Okay, I will probably still keep tweaking this, gang, but here is Letter #8 ” The Choice to Kill,” from Girl in the Night: Erotic Love Letters to the Muse. Please excuse any typos!!
The following contains sexually graphic material and subject matter that might be objectionable to some readers. Please be advised! Thanks, gang!!
The Choice to Kill
© 2020 Marilyn Jaye Lewis
I was protecting you from all of them – you see? I thought you were coming back. I never dreamed I was killing you for good.
The streets became dirtier. Darker. Buildings so tall, the sun couldn’t shine.
I was 20. It was November.
He was 40, with curly black hair, peppered with grey.
Kisses on my face that lead us – to what? Conceiving endless children of joy. Entwined in lust, where a different sort of life is made.
We met in a laundromat on New York’s Upper East Side – a neighborhood where I’d lived for a handful of days; where he’d lived all his life. Where, in the late 1960s, his dad had been gunned down in the streets – not far from his apartment building’s front door. A Mob hit.
In New York, I let life happen. I needed to be released from what my life had already been back home – a prison. With very little love in it; almost no love at all.
When we’d both finished at the laundromat, he said, “Come on, let me buy you a drink.” So I went with him to a bar around the corner and my life changed. Forever.
* * *
Passion. Lust. The cock, the hole. Fucking, finally. Fucking – turn over. (Come on.) Turn over. (For me – come on.) That union of both. It’s there before we meet. Though it swells when we make love; it aches, it drips, it yearns. But the need to commune – the lust; it’s there, in us, before we meet. And it remains long after we’ve left each other behind for good. It’s always “for good for good for good” – I can’t destroy myself just because you love me. (Of course, I can. Of course, I can.)
His bedroom was lit by candlelight. It was soothing, and yet; it was hard for me to undress. So many eyes of his wife – looking right at me.
You paint sometimes, so maybe you know what it’s like – that need to get the image out; the same one, over and over, with only slight differences each time.
I don’t paint; I don’t really know how it feels. But it turned out Leo was a painter – oil paints. Portraits. His bedroom was full of portraits he’d painted of his late wife.
She’d been Irish. Pretty. With green eyes and very long, curly red hair. He painted her from memory, over and over. She was naked in every portrait – but whole, every delicate curve of her full; not crushed, not broken – with her long hair rolling down.
“You feel it, too?” he said.
“I do,” I said, and it was unnerving – between his elderly Catholic mother within earshot in the next bedroom, and his wife staring at me with so many green eyes. “It feels like she’s right here.”
“She is,” he said. “My wife haunts this fucking room, even though she never lived here. She makes me crazy sometimes. But let’s try this anyway, okay? I can’t let her make me a prisoner for the rest of my fucking life. Come on,” he urged me. “Come here; I’ll help you.”
When I was naked, he whispered: Look at you. I can’t even remember being 20.
He sat down on his bed, still in his clothes, and pulled me over to him. I sat on his lap and he held me, kissed me – on my neck, my nose, my cheek. I forgot all about his mother in the next room. Forgot about his dead wife’s green eyes.
“You should get out while you can, you know. New York, I mean,” he said quietly. “This city’ll ruin you. I see it happen every day. I don’t want to see it happen to you.” He stroked my hair and studied my face in the flickering dark. His finger touched the tip of my nipple. “I wanna make love to you so bad.”
“Then why don’t you?” I said – not understanding; getting aroused. My naked bottom squirmed in his lap. I could feel for certain that he wanted to make love.
“I’m not sure I remember how,” he said.
* * *
Out there on E.66th Street, we’d crossed Second Avenue and headed towards First:
“I live back with my mother now,” he explained. “But don’t worry – she minds her own business. I’ve got my own room – although I’ve never tried to bring a girl up there before. I guess we’ll see how that goes. She’s very Old World, you know.”
I didn’t know. I didn’t have a clue. I was fresh from Ohio. We didn’t have Old World where I’d come from.
“Catholic,” he explained. “Born there – in Sicily, I mean.”
