To catch up:
Vi goes missing and her mom has an idea of who to call…
Clara dialed up a number and it rung a few times before a young woman answered.
“Yes? Who is this?” asked the voice on the other line.
“This is Vi’s mom…Have you seen her? Do you know where she might be? She’s gone missing.”
“No, I’m sorry, I’ve not spoken to her in a very long time, I don’t even have her phone number, anymore. I’m sorry.”
“Okay. I’m sorry to bother. Thanks anyways.”
“No problem, I hope she’s fine.”
Echo waited for the woman to hang up. Her girlfriend, Tess, asked her, “Who was that?”
“A woman looking for her missing daughter.” Echo emotionlessly replied.
“Oh. That’s sad.” Tess asked if she knew the woman and Echo said, “I used to know the daughter a few years back, but I’ve not known her for a long while.” She frowns.
But, she did have an idea where she might possibly be.
“Who is it that you thought would know?” Vi’s father asked.
“A lover. She used to be close to this girl, Echo.”
Betty, her grandmother, nodded. She knew about Echo, Vi used to talk about her all the time. But only her mother and her grandmother knew about her.
Back at her spot, Vi got a text that read, “I’m sorry for offending you.” from a number she clearly hadn’t saved in her contacts; but she knew it was from an ignorant family member trying to make patchy amends. She knew they were on the other side of the screen probably rolling their eyes and whining to everyone about how “dramatic” she was being and how it’s her fault; they shouldn’t have to apologize, she should be more proper and deal with it and be better. In fact, someone else probably shamed them for reputation’s sake and told them to write the apology.
She deleted the message and blocked the number. She wasn’t going to have any of that fake shit. She had peach pie and birds, and a sketch book with blank pages left and a pencil with lead. As far as she was concerned, life was dandy. For once, finally. She contentedly smiled. She actually was happier with her life right now than she had been in a long time. This was very much her life and she was enjoying being herself without bothering anyone or being under everyone else’s grandiose pressure. This life felt genuine and she didn’t give a horse’s ass what anyone else thought. She didn’t have to, either; she was a grown adult, twenty-two, and very capable of supporting herself, despite their doubts of her. She always got by and was fine with that. She had assets to liquidate if she needed to, stocks to sell. She was going to be just fine for a good while, and that was enough.
A little red bird perching on the wood fencing around Dee’s caught her eye, and she began drawing her, imagining a little family of tiny birds for her, too. She only wished she had colored pencils to capture the beautiful sunrise framing this scene, even this live scene, which she was a part of.
Echo knew Vi would be at her “spot”, the one she’d told her about. Or at least that was her guess. Something inside stirred within her. Maybe a giddiness, or a nervousness; either way, she’d not seen Vi for two years. Of course she remembered her, how could she forget Vi?
Tess was taking an afternoon nap so, in a moment of courage, Echo took her chance. She quietly got her keys off the counter and drove out of their lot. Even if she didn’t expose Vi’s hiding spot to her mother, she wanted to find her and know if she was okay. A couple-minute drive brought her to a Tractor Supply Co.; she’d walk the rest of the way.
Vi was sitting beneath her skinny little tree, a sketchbook rested against a propped up knee, and a single rebellious lock of hair dangled in front of her ear. She was studiously and meticulously drawing something. Echo smiled, Vi was beautiful just as she remembered her. She loved seeing her this way, in her zone. She gently scuffed the grass with her shoe to announce her presence, so Vi wasn’t startled as she mozied over.
Vi looked up and saw Echo standing there. At first, she thought maybe she was dreaming and just seeing things, but it really was Echo walking toward her. It really was Echo showed up here. How did she know?
“How did you know I was here?” is the only thing she could manage to say.
“Your mom called and said you went missing. I figured this would be the place to find you. I remember it from when we dated, I didn’t just forget about you… you’re not very forgettable.” She lightly blushes, but hides it.
“Neither are you.” Vi said, looking down at the grass, then suddenly she looked up and was about to plead secrecy from Echo, who foresightedly supplied the answer she sought, “Don’t worry, I won’t rat you out.” she smiled.
Vi sighed with relief, but didn’t really know what else to say or ask. She thought of inviting Echo to come sit with her under the menial shade, but she imagined that, not only would it scantly shade two people, anyone Echo was with wouldn’t appreciate it. And, even Echo might not appreciate the gesture. She briefly looked down at her drawing, as if it would offer her some kind of confidence or an answer.
“How are you?” Echo had been afraid to make a move, but built up the courage. After all, she did come to see if Vi was alright, so she might as well fulfill the purpose of her quest.
Vi looked up again, with an urge to walk over, but answered from where she sat, seemingly chained to this tree with some kind of obligation or fearful resolve, “I’m doing alright. I was done with the shit; I left on my own.”
