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he silence that lay between Deb and Mark was like a deep river. All seemingly still and quiet on the surface. But there was a deadly undercurrent running beneath. Although the music was still playing softly in the background, Deb broke the mood it could have set by saying, “Mark, you didn’t answer me.”
“Didn’t answer you? What do you mean? I didn’t get the question,” Mark responded.
I asked, “Did she capture just your eye or your heart too?”
Mark drew in a slow breath and just as slowly released it. But he didn’t answer this time either. Instead, he just sat there staring back at her with those penetrating blue eyes of his. An interrupting knock at the door broke both of their gazes.
A man’s voice called out, “Ms. Johnson!”
Mark glanced over at Deb, who again looked totally caught off guard.
He offered, “I’ll get it.”
Deb kept her seat at the table while he opened the door to find the hotel manager, who seemed agitated.
“You stay here?” he immediately blurted at Mark! Then he looked past Mark to Deborah, still seated on the bed, whose mouth had dropped open. Not thinking of her sexy attire she jumped up. “I beg your pardon! Who do you think you are?”
He looked her up and down obviously pleased with what he saw. But he continued speaking in an almost angry tone. “This room one guest pay.” He looked back at Mark. “You stay?” and not allowing Mark time to answer, “You stay, you pay!” Even though he was speaking with his thick Indian accent, they both understood his implication. Deb’s face blushed as she grabbed Mark’s towel from across the table and wrapped it around her waist, covering her lower body.
Mark responded to the manager sarcastically, “This happens to be my wife, sir, and no, I’m not staying here. She paid for this room. Are you telling her she’s not allowed to have a visitor?”
The man retorted, impatiently tapping his watch: “You been in here hour and 50 minutes. We have rule go by. You stay, you pay!”
Mark answered, “Okay, pal. I hear you. I’m leaving now. I won’t give you another dime.”
“Nor will I”, Deb chimed in. “The nerve!”
Mark closed the door in the man’s face. When he turned around and looked at Deb, he burst out laughing.
“Oh, man”, he chuckled. “Thank God we live in a free nation, baby. Human trafficking, drugs, and murders going on all around us and they can’t bother. But you and me trying to sit and talk? We gotta pay!”
Deb dropped the towel placing her hands indignantly on her hips. “I resent this, Mark. I did pay for this