family life – a fantasy

she opens the door.

“laura hapley?”

“yes …. ?”

“and wally hapley?”

“yes. and you are … ?”

he is 6’6”, broad shouldered, dressed in thick leather from boots to gloves.

“could i speak to mr. hapley, as well, please?”

“he is busy right now. what is this about?” she glances towards a door in the back.

he produces two envelopes from his jacket, cream coloured, each with a red seal.

“i will need to speak to you and him together. there is a request for you to read these documents in my presence.”

“but … “

“laura! what is it!”

she looks at the tall man, then to the door, then heads towards back.

“please.” the tall man raises his big, gloved hand. he shows her a business card.

“my name is arch. michael arch.”

she glances at the name printed big and bold. “i will tell my husband. maybe he …”

“please. he will have to come out.”

“he is a very busy man. he cannot be interrupted right now.”

“this is important. it cannot wait, i’m afraid. mr. hapley!” he does not have to raise his voice much, it is deep and resonant.

“laura! i’m busy!” laura’s eyes open wide, then flicker, then she closes them. maybe it is that she heard something in that voice. maybe something she has heard many times before.

a little dog appears behind laura. it curls around her legs like a cat. beside the entrance stands a small table, on it a vase with flowers. lilies and sunflowers, an odd combination, but beautifully arranged.

the tall man does not move much and sends a little smile to laura and the dog. “mr. hapley, we need you here, could you spare a moment, please!” again, he hardly raises his voice.

a thump and out the door rushes a man. he might be in his early seventies, with hair almost white, well groomed, a professorial look about him. and a look of great annoyance, shot at laura, then the tall man.

“who let you in? laura!” laura shoots a glance at him, then the vase. the little dog moves closer.

“i am busy and you’re trespassing. leave or i’ll call – “

“– the police,” finishes the tall man. “that will be quite alright. mr. hapley, mrs. hapley, i have two documents that i have been asked to witness you read in my presence.”

“who asked you? “ mr hapley approaches the tall man. “move!” he hisses at the little dog. laura flinches, starts to bend down to the dog but with a glance at mr hapley, just gently shoos the dog away with her foot.

“please open and read these documents. this is yours, mrs. hapley,” he extends one to laura. mr hapley snatches it, “i can read both of them. we are a married couple. we have no secrets from each other.”

the tall man takes the envelope from wally hapley and returns it to laura. she looks at wally. “i’ll read it later,” he snarls, “i’ll probably have to explain it to you, anyway.”

a low, quiet, growl emanates from the tall man. “that will be enough, mr. hapley.”

wally hapley tears open his envelope, anger in his eyes.

laura hapley tears open her envelope, hands shaking.

wally, years ago when the doorbell rang, you opened and the man said, ‘if you ever lay hands on laura again, i will kill you.’

it is time to remember this now.

each time you are about to raise your hand against laura, remember it, and act accordingly.

each time you are about to raise your voice against her, remember it, and act accordingly.

each time you are about to threaten her, remember it, and act accordingly.

each time you are about to raise your hand or your voice against someone or something beloved by laura, or threaten them, remember it, and act accordingly.

remember it, and act accordingly, and you will live in peace.

if you need help, contact mr. michael arch.

***

laura, you are a beautiful, strong, creative, wise and compassionate woman.

it is time to remember this now.

each time someone, anyone, raises their hand against you, remember it, and act accordingly.

each time someone, anyone, raises their voice against you, remember it, and act accordingly.

each time someone, anyone, threatens you, remember it, and act accordingly.

each time someone, anyone, raises their hand or voice against someone or something you love, or threatens them, remember it, and act accordingly.

remember it, and act accordingly, and you will live in peace.

if you need help, contact mr. michael arch.

four hands tremble. two hands are folded, relaxed, strong.

the tall man looks at wally until he looks back. “you understand?”

wally nods, hypnotized.

“if you understand, say, ‘yes, i understand.’”

“yes, i understand.”

the tall man looks at laura. her eyes are already trained on him. “you understand?”

laura nods. “yes, “ she says, with a voice not quite so quiet anymore. “yes, i understand.”

“please shake hands.”

their hands reach out towards each other. one thin, elegant hand, just slightly olive-coloured, moving one inch, then another, perceiving, as hands do and as the conscious brain hardly ever notices, the small, small, change in the atmosphere as the other hand approaches – a tiny rush of air movement, ever so much more warmth – - and the other hand, bigger, a bit boney now in older age, shaking a little, with a bead of sweat appearing in the life line crease – and they touch. and grasp. and hold.

“apologize.”

“i apologize,” they both say, simultaneously.

“you know who needs to apologize.”

pause. laura looks at the tall man, then at her husband. he looks down.

“i apologize,” he says, almost whispering.

“please look into each other’s eyes.”

the older man raises his head. very, very slowly. it is a heavy head.

“i apologize,” he says, and the words hardly make it out of his mouth but he does hold her eyes.

“good.” the tall man bows.

he walks back out to his motorcycle. the little dog runs out a few steps with him. nobody scolds him as lets out a happy little bark.

i wrote this while not being able to sleep because of jet lag.  yes, i’m back in vancouver.  the story?  there is some truth to it, in real life.  i hope all of it comes true.

2 thoughts on “family life – a fantasy

  1. Yule Heibel

    Wow, violence non-violently resolved. Very nice – I think we all need an archangel on a motorbike from time to time, eh? ;-)

    Isabella, we met at Northern Voice …last time, or the year before? (My sense of time is bonkers.) I hope I’ll see you again at the upcoming one!
    .-= Yule Heibel´s last blog ..Mark Holland to speak in Victoria BC =-.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>