Maybe this one?

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    Roseanne sat in the waiting room listening to the air cleaner and not speaking to the patrons.  Sometimes there were people she’d seen before but more often not.  She missed the old receptionist, in fact, she missed the last two.  It seemed the job didn’t pay in proportion to the work involved but maybe that wasn’t the fault of the company.  She was grateful for them being there at all.   “Jordan will see you now.”  She said.  So they were informal already, Roseanne grinned.  Doc had a way about him that was for sure.

    He was wearing a button down shirt and slacks, she wondered what he wore on his days off.  Jordan Jenkins was easy on the eyes with his chestnut hair and slight tan, he’d worn a beard since she’d met him so she had no idea what was underneath, but it suited his personality.

    “How are we today?”  He asked.

    “Introspective I suppose.”

    “Have a seat and we’ll talk about it, or you’ll talk about it, whichever you prefer.”

    “I had a friend I’ve never told you about, in fact, there aren’t many people I’ve ever told and the ones I did tell, it was just so they’d know up front instead of finding out later.  I’ve been thinking about him a lot over the past twenty years but I don’t talk about it.  Do you think that things get bigger to a person when they think they can’t talk about them?”  Roseanne wasn’t even sure if she should go on.

    “That’s a difficult question.  Maybe it depends on the person.”  He replied.

    “Why is it that people pretend something will disappear from your thinking if you just don’t talk about it?”  She asked.  “He told me that I don’t pay enough attention to what people said around me, that I miss a lot just because I don’t pay attention.”

    “Do you agree with him?”  Jordan got comfortable.

    “In retrospect, I think I do.  You see, he and I worked together and became close friends, sometimes a little more, but he was a different race, sometimes people don’t like that.”  She revealed.

    “People don’t pay much attention to that.”

    “They did back then Doc.  Especially around here.”

    “Where is he now?  Do you know?”

    “I was nineteen at the time and our friendship lasted a little over a year if that.  But Doc, so much seemed to spill out of that year and into my life and thinking almost ten years later.  He wasn’t from around here and he seemed ahead of his time, cultured somehow.  He tried to get me to run off with him to California.”

    “Why California,” He asked.

    “Haley said that in California people didn’t care about mixing the races, he knew I wasn’t happy in my marriage but the truth is, Doc, I didn’t know that I was ready to stray that far from the nest either.”

    “So you didn’t go.”

    “Oh I considered it but mentally I wasn’t ready.  He said he’d be in someone else’s car at the end of the road.  I was packed and waiting but somehow my mind wouldn’t register that the car on the road must have been the car he was in.  I waited a while and then I turned back and went home.  No one was ever the wiser.”

    “He left without you.”

    “He did, but then he returned.”  She was wishing she had a cigarette.  She remembered Haley telling her that a puff off a cigarette was a good way to pause when you weren’t sure what you should say next and Roseanne wasn’t sure what else she wanted to say.

    “You said you were married then.  How did this affect your marriage?”

    “Not like I’d hoped.  You see, he was prejudice and I was hoping he would divorce me.”

    Doc covered his surprise like a champ.  “Um, why didn’t you simply get a divorce if you wanted one?”

    Roseanne’s eyes turned to ice, “Wherever you go, whoever you see, whatever you do.  I WILL be there.  That’s why.”  When there was no response she added, “That is what my first husband told me before we were married and I tried to break up with him.  I thought I could make him hate me.  I thought I could make him want me to leave with his blessing.”

    “You didn’t hide your friendship?”

    “I did worse; I caused them to be friends as well.  It was the ultimate betrayal.”  Doc was listening and she wondered how he was judging her.  “The thing is, Haley talked about things when I knew him that seemed to be relevant in my life later.  Doc, they seemed to tie in to the trouble I had in Utah before I left.  You see, I told him my opinion about something and……….” She trailed off.

    “You don’t feel comfortable talking about it?”  He asked.

    “No, I don’t.  It involves the government and conspiracies and what was going on in the news in Utah seemed to bring everything full circle.  Remember I told you I thought I heard a murder upstairs?”

    “I remember.”  He said.

    “Sometimes I think it might have been him.  That maybe he was more than I thought he was when I knew him and if he wasn’t, he was later.  You see, race was very important to him, much more important than I thought it was to me, but sometimes I wonder if I lied to myself, sometimes I didn’t let myself entertain thinking about it at all.  Still there is no denying that you can’t live in a vacuum and mixed couples attracted a lot of unwanted attention back then, sometimes they still do.”






