Scene setting : Back streets of New York.
co-written with Chor.
Taking a cab across town, Frank stopped at a curb side flower stand. Paying the driver, he got out of the cab and then went to buy two roses. He handed over the ten dollar bill and took the two long stemmed roses from the florist, who asked if they were for the detective’s favorite lady. Frank coughed a laugh as though he might humor the florist into thinking they were, but he was too shy to say. The truth however, was far different. Taking out a dark pair of shades; he placed them on and crossed the street to the alley where Rory…was killed. Looking up and down the street and seeing no one that he knew, he walked down the bin lined small alley all the way to the last place where he saw his best friend and his partner alive.
There was no blood stain, no evidence of a man having died on this spot but to Frank it was burnt into his mind like it was yesterday. Kneeling down, Frank placed the two red roses on the ground – crouching for a moment as he said to himself a silent prayer. His right hand came up and partially touched his lips as though to stop himself from blurting something out that may be heard. You never knew who was watching. Eyes hidden behind the dark glasses, he paused there for a good two minutes or so, before slowly rising up to standing. He gave the area one last look around. A large lump formed in his throat as he fought to suppress the wave of feelings that were ripping through him.
Then without warning he screamed.
“WHY COULDN’T YOU HAVE TAKEN ME?!”
He was answered only by silence.
Isa still had barely snapped into reality as she pushed her small wad of cash through the dirty, clouded slot to the bearded cabbie with teeth like jelly bellys. He tipped his hat and turned, waiting for her to exit. Yes, exit. The worn, cool door handle made a click as the door unlatched from its body and she exerted just enough force to make herself leave the vehicles warm interior. The cabbie rolled down all the windows, for no other reason than to shout inaudible advice and wish her good luck when she closed the door gently behind her.
Smoke clouded the road behind her, some of it billowing up to her nostrils, where her lungs lapped it ungratefully. The poison, though, was ignored. Her focus rested solely on the man at the flower stand. He bought flowers, a gesture Isa didn’t quite understand yet. She let her gaze follow him until he was just nearly out of sight and then she walked.
“Care for a rose, dove?” The florist sang to her, his voice sweet like honey. A thought appeared. Isa wondering how many years it took him to perfect such an inviting and charming tone. She looked at him, eyes lightly narrowed, and nodded. In his hands he held not a red rose, nor was it of any colour. It was completely devoid of and vivid variation of the rainbows skeleton hues. White. Such a pure, simple thing, she felt a knot in her stomach just gazing upon it. Maybe this was hunger, but she felt this pain differently, in a more emotional sense. She gave him all that he asked for and caressed the rose as she headed off in the direction Frank had disappeared a moment earlier.
After a short minute that felt like a century of never ending searching, Isa almost died internally, thinking she’d lost him. If he was truly to disappear, she might never get the chance to finish this. Across the street from her, a voice was found. The voice ripped her soul to pieces, shattering her well-built nonchalant disposition. Why couldn’t you have taken me? Isa’s brain exploded with memories of Claura, small tears beading in her eyes and traveling the distance of her face to fall onto her jacket.
Every single day for days, months, even years, Isa asked herself that question. She would have given anything for it to be her instead of Claura. Her older sister was taken from Isa and she cried to herself every day that she would one day figure out what had happened. This man’s pain was tangible as she absentmindedly crossed the street. She was quiet coming up on him, holding the white rose in her right hand very lightly, as if just by breathing she might ruin the innocence it exuded.
Then, as if suddenly a rope was removed from her throat, Isa spoke,
“I’ve learned the walls don’t tell you what you did wrong; why you’re left and they’ve gone. They only stare back as you bitterly retreat into yourself. They sit silently as your tears turn to acid and your life falls to shambles.They don’t whisper that there was no suffering; there is no reassurance that everything will be okay. Nothing is okay, because I’ll never know.”
Isa tiptoed to Frank’s side, crouching to lay the ethereal white rose atop his two red ones.
“I’m so sorry.”
Razorbackwriter: ~The Day you went away~
Frank’s body was practically rigid. He had not expected a voice. He had not expected her. Behind the dark shades his pupils dilated and his chin wobbled slightly as he fought back the tears. Men don’t cry, right? For so long nothing made sense. Like a white rat trapped in an endless maze with no way out except the lonely nights at the bottom of a whiskey bottle. That numbed the pain, if only for a short time. He could forget it all, and even who he was. But sobering up brought him back to the stark reality and the cycle would begin again. Isa was right. Frank had retreated into himself. The former family man, loving husband and dedicated detective – partner…all that was a bitter memory now. He was a shell…an empty vessel. Sure, he could be funny and make you smile, but within himself he found so little to smile about.
Why was it he could hear the deafening sound of his own heart beat, as though it was right in his ears? Why was this ache twisting his very insides? Frank blinked a few times to quell those tears as he heard Isa say she was so very sorry. As she lay a white rose beside the two red ones that were now resting together on the ground, Frank brought his face around to see Isa’s. For a moment, his face was like stone. Mixed emotions were hard for a man to deal with. He had told her to forget him. To let him walk away. Yet she followed him here to this…most sacred of places. It was where Rory’s life ended….and in a sense, Frank’s as well. It was the reason for the two roses. One for each of the two men.
Frank turned his head away for a moment and coughed, as thought he words he wanted to say were caught in his throat. The detective sniffed loudly – a sign that he was racked with emotion.
“I’m…..trying to make sense of it all. How one single moment can have such a terrible affect on every other facet of my life. If I could go back, if I could….” his voice trailed away into a soft whisper.
