/she hides. I expect it, its all I know. I dont even get angry anymore, its a wasted emotion, it solves nothing. To be honest, I genuinely feel that they want me to react badly, they want to see me unleash my fury. If I start screaming and threatening them it would confirm that I’m a crazy fuck. A madman. Which in their twisted logic would be the reason they hide. Sometimes I feel like I’m in a modern version of Hitchcock’s Vertigo.
He stood wedged in the door, one foot on safe ground the other on potentially more dangerous and unsure ground. I was flabbergasted. Someone made a script-change, someone edited out the part where he disappears inside and I walk away dispirited. Something else was at play here, an opportunity had presented itself and I knew that I had to take advantage.
We stood about three feet apart. Close enough that I could shove my hand into his chest and rip his malignant, pulsating heart out. Maybe for dramatic effect, I’d take a bite of that heart and just grin at him, blood sliding down my jaw. Instead, I just said hello.
The conversation was awkward. I did most of the talking, he did alot of nodding. I remained calm and composed the entire 5 minutes we conversed. I had no choice. I’ve been ignored by them for months, just bone-chilling silence. No communication whatsoever. They even changed their phone number in May. I was in the dark, no way to check on my daughter, no way to inquire if she was OK. Just nothing, I was erased. I knew nothing about anything in regards to my little girl. I was standing next to my nemesis and I remained in control of my emotions, no small feat. If I had to temporarily kiss his ass a little bit to gain access to my daughter, so be it. I’ll play their game. I even shook his hand as the conversation came to a close, he said he’d have her (Darlene’s mom) call me. Its all I could hope for.
She texted me first. A middle-of-the-night text. A picture of my daughter. Progress. I had a new picture of Darlene plus I now had her phone number. I couldnt help but wonder what was the catalyst for this seismic change in her. Guilt? Did she possibly read my blog posts “The Silent Door” or “Churro” and have some kind of epiphany? How does someone go from an utter disregard for anything even remotely civil and fair to reaching out to me? Its rather baffling but I’m not complaining, hope has entered my thoughts again and I like that feeling.
She called me the next day. La fatasma (the ghost) had reappeared. We had a very brief conversation that didnt really address anything. I kind of froze-up, words weren’t forming in my mind. I waited months for this phone call, dark months, hopeless months, and I just went blank. I asked about my daughter and how she was doing but didn’t explore further. I laughed nervously a couple of times just to keep her talking but the call wasnt going the way I had envisioned. I wanted a complex and lengthy discourse about how we could repair our relationship for the sake of our daughter. I wanted some resolution and to be honest, I wanted some absolution as well. The call ended too quickly, she had to go to work but mentioned that she would call me tomorrow.
We talked on Tuesday. Today is Friday. I haven’t heard a word from her. I texted her a couple of times asking if I could see my daughter. She has not responded. Its so damn maddening. Its like she came out of the mist, offering hope and promise only to to disappear again, a vapor in a slight breeze. I feel as though I’ve been played, manipulated. The cordial conversation with my enemy on the porch, was I being duped? Coddled? A text and a phone call from Darlene’s mother, a treatise or a twist of the knife? That whole “burn me once shame on you, burn me twice shame on me” adage comes to mind.
Maybe im wrong. Maybe she’ll call this weekend and we’ll have a productive conversation. Maybe I’ll get to see my little girl. But if the past is any type of indicator, I shouldn’t expect anything other than a silent phone and my mind searching for answers to the enigma that is La fatasma.
“Now I know what a ghost is. Unfinished business, that’s what.”
― Salman Rushdie, The Satanic Verses