    Her gift to herself had arrived today and true to form, she let someone else unpack it.  The card players by Cezanne and she could hear his voice in her head as he said, “perfect” with a smile.  She rotated the other artwork on the walls so as to have a good view of her new acquisition and sat down to admire it with a cigarette and a glass of wine. 




    She glanced at the new carpet, admiring how it matched the jacket of one of the men in the painting and thought, “perfect.”  The leftovers were out in the garage to tell the powers that be, should they ever need to know, that May might be important.  Not only was it the month the carpet was made, but a lone black woman named May had been there in Utah twenty years before when this all started.  A lone black woman might go unnoticed most places, but not in Utah.  They notice black people there, and like an exotic lover, she’d left Utah in the past but had not been able to forget what had happened there.  He wasn’t there but when it came to talking about race, he should have been there and it was only retrospect in her thinking that put him there, retrospect, and circumstantial evidence.

    May on the back and London fog on the top, “What do you think of Princess Diana?” he’d asked.

    “I watched the wedding when it happened and dreamed about being a princess.”  He chuckled.

    “Have you ever heard that song by Elton John, Rocket man?”

    “Yes,” Roseanne replied, hearing it in her head.

    “I turned on the radio in the car one day and heard the end of it, it was the first time I heard it.”  

    It occurred to her that not once in the months she’d spent with him had he ever chosen the music they listened to nor had he talked about his own preferences, except for Jimi Hendrix of course, he seemed quite partial to his music.  She only knew two of his songs and they seemed dated to her.  Some people told her she’d missed her proper place in history and should have been a flower child but that had been about her conversation, not her taste in music.

    “He’s okay,” she would say.  Later she would find out that Hendrix had died in England.  London fog carpet for a princess who couldn’t live out her dreams could also remind you of a man who never realized his full potential as well.  Had they really died or had they lived on in another life as the people in the chat room had been fond of speaking about?  Almost everyone in the reflecting pool had talked about living many lives and she’d debated with them against the notion.  What if they had though?  What if they were a group of people who spent their lives investigating things that the government would never reveal to the public?  Roseanne felt a new conspiracy theory coming on.


    The décor in Roseanne’s home was carefully tailored to tell a story to a person who had eyes to see and only to the person who had eyes to see.  She saved cat whiskers in the Utah shot glass because the women there were given carte blanche to control the place, or so they thought.  Women who were from outside the church were generally not welcome so she saved the claws as well.  The men kept their business and plans to themselves, preferring the women handle outsiders, the women, the old folks and yes, the children.  These attributes differentiated them from other cultures.  One could argue that such ‘training’ was necessary for the survival of the religion and likely a bonding experience, but Roseanne had been reared in a culture where children stayed out of grown folks’ business.

    Still, she tried to guess where they hid the ‘grown’ folks.  She’d put money on Hollywood for the princess and the Ukraine for Fayed, considering the administration involved when it happened.  After all, neither of them had been paupers and it wouldn’t do for them to lead a pauper’s life after love.  She assumed the things on the table were the things on the table but what a person kept in their hand, ah, that would be a different matter.

    She believed Hollywood made movies all the time reflecting things the “stars” hadn’t told about their lives, or the lives they studied when they weren’t busy being stars.  It hadn’t surprised Roseanne when the ‘accident’ happened; she knew England would never let those boys grow up under the influence of the Muslim religion.  Maybe the princess had revealed Dodie’s information, and he had revealed hers.  Torrid love affairs are highly over-rated.  Roseanne didn’t believe everyone who went into the witness protection program did so blatantly, she believed some of them faked their deaths first instead and kept their deepest secrets as secrets all the same.  Drugs, guns and Mexico went hand in hand, if you tossed in poppies from Afghanistan; wouldn’t that possibly explain what Dodie knew?

    “How do you hide a dead body?”  She’d been asked the question more times than she cared to count and only later in life did the notion occur to her that maybe dead wasn’t always literal.  If it wasn’t literal, the person in question would have to be planted far from their past life and moved to interests of the future, wouldn’t they?  Diana for Hollyweird and the Ukraine for Dodie, the Ukraine might be the other end of an investigation and he knew the religion, he knew the mindset.


