Chapter Thirty Two; Flaming Out
Firebird & Priam.
Doug had picked it up; Priam gave the outshine of being brain dead. He didn't talk, his responses were beats slow, and he seemed concerned only with food.
Though periodically he'd come out with a remark which proved he was aware, most often he was vegetative.
I didn't understand him. I don't know what he saw, thought, intended...and I couldn't ask.
The last confrontation between us would have been fatal if Priam hadn't made that tiny hole in the wall.
We were not back to where we were when we began, but maybe to the point just before we almost ended, I was holding on, best I could.
Life With Priam
I'd taken out the yacht as Priam demanded, in such a manner as if bound for Andromeda.
After thirty minutes, I turned back, berthed at another Pier.
Priam hadn't been with me in the cockpit, he had stayed in the living quarters, which was unusual. I always felt he played co-pilot because he was interested in where we were going, how to pilot a yacht, my company, whatever.
I came from the cockpit into the living room.
"Buy another yacht," he says.
"What?" I reply.
He looks at me with his big eyes. He's packed his things, mine as well. He crosses to the computer, where he is erasing memory.
If I knew why we were doing these things, life with him would be less annoying.
He carries our bags and his rucksack into the corridor. I follow with a luggage cart. He loads our stuff on it. When we reach immigration he uses his false passport, and we come down in Capetown. It was big broad day but I was ready for bed.
Priam doesn't say a word, just stares at me. I flag a large taxi, go to a yacht dealership.
I was tired, but continued to function, selecting a yacht which I purchased via a card I rarely used. The account is real, full of credit, only the name is Angelina Molina, which is not mine.
Priam gave a nod of approval.
We go to the Pier to find the yacht I've bought. He selects a room stows his gear. It was a nicer yacht than what we'd left, I'll admit, but still.
"I'm to bed," I say to the room, for I hear the shower running. No doubt, he's made connections to the pier's utilities. I went into a room of deep mauves and quiet pinks. I took off my clothes, into bed, without a wash.
When I woke I hadn't a clue where I was, last night/morning having blurred.
I used the loo, then into the eating area.
"You have missed breakfast", Priam says in his quiet voice, shutting the vid, then turning to me. "I have consumed lunch." He blinks his eyes, then asks; "What would you like?" as he gets to his feet.
"Coffee, juice, whatever..." I say, pushing my mop out of my eyes. My hair must grow an inch a week.
It seems I slept twelve hours or something.
After the coffee, the juice and whatever, while he was exercising, I went in to wash, and dress.
When I came out he was still at his exercises. Shirtless, wearing the first pair of jeans I'd bought him, which being a cheap knock off, were moving to threadbare.
I watched him then, after ten seconds I say;
"Priam, we have to talk."
"No we don't," he replies switching right hand to left as he did one hand push ups.
"Priam, I can't protect you if I don't know what I'm protecting you from."
"You don't need to protect me," he replies, not breaking his rhythm.
That went well.
"I'm going to sell the other yacht," I begin.
"Do it from the planet, no connection," he tosses, as he leaps to his feet to do some kind of arm exercises.
Again I watch him totally absorbed in himself and try;
"Is there any particular reason you want to keep me ignorant?" fighting to keep the whine out of my voice.
"You don't trust me. I don't trust you," he tosses as he begins to perform katas.
I didn't expect him to say it just so, but I suppose he felt it was time.
"I'm going to go to the planet, you coming?" I flip.
He gives me one searchlight gaze, then slows down his regime, stops and since it's going to take him an hour to groom himself I pour another cup of coffee. I turn on the vid to see what he'd been watching. News broad casts, history promos, a sporting event. What did I expect?
I finish my coffee, meander into my room. Wasn't much I needed to do, I came out, into his room, "I'll see you.." I say.
"Wait," he demands, pulling on a shirt, his body slick with oil, "how long will this beard hold?" he asks.
"Another few hours," I reply, then clip out.
As he emerges and locks his room.
Why did he do that?
I don't know.
We walk the corridor, get down. I hail a taxi. We don't return to Cape Town, we go to Zimbabwe. We ride around. Priam makes a fidget which is his way of reminding what we are here for.
We get into the business section of the capital, I locate a broker. He'll deposit the funds in an account and that ends the link between me and my yacht.
"We have to purchase food," Priam indicates when we leave.
To the market, another two heaping carts, I pay, we go up, and he puts away the food.
I go into my room.
I sit on my bed.
I start to cry.
I am just crying. Not making much noise, but he must smell me.
He comes in, sits on the bed.
Looks at me as if I'm an interesting science experiment.
When I'm only just sniffing, (notice there is no attempt at consoling, no conversation), he says;
"Perhaps the truth is uglier than shrunken heads. Perhaps to move slowly, as a flower opens," and he makes one of his eloquent gestures, "is the way our relationship can persist."
"Priam, if they know who you are, if they know we are together, I am not safe."
He, the embodiment of selfish, can relate to vested self interest. And he does. He actually ponders. He ponders maybe forty seconds, then looks at me.
Our faces are very close, and for the very first time he calls me by a name.
"Firebird, buy me a yacht. I will go, you proceed to Newfrance."
A sense of relief washed over me as a sweet breeze in a stuffy room. I hadn't expected I'd feel this way, But I did.
I suddenly felt strong and complete, as Firebird should feel.
I know what he said. I know what it means.
I know all of it, every single connotation.
Yet, I feel relief, as if a storm has ended.
I don't speak, I nod.
We got up, went out. We land in another city, to another yacht broker.
I buy one in the name he'd been using.
We go up, he checks it out. I sit in the living room, my mind a blank. I marvel at the
blankness of my mind. Of the emptiness that fills me.
When he completes his investigation, proving, if I doubted, that he knows a great
deal about ships, we go across to Angelina's yacht.
His first stop is the kitchen, where he packs up three quarters of the food.
Then he is into his room.
I sit on his sofa, and look at nothing, and think nothing.
He comes out with his bag, his rucksack, looks at me.
He stands there, bags over his shoulders, and looks at me.
And he was gone.
When he was gone I said, "Goodbye Priam," and sat very still.
I didn't cry. I just sat.
The yacht was very quiet and cold.
Maybe I sat fifteen minutes or fifteen hours,
I just sat.
Eventually I go to the bathroom.
I realise I couldn't have this baby.
I couldn't have anything that linked me to Priam.
He had been a fantasy, never real.
He was mercenary.
And he was wise.
And we'd had more than the month he'd promised.
I left the yacht, went to the closest town, had the abortion, came back up. I took the yacht out, stopped at the first pier, went to my bed and slept.
In the morning, no one made me breakfast.