By Heather Arneson
“Mesmerizing…that is how one describes a sunset, definitely not a murder.” Those words started my new fictional thriller series, but bro, it’s not flying for me this time. However, since I quit my job and have no other form of income, I’m expected to write one that is, just to pay some bills.
Humans are interesting creatures. The hues that normally don’t show up on the sky’s canvas seem to inspire awe and reverence of eternal beauty, and all I have to show for my work is, well, me. Therefore, I’m just going to write as myself, in this letter to you, the main dude in my life.
I wish I could feel as awestruck as others, but that would make me normal. I am anything but, and tonight as I knock back a beer, teetering on the edge of my seat, in fake anticipation of the sun driving its madness down, I listen to my new wife and try like hell to agree with her about how romantic the moment is with me, but it isn’t coming off as sincere.
She still has enough pure love of the potential of seeing nature’s grandiose goodbye that she continues to remind me just how simple life’s pleasures register in her mind, while I bear witness to them as an outsider. I look through her eyes and voice as if looking at pictures of family members who aren’t mine, the light fluttering between each of the pages, and I’m confused as to what time it is, now. I’m starting to remember what it was like growing up, and feel regret for the fact I created a position, headhunted, and hired myself to fill it. But I’m just an unpaid actor, plain and simple.
As the sun becomes lost in its own glorious shadow casting, hugging me, she whispers that she wants to make love to have some communion with the beauty in the world. She’s just high, maybe, I think because she doesn’t usually talk like that. I’m not going to ask, because I got too drunk again, and typing this makes me feel like I’m flying with her, past time itself. I’m not above anything, though, as you know.
I feel hesitant that one of the islanders’ might see us, but Jehon reminded me that no one was around, and it was so dark that if someone walked by they would probably not see us anyway. We were on the beach, mind you. Out in the open. I joked to her that I should order Sex on the Beach more often, and although my body is excited, I can’t help but feel my true warmth and how it remains lost with the sun with the buzz I feel. But how does she know I’m not just playing a part, like some kind of freaky mime? Don’t worry, I’ll spare you the details!
Her eyes blinked, only slightly awake, and she shifted her head from side to side to scratch an itch on her face, but when she turns towards me in our hammock, I’m speechless, because I noticed a huge spider crawling…on her head. She probably didn’t feel it because she had one of those elaborate pink and blue flower scarves wrapped around her head.
I am amused because I know this spider is not going to get away, and smile because I know at least on our honeymoon I can feel like the tough guy I know I am inside. But before I can lift it off of her head without her waking, she blinked and she screamed, “I’m arachnophobic! Why didn’t you tell me a spider was on my face!”
“Oh no, now the spider got away,” I said disappointed I wasn’t able to kill it.
Now, fully awake and startled, she glared at me and chastised me for not upholding my husbandly responsibilities, “Why didn’t you kill the spider? But more importantly, why were you smiling? Didn’t you see a huge spider on my face?!”
I mean, okay, this was going to be a hard one to get out of, I thought. She had me caught off guard, and I didn’t even have scotch tape. Ha, I know, weak joke, but I’m hurting here for a few different reasons, and getting drunker as I write.
“Look, honey,” I replied, “I thought I could get it in time. I thought, you know, before you woke up.”
“You know, sometimes I feel you put on a different face to me than when you are alone,” She said, all cocking her head from side to side, and I’m thinking, she has me pegged. It kind of creeps me out sometimes.
I hug her because I know this tidal wave will soon pass, and if she was in fact arachnophobic, I couldn’t imagine how petrified she was, and I might be a bigger ass than you’ve told me. What bothered me was that she was actually angry that I didn’t kill something. I mean, what kind of lunatic did I marry, I started thinking. Harsh I know.
“Sorry. Don’t worry. It will be okay. I didn’t know you were arachnophobic. Let’s just go to bed,” I said, finally.
The island was still that night, and Jehon was all too interested in keeping spiders at bay. She covered her head with another colorful shawl one of the islanders sold her that day, while I dozed off thinking about all the faces I didn’t show her, wanted to, including impressions of notable celebrities and then ultimately killed that thought off in a dream about Neapolitan ice cream eating crabs.
When I woke in the morning, I was on the ground, with the hammock half-entangled around my feet. Jehon gently touched me to see if I was all right. Dude, I married a hottie and a sweetie.
“Looks like you had a rough night’s sleep. I’m not too fond of sleeping on hammocks either. Want to get up, so we can go get some breakfast?” She asked in her sweet-tea pitched girl voice.
The menu that day had crustaceans and kiwi, and I enjoyed every bit of it. The calm of the ocean, the breeze, not working, and especially making excuses not to write made this paradise. I had things in common with the island. It was apart from the world, treading above water, fighting to be pure. I set aside my plate for more, and Jehon kissed my hand like I was a king. I felt like one, and now that we were married I wanted to make her my queen every night, beach beneath my bare skin or not.
She still didn’t know the whole truth about me, and no-one ever will, but that didn’t stop me from feeling that she might understood me. At least, she knew I meant her no harm, and more importantly would protect and love her the best I could. I hoped that was enough for her. Then again, she was broken like me. I mean, she got high twice before she knew me.
“Let me know when you get hungry again,” I offered, and I picked her up and then we ran until we got near a coral reef.
“Honey, I really want to take pictures. I’m going to get our camera!” Jehon urged me.
“Pictures, now? Alright. Go get the camera,” I responded as I hated pictures, but knew how important it was to her.
When she returned, I had my pants rolled up and was about ready to swim, the sun was so bright and I felt a huge sunburn coming on, so I ask her, “Did you happen to get sun block?”
“Oh no! I’m sorry. Here, I’ll go get it. I’ll be right back!” She said to me.
“No! Don’t worry, sweetie,” I said, “I can manage. I just want to go for a quick swim,” I think I said, but I was wasted then, too, so can’t remember.
After I uttered the words, an islander loudly talking on his phone walked by me. I had the instinct to push him in my drunken haze, as he bumped into me in line at the market the other day, but that was no reason, I know. The thought was just fleeting, and it was not even that serious of a notion, but apparently Jehon saw me looking at him just at the right moment, and caught it on film.
She slowly lowered the camera, and looked at me for a bit as if she were going to be sick, and addressed me, “Lou?”
“Yeah? Are you feeling alright?” I asked in response, worried since she had a fever the day before.
“Why were you looking at that man like that?”
“What do you mean, sweetie? Don’t you recognize your honey-grubbing bear?” I think I asked her or some bullshit like that.
“I don’t know. It might sound silly, but you looked at him as if you wanted to kill him!”
Then, she whispered lovingly in my ear, “Lou, you know when I mentioned I had a fever? Well, I’ve been getting it the past couple mornings. Lou, I think I’m pregnant.”
So, when I thought about the postcard, I thought, nope, because, obviously, I had to let you know the whole story leading up to the crazy news.