“…and so, basically, I’m dead.”
The tech booth in Midori’s personal recording studio was a chill 60 degrees, a noticable contrast to the pleasant 70-75 degrees of the rest of the Meido Kafe downstairs. Midori had been up here putting in a lot of extra hours on her latest album in the last few weeks, once I had finally coaxed her from her bedroom at home. ‘Therapy’, she calls it. The title was appropriate on a number of levels, not the least of which was the politely sexual connotations, and Midori had latched onto the project like a life preserver, even going so far as to bribe me with fancy coffee and french pastries so that I might teach her the ‘Way of the Sound Engineer’ so that she could edit the tracks herself. I had called it that during our first lesson, and Midori had been so tickled by it she had made ‘The Way of Sound’, a traditional mellow Japanese Guitar piece, a bonus song on the end of CD and would occasionally do Mr. Miogi impressions over the console. Midori currently sat in the audio engineer chair, spinning on it like a slow top, the clacks of her oxfords making an interesting accompaniment to the High C of the inadequately greased chair pneumatics. I on the otherhand sat crosslegged and barefoot on the downey plush trap of eternal softness that was the audio booth’s main couch, and was desperately trying to resist it’s nappy-time will upon me as I recounted my lastest adventure to my friend. Fancy coffee helps with that, by the way.
“Wow,” Midori said, her voice coming in waves as she spun lazily in her chair, "this guy just threatened you in front of everybody?"
“Yeah, and he said he was gonna get me and my cat on a Tuesday! Who threatens horrific violence on a ‘Tuesday’? Did he check his calender first or something? Was he booked up until then?”
“Well, maybe-” Midori tried to insert herself into my rant, but i’d built up too much steam by this point.
“And this was WEEKS ago! Did he forget, or did he have to cancel and just decide to not tell me? I mean, the meathead was polite enough to tell me tuesday, but not tell me he had to rechedule? The numb knows where I live! I know snail mail is goche these days but damn-”
“Sweetie-” The High C and the tapping stopped.
“Does he have a secretary or something? Can I check to see if my immenint death was bumped a few weeks for-” as I finger-quoted “‘Drinks with the Bros’ or ‘Peeing on Trees’? Ooo, maybe he decided to chase a car and got ran over?”
“Should I send flowers, then? What flower says ‘Please don’t kill me or my cat’? I don’t-”
A Chibi Cthulu hits me square on the noggin, interrupting my avalanche of thought. “What?” I ask in impertinence.
“You’re fixating, Sweetie. It’s common after a stress or trauma event. Just relax and take deep breaths… in and out…”
Well, now I felt like an ass. While I was going on and on about one guy threatening me and my cat, Midori is over there suffering the reoping of genuine psychic scarring from [[Kawaii Desu Yo… Ne?, II | being threatened, kidnapped, and assaulted earlier this year]]. She had been in regular counseling ever since, but it wasn’t going as well you’d think due to the fact that she couldn’t actually tell the shrink what had actually happened for fear of loose lip retribution on both the Yakuza and spooky sides of the street. But she had stuck with it, and was slowly but steadily re-emerging into the beautiful lotus blossom we had all known and loved, albeit with less conceit. Midori continued talking, which I mentally thank her for.
"Anyway, maybe the reason he hasn’t shown up yet is because he got scared off by your friends. I mean, The wardsman said he was gonna give you new wards, right?"
"Yeah, and he did, for helping with the Louisianna gig. But Jamie’s got a lot on his plate-"
Midori’s voice practically squeaked with interest. "Oh it’s ‘Jamie’ now, is it? What happened to Conor?"
Blind Stubbornness slid into my voice for a second. “Hey, nothing is going on between me and Jamie so just stop that!”
“Stop what?” Midori sing-songed in her faux-fake slight and subtle Japanese accent that she uses for work.