“I couldn’t be alone in the old place anymore,” he went on. “It was too depressing. So I moved back in with my mother. I was married – 15 years. Then my wife killed herself. Jumped from the balcony. Because we were getting a divorce. I didn’t want the divorce – she did. She filed for it. She finally called me to come back home to talk, so I thought I was going there to have it out with her. I didn’t want that fucking divorce. But you know what she did? She timed her leap so that I’d be turning on to the corner of our block and walk right smack into that crowd of people, that crowd standing over her, gawking down at her – slammed to pieces, naked – on the fucking sidewalk. My wife. Christ, I loved her – if you’ll excuse me saying a thing like that on our first date.”
“She’s been dead now for four years,” he added. “You’re the first woman I’ve laid eyes on in four years that could make me stop thinking about her, even for a minute.”
* * *
His wife; his muse.
Have you noticed how the muses always have children? As if they aren’t afraid of aging, when it’s been proven time and again that even a single child is what ages you quickest of all.
Yet, over and over, the muse soars up and the children come – in a sort of blizzard of soft hair and small feet and tiny teeth and nails and flesh and bone and blood. Children – undeniably.
But never duplicates of the muse; no – it’s more like the muse is leaking.
* * *
Adoration – that’s what it was. The way he looked at me. From the moment he saw me in the laundromat. No man had ever looked at me in that way before. He didn’t seem in any hurry to jump my 20-year-old bones – to take whatever I had, whether I was offering it or not. It was more like he didn’t want to stop looking at me.
Everyone in the bar knew him by name. When we walked in, they said, “Leo, how’ya doin’?” The late-afternoon November light was still visible outside the plate glass windows that looked out onto Second Avenue.
They all said it just like that, too: “Leo, how’ya doin’?” Like some Scorsese movie.
And it didn’t stop there.
Most of the men in the bar wore tailored suits and had gleaming 24-kt. gold watches on their wrists. Some had religious medallions on gold chains around their necks, easy to see because their shirt collars were unbuttoned, three buttons down. Like Leo, all the men had dark hair and dark eyes. It was right out of the movies – movies about the Mob. And yet I didn’t pick up on it. I was still young and too naïve about New York.
And they were all so serious, those men. Even Leo. No one seemed to be there to have a good time.
And though everyone knew him, he introduced me to no one. “No one needs to know your name,” he told me. “You’re better than any of them. Why should they know who you are?” I had no reply. No one had ever said that to me before.
“Leo, how’ya doin’?”
This time it was a woman – a young and very pretty one. She came up to the bar where I was sitting, where Leo stood behind me, protectively, and she ordered herself a drink. Leo was friendly to her, but when he didn’t introduce me, she took my hand anyway and smiled and said, “I’m Mia. Nice to meet you.”
When she got her drink, she went her way. “Mia seemed nice,” I said to Leo.
“Of course, she did,” he said. “It’s her job – she’s a hooker. But do yourself a favor and don’t fall for her shit.”
As far as I knew, I’d never met a hooker before in my life.
The bartender seemed nice, too. “He’s a dirty cop,” Leo said, speaking low in my ear as I stared blankly at the bartender. “Got kicked off the force a few years ago. He owes something to everybody in this place. They saved his ass from going to prison and then they gave him this bar to run. It keeps him visible; keeps him on call, you know? I wouldn’t give you a nickel for his life now, though. Not for nothing.”
I had no idea what any of that meant but it was unsettling.
When I finished my drink and set my empty glass on the bar, the evening had officially started. He said, “You want another, or no? You wouldn’t wanna come home with me, would you? I live just up the block.”
* * *
His mouth on my nipple felt tender. As I sat in his lap, my arms just naturally went around him, now, too. Within moments, though, he abruptly stopped.
“I can’t do this,” he said. “Give me a minute.”
He urged me up off of his lap and then grabbed anything he could easily find – towels, shirts – and then draped them over all the portraits of his green-eyed wife.
