There I was in Chambery while the rest of my family excluded my daughter who lived here was back in Sweet Valley in the comforts of our home. Wisteria and Porfirio started school not too long ago at the elementary school in town. They were both extremely excited for it to start over the summer though Porfirio was a bit disappointed when he realized that it would mean not being able to spend the day at the beach anymore.
But the first day had come and gone without a hitch. By the time the kids got home their backpacks were full of paperwork that would have to be filled out by Aubergine and I. Wisteria excitedly told us both a few times about her first day and how all of her friends were in her class while her brother asked if we could go to the beach after dinner.
After we settled into a routine it came time for my trip to Chambery to visit Violet. I had a few doubts about going there without Aubergine. It was hard being around Shiraz with our child, even for those few minutes where she was dropping her off so I could have my time around her. But with Aubergine by my side I could be strong; I needed her more than anyone could ever need someone. I couldn’t imagine hurting her again and as much as I didn’t want to I never been so scared before that I would. The trip was almost called off a few times as it quickly approached. But Aubergine kept assuring me “I know everything will be fine Roux. As I’ve said before I trust you and I know that nothing will happen.” When I would try to talk to her about it, after we had turned out the lights and we were once again in each other’s arms, reminiscent of a time before the affair happened.
The drive to the airport felt shorter than it normally did, like my last moments with Aubergine were quickly slipping away through my fingers which clumsily failed to grasp them. Holding her in my arms as we said goodbye I didn’t want to let go, as I tried to savor everything about her before I had to board my plane. “Hey, don’t look like you’re on your way to a firing squad. You’re going to see Violet and before you know it you’ll be back here. Don’t worry so much.” Aubergine said confidently the draw in her voice reminded me of the girl I knew a long time ago as the woman stood before me entrusting her heart once again to me.
Wearily as the plane traveled the distance to Chambery with the stale air that slowly circulated around the cabin, I deceived myself in thinking that I didn’t need Aubergine to hold my hand and that like she had said everything would be fine. It had to be otherwise I would lose everything.
My arrival to Chambery like the airplane trip was eventful as checking into the hotel was. Instead of a suite with bedrooms I was staying alone in a standard room. That night I slept restlessly as I tossed and turned throughout the night, waking up several times only to find myself alone in bed without Aubergine reminding me of when she had left me.
The next day I woke somewhat later than I had originally planned so I grabbed a quick shower after making a phone call to get some breakfast sent up. As soon as I turned the knob off in the shower I heard a knock at the door. Thinking it was only room service I quickly wrapped a towel around my lower half and answered the door. Needless to say it was not my breakfast in a shining serving platter waiting to be unveiled.
“Flaugnarde, what a surprise.” I said without greeting him as he held my daughter while staring at me with a look that could kill while he muttered what I could only imagine were impolite things that were not appropriate for repeating. “Come in.” I motioned for them to come into the hotel room “Shiraz is uhh… busy with things that don’t concern you. Violet has had her midmorning snack already and has been a bit cranky today.” Flaugnarde said not losing a chance to display his ever present presence in my daughter’s life and the lack of my own. “She doesn’t seem too cranky to me.” I replied as Violet reached for me as she held out her chubby toddler arms and squealed “Daddy!”
“Yes well you know how it is, drop her off at Shiraz’s at the designated time. See you soon VeeVee!” Flaugnarde said his goodbye to Violet before he shortly left, thankfully. I couldn’t stand the guy for obviously as much as he couldn’t stand me. I hated the way he sidled up to Shiraz and inserted himself into Violet’s life. “So what should we do kiddo? It’s just me and you.” I asked her while I ate my breakfast that had finally arrived after I had managed to through some clothes on quickly before answering the last knock at the door. “Pwaayground! Horsies!” was her answer, over and over until we got there.
Together over the next two weeks we went to the park many times “Violet smile at the camara, smile at daddy.”
When it was time to go both her parent’s combined stubbornness would rear it’s pretty little blue head with her amethyst colored locks in defiance as she crossed her arms and said “Non!” In her little voice delicately laced with local accent of Chambery.