“That…thing! You know, that thing you do with your voice that makes me want to tell you everything! God, You’re like a Bene Gesserit that makes pastries…”
Midori watched me silently, but with that palpable heavy silence that only someone who is brilliant and possibly a genius in the social sciences could muster. I was blind, but I could still feel her eyes on me in that silence. I raised the Chibi Cthulu to my face, hiding behind it. Midori laughed, but laughed genuinely and warmly, wordlessly affriming that she wouldn’t push it anymore.
“Besides,” I continued as a placation, "Jamie is totally into his secretary, or if not then he ought to be. Plus, like, he’s a full Wizard, and i’m… well… i’m just a…" I gestured at myself, letting the word cripple die in my throat which then provoked a downward spiral of small yet ever-increasing sobbing. Midori moved to sit beside me and put her arms around me, at which point I let go of the pent up fear and anger from the events of Belle’s party, loosened during my earlier rendition and my post-rendition rant, and let it all pour out. As the sobs grew stronger, I opened some of the other emotional floodgates, namely insecurity and loneliness, and in the safety of the audio booth and Midori’s shoulder, I let myself not be strong for a little while.
I sobbed tearlessly into Midori’s shoulder for about a minute, then grabbed a tissue from the end table so that I could clean my nose. Midori waited until I had finished, and politely and delicately asked about the part of the story that I hadn’t told her, but that she knew was there.
“So what happened with Conor?”
“Oh God…” I put my face into my hands and then planted my palmed face into Midori’s lap. Wow, she really works out. And moisturizes.
Midori aww’ed at me and pet my hair. “You want to talk about it?” I shook my head, and then as I felt the beginnings of another one of Midori’s stares, nodded and sat up.
“He came over afterward,” I breathed in surrender, “and he spent the night.”
Midori gasped, practically jumping out of the plushy couch of doom in the process. “He did?! OMG tellme everything !!!”
"On the couch!, Midori! He stayed over just to make sure that the WolfPack didn’t decided to make good on their threat earlier that flippin’ tuesday." Midori calmed down considerably, but I could still feel her excitement through the couch. She has had a mad crush on Conor ever since that AKON a couple years back, but couldn’t do anything about it do to her ahem ‘precious commodity’. No doubt exists in my mind that she would try her darndest to make Conor ‘number 2’ if it weren’t that she and I were best friends. Even if she did, it’s not like I’d hold it against her, given that Conor is, well, Conor, but I wasn’t gonna volunteer that information. A girl has to maintain some mystery, after all.
I sighed and continued my story. “So, he came over, and I had a bit to eat since after the meathead incident I’d had 3 pints of guiness in an hour on an empty stomach, and I was a little trashed. Conor had some too, after I insisted that my Aunt would kill me if he didn’t try the Shepherd’s Pie that she now makes persistantly. I swear, the first time he came over to jam like two years ago he walked in during one of Auntie Em’s bridge club meetings and charmed the pants off all four of those old ladies in about ten seconds. I mean, not literally cause that would be gross, but still, I could hear them all cooing for like an hour. Then, cause obviously they could tell he was Irish, Auntie Em learned how to make Shepherd’s Pie and has kept our frig perpetually stocked with it. I am up to my ears in that stuff, and I love it cause Auntie Em’s a good cook but Ya know I used to go out to Trinity Hall for the pub food and now I just get the burger-”
“Focus, Erica, you’re being tangenty.” Midori’s voice rang with a mix of excitement and frustration as she had shifted to sit crosslegged directly facing me on the couch, a position I proceeded to mirror.
“No worries, just focus on the abs, girl.”
“Hehe, right. So anyway, we ate, and I got him a pillow for the couch-”
“Why?” Midori interjected.
“Uh, cause not all of us have couches made from a euthanized snuffleupagus? My aunt got that thing in the seventies, it’s practically an upholstered coffee table. Hobbes doesn’t even like to sleep on it, it’s so hard.”
“Oh, right, sorry, please continue. Abs.”
