Dr. Lynette Hinings-Marshall
Serial Irresolution 19 June — David
David turns up at my apartment waving tickets for Nureyev and Fonteyn who are dancing Sleeping Beauty in Canberra. “Please come,” he pleads. We are two months into our trial separation, and I know we are over. A week later in the Hotel Canberra’s suite he drops to his right knee and says, “Lynette, will you do me the honour of becoming my wife? Please, please say yes.” I stop breathing. Four weeks later we are married on Lomo Lomo Beach in Fiji. It is 19 June 1972. Did I really agree to that acceptance of middle-class mythology?
Lloyd for a boy. Grace for a girl. We both hoped for a girl. When there was no baby after years without contraception I took it as a sign. Career is more important. So, I moved to America. It seemed the right decision.
The word lost comes from the Old Norse word los, meaning the disbanding of an army. This is how I feel sometimes settling into this new country. I am alone. Familiar friends and family are now somewhere else.
I am hiding in my room at Silliman College when an envelope arrives with the familiar handwriting. It is two days before I can open it. When he called me in Denver last month I told him I would drop back into the abyss if I saw him again. Then we were so perfect together last week the pain I have felt from his absence belonged to somebody else. “I am so proud of my beautiful and independent schoolgirl studying economics. I love you and you are so far away”, he wrote. We shall never be quite done with each other.
The screeching of the rental gears reverberates through the hotel’s empty car park. Where’s that damn reverse? Shit! Now it’s starting to snow and my flight leaves for London in two hours. I slump forward on the steering wheel. When four enormous men appear out of nowhere I reach for the door lock. Too late. When the one with a shaved head and neck tattoos bangs on my side window I cower. He opens the door. I am mute with terror. “Wir helfen lhnen geme. Wir helfen lhnen geme.” They lift the car like a Tonka toy, turn it to face the road to the airport, and wave me goodbye. “I think they were telling you they would help you,” Johannes says after introducing himself on the London flight that afternoon.
Before you rise out of sleep, I memorise how we moved through discovery before lying in wordless harmony, even though yesterday we were strangers seated in 3A and 3B on the flight from Hamburg.
I am at home in Littleton when the phone rings. “David is dead. Killed himself. Bloody car accident in Hong Kong.” His father sucks in his breath. I imagine him at home in Chester trying not to cry. “Would you believe it was in the bloody Morgan we made him for his birthday. I’m flying out there now. Just thought you should know.” I stand open-mouthed trying to make sense of it all. “Oh, Geoffrey. I’m so very, very sorry. Is there anything I can do? “I can’t swallow. “When? When did it happen,” I whisper. “Yesterday,” he replies. “Tuesday over there.” When I put the phone down, I wraps my arms around myself trying to understand. Something important is dissolving and pouring away. What is it? The knowledge of it engulfs me. Yesterday, he said, 19th June.
Images ricochet around the room as multiple reflections march randomly and shout at me to declare myself. How do I voice what these changes do far beneath me, moving deep under the surface, like the plates of the earth? Will there be a crash of tectonic plates and my life will become a failure?
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