For Me

“ Hey, you’re still up. That’s bizzare,” said Ariadne when she found Edmund sitting in the living room as she got home. It’s past 2 a.m. already.

“ You use ‘bizzare’. That’s bizzare.” Ed replied with smile.

A half-empty bottle of 40 years old Bruichladdich on the coffe table makes Ariadne asked what happened.

“ I went to the hospital today. I saw Rose.”

Ariadne gulped. “ And?”

Ed smiles. “ She was alright…” he stares the bottle in front of him for a couple of seconds, “ and she’s dead now. Ian just told me an hour ago.”

Ariadne dropped his bag, and slowly sat next to Ed so she can hug him. Warm, 2 a.m. is pretty warm when you hug someone.

“ Thank you, love.” Ed whispered.

“ You’re okay?”

“ I guess.” Ed kissed her forehead. “ It’s late. You have another rehearsal tomorrow, I believe. Go get some rest.”

“ How about we, get some rest?” Ariadne stood up and pulling Ed to follow her into the bedroom. “ I believe we have something that we can’t do tomorrow.”

Ed smiled again, this time because of his lover’s wink. “ Alright. Let me finish that bottle first.”

“ No.”

*****

“ Did he ever write again?” Sheila asked me while fixing April’s make up.

“ No. His divorce was bad, and I believe what happened between him and his wife was even worse.”

“ But he got you. That equals getting a fucking new muse after losing a bloody cow.” Sheila added.

“ That’s terrible, Sheila…” Charles replied, drinking some soda. “ But, yeah, you are a fucking muse.”

“ I don’t know why it sounds really creepy when you said it, Charles.” I responded.

“ That can’t be helped. Perversion running through his veins.” Sheila backed me up.

“ Correction. It’s not ‘running’. It’s ‘galloping’.” April corrected, which leads to our laugh.

“ What did he write, your lovely Ed?” Charles tried to change the focus.

“ You know Kyle Rustic? That’s the character he created. Detective stories…but it’s kinda psychological and a bit sci-fi, you know. I don’t know how, but I fell in love with his writing.”

“ I think I heard that one before…” April wondering, “ Wait, does he know Mr. Reid?”

“ Yeah. They’re friends. Also with David Diervar.” I answered

“ No shit.” Sheila seems surprised.

“ David Diervar, the one who originally wrote the story we play? The Leaked Dream? Two thumbs up, Ariadne. You nailed a big guy.”

“ David Diervar is big novelist. Ed, he said he’s just one of Diervar’s friends. But other than that, he’s indeed big.”

“ Doesn’t matter. You should ask Ed to write again, or maybe collaborate with David.” Sheila said seriously.

“ By the way, isn’t he’s supposed to come today?” April throws a question.

“ No, Ed’s going to his wife’s funeral.” I replied.

“ What? No, I mean David! Mr. Reid said he will come today.” April corrected me. “ His wife funeral? She’s dead?”

“ Yes, last night.”

Then it was silence. I don’t know, I assume there’s no correct response to that. Even I couldn’t say anything when Ed said he’s going to the funeral.

“ So, David Diervar, he’s coming?” Sheila broke the awkward silence.

“ Yes. I think he saw us performed, I see him sitting near the entrance just before we took ten minutes break.”

“ He might not like our performance…and he might change something.” April looking at herself at the mirror when saying that.

“ He better not. It’s three days before preview, we can’t afford drastical change. We won’t even if we can.” Charles is obviously nervous.

“Speaking of performance, how’s mine?” I’m trying to cast away what is seems to be a negative energy, starting to form a cloud around us.

“ You did good. Honestly, I envy your role, Arry.” April answered.

“ Why?”

“ Haven’t you read the original story? The lines, Arry, I loved the lines. I loved your lines.” I can feel the excitement in April’s eyes. “ And with such innocent eyes of yours,” April added, as if she can also feel us exchanging stare, “ it felt right.”

I smiled.

“ How about my performance?” Charles killed the moment. This guy’s the worst.

“ You dance like penguin.” April answered. I know it’s just a joke, but it’s 60% correct. He does dance like penguin. I guess it has something to do with the suit he wore.