* * *
Sweating, panting. We were fucking – finally. Fucking. I was flat on my back, my legs wrapped around him. His cock filling me. His mouth on my mouth. Flickering candlelight filling his room. Without the eyes of his wife anywhere.
On your belly – he said softly. Come on, turn over.
I was doing everything he asked. It was suddenly so effortless to be with a man. I wasn’t drunk. Wasn’t flying on speed, even though I had a plastic baggy back at the apartment filled with pharmaceutical-grade black beauties. I usually never had sex without them. But I wasn’t even thinking about black beauties now.
Lift up – he said.
I lifted my ass, expecting his cock to slide back into my pussy. I felt his mouth down there, instead. His tongue landing right on my clit.
Oh god – I said. Breathless, because my clit was already stiff, already completely aroused. God. His tongue was all over it. And I forgot all about his mother in the next room. I did not even know I was making so much noise. Every place he had touched me, and in each way that he had touched me – his fingers, his cock, and now his mouth – it had felt like I was meant to be touched there just by him.
Shameless, I lifted my ass up higher. Steadied my knees wide apart. Burying my face in his bed pillows, hugging them to me, trying to be quiet, I pushed my pussy open for that tongue that was making such love to my clit. That’s how it felt – like he was making love to it. He sucked it, licked it, caressed it, chewed it; then poked his tongue up under its stiff little hood, exposing the clit itself – that vulnerable tiny dot of flesh that was now my entire world; his tongue pressed right into it and was mercilessly licking it.
And right at the moment when I knew I was going to come he slid a finger up my ass.
It went up easily and went in deep because I was not expecting it.
Oh god. I loved the pressure. His finger was way up there. Oh god! I was really loud that time and I came in his face, right on his mouth. My legs trembling, my whole body shaking.
Before I could finish coming, the finger slid out of my ass and he mounted my pussy again. It was soaking, swollen; still shuddering in my orgasm. He grabbed hold of my waist and pulled my pussy all the way on to him; my cunt flush against his belly – his cock getting in deep, fucking me hard.
And I kept coming. It felt so good. To be fucked so hard and to be held by him. I cried out in a sort of pained delirium each time he slammed it into me – over and over, he went in too deep. Leo – god. God.
Then the side of his face was against the side of my face, and his mouth was right at my ear: God your pussy’s hot. God. Then I felt him jerking deep into me, thrusting in so hard I was almost crying – his cock pushed all the way up, going deeper than I could usually stand it, until I was all the way on that cock, my pussy lips spreading too wide, the base of my hole stretching impossibly open and planted right up against his pubic hair – Leo, god! – I squealed. I felt my cervix actually open and it was now impaled on the head of his cock. His cock jerked hard against me up there and I tried to cry out but barely any sound came out of me – just the tiniest stunned squeak – having never felt anything move past my cervix before. He gripped my hips tight, forcing my cervix to remain impaled; the full length and width of my cunt stuffed so completely with his cock that now my clit was rubbing up against his balls. It feels so good, it feels so good – I squeaked out, as his cockhead squeezed up past my cervix, then pulled down out of it, then squeezed right back up – as if massaging it to open even wider for his oncoming assault. And he came, as I squealed out from all that pressure up there inside me. And his tight grip on me was not letting me budge an inch; his cockhead stayed wedged up there in the opening of my cervix, jerking the jism endlessly into me – completely unloading his balls after four lonely years of having no woman at all – until my whole soaking pussy was filled with it.
Then he pulled out of me, and as his full weight collapsed down on top of me, pushing me flat down to the bed beneath him, he said in my ear: “God that was noisy. My mother is gonna kill me.”
* * *
For three days, I did not go back to my own apartment.
For three days, we stayed naked in his bed and made rambunctious love.
When I needed to use the toilet or the shower, he’d check first that the coast was clear. “My mother is gonna tear your hair out,” he said. “It’s a sin to be doing this if we’re not married, you know. So she informs me.”
If he went into the kitchen to forage for food, I could easily hear the two of them shouting. I didn’t know what was said – they argued in Sicilian – but I had an idea: I was a whore. And under her roof – in her apartment. Where she’d raised her sons in wedlock, until the fated day that the Mob, for whatever reason, gunned down her husband in broad daylight.