    Roseanne kept peacock feathers in the large Mexican vase, the one that would never hold water due to the weld.  Peacock feathers had eyes, but so did hurricanes.   She’d read somewhere that one of the fictional giants named Io had many eyes all over his body and when the gods had defeated him, they turned him into a peacock.  Roseanne remembered being two and chasing some of them trying to catch one to pluck a coveted tail feather.  They were running from her until she locked eyes with one and she knew he was going to allow her to catch him.  She didn’t remember what happened next, but her mother said she had come out on the bad end of the deal.  She still had a fascination for peacocks, as well as a healthy respect.  She supposed that nature had a way of protecting its most beautiful prizes, peacock feathers and cactus flowers and water lilies.

    When she’d first met Roger he had brought her three peacock feathers and in her madness she’d assumed he already knew the story of how she’d wanted one so badly when she was two so he was fulfilling that wish for her.  Madness can cause you to assume so much and miss the obvious at the same time.



    She supposed Haley would have wanted her to focus on the blue curtains in the living room, but they were there for the curious.  Curtains, she thought, the beginning and the end of the matter.  How had curtains become synonymous with collars?  And collars synonymous with clothes?  Sometimes her mind didn’t work right, or rather, like everyone else’s mind, which is basically the same thing.  Did they call them collars anymore or was that just a dragnet term?  So little to say and so much time to say it in, such was life.  “Don’t say any of it,” she reminded herself.

    For good measure, the curtains in the bathroom window represented a long overdue rainbow, ‘please don’t destroy my world again.’  She didn’t think she could bear it.  Indian poker hadn’t been much fun.  There were five of them on the floor and two on the table, she’d chosen one of the five without knowledge that it was a game, but then those who rig the game will remind you that life isn’t fair.  She had come to believe that the weekend get-away was more than it seemed to be at the time and that likely it was the most defining moment of her life.  Roseanne had this nagging belief that there were moments in time in her life that she had not been the smartest person in the room, that somehow she’d been left out of the loop but not out of the game.  But why?  Who, what, where when and why?  She had answers but who had the questions?  But then she also had questions she didn’t want the answers to.  “Perhaps I’m just his time capsule so he wouldn’t be forgotten,” she mused.


    What was his name again?  It had been in the sky when the princess had perished.  Larger than any sign that any billboard had ever seen.  Haley’s comet.   He’d talked about it more than once.  It was the name of a writer and the name of a comet.  He’d also mentioned how the comet had brought Mark Twain into the world and he’d followed the comet on his way out of the world.




    If life had taught her anything, it had taught Roseanne that husbands come and go but dues are forever, some things were a matter of birthright and sometimes, for some people, you aren’t born until you make a good decision or a bad one, depending upon how you look at it, at least you weren’t born into some people’s world until then.  Roger seemed to prefer to believe she hadn’t existed before him.

    Her current husband had been playing head games, making things disappear and then reappear later, hiding pennies under the runner in the kitchen then denying he’d put them there, just little things designed to make her think someone other than the family had access to the house. She figured he believed it was his turn to be blessed with a wife who walked out the door leaving all the goodies behind which she would gladly do as she’d done twice before, but this time there were children she refused to abandon to the whims of the flavor of the week.  One homeless night was all it took to bring her to the resolve that she would not be homeless if it was within her power to avoid it and neither would her children.  She wasn’t like Debbie, the homeless lady who scavenged town and by virtue of her station in life knew all the town secrets.  As it turns out, no one fears the rantings of a senile old crazy lady except of course, for Roseanne who believed in conspiracies and listened.  Sometimes she wished she didn’t listen quite so intently because the old lady had some pretty fantastical ideas and sometimes truth was stranger than fiction.

    Some of the staff at the hospital knew that Debbie snuck in there and watched the news in the lobby and occasionally took a shower in an unoccupied room or the showers they had set aside for those who stayed there with their loved ones.  Debbie dressed according to what kind of attention she wanted that day, rotating between her begging clothes and her going to the movies and eating out clothes depending upon the task at hand.  Sometimes Roseanne would imagine that Debbie actually had quite a stash cached away somewhere and only lived the way she did for the challenge and the fun but then she thought that was a crazy notion, no one would actually do that.  “Oh yes they would,” she giggled.  Debbie would.


    This was the third marriage for Roseanne and the tamest.  They say still waters run deep and there was a well on both sides.  Neither had entered the marriage empty handed, both of them had come together with separate axes to grind and left over feelings for other people on the table, she guessed that was bound to happen if you re-marry later in life.  She should be grateful there had been no prior children on either side even though she had wanted them and from all appearances, so had he.  Perhaps that wasn’t altogether a fair statement she thought, considering that her oldest had already been conceived when she met her current husband.  Did the father matter since she’d made him nameless?  Roseanne had always left that up to him and his absence had been deafening.  Not to her daughter, but certainly to her.  She’d had more questions about the man than answers but had it been about him or his timing?  He’d had terrible timing but then again, only the clinically insane lets a man walk out on a child, right?  Maybe from his point of view he’d had impeccable timing.