“ It’s time, gang. Let’s head back.” Sheila changed her face to work mode, such a hardworking lady who manage us all. April get out, followed by Charles who seems really taking the penguin stuff seriously.

Just before I get out of the room, I hear my phone ringing. A number I don’t recognize, and it’s not a cellphone number. Who is this?

“ You coming, Arry?”

“ Go ahead, Sheila. I gotta take this.” Sheila left then I answered the call. “ Hello.”

“ Miss Ariadne Bexton?”

“ Speaking.”

“ You are listed as Mr. Edmund Leidr’s emergency contact, and I’m sorry to announce you that Mr. Leidr passed away after a car accident in the highway, and based on…”

Everything went blurry. I can’t hear what else that woman said through the phone, all I hear is a high pitching voice, cancelling the very presence of the world around me, making me feel empty and insignificant. I want to think that this is one of Ed’s joke, but I know that’s just silly. Ed never joke.

*****

For the whole week after Ed’s funeral, Ariadne feels like weightless, not because she wouldn’t eat. She feels empty, floating in the world of monochromatic. She felt she can take it if it’s a mere harrowing experience, as those kind of experiences leave behind fear and trauma, corrupting the mind and the soul, leave her to live her life with a shadow casted upon her.

That, she could’ve take it. This, is something else.

At the very least, harrowing experiences leave her something, even if it’s as negative as fear and trauma. She would’ve mind and soul still attached to her, still working even if it’s corrupted. At the very least, harrowing experiences would leave her to live a life. Ed would, too. But he didn’t. He didn’t leave her anything to live her life.

This would be a case of overreacting, if it’s just about Ed passed away. It would still be a case of overreacting, even when it’s about Ed’s suicide by running at a car in a highway. But this isn’t a case of overreacting because he did it not only in purpose of ending his life, but also to be dead just like his long beloved Rose. Ariadne can accept the fact that Ed’s dead by suicide, she just can’t accept the fact that he did it for Rose. Because it obliterates the whole life Ariadne’s had with him. He, the very person she loved, voluntarily threw happiness they had together to join his ex-wife in the afterlife. In heaven. Or in hell. Or somewhere, in the case that both don’t really exist.

Ariadne now found herself on the empty stage, where she was supposed to play the role Valérie for the musical version of Leaked Dream by David Diervar. The preview postponed, indefinitely. Mr. Reid and even Mr. David Diervar himself said it was to honor their friend, Edmund Leidr. But Mr. Reid said to Ariadne that he postponed it, even ready to cancel it, for the sake of Ed’s ‘significant other’, which is Ariadne. Mourning period, they say. Even Ariadne doesn’t know what to mourn: the fact that her lover is dead, or the fact that her lover is dead for his ex-wife.

“ You like it?” said someone from the doorway. Ariadne turned around and recognizes the face as Mr. David Diervar.

“ What?”

“ Standing on stage.”

Ariadne paused for a moment. “ Yes, I guess.”

“ Guess?” David smiled as he brought himself on stage. “ Okay. Why do you like it?”

“ Excuse me, what?” Ariadne didn’t hide her confusion.

“ Why do you like standing on stage?”

“ I don’t know.”

“ So do I. I like standing and walking around on stage, I don’t know why. I don’t like not knowing why, so now I have something to answer. I really like how question shows up, unexpected.” David walks around the stage, “ By the way, are you decided not to play?”

Ariadne knows David talks about the play. It’s his novel, afterall. “ Yes, I’m not gonna play.”

“ Shame.” David murmured, then applies silence between him and his friend’s lover.

Of all things, Ariadne hates silence. She wants to break every silence wrapped around her, including the silence David made, and apparently he made it on purpose. Normally, Ariadne would made up some unimportant topics just to break the silence, some small talks. But with the emotional wreck she’s having since last week, there’s nothing but Ed inside her mind.

“ You know, Dave…” Ariadne begins, her eyes set on the empty seats in front of the stage. “ …the first time I heard the news from the hospital, I wanted to think that this is nothing but a prank. One of Ed’s joke.”