Eventually, I had to go home. Still we saw each other every single day. He took me to museums and taught me about painting, about art. We ate in diners and gave his mother a break whenever we could. Each evening, though, we were back in his room, his bed, and we made that noisy love.
For fourteen uninterrupted nights.
And then I noticed his calendar. Shit. I’d lost track of my cycle. For the first time in my life.
* * *
Come on; come back to bed.
Don’t worry – so what if you might get pregnant? I want to marry you. I’m so serious. Just say the word, and I will marry you. We’ll raise a family. It’s okay. Nothing would make me happier than to have a kid with you.
* * *
Over she went. Down down down. Slamming into the pavement. Naked. Her broken body waiting for no one but him.
“If she wanted the divorce,” I finally asked him one night, as I lay naked in his bed and watched him – naked, too – standing at the dresser, lighting a cigarette. “Then why did she kill herself? I mean, I know you weren’t happy about it, but you were going to give her the divorce, right?”
He sat down on the edge of the bed, smoked his cigarette, and got quiet. No more did we need to drape all her portraits with shirts and towels; her presence in the room had become part of our lovemaking, too. Those beautiful paintings of her always-naked, perfect form. It was the three of us now. Always the three of us in the bed. And now, she joined us in that moment of bated silence. I could feel her.
“She lost her mind,” he finally said. “I mean – literally. We’d been trying so hard to have a baby and she had five miscarriages in a row. Her body just couldn’t do it; her uterus always eventually rejected them. After the fifth miscarriage, she lost her mind. Started seeing blood everywhere. Couldn’t stop crying, screaming. I had to put her in Bellevue for a while, it got that bad. She decided that the divorce would be her gift to me – so that I could find another woman who could give me a kid.”
“Oh no, Leo. That’s so sad.”
“The divorce had actually become final that day. But I was just going to ignore it. She was still my wife; I still considered us married. And if I had to remarry her, legally, I was gonna do it. That fucking divorce – it was all her idea. But it turned out, she didn’t fucking want it, either. Didn’t want me with some other woman – raising a family without her. So she killed herself. Her big gift to me.”
* * *
I want to marry you. Come on. Think about it. Let’s get married.
He was saying it all the time now.
Out on the street, standing in front of an antique store, looking at our own reflections in the plate glass window. “You are gonna have such beautiful babies,” he said. “You know that? Come on; marry me. I’m fucking 40 already. I’m in love with you. Don’t make me wait.”
I was 20. I had come to NYC to be a singer, a songwriter. I had escaped from so many things back home in Ohio, one of which was a boy I loved who wouldn’t stop talking about getting married. Having a kid. I wanted a kid – I wanted lots of kids – but I wasn’t ready. Not then. Not yet.
* * *
“How can you do that? Oh my god – how can you do that?!” I was hysterical. “You actually kill people?”
“Jesus. Keep your fucking voice down. Come on!” His eyes rapidly searched the diner for our waitress. “Check please, miss! We gotta leave. Now.”
He threw the money on the table. “Come on,” he said to me. “We’re going back to the apartment. You’re getting hysterical.”
It was no better in the apartment, in the privacy of his room. I was still hysterical. Until, from out of nowhere, a revolver was in my face. Its nose to my nose. It stopped me cold.
“Just shut up,” he said quietly. “My mother is in the next room. She can hear everything you’re saying. She and I – we don’t talk about this shit. About what I do. You are gonna have to calm down.”
“How am I supposed to calm down?” I whispered, verging on tears. “I’m going to have a baby.”
His expression softened at the news but the gun stayed in my face. “We’re getting married, right?” he said calmly. “You said so at brunch. So what’s the problem?”
“What’s the problem?” I cried.
* * *
His mouth – it always felt so good on me down there. His tongue on my clit – it made anything I worried about disappear.
He spread my long legs apart and did it again – his mouth rained slow, wet kisses all over my pussy, and then his tongue came out to play with my clit.
