Episode 6 – Part 3: Condolences
(The letters stop here and Troy comes to Elle in person…)
“Elle. Can we talk for a minute?” Troy asked pensively. He seemed deep in thought. Horrible thoughts. His face was drained of all color and he looked like he hadn’t slept in days. “I don’t have it in me to write a letter today. I need to talk to you in person. So I came over.”
“It must be pretty terrible for you to drive all the way out here. I heard you left for India for a while after Grace disappeared. Only now I know what happened to her. I’m just glad you got to see her one last time. You know she loved you more than life Troy. I know she’s gone, but you have to hang onto that. Grace loved you more than anyone, or anything, even the moon and the stars in the sky.” I tried to comfort him.
“I know. That why it hurts.” he said almost sobbing.
I hugged Troy and invited him in. He sat very still on my sofa until he just started crying. He had abstained from blood in tribute to Grace. That’s the only reason his tear ducts were working and able to produce the tears that streamed down his face. I let him be for a moment, leaving him in his sorrow and went to prepare a cup of tea for us both. I spiked his with whiskey to take the edge off and offered him biscotti.
“I read everything that she wrote to you. It pains me to know that she felt like that, even a little bit. I saw those words and I wanted to tear apart the man who did it, but I couldn’t because she was talking about me. I just sat there wondering how in the world I had managed to hurt someone so important to me so badly with just a few misplaced words that I didn’t really mean in the long run.” Troy said tearfully as he took a sip of tea. His eyes darted to mine as he tasted the whiskey and after a small flourish of anger he looked at me gratefully, realizing why I did it.
“Troy, the most important thing about a woman’s heart is this. A girl can almost certainly get over something that happens, the way things went down, and can even make her peace with the outcome. So, it’s not only what was done Troy… it’s what was said. In reading her letters to me I hoped that you would pick up on the true issues she was upset about. She wasn’t mad that you had a mission or that you had to abandon her to a certain extent.” I explained.
“Oh no? Because I think that’s exactly what it was.” he interrupted.
“Guaranteed, she wasn’t happy about it and it hurt because she was going to miss you. But, she knew your job. She knows your life and your heart. That’s why it didn’t make sense to her. How could that heart the that she knows say such things to her? Grace wished you all the best that this world had to offer and by virtue of the fact that she was nearly always borderline in love with you she was forever ready to let you go when the time came.” I continued.
“Then the time came and it didn’t work Elle!” Troy protested.
“The time came, and it hurt enough that you were leaving her. It was hard enough that she was losing you. But, then you had to go and say those things to her? I mean she felt punched in the gut Troy.” I said as I refilled his empty tea cup with whiskey.
At least if he is tipsy I can quietly slip away and he may not notice that I’m not there for him to kill me in anger. Unless he’s an angry drunk. Darn. I should have thought of that first.
“But she does know my heart. I mean she’s my best friend. She had to know that I loved her and that I would never hurt her on purpose though.” He continued and took a sip.
“She thought you knew a few things too Troy. That’s why she was so confused and angry.” I replied coolly.
“Yeah? Like what?” he snapped.
“Like, she knew she loved you and was heartbroken over you, and instead of being understanding about where she was coming from you stood there and told her that it would take a literal act of God for you to want her. I mean what was that? As far as she knew, you were incapable of saying something so harsh to anyone.” I told him; taking a sip of whiskey myself so it wouldn’t hurt so much when he inevitably turned on me and attacked.
I would have kicked him out right then, but I didn’t post all of Grace’s letters and felt I owed it to her to set him straight since she couldn’t be here to defend her memory herself. The whiskey burned my throat as it slid down unsmoothly and I wondered why I didn’t grab the soju or something less painful to swallow.
“But she knew I’m a sarcastic person Elle. That shouldn’t have meant anything. Not like it did.” Troy said lowering his eyes and probably remembering part of the letter she wrote.
“She wasn’t Grace your best friend right then. She was Grace the woman you were rejecting and telling her why you didn’t want her. She felt crushed because if her best friend, who already knew her and loved her, felt that divine intervention was the only way he would ever want her then… she was 800 years old and alone. You were all that she had Troy. Those words really shook her. And that’s how one sarcastic phrase from you became a deep introspection of what she wished you had said instead.” I continued.
“So, it was never about what actually happened. She was hung up on what I said. And if I had just said, ‘Grace I have to go back to work and this level of closeness is weird…’ she would have been okay with everything else then Elle?” Troy asked as the epiphany spread over him like a warm light in a dark place.
“Yeah. That’s generally how it works with a girl. Whatever happens happens but don’t say mean things on top of it.” I told him as he started to rise and make his way to the front door.
“Can I come back later?” He asked as he handed me my tea cup.
“Sure as long as you stick to drinking the tea.” I said and winked at him.
“Yeah, no Elle.” Troy said laughing as he realized what I meant. “I don’t plan on misbehaving. Besides, I need to talk to you about Annibelle.”
“I haven’t heard from her lately.” I told him.
“Yeah, that’s what I need to talk to you about.” Troy said as he opened the door to leave.
I felt a sudden surge of fear for Belle. Had she died too? Before I could get his attention or even get a word out, Troy was a streak of color that blurred into nothingness halfway down the street. The air around me was still as I stood in my doorway. It took a minute for the birds chirping in the trees and the sound of a car passing in front of my house to click. I was so lost in thought myself.
I texted Belle immediately. Several hours later there was still no answer. But, she’s been such a scatter brain that I can’t quite decide if something is wrong or she just “lost” her phone and it’s under the seat in her car again. She’s supposed to call me in the morning anyway.
So, here’s to hoping.