    “Ladies and gentlemen, somewhere between husband two and husband three a goddess has been created!”  Roseanne was sure her daughter was a goddess because the child seldom had to speak to get her point across and her talent was off the charts.  The amazing thing was though, that she didn’t seem to realize it and yet the facts never escaped her either.  How could an individual be so content with just living?  Roseanne had encouraged her art skills because at two the child was drawing her stick figures with hands.  She had encouraged her to go into school for an advertising career because she’d once had conversations with someone about the power of advertising.  It was the writers in the media and the advertisers who carried the real power and as long as the stars never realized that, it would stay that way.  Roseanne only wished the father cared to know these things.  He had prayed over the baby when she was pregnant with her and for some reason this had given her the impression that he’d care.  He asked her once if he should take her out of her mother’s house and she’d answered, “If it’s about me, then yes, if it’s about the baby, then no.”

    He’d disappeared after that, quite in the fashion of a Cheshire cat.  First just some things from the apartment he shared with a friend and gradually all that was his until he was gone entirely.  She continued to consider him in her decisions, deciding to leave her fate in his hands until the child was born at least, but he hadn’t called again until after the child was born, but by that time her family had ousted her from their home so she wasn’t there to get the call, and her sister had lied to him, saying she’d left to find a better life for herself and likely wasn’t interested in him.  Her sister hadn’t given her his numbers until two years later and by that time the numbers were no longer any good.


    Yes, she’d told Haley, way back when, how it was possible to rule the world, the man she’d met when she was nineteen who wanted to change California.  The band “Yes” reminded her of him because he told her that with her value system, he believed the time would come when she would literally be an owner of a lonely heart.  He didn’t know that “no” to her was the nickname of her sister’s first husband, but then way back then, she hadn’t known they called him “no-no” either.  Blue curtains, blue on black.

    “If it’s about me, then yes……” she thought she’d heard a murder upstairs and it was possibly her friend from California, “if it’s about the baby, then no……” she thought she might know where it all started and why he’d let it go, assuming her friend from California had been an undercover when she met him the first time and he’d made sure she was the someone who would know why he died, IF he was going to die.  It had to do with Diana, something bigger than when she met him, possibly something regarding what he’d heard her say about the HIV virus.  Had he tracked down its’ genesis and then paid for tracking it down?

    He’d tried to talk her into leaving husband one to go with him to ‘transform’ California.  He said a mixed couple didn’t have the trouble there that they had around ‘here’.  Indeed, such trouble was just what she’d been counting on but husband number one hadn’t responded as she’d hoped he would.  Now here he was, Mr. Jimi Hendrix fan, trying to get her to skip all the drama and just leave, just like that.

    Roseanne had a mechanism in her brain that when she found something unacceptable, her brain would just reject the information and kick it out as though it had never been there.  She’d packed a bag, she’d walked down to the end of the road and seen the car and then prayed the car would leave because how was she supposed to meet Mr. Sunshine to run off if that car was sitting there?  She didn’t know how long she hid in the ditch, but she did know that it was years before she remembered him distinctly saying, “I won’t be in my own car, I’ll borrow one from a friend, remember that.”  What had that glitch in her psyche prevented her from?  Bliss or sorrow, it was too late to know now.


    Roseanne had wanted to build something but she seemed to have spent her life mining and the trouble with mining is that you aren’t sure what you’ve missed and you certainly don’t know what’s ahead, you’re never really certain of what you’re looking for and yet when you find it, it’s unrefined and raw so you don’t know what you have.  Such was life with Roseanne and she knew this to be a fact because Debbie had analyzed it for her over coffee one spring day when the restlessness was at its peak.  Someone had once told her that the spring was when she’d always threatened to leave, which gave her pause to wonder why November had always been the actual time for her to leave.  She’d left two marriages in November and been forced into homelessness herself once during that month.