“Pff heh, right, abs. Anyway, I got him a pillow, and he checked the house with Hobbes who was very interested in our activities after we told him what happened. After that, Conor lay down and Hobbes and I went upstairs and went to bed.”
Midori audibly slumped, clearly put out.
Here it comes, I thought to myself. “And then during the night…”
Midori squee’d, and she wrapped her arms around her knees like she was listening to a scary story around a campfire. I sighed in that ‘Oh you’ kind of way and continued.
“And then during the night, I got up to go to the bathroom,” I paused teasingly, while Midori hit me jokingly with Chibi Cthulu yelling ‘Abs!’ at me again. “And after I was done, I got to thinking, maybe I should make the first move, ya know? Like all those sitcoms and soap operas and feel good chck flicks say to do. So I crept downstairs as best I could, which wasn’t much considering Uncle John made the house exclusively from creaky board trees. And I get down there, and I’m right next to the couch, and he’s there…ya know…sleeping…”
“Does he snore? Like a little? I think a little snore is cute-”
“Right, abs. I’ll be quiet.”
“So he’s there, and I’m there, just standing across the room from him, and he’s snoring a little,” Midori squee’s almost inperseptively as I continue, “and I’m thinking, ’Don’t be a creeper, Erica, you can’t just stand here hovering while he’s sleeping, go wake him up.’ And then I think ‘but what if he’s mad that I woke him up just to ask him out’ and then I think ‘yeah right like he gonna get mad, he’s Conor, he only gets mad at monsters and traffic’. But I’m still standing there, ya know, not moving, and I start to think that I really wish I could just…i dunno…look at him, ya know? I haven’t even seen the guy and he’s saved my life multiple times and we jam a lot and he’s on my couch for Christ’s sake, and I wished that I could just go back in time and not do what I shouldn’t have done-”
“With your eyes?”
“Yes, with my eyes, and I wished that it was all a bad dream and that I could just open my eyes right now while I was standing there and just f!!!ing look at him so I could make up my mind…and then it happened.”
I paused for a second, a shiver ran thru my spine as I remembered the next part. Midori didn’t wait.
“What Happened”, she practically groaned.
I sighed again. “I saw him.”
Midori’s doubt was, like so many of her intangible qualities, delicate yet palpable. “Uh, sweetie…I don’t know how to tell you this, but you’re blind.”
“No no no, I Saw him,” tapping my right forefinger to my forehead.
“I don’t know that means, sweetie.”
“Oh sorry, it means the Sight. My mom would tell me about it while I was growing up, how it’s a Wizard’s trick for seeing thing the way that they truly are, not the way that we percieve the light reflecting off of them with our eyes. Mom made it seem very Zen and Cosmic Truth, although she occasionally would tell me that she’d occasionally use it to ‘sneak a peek’ at her dates when she was younger. She said that if you used it too much it would make you crazy, like genuinely bat-shit crazy, cause the human mind wasn’t exactly equipped to handle that much input all at once. A few second here and there were fine, or maybe up to a minute if you were in a jam, but never longer than that. Mom told me that she would teach me one day, when I got older, but after my accident, she said that she could See that I had damaged that part of me too, the Magick-y part that handles that sort of thing.”
“But you did! You totally did that! So does that mean that that,” and she paused and I could hear her watch clink as she waved her arm at me, “uh that part of you will come back?”
“I dunno, maybe. Mom said she had never seen magical trauma like that before, and when she asked around, those people didn’t know any better than she did. But maybe!” I smiled, and it felt like something I hadn’t really done of lot of lately, bizarrely enough. “I mean, I’ve been spell-slinging a lot more lately than I ever have before, plus I’ve been in a bunch of hairy situations that really, like, pushed me, ya know? So maybe?”
“That would be awesome!”
“I know, right?! But I digress. Do you want me to tell you what I saw?”
Midori’s excitedly clapped her dainty hands and silently squee’d again, reestablishing her fireside story pose.
