Where did you go? I have to find you. I just have to, Sam…
I had to buy a shop.. Something innocuous, a book shop maybe, not on the High street, not a village icon, never a family owned business.
Then, I had to abandon it. For at least six months. That’s when the dust settles, the air stands still and something listens. That’s when no one notices the store…
Then, I had to wait. To forget the shop. Forget myself.
Only after that could I get lost. I would have to. Drink too heavily, smoke too freely, dance too gaily. I had to wait until my balance was an earthquake and my stomach was moths and my eyes played tricks on me in the dark. Until everything was blurry unless I focused.
Until I didn’t want to focus.
I would have to wait until I could ask the questions I needed to ask. Completely untethered, like a balloon in a tornado, swirling around and around again in my own head.
“D’y… d’y’know… Where I can get… summa… Dark stuff?”
“Dark Stuff?” asks the cabbie, glancing back, to check I’m really there, really asking this.
“Y..yeah… Like… DARK!” I wipe my hand over my black t-shirt, as if to demonstrate to him. The reflection of his eyes bore into me from the rearview mirror. My heavily kohl-lined eyes blink back at him, angrily.
“I do not know…” He’s lying.
“Y-…yeah! You do! Dark. You know? Like if you… you wanted to raise sum-…sum… BODY… from the dead? I have money!” I open my purse. Bricks of cash neatly laid out and sloppily shoved into my cabbie’s face.
“Y’y’wanna make ten shousand t’night? Daaaaark!” I slur obstinately, shoving the bag further into my cabbie’s mug.
He’s silent. I start thinking maybe I’m mistaken. Maybe I’m crazy. Maybe this is all just a story of you, Sam… A story I’ve made up in my own head. Maybe he’ll drive me to the nearest asylum. That’ll be the end Sam. Wasting my days talking Loony Tunes about you, imagining other worlds and convincing myself I don’t need medication.
The cabbie turned on his blinker, Sam. He turned it on so officially, with such a loud THUNK-CLICK, without looking into the rearview mirror. It was then I knew.
This is all real.
He drove me in circles for what seemed like hours. I knew this was coming. Time wasn’t moving right, anyway, so it didn’t take but seconds to make up hours. And then we were there.
“You can only go to it if you’re part of the neighborhood. You can only see it if you don’t know what’s there. You can only purchase from it if you earn it. You can only walk in if you’ve already walked past.”
You know me, Sam. Once I heard that, in that seedy bar, on that late night… I had to try.
I wasn’t from your town, but I made myself part and parcel by getting the deed to this shop. I abandoned it soon after. I waited until the place was lonely and forgotten. I waited until I walked past a thousand times. I waited until I was too far gone to remember anything, except what your face looked like, what you liked on your pizza, what fighting game you’d beat me at, what your laugh was like in our bedroom in the middle of the night, how hot you liked your bath, what the curve of your hip at dawn looked like through your red silk robe….
Four years, I waited, Sam. Not really living, only surviving to see you again.
And now I’m here, Sam. At my shop. But it’s not really my shop. I abandoned it four years ago. I sort of remember, now. But before I remember too much, I have to go in.
The cabbie only took part of the money, Sam. He told he would only take a lil’, because I’d pay more than money soon. I don’t care if he judges us, Sam.
The shop doesn’t look at all the same. It’s old and smells like mildew and there’s a fat, purring cat lying on the counter. The man here is large, Sam. Larger than I’ve ever seen. He has tattoos everywhere and he speaks with a thick accent. Every other word is a struggle from his full lips. There are so many bottles and books on his shelves.
I ask him what he’ll charge to bring you to me. I tell him what I want. I tell him about you, words bubbling from my lips like a cold fountain, Sam. All about how I came here, what we were together, how many times you told me you loved me, how perfect you were, how lostI am…
I have the ingredients, Sam. He just says he needs a favor.
I’ll agree to anything. He tells me how to set up the candles, the herbs, the blood.
Here I go, Sam…
I’m going to see you again. For the first time since your funeral, I’ll see your face. I’m going to find you, Sam. We’re going to be together again.
Me and you, Sam.
No matter what, Samantha…
I just had to buy a shop first…