    Roseanne had three children whose internal dialogue she’d always tried to control by means of how she spoke to them due to the fact that she’d observed that her internal dialogue had been shaped by her own mother either through words she’d spoken, words she’d neglected to speak or things she reported others saying.  Roseanne wasn’t sure if internal dialogue had much to do with the outcome of life or the quality of life but she was pretty sure it played a role.  Raising artists in a world that loved concrete skill rather than decoration was counterintuitive to her goals for her children.  The term ‘independently wealthy’ came to mind but that just doesn’t happen with an artist, not usually anyway.  Still, they were who they were and there was no changing that.  The children were out on their own now chasing their dreams and Roseanne prayed the dreams didn’t run too fast.  She found herself with too much time on her hands to think and yoked to a man who refused to think and resented the fact that she did too much of it.

    She didn’t have to guess what Roger was thinking, he’d flat out told her one day when she’d been rambling on that he was ‘sick of your shit and hearing about the fantasy world you live in.’  Not exactly an open ended statement built to discuss anything, it fact, it was a pretty elaborate way to say ‘shut the _____ up!’  So she had, and later be scolded for not telling him anything. 

    The truth was that Roseanne had a habit of keeping things to herself over the years anyway because it seemed that other people sometimes trusted her with their secrets and a few had trusted her with their plans for suicide.  Why they did this she couldn’t fathom other than maybe she was so strange herself that they assumed she would understand.  Not many people like to think about the dark side of life, much less openly and verbally explore it.  Roseanne felt that the dark side of life had been her life study.  Not so much in her reading and research, it was more about personal experience, but then, she believed that perception is key to how one experiences life and people develop filters based on personal experience and internal dialogue.  Language interprets the world! 

    She saved cat whiskers and claws in her Utah shot glass along with some decorative rocks, with which to stone you, my dear.  The Vegas Excalibur shot glass contained her parent’s rings that had meant the most to them, his, an army ring and hers a wedding ring, both represented a gamble in life.   Her Oklahoma shot glass contained two large magnetic beads and only two large magnetic beads.  She loved these items because depending upon polarization they either repelled or attracted but left to their own devices, nature takes its’ course.  Her Arkansas shot glass contained one perfect crystal, and her shot glass that had a diamond cut crystal and a Cicada wing in it had been stolen from a bar.  All of these meant something to Roseanne just as the carpet did.

    Also on the shelf she kept two serving bowls that, according to her antique dealer, had not been produced for the states, but had been intended to stay in their respective countries.  One was like a small finger bowl with a couple painted round about in bright colors, with Chinese symbols on the bottom.  The edge was trimmed with bronze and was the first of her finds.

    The second one was much larger and seemed to be designed to serve a full meal, Roseanne had paid five dollars for it at a yard sale and then examined it later at home.  The markings underneath appeared to be Japanese or some other country but the dish was not stable.  She thought back to her conversation with Roger.  “Did you know that Asian people are very particular about doing things the right way?”

    He nodded and kept playing his computer game.

    “Have you ever heard of Feng Shiue?”

    He glanced over, obviously irritated, but said nothing.

    “I imagine an old lady who’s not allowed to say anything to the young man to discipline him because in their culture a female is not supposed to correct a male.  I picture her making this on purpose at work to be this way so she could buy it cheap and bring it home with her to teach the young man.”

    He was listening but still irritated.

    “Do you see the butterflies, there are three of them and two are on fire, a butterfly like that cannot fly.  Perhaps the boy has a violent temper and is unstable like the dish, see how it wobbles when you put it down?”

    He was still irritated, “That doesn’t mean anything.”

    “But look!” she said, “See what happens when the boy faces the perfect butterfly that he imagines himself to be?  Do you see the four faces on the OUTSIDE of the bowl?”

    He still wasn’t impressed, “That still doesn’t mean anything.”

    “Roger, the face on the opposite side of the perfect butterfly is unfinished.  The others are painted completely red but this one,” she showed him, “this one is unfinished.  The person eating across from the boy would see the truth, they would see his instability.  All of this is symbolic.”

    “You’re always making shit up, this means nothing!”

    So Roseanne stored the dish under the other dish that was probably meant for lovers, and dreamed that one day she might have a man in her life who could appreciate an over-active imagination.  She didn’t bother to tell him that she’d learned that orange, the predominant color of the dish, was often used by Buddhist monks in their dress, or that she’d possibly seen the same pattern on a flag of a Buddhist temple where a mass murder had occurred.  If he thought her imagination was overactive before, he’d definitely condemn it with all that news and the possible implications.  Would a dish from such a crime scene be a prize or a liability?  Roseanne didn’t want to know, she only knew she’d never feed anyone from that dish.  She thought about the Asian term, to ‘save face’ which is the same thing as retaining your honor but just as importantly, allowing others to retain theirs.  She wondered how that played into the symbolism.  She was certain she would never know for sure.