Echo nodded, “I get that.” They both stared at each other for maybe a year; or maybe it was only an hour, or two seconds, but it certainly felt like an eternity. A beautiful eternity of wishes and dreams, terrified and haunted and sabotaged by fear and paralyze.
They both were about to speak and then shyly laughed and turned away,
“You first,” Vi said, “You deserve to state your piece first, seeing as you found me.” she teased.
It was weird the way all this went. Vi always expected that if this ever happened, she’d fold into Echo’s arms and double over in sobs and cling to her. But this has been much more…less dramatic…realistic.
“I only was going to say…if you are running away…take me with you, I’ll run away with you. I was planning on making a run for it, anyways.”
Echo was only feet from her, now. It seemed that some heavenly force had decided it was time for them to close this major distance and caused them to unconsciously move toward each other. Vi was standing, too, she had somehow met her half-way. She wanted to grab Echo, to kiss her, to kiss her hard and long. An ache in her heart proved she missed all the years she never got to have with Echo. The time she lost all that while ago. She wanted them to make up under this tree and fall in love and never look back. She wanted the story for them that she’d always dreamt of—and honestly never stopped dreaming of. Her heart pounded.
“Would you take me with you? …Please?” Echo asks.
“Yes, ma’am, I will.” They both looked at each other, seemingly breathless.
“We can protect each other, be there for each other.”
I really want to kiss her. Both of their minds resounded like a twinned echo. Both of their souls were getting antsy to be close again, but neither’s person was ready to admit it.
Echo took hold of Vi’s hand and they started across the field to Vi’s car, this was a new beginning for them both.
Broken and Mended
“Excuse me? What the fuck is going on?” A raging voice yells. Echo turns on her heels, her face losing its flush. Tess stepped over the wood fence separating the field from Dee’s.
“Who the fuck is this?”
“I went to go and find that lost girl. The one whose mom called.” Echo’s heartbeat was more of a crashing within her.
“So you were gonna what? Cheat with her? Run away with her? What is this, Echo? What the hell is going on?”
Vi didn’t know the situation at all, so she didn’t say a word. She’d only make this Tess girl angrier, she was sure. But she didn’t move away, either, she stayed by Echo, and was going to let Echo be the control of this situation.
“Honestly, I’m sick of the shit.” Echo started, with a sudden burst of confidence, “I’m done with the toxicity, Tess. I can’t deal with it, anymore. I know you don’t love me. You know you don’t love me. You’ve been cheating with that scumbag, Mike.”
“How dare you judge me for that? Look at you! This is what we are talking about right now.”
“That’s just it, Tess, it’s always my fault. Always something I did wrong. You can’t ever own up to any of your shit. I feel like your ragdoll or a place mat! No more of this.”
“Are you kidding? You’re done, so you’re just gonna throw dirt on my name? Fine. I’ll change. Are you happy? I’ll dump Mike. He doesn’t give a shit about me, anyways, he has six other tramps he visits.”
“No, Tess. No. There is no more of…this.” She waves her hands between them, finally breaking her grasp of Vi. “I’m done with the shit. All of it. Your shit, my shit. I’m sick of it. I’m sick of us; what we’ve been with each other.”
She turns around, shaking, and gently ushers Vi toward the way they were going. She didn’t look back, but Vi could tell she was waiting, a horrible, long wait, all to the car, expecting Tess to lash out in some other way. Turning and walking away took a whole lot of courage, and heck, even fearlessness—or something of the sort.
Once they were in the car and the doors were locked, Echo let out a breath she’d been holding in. She looked like she should be sweating, but she wasn’t; just nervous and shaky.
A pound on Echo’s window made her jump, “I’m not done, Echo! I’m not fucking done!” Tess yelled. Echo whispered, turning away from the angry face of Tess, “Just drive. Go.”
Vi backed up, making the tires screech, and drove out of the lot, leaving the upset and yelling figure of Tess waving her arms alone.
They’d gotten not a block away when Echo realized she still had the car keys and house keys that she and Tess shared. She rolled the window down and tossed them out, letting them clank against the cement sidewalk. Just like that, she left that life behind her and let it disappear far, far away from her. She wanted it to never be a part of her life again. She wasn’t going back.
Inside the car, she assumed the role of DJ, turned up the volume and picked a good track. For the next couple hours, they screamed out the lyrics to a myriad of songs across many genres; including 90’s rock, pop, 50’s classics, country, and even some blues.
As they passed the city line out of Ellindawe, Echo held up both middle fingers at the Blue sign. “Fuck you!” She yelled out the open window and into the wind. Vi chuckled.
“What!” Echo asks, “I’m fuckin’ done with the shit!” She laughs.
“I agree! No shame here.” Vi smiles. She just thinks Echo is really adorable, that was all.