I can’t – I persisted, a little breathlessly now. It’s a bad time. I could get pregnant.
His lips were so gentle, so soft; his tongue so deliberate and thorough. It found its way into every hidden fold of my pussy, dipped into my soaking hole. It doesn’t matter – he said, pausing only long enough for me to want his mouth back on me again. We’ll get married. Right? We’re gonna get married as soon as you say yes.
Oh, Leo. He pushed my thighs wider apart, then held open my lips, exposing my vulnerable clit to his now determined tongue.
Oh god – I moaned. This isn’t fair. It feels so good. So good.
Each time I felt my clit about to trigger an orgasm, his tongue seemed to sense it and would stop licking it – abandoning my clit then and dipping down into my hole instead. Licking right down there at the base of it, where the hole was always pouting eagerly open for him, and starting to drip now, needing to be entered at just that moment. Even by a gently licking tongue.
Back and forth his mouth went – from my clit to my hole – my tenderest places; keeping me fully aroused, on the verge of ecstasy. And without letting me come, he kissed his way up my belly, my ribs, until his mouth latched on to first one soft nipple, then the other – making them swell. And while he sucked on them, tugging them into the gentle pressure of his mouth, then teasing the very tips of them – first one, then the other, held captive between his teeth; until each nipple was also stiff and too tender, just like my clit, his cock slid up my vagina and we began to fuck.
It felt so good – the ways he liked to fuck; when he had each of my knees hooked over his arms, guiding them until my legs were up over his shoulders; until my hole – primed and ready to play; the lips engorged and slick – became like a bullseye, pierced, and stretching now around his incoming cock. I loved it; all the ways he liked to fuck. He was so grown up. And in that position – my legs up over his shoulders – my thighs were trapped beneath the weight of his chest; the position forced my hole to lift up and spread open, stretch open, then stretch even more; to take what was coming. Trapped there beneath him, my face buried in his chest until I needed to come up for air; my arms wrapped around his neck, holding him tight, I became my hole; my only focus was my hole – a hole surrendering to a cock on a mission, only able now to accept the thick intrusion all the way in.
His mouth on my mouth, then; his tongue swirling with mine, kissing me into a trance. The scent of my pussy all over his lips now. Going right up my nose. That smell of pussy. Of my own aroused cunt – the taste of it mashing into my mouth, as we kissed with passion, with lust. And his wife’s Irish blessings from a world beyond – they were all over us in that bed. In that candlelit room of love.
His cock eased its way up me slowly. Pushing in. Pushing while he kissed me. Then his cock went in too deep, as it always did, and I cried out into his kiss, his mouth – his pussy-tasting mouth. His cock pulled out just enough to push right back in – going even deeper this time, pushing pushing into my proffered hole, my ankles over his shoulders – finding that my cervix is opening around the thick probing head, now, too; unable to expel the intrusion either, forced as always to take the cockhead in.
And that’s how he fucked me that night. My knees to my ears. My hole offered up beneath him, slick and helpless, all of me opening around that incoming cock; that probing, pounding, merciless cock. I couldn’t help but cry out in his ear as he picked up speed and picked up speed. My cunt felt split open with him. Too filled up. He was in too deep. Up into my cervix again and my pitiful hole was trapped and stuffed and opening opening opening for him. Betraying me with all its soaking lust; its need to feel the cock up in there. All the way, then pounding hard. I was addicted to it now – the feel of his cock plowing up where it shouldn’t be. He had to stop. He had to stop. I wasn’t ready to make a baby. It feels so good. It feels so good – I cried over and over, right in his ear; overwhelmed by my own need to get fucked by him again, throwing all calendars to the wind.
