Ines Windheuser

Life on Stage

She embraced him with all her might, trying to hold together what had usually been falling apart, so loosely put together by whomsoever. Only after a few long seconds took she notice of the rigidity that was seemingly suddenly driving the body, somewhere. Where? She did not know, but for sure it was not making him turn towards her as she strongly felt this falling apart impression coming back this very moment even though it was departing and returning, changing like flood and tide.

Perhaps this was one of the luckier moments, at least concerning Jamie’s awareness of the actual state of mind of the warm breathing flesh she was not desperately but the more anxiously trying to tie in her arms.

A wave of rejection hit her slim ankles, wading on grey sand. Every muscle of his body yelled at her, what he obviously was not even able to whisper. His hands, deeply sunken in the wide pockets of his khaki trousers, his shoulders expressed nothing but utmost tension, undecided whether to support the head all the way up, or the hidden hands all the way down.

„Tell me the truth. I know it anyway!“ She tried to make her voice sound softer, more soothing, more trustworthy, as though you could lean on to her shoulder and let a deep sigh flutter through the night. At the same moment she could have bitten her own fist. Anger sneaked up her throat, not really at Frank, rather at herself for being so foolish.

Frank had not moved an Inch since she had embraced him so quickly, before he could escape again.

Maybe it had been a bit too quick she thought now. Probably this was the reason for his relentless behaviour because he was going to say sorry for everything and reconsider his plans in a minute, she knew that. „Frank, why don’t we sit down for a cup of tea at your favourite restaurant and talk a bit?“

Had this been too much for him? It seemed so quite right. When you are dissatisfied you sit down and talk and then you get what you want.

Frank made no attempt to free himself from her hug. He played with the key in his right pocket and did not even look at Jamie. „Actually I was about to go shopping in advance for the next few days because I will be rather busy“

Jamie could not bear it anymore to feel his strong hard chest against hers. What was the use of keeping everything where it belonged anyway?! She took a step back. This was going to be exactly appropriate now. How many times had she spoken this sentence on stage, uncounted tragedies. This was life, so now it was going to be just as meaningful as it had always been on every pretended beam-thundering occasion. „Frank, tell me the truth!“ She stepped a bit back as to hold him away from herself so that he was in the perfect distance to make everything sound perfectly, look perfectly, sink perfectly into his mind, and his reaction should be transmitted back to her exactly as his reaction was written down in the script.

He did not seem to be keen on telling her the truth, just as she had expected it of his justly guilty mind. But where was the fleeing look of his eyes, where was the reluctance, the stammer?!

„Well,…“ he began, as though he was stating the obvious without any dramatisation, „…I am going to leave, and that is it.“

Did his eyes seem to be so closed because they were so open? The puzzlement his reaction left in Jamie drew more and more anger. Jamie felt deprived of her speech. Frank was not appealing to her in the sense of the only love of his life, instead of it he dealt with her as a person, any person.

„Come on Frank, why are you doing this to me?!“

Now he looked her for the first time directly into the eyes. She did not know whether his look made her shiver or whether a glimpse of coming to her senses shocked her with reality.

„To be honest Jamie, one of us has been sleeping around a bit to achieve whatever kind of goal. So if it was not me, it must have been someone else. And if it was not me it will for sure be me who leaves to get to America as soon as possible.“

Jamie blinked with her eyes. His look was too heavy to be able to stand it for longer than one sentence. She plucked up all her courage to look into his eyes again and yell at him in anger but she could not. His sudden honesty which was in fact not all so sudden seemed to make her just so weak, incredibly weak. And now it hurt even more to hear that she would no longer be his one and only weakness.

How do you yell at a guy that dumps you in real life? She had seen it on T.V., she had done it on stage, she had lived it there and had always considered it a fun thing to tell a good-looking guy off.

She had always found that it reduced aggression to a minimum and that it therefore prevented her from yelling at real-life-relations.

Jamie was looking for something undecided in Frank, but he was just so determined, not a twinkle of his eye, not this „I can’t stomach all this“-gesture, his hand stroking – or rather kneading and massaging his own stomach if only put into desperate enough situations like something heart wrenching.

Jamie had never been like that and in no way fully grasped it.

She was stunned by her own inability to give him the cold shoulder. All she could conjure up was some kind of indignant mood which usually made her lips turn into a rather thin line and gave her a cat-like appearance. Frank had always found that that she never hissed was about everything and now he was about to tell her that. Jamie got too confused by all this staring at each other so seriously for such a long time. Why couldn’t she kindle a single tiny glare?

„Oh Frank,…“ if she had been able to cry which she had forgotten how to do except for stage purposes, she would have cried. Instead of finding their way to her eyes, the tears got stuck in her throat.

„Yes Jamie, you won’t be able to believe it, but though we seem to have been deeply connected somehow I am going to quit this connection because it lastly did me more harm than good, which you should know best, if I am right.“

If she had known deep honest regret she would have regretted a few things now. So she cast an „I am sorry, Frank…“ into the world, knowing that this could not help it, followed by a „can I do anything for you“ which she had felt obliged to utter as a reflex because this question usually came up on stage in situations like this one though it was a meaningless offer because it had been too late for a very long time. „Are we going to see again?“

Frank thought about it. There were some questions he was asked but never answered because they made him start thinking while he was not in the mood for it and therefore his thoughts could not be finished within the time the answer was required.

Jamie fidgeted in case he was going to start something like this right now when she only wanted a simple smiling „yes, sure, what’s the prob.“. She saw a little girl, just about the age of 12 or 13, running to and fro inside herself in a slight panic. Once there had been a plan how things in relations were going to work out in the sooner or later future. There had been theories of how seduction worked and how easy-going and utterly happy lifestyle was supposed to do something that she had forgotten over the years.

Frank divided his brown-blond hair into four neat parts with his hands. His hair only stayed like this for an instant of a breath while Jamie remembered how breathtaking she had found this habit of his when she had first gotten to know Frank.

Apart from her panicking inside, she told herself that she did not care and then it was alright again.

She could part from him just as easily as she had always done it. She convinced herself with memories of all the nice and easy-going relations she had had that she did not care to see him again and that it was of no greater importance even to know whether he considered it a possibility to see one day.

But there it was, his answer, thoroughly thought through leaving his mouth with the rigid determination that drove him lastly. „We are not going to see again.“

Jamie plucked up the most serious tone of voice with the most calm base that she could find in her chest to surpass his sentence. „Let’s not stay friends or something like this either. It’s just so false, we both know it.“

„Well, Jamie, I guess I have to go now. Take Care. Bye.“

If she had turned around to watch his going she would have seen his slender but strong back she had always loved. She would have seen his hand running through his hair unconsciously dividing it into equal floating and crushing waves of thoughts. But she did not turn around to see all that for one last time. It was all in her memory denying to ever have loved.

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