When Frank went to look at Isa, she would see a face that had stared back at her on many a day and night. That same sorrow, etched into the lines of his face. Loss, regret….guilt. We can torture ourselves far worse than anyone else ever could.
Chor: Raw; the only word that could describe this moment. The alley was filled and overflowed with pure, unadulterated, raw emotion.
Isa stared into Franks eyes as if his face were a mirror in which she saw wholly herself. It was impossible to look away, now, as the emotion sucked her up. This black hole she’d tried so desperately to hide behind her antisocial, dark, and cold facade now leaked out of her; her pores oozing this deep sadness that she never let seethe light. Isa’s hands came up to meet Frank Malone’s face and pulled it near hers, so that their foreheads were almost where skin met skin. Her thumb reached to where a small, ashamed tear had escaped and wiped it from his kind face.
“If only is a suicidal lullaby; it’s a flame, it is all consuming and it will kill you if you let it,” she whispered seriously to him, her words accented with sternness. The words she spoke were truer than most likely any she’d even spoken in her days on this planet. Isa’s months of ‘what if’ s and ‘if only’ s had taken her down to a level she hoped to never reach again. As she spoke these words, liquid bubbled in her tear ducts and the tears threatened revolt against her now dry cheeks.
“The journey is not yet over; you must be strong for him,” Isa persuaded, pointing at the roses as they sat wilting slowly on the filthy alley floor.
“And if you truly believe I’m going anywhere, you’re dead wrong.”
Razorbackwriter: How long had it been since he had felt the gentle touch of a woman’s hands upon his skin? He couldn’t even remember. But in this moment where both Isa and Frank were kindred spirits – both having loved and lost. Frank was practically transfixed by Isa’s words. They were comforting in a strange way. Those nights where he had taken sleeping pills and drank a sizable amount of vodka all in the aid of never waking again. You could call it a low moment. A time when he had lost all faith. It was friends like Tommy that was always there when he was at his lowest. Offering him a helping hand. They fought like cats and dogs half the time, but the mate ship….that was true.
Frank let his head fall into Isa’s hands and then their foreheads met finally. He could smell her sweet scent permeate through his nostrils as he closed his eyes and simply let himself be held. Was it a sign of weakness to give in so easily? To not fight her off and walk away from everything? No. For once in his life Frank listened. This girl was wiser in her years than any other he had met, and while they had not ever been seriously close before, they were soul mates of this moment. Sharing a bond through loss. The journey was not over. She was right. Frank, was trying to lay it all to rest as he was about to leave once and for all. Beaten. But Isa, in her inspiring words roused in him the spirit that he had thought died long ago.
“And if you truly believe I’m going anywhere, you’re dead wrong.”
Frank raised a hand and removed his glasses so she could see the glistening of his eyes as they captured her own. Lifting his face from her hands, he then leaned in to kiss her forehead. Little did she know…..she had just stopped him from doing the unthinkable.
“Rory would have loved you, you know? Always had a thing for stubborn gals.” A hint of smile tweaked the corner of his lips.
Chor: Isa watched as his face told tales of his brain. He was reliving dark nights, as she often did, reminiscing unfortunately on hours spent pondering over mathematical equations to see just how much potassium chloride it would take for a woman of her height and weight. Isa’s mind justified these almost self-mortifying moments as she daily starved herself of both food and of human interaction for no other reason than to bury herself in her work as completely as a tick. Alcohol was the least of her poison intake. She was never really a drinker; that was Claura.
Finally, the rigid statue that was Frank melted into Isa’s embrace and in seeing his eyes she knew she’d stopped him from making a grave mistake. As she looked, though, she now saw understanding where there was only pain. The chains which bound him for so very long had retreated from their death-grip, allowing him breath and clarity. The kiss to her forehed was warm and kind and the thanks that came from it diffused through her skin and lit her aflame. The tears that followed in her own ducts came as he spoke. A light chuckle accompanied it as she looked to the ground to let the tears go.
Isa couldn’t dispute his words. She was stubborn, born with a drive that saw no end in sight. Without a doubt, Claura would have adored this man. Save for Frank, Claura may have been the only good cop in the whole station before her disappearance. They would have made a great team; maybe unstoppable. Isa now can only hope to do this for him. She’s not a cop, granted, but she is far more helpful in many other ways.
Razorbackwriter: It was only at the end of his own tears that Frank was able to see clearly that his words had a marked affect on Isa. She was crying. A flood like release of her own that had Frank tilt his head slightly. Both of them had been keeping all this sadness and longing for understanding tied up within themselves that neither had had the chance to grieve what they had lost aside from those they loved. Themselves. It was almost instinct what Frank did next. Unexpectedly, he kissed away the falling tears that burnt her flesh. His lips tender to her cheeks till all the tears were gone. It was a gentle action, one that was probably saved for a lover. How he hated to see a woman cry. Even though these were tears were long overdue.
Frank wrapped his arms around Isa gently and brought her in for an embrace, his hand moving to the back of her head as he stroked her head gently. Allowing her to nestle her cheek to his chest. It’s surprising how something like a hug can bring us such warmth and peace. It was instinct. Natural and needed.
“Some tough cops we are. Heh.”
His words were not poetic or romantic. Just saying the first thing that popped into his head.
For the first time in ages, a real smile was on his face. Not forced, or painted. An inner warmth was spreading through out him. Isa would yet to realize what she had done for him. The roses lay upon the dirty ground at their feet, and already the wind was starting to peel back the petals. Frank had just let Rory go. Now it was time to save himself. Releasing Isa slowly, he said.
“Never thought I would be fighting crime within my own office.”