His cock didn’t let up. The pounding became ferocious until my hole was thoroughly opened, the whole length of it. And the thick blanket of love his wife draped over us from some world beyond kept me battened down, kept me entwined with him, my ankles now wrapped around his neck, forcing me to offer my hole upwards even more, to open my cunt for his cock to pound into deeper. Oh god Oh god. Leo, no – I cried. My hole sore now yet still stretching open, pussy skin spreading tight tight tight like elastic that might snap it’s so stretched open that his balls almost squeeze up in there, too; into the vortex of the sloppy-sucking pussyhole pulling it in, wanting it in, wanting those balls to stretch me open and pop up into me, too; and maybe rip me open, that’s right, rip me open even more, pound me right open, baby, maybe turn me into a gaping hole, a slobbery soaking gaping hole – while I beg for the intrusion to continue, at a fevered pace; and so it does, as he pushes my knees down to the pillows now, all his weight on my knees then, keeping me spread and pinned, my sore and hopelessly stretching hole way up high now and his cock slaps into it, over and over down into me it goes. Oh shit! Oh shit! Leo, shit! I’m babbling, crying, taking it and unable to do anything at all to fend off his final unbearable burst up past my now forcibly dilated cervix, the gateway to my womb.
Oh Jesus – he cried.
His body went rigid, his balls tightened as I cried out now, too, and his orgasm jerked into me several punishing times; spurting his lust out through the tiny slit of his urethral hole, his shaft pumping into my vaginal tunnel that pulsing muscle of welcoming love, the fat head of the cock honing in on its new home, that opened cervix that recognizes its beautiful pain now; the pain of the fat cockhead pushing in; where there is nowhere for the sperm to go but deeper in; and in it goes, heat-seeking the real target: that dancing, quivering, naughty-with-her-knickers-down, come and get me, spank me, fuck me, ovulated, fallopian-ejected, quite fertile, 20-year-old, unmarried white girl fresh from Ohio egg.
* * *
We uncoupled and spooned together in the tangled blankets and both fell right to sleep, the candlelight still flickering in the room.
“Help me!” I gasped, snapping awake moments later. “I’m choking. I can’t breathe!”
I could barely talk. Something had me by the throat, sucking in my air for its own.
“Shit!” he said, waking immediately. “Breathe. Try to breathe. It’s my wife. I know it is. Just breathe. Try to calm down and just breathe.”
* * *
His wife, his muse. Tormented, childless. She was seeking a way back home; climbing into me through my very breath, infusing her soul with my egg, his sperm; becoming the conception.
If she couldn’t give Leo the child he’d wanted; she would become his child for him, instead.
* * *
I did not need a test to know I was pregnant; didn’t need to miss a period. I knew within a few days that we had conceived. I could feel it in me – the other; the part of me that wasn’t me. I was scared but mostly I was happy. Filled with joy, to be exact. A secret joy that, for a little while, was just my own.
* * *
I didn’t tell Leo right away that I was pregnant. Didn’t explain why I was suddenly so ravenous in bed, so filled with passion, lust, and life – even more so than before.
I loved what had happened to my body, basically overnight. But the decision to marry – I had trouble with that.
Then, just as easily as I had conceived, my decision to marry Leo came to me suddenly.
On Sunday morning, we slept in, then headed out to the diner for brunch. Thanksgiving had come and gone. It was now a beautiful morning in early December. We walked along E. 66th Street, then turned north onto First Avenue.
“You look so fucking pretty this morning,” he said. “You know that? I wish you would just fucking marry me already. I’m not getting any younger here, you know – and you’re getting prettier.”
“Okay,” I said.
“Okay,” I said again. “I’ll marry you. Let’s get married and have a kid.”
“You mean that? You’re serious?”
By the time we got to the diner, I’d convinced him that I was serious, but I hadn’t mentioned the pregnancy, yet. I wanted to wait until we were sitting down.
We scooted into a booth, facing each other. He looked so happy. As happy as he’d probably been when his wife had been alive. I’d never seen him look so happy.
“Listen,” he said. “I gotta tell you something – you’re sure you want to get married?”
The waitress came over for our order and we ordered the same things we always did, every other time we’d been in that diner together. And then the waitress went away.
Leo leaned closer to me, he got quiet. “I need to tell you a little bit about me, since you’re gonna be my wife.”
“Like – what it is I do.”
