Don't Miss Me Until I'm Dead.
Part Four of The White Darkness series
Back to Part Three: Excess Beyond Consumption is Entropy
Or where it all begins: Guided At Night by Factory Lights
"Did you want those eggs scrambled or over easy?"
Miles looked up at Jayne, in her capacity as waitress at the old diner, and smiled. He knew there was a connection here, a feeling that he had to know more about Jayne and her place in the flow chart of his life. He just wasn't quite sure how to obtain the information he needed just yet. More time was needed. Just as more time was needed to try to forget Jeannie.
"You don't look so good, sweetheart.
Ever think about getting some sleep?"
It was the strangest thing, as all Miles could think about was how much he would remember the events of this summer and look back at them as something he could never retrieve. All he wanted was to live the experience, as if he were a traveller from his own future having just such an opportunity. The map ahead was foggy, but he could read the map. He also wanted those eggs, and told Jayne to give them to him over easy.
"I know you have a baby. What's his name?"
Jayne refused to answer the question and through muttered comments inferred that Miles had asked the wrong question. While she went back to refill his coffee and put in the order for the over easy eggs, Miles tried to figure out where he had gone wrong.
A man dressed in combat fatigues, sitting at the next booth from Miles, turned around and clamped his hand down hard on Miles' shoulder. Once he was assured he had Miles' attention, he began to laugh. It was not a normal laugh. It was the laugh the disturbed release when they realize they have been set free to do as they please in the ordinary average world.
"Hey, shit for brains, don't make any fucking moves on Jayne.
She's got a full plate, if you know what I mean."
Miles somehow thought it would be easier if things had taken a better turn with Jeannie. If she had been willing to play the "everything is okay as long as we stay together" game he would be at her house now complimenting her mother's dinner preparations. Instead, he was faced with whether or not his vision of Jayne's importance in his life was worth mixing words with a psychopath in combat fatigues.
"What exactly is your problem, asshole?"
The man laughed, insinuating that it would take too much time to explain his problems to Miles. Then he wrapped his arm around Miles' neck and told him stories about how easy it would be for him to break that neck. Instead of reacting with fear, Miles found himself not caring. He pulled himself free of the man's grasp and immediately turned to stare him down.
"Aw, have I shamed myself in your eyes, faggit?"
Miles resolved that nothing would interfere with his enjoyment of breakfast. This was theoretically better than having breakfast with his father, who might not make a move on his eggs for several days, and then not notice that they were cold. This stranger was not going to bring Miles down. There was too much to be considered. The mountain had pointed Miles in the direction of Jayne, and indicated that he needed to realize that she had importance in the scheme of things. There was nothing this low grade human being could do to stop Miles from realizing that importance.
"Anyone could die in the next five minutes without upsetting the balance of the world."
The words seemed to come from the stranger, but Miles knew that the communion was descending and relying on the stranger as a medium. For the first time, the words had practical meaning. It wasn't important, this living and dying business, what was important was the end goal. Even though Miles could not read the road map into the future, he knew the end goal meant everything.
There had been a girl. Now there was a woman. How these things change, no one knows. The transition is rarely visible or transparent. The subtle nuances of anything escape everyone aside from the slowly and heavily medicated.
"She never walks alone."
Jayne came back with the fresh coffee and emphatically asked the man who had intruded into Miles' breakfast to leave him alone. She knew him, and called him "Jerry," allowing Miles to put that information in his memory in case he needed it in the future.
Jayne agreed to meet Miles after her shift was over. They decided to take their business to the park, the same park where Miles had watched Jeanne's empty swing. They took up residence in the swings and talked aimlessly for twenty minutes before anything happened. Miles felt the darkness coming, blinding him with its brilliant light, and knew that he had reached the point where something was possible.
"He wants to marry me.
It will destroy my life.
But I can pretend to be happy.
I'm good at things like that.
Miles did not bother to ask inane question, such as whether or not the man of which Jayne spoke was the father of her child. The kind of people who asked such questions filled him with rage.
There was a blanket somewhere out in the middle of nowhere. It was a blanket where two people could lie to each other without those lies meaning anything. There they could be all things at once, and overcome anything that limited them from achieving what they felt they were truly capable of. It was a hell of a blanket. Miles just did not know where it was or how to find it.
"You've got some stitches on your chin.
How did that happen?"
"I believed in something."
"That will do it every time."
Jayne had to leave. She wasn't just leaving the playground, she was leaving the diner, leaving the people and places she knew best, and changing her life. The man to whom she would become a wife was wealthy and independent. He wanted Jayne to raise their child free from the constraints of the limiting life she led. She would become an exiled princess in a big house waiting for the end of time. It was not her only choice, but it was the one that made the most sense in the current context. Jayne was willing to sacrifice her own life for the hope of a better one for her child. It was a boy.
"I want to make love to you."
Miles could not remember why he had spoken the words, or why he would even conceive of saying such a thing. Regardless, Jayne smiled and hugged him tightly. She considered it a compliment, even though Miles had no idea what he had meant. The words sometimes came out of him without any control or relativity. Sometimes Miles just spoke.
"There is someone who means a great deal to you.
Don't sacrifice that for chivalry.
Chivalry is dead.
Chivalry doesn't pay the bills or mop the floor.
Love her because you do."
To Part Five: Disengage Quickly or the Seams Will Become Transparent