out of the ashes

Saturday, February 6, 2010


I'm moving forward...in fits and starts. The writing isn't fun. It's just work. I wonder if it shows up in the pages? I'll finish the chapter sometime tomorrow...

Chapter Thirty-four

The new office of John D. Delilah, Attorney at Law, was unlike the aged, high-ceilinged space of Sampson and Delilah two blocks to the south. It occupied four hundred square feet on the tenth floor of a modern high rise, packed between the office of an accounting firm—twice as large as his—and another firm of attorneys, five strong. The placard hanging at eye level outside the door on the wall was simple brushed metal, his name etched on it, just like the placards on every other office on the floor. Exactly at the same height off the gray carpet, in the same position as those of his new neighbors.
Amy had gone with him to three different office furniture stores to pick out furnishings and d├ęcor, although his concept of what would function and look best was clear in his mind. He was delighted to have her beside him, and listened closely to her every opinion and suggestion. His one weakness in conceiving the space was greenery. Amy filled that void (and the spaces of the new office) with broad-leafed plants with an unerring eye. John took her to gallery after gallery; asked her what she thought of this original print, that piece of sculpture. Vases splashed with gleaming rivers of color. Together they turned the space he had signed the lease on into a sleek extension of his loft.
Clients began to arrive. Business was good. Neither of them thought much, any longer, of Sampson and the acid-filled atmosphere he had dominated so short a time ago.
The afternoon of Marvin’s great breakthrough, after John had finished meeting with a wealthy new client and the day’s work was drawing to a close, Amy said to him.
“I laughed this morning when I got here. Your sign outside the door. It made me stutter when I read your name. John Duh-duh. Delilah.” She laughed.
“Wuh-well, th-that’s my name. Should I ch-change it?” he mimicked her.
“Not ever. It suits you perfectly. The D. included.
“But, hey! I bought you a gift while I was out to lunch.”
“You did? Oh my. I’m, umm…what is it?”
She rose from her chair, pointing to a large variegated leaf Pothos sitting beneath the lone window three feet behind her.
“It will add a little calm and beauty to your house. See the leaves? They’re like little green hearts, I think. Hundreds of little green hearts. That’s what I see. You can put it on a pedestal beside the windows…or maybe next to your bed. Anywhere you want to. Do you like it?”
John stood, caught up more by her thoughtfulness than by the robust elegance of the plant. He wondered what she meant by her analogy of the shape of the leaves as hearts. He walked across the carpet and took a knee beside her, close to her so that his shoulder touched hers. The plant was fine, yes, and he lifted a sheaf of leaves with his fingers, feeling the waxy smoothness of them, but had it been a cactus filled with needles, it would have been as pleasing to him. The plant was a gift from her.
“Thank you so much,” he said turning his gaze to her. That queasy sensation that confused him began to grow. The uneasiness with words, the way they failed him in close proximity to her. Amy smiled at him and closed her eyes for just a moment.
“It’s gorgeous…but I have no idea…I mean, where it would look best at home,” he said.
That was a lie. He knew exactly where it should sit. On the corner of the black lacquered dresser in his bedroom. There it would be perfect with its pale yellow, and deep green foliage. Something of her, to remind him every evening before he fell asleep that she would be waiting for him, at least in his dreams.
“You’ll find the perfect spot,” she said with a smile.
“You find it. That is, please.” He paused, looking down nervously at the leaves beneath his fingers. “Well?”
“Yes. Okay,” she said. “After dinner. I’m treating.”

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