David chuckles softly, “ So do I.”

“ But that’s impossible.”

“ Why?”

Ariadne turned her eyes at David, as she can’t entirely understand why did he said so. “ It’s clear, isn’t it? Ed never joke.”

“ Oh, no, Arry. It isn’t that clear. Ed was always joking around. Always made up something funny. Among our friends – his friends and mine, he was the one who always able to come up with some funny ideas.”

Ariadne startled. “ I think we knew him differently. He was…clumsy.”

“ Clumsy?” David seems unable to accept such adjective defines his friend. “ How could you say so?”

“ Because he was indeed clumsy! Yes, he laughed at my jokes, never cease to respond what I say unless I kissed him, succeed in being so romantic to me…hell, he did many things to make me happy but he never joke. Never even once.”

David fell in silence again, this time not because he wanted to, but more because he needs to do so as there is no correct response to what Ariadne just said. He waited for a moment. Letting Ariadne cherish whatever memory of Ed she is projecting inside her mind. When he saw tears in Ariadne’s face, David, as sly as he is supposed to as a writer, he knows it is wise not to say anything until she does.

Ariadne shed her tears. “ Anyway, I like your novel.”

“ Thank you. Which one?”

“ I personally love Confiscated Affair. But I also like Leaked Dream, the one I used to play.”

“ I saw your performance as Valérie. It’s a revelation.”

“ Thank you…” Ariadne smiled, such sweet smile that would scar a heart as it was combined with traces of tears near her eyes. “ I’ve been thinking about my dialog as Valérie, this past few days.”

David waited.

Aren’t we might as well call ‘nightmare’ a ‘sweet dream’, when reality is far worse than the nightmare itself?” said Ariadne. “ Somehow that line is even more real than my entire life. You, David Diervar, a genius.”

David looked into her eyes, discovering a soul with a refrained scream of unhappiness. Even more unhappy than Valérie he once created.

A pen is a pen and nothing but a pen, when you think of it as a mere pen.” David quoted himself, with a line from one of his own book. “ Arry, the nature of my story is fiction, and it would become real only if the reader decided so. You, Arry, decided that line as something real, more than your life.”

“ Of course it is real! It felt real, Dave, it felt real! While my life is empty as Ed left me with nothing to do but mourning! Do you think I want to feel this way? No! I am insignificant, Dave, an insignificant person….”

“ You’re not insignificant.”

“ I am, Dave, I am! I fulfilled the definition of insignificant, because what is more insignificant than loving someone while knowing that someone didn’t love you back! At all!”

“ No, Arry…Ed loved you.”

Tears run and cannot stop, as Ariadne loves Ed and she cannot stop. “ No, I don’t believe it.”

“ Why don’t you?”

“ Because if he died for someone he loved, why didn’t he die for me?!”

Ariadne fell down to her knees. David just stand not too far from her with hands inside his pocket in his black coat.

“ Ed did write, you know.” David said, as if he doesn’t care if Ariadne doesn’t hear him. “ He did stop writing after the divorce, but he did write again, after he met you. I know because he told me, and even sending me his writing. And it’s about you.”

Ariadne still crying, but she is listening.

“ Just like me, he loves to write. He lost his reason to write after his divorce, then found it again after both of you find each other.” David said, then he gets down on his knees, place himself next to Ariadne. “ He did love you, Arry. He might not love you the way he loved Rose, but he did love you, differently.”

Ariadne still not responding to what David said. She would, really, but she can’t. David stands up, then gets down from the stage.

“ I’ll send you his writing later. I’m gonna leave, but consider this, my dear Arry : Ed almost killed himself after his divorce, but he didn’t because he met you and you know that. I know you think of him as someone who rather die for Rose. Me, I’d rather think of him as someone who rather live for you, and keeping you eternal through his writing. So long, Arry.”

David walks away, while Ariadne stares at his back. “ Oh, one other thing.” David turned around. “ He’s a fucking writer, and you know a writer loves you when he writes for you.”

*****

Three days later, there’s not a single soul in the whole city that haven’t see that colorful poster written Leaked Dream, starring Ariadne Bexton.

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