“Okay.” I was thinking about his fingers up me, his tongue on my clit, his kisses. I wanted to leave the diner and go straight back to bed. Make more love.
“Are you listening to me?”
“Yes,” I said. “I’m listening.”
“You know I’m in the Family, right?” he said quietly. When I looked at him blankly, he said, “The Mafia – right?”
“You’ve been in my home – seen all the photos – my dad.”
It was just barely connecting. “What does that mean?”
“I’m in the Mafia – that’s what it means. My brothers are, my uncles are; my dad was, my grandfathers were. And every so often, I get on a boat, and take a little trip. Fulfill a contract and then I come right back home. Now, listen. You’re way too pretty. I won’t want too many of them knowing when you’re home alone. They might get ideas, okay? They just might. Contracts can become funny issues. Look what happened to my dad. Too many Family problems, and you never know when it could blow up. So I’m gonna get you a gun and teach you how to use it, okay?”
“What are you talking about? Why do I need a gun?” None of it was making sense to me, and yet all of it was.
“You’re gonna be my wife. I don’t want anybody hurting you. You need to know how to protect yourself.”
The waitress brought us our food and we fell silent. I didn’t want to see food; suddenly I couldn’t eat.
“Are you understanding me? This is serious.”
“No, I don’t understand,” I said. “Why do you have to go away?”
“Contracts,” he said quietly. Then very quietly, he said it again: “Contracts.”
Our eyes locked and held. Then very quietly again, he made it plain, this time leaving NYC for a moment, and speaking to a 20-year-old white girl, fresh from Ohio: “They call me. I kill someone. Are you understanding now?”
* * *
By mid-December, my period did not come and I went to the clinic, just to know for sure.
I’d left the Upper East Side and was hiding out in a brownstone in Brooklyn – in a building that, by back-home-Ohio standards, would have been condemned. But I was learning to live in New York now. By New York standards of what was an acceptable existence.
I had Leo’s phone number. I called him every few days, not knowing if I was going to change my mind.
“It’s our baby,” he’d shout at me over the phone. “Don’t do this. Don’t fucking do this. Just tell me where you are. My brother’s got a big fucking Cadillac. We’ll come get you, load up your stuff in the car, and you’ll move in here with me. I’ll marry you – come on. I fucking love you, can’t you get that?”
I gave myself two more weeks to hide out alone with my baby – the baby that was still a shifting, constantly-combining ball of microscopic cells inside me. I talked to it constantly, explaining myself.
I love you, okay? I love you so much. But I’m poor. I won’t even be able to feed you. But things will change, and you’ll come back, okay? You’ll come back to me and it’ll be different. And your dad will be different – a different man altogether. He won’t be a killer. It’ll all be different. We’ll have a pretty apartment and plenty of food. You’ll come back – when my life has changed.
* * *
My legs spread open in the stainless-steel stirrups. I wore the blue paper disposable gown. The doctor was from Pakistan; the nurse, a young black man from Harlem. He was readying the IV for my arm, until he saw the look on my face and then he quickly reached for my hand. He gently stroked it.
“You’ll be all right,” he said softly.
He alerted the doctor, who came and stood at the other side of me. I had seen the doctor once before. He was the one who had examined me and had confirmed that I was pregnant. He said, “It’ll be over quickly. You’re going to be just fine.”
The three of us alone in a bleak room that looked more like the storage room of the clinic than anything else. A man from Pakistan, a man from Harlem. A lost girl from Ohio, spread out, naked under a blue paper gown, wanting so much to be a mother – wanting so much to not be poor.
They were both so kind to me, I cried.
* * *
His muse, his wife – I released them back into their own world, out of mine. Then I grew to understand just how deeply a muse can haunt you. How many people, alone, in how many rooms across the world, are haunted by muses? Who can say?
And killers. Who are they, really? You know – there are so many ways you can choose to kill.
You can love. And you can kill.
I see that now.
Excerpted from Girl in the Night: Erotic Love Letters to the Muse
© 2020 Marilyn Jaye Lewis