“Hehe I will take that as ‘Yes’. So my Eye opened, my Third Eye I mean, that’s what Mom called it, and I Saw Conor for the first time. And for what he truly is, not just his seeming or his human guise. He was…Beautiful. And Terrible. Not the bad Terrible but the awe-inspiring one from Lord of the Rings. He was laying on the couch, which was bizarre but I’ll get to that later, and he was tall and mighty and majestic and…uh really hot, and he had this peatmoss green armor with butterfly motifs in gold and silver and moonlight. There were images of women in various states of undress, but artsy, not decadent. And they intertwined with this amazingly green flowering ivy that looked like it was caressing him too, and I could hear this really primal gaelic music mashed up with I Believe by Cowboy Mouth which was awesome but I can’t even begin to describe right now. I could feel a strong but gentle summer wind, and I smelled rain and blue bonnets, and-”
“Wait I thought that this was the ‘Sight’, where did the rain smells and stuff come from?”
“Eehh, it’s weird, I’ll explain that bit later.”
“And I started to look closer, and then the background started to fade into these sheer cliffs overlooking an ocean, but then I noticed something out of the corner of my Eye (God it feels weird to say that) and suddenly, like, I could see everything that had ever happened in that room! I saw Auntie Em walk thru but she looked like she was my age, and like it was for the first time. She wore a wedding gown and skipped about like it was the best day of her life. I saw Uncle John in various states of age in his chair, always reading a newspaper. And I saw the couch, and ahem what Uncle John and Auntie Em did on that couch and right then I knew why she had refused to get rid of it for so many years and why I would never sit on it ever again. There were so many things and emotions and and history all at once, all those things that make Auntie Em’s threshold so strong. They had really lived there, ya know? Then I remembered what Mom had said about the Sight, what it was and what could happen if I left it open for too long. I tried to close my eyes, squeeze them shut as tight as I could but I could still See, so I tried to remember all those time when I had shut my eyes as a child, which was a bizarre mental search request, let me tell ya. After what felt like forever I looked up and well, didn’t see anything, and I’ll tell ya I have never been so happy to see that blind darkness than I was at that moment. I’ll probably use that instead of the other thing for mental off switch. I think I yelled or cried out or something during all of that, cause Conor was there and awake and sounding very concerned, so I tried to tell him that I had just come down for some water cause I had a small migraine, which wasn’t exactly a lie at that point cause I definitely had one then. Hobbes ran down and got there a moment later, ready for action. They talked for a little bit, but I honestly didn’t hear a word they said, I pretty much just went back to bed and tried to shake the shock out of my brain. Both the boys helped me up the stairs. Mom had mentioned one time that what you See is permanent, like written in super permanent marker, but I never knew how true that was until then. I figured, sure, I have a good memory, the Sight is intense, I tend to remember intense things, but no, that… what I Saw is as fresh and clear right now as it was when it happened. Which I guess as far as First Sight’s go, I lucked out. My Mom said her First Sight was one of Granddad’s Wizard Friends during her training, and she said it was the only time she has been tempted to turn someone into a frog, cause that’s evidently what she saw in that guy.”
Midori sat enraptured throughout my convoluted recounting, and we stayed silent for a minute as I remembered and she imagined. She finally broke the silence with a quiet “wow” to which I replied in the affirmative.
“So does that mean that, based on what you Saw, Conor is a real Knight in Shining Armor?”
“Yeah,” I sighed, “I guess so.”
“Who loves music, and is definitely not gay.”
“Girl, Marry him,” Midori calmly ordered as if it were the natural course of action.
“What?! I can’t just-” I sputtered.
“If you don’t I will! Guys like that don’t grow on trees, you gotta lock that sh!t down!”
“I am not gonna ask him to marry me, Midori! He doesn’t even see me like that!”
“More for me then!”
“Oh no you don’t!” At which point I started the tickle fight.
The rest of the afternoon wound down like that, and we each enjoyed our best friends company until Midori had to go to work.