We found other things to do the two of us. A friend had suggested taking Violet to smoosh grapes at the nectary and then have the juice bottled to be turned into nectar, but the little princess would have none of it.
Until daddy showed her that it was all right and that they made his feet turn violaceous as her hair and name sake.
Then Violet decided to join in just to get her own little toes as purple. Afterward I had arranged for the bottles that were to be made from the juice that was gathered from our grape smooshing to be stored and aged at the nectary until Violet’s coming of age that she could enjoy a glass of it.
Two weeks passed by in a blink of an eye, it seemed as if I was just getting off the plane the other day. And soon it was time for me to drop Violet back off at her mother’s house before heading to the airport to catch my flight at noon. That day I took her once again to the park that she loved and watched as she gleefully played on a ride on toy like her sisters had back home. By the time I wrangled her away she had tired herself out and was falling asleep on the cab ride over to her mom’s only to be briefly awoken when we arrived.
As I watched Violet fall back to sleep so easily and content I felt Shiraz’s hand wind its way up my back slowly to my shoulder where she leaned her head. It was nothing more than an innocent gesture between two parents watching their daughter sleep soundly. But with her soft touch I felt myself begin to crumble again, dying to slip my arm around Shiraz’s waist to bring her closer to me but I tried to hold strong and not fall again. “Don’t…don’t touch me please. I just can’t Shiraz, I can’t do this to her again. I really can’t see you again when I know that…that it can all happen again so easily.” The words came quickly out of my mouth as I walked out of the Violet’s bedroom as Shiraz followed me.
“Roux!” She said my name full of pain as I reached the front door. “Roux, I… I…” Shiraz tried to speak but so many reasons, so many lines that couldn’t be crossed again hindered her. And I realized that it would never be completely over between us unless I did something that I should have done a long time ago. Turning around I looked at her for one last time as I began to let go of all the memories.
From the first time I meet her
Memories that were once so full of hope
Of what seemed like infinite happiness
That never lasted
Only to be turned into misguided revitalized passion
Everything that had bound us together beyond our daughter, I said goodbye silently to it all in those moments that passed before I finally broke up with Shiraz. Because it’s easier to break your heart and let you think I was the berryhole you originally thought I was than to let you live with hope when I know that this would never be in this lifetime. I thought bitterly to myself before I spoke. “Shiraz I never loved you. I didn’t love you then and I don’t love you now.” I lied as I tried to crush whatever remnants of relationship that remained.
“That’s a lie Roux and you know it.” She said shakily but I wouldn’t let up because I knew if there was anything left between us, any sort of lingering hope neither one of us would be completely happy without the other as I saw in the past few years since she came back into my life.
“If it wasn’t you then it would have been someone else, you were just easier.” I lied again providing a performance that might have paled my own mother’s acting. I twisted the proverbial knife further into her heart, though the pain that resonated from it breaking was very real as I watched myself break her. “Stop it!” Shiraz said loudly as she tried to cover her ears but I wouldn’t let her as I let the final blow fall the only truth in it all. Listen to me please. If I could tell you how sorry I am I would. Hate me, let me break you because it’s the only way to take our pain away.
“You asked me before why I never choose you most of my life I never felt like a priority to the people that were important to me. I had to go to the extremes growing up to get my mother’s attention when she would go away. Fade well as much as he tried when he was around, he still was the same. My father… I don’t even want to go there with how everything else was more important that my mother and I.” I said with a sigh before continuing “And then there was you. The one I had wanted to marry that wanted something else besides a life with me. You see Aubergine is the only person that’s ever made me feel like I mattered to them. She’s the only one that as selfish as this may sound, choose me.”
Letting go of her arms without allowing myself to linger any more than I had, I went to leave again before saying “It’s over Shiraz… It’s really over.” With those words I broke my own hope that I had once held with her in part of my own heart that had been protected. When I opened the door light poured into the home from an afternoon sun that was still high in the sky, warm and inviting. “I know what you are doing so just go. It’s done, I release you.” I heard her say softly before I left as I dialed a number that I hated to call. Without even saying hello to him I delivered my message to him as I walked down the street in search of another cab “She’ll need you to help pick up the pieces.” Before I hung and headed home to my wife and family.
When I got home the sun was slowly ascending up past the hills that laid to the East of Sugar Valley. The house was pleasantly quiet except for the coffee machine that was programed to start making coffee every morning. In a half hour Aubergine would be awake and on her way to the coffee that she would always prepare an extra cup for me when I got up shortly after her. But today, today was going to be different. Quietly I awoke Porfirio and Wisteria to aid me in my endeavors while we let Indigo and Starry continue sleeping.
Through mixing and stirring to pouring and cooking misshaped pancakes, we made a feast of hopefully edible food.
“Roux what are you doing?” Aubergine asked sleepily when I woke her up with a plate of what the kids and I had prepared as Porfirio and Wisteria ate their breakfast downstairs “I took you for granted once before I don’t ever want to make that mistake again Aubergine. I love you more than anything and almost anyone besides my children. I just want to make you happy again like before all of this. I just want you to love me the way you used to.”
“I never stopped loving you the way I always have.” She replied as she sat up in in bed before I handed her, her plate. Things might not ever be the same between us and I was fine with that as long as I could once again make her smile in the way that could almost erase the hell our relationship had seen and come back from.
My brother Ashen and his family stopped over for a barbeque we had the last weekend before autumn would officially be rolling in. Shadow Sea was about the same age as his cousins Indigo and Starry. The three of them got along famously unlike their fathers.
Ashen was helping me with building the tree house that I had wanted to build a few years back now that Wisteria and Porfirio would be old enough to play in one. But a little forethought might have been good before placing my brother and me in between a slew of power tools and wood before we started arguing like usual. “Seriously, what the fudge did I ever do to you besides being born Roux?” Ashen asked irritatedly after I made a snide remark about something trivial
In the kitchen Aubergine and Alliesort were chatting in the cool air conditioned house safe from the last summer’s days sweltering heat that lingered even as fall was shortly approaching. “Here we go again.” I muttered under my breath “No seriously, what did I do ever do to you?” he asked again persistently.“Alright let’s go with your original theory you were born Ashen. You. Were. Born.” I replied sarcastically as I rolled my eyes. “You know I’m getting really sick of this.” He said as he threw down the hammer he was using. “What are you going to do? Tell our mommy? Ashie needs his mommy now?” I teased him with a nickname that I knew he hated that only our mother could call him. “Don’t call me that.” Ashen grumbled angrily.
“Why Ashie? Because I won’t like you when you’re angry Ashie?” I asked him sarcastically “Ashie mad, Ashie smash Roux. Ashie smas..”
And the wind was quickly knocked out of me before I could finish the word as Ashen tackled me to the ground.
As we fought each other we had caught the attention of our wives. Alliesort came running out of the house as quickly as she could while Aubergine took her time walking with a glass of lemonade. “Shouldn’t we do something?” Alliesort asked Aubergine over the noise of Ashen and I fighting. “Just let them run out of steam and then they’ll be right as rain with each other.” Aubergine said while she watched calmly as she sipped her drink. “But Ashen could…” Alliesort started to say worriedly before Aubergine interrupted “Ashen won’t hurt his brother.” And Aubergine was mostly right as always.
“You’re lucky I don’t have a job to go to tomorrow.” I said as my eye felt like it was swelling a bit and surely by the end of the night it would be a black one while I held a bag of ice up to it. “Maybe you should have listened to my dad when he tried to give you fighting tips before.” Ashen replied back to me with a mischievous smile on his seemingly untouched face even though I knew I had gotten as shot somewhere in there in the mists of our fight.
We sat next to each other on the ground and almost out of breath another reminder of yet another approaching birthday that seemed to come faster and faster every year. "I never liked you much because you're everything that I didn't think I could ever be." I replied as I looked over at my younger brother while thinking of all the times I messed up throughout my self-destructive life. “And you’ve always had a father, so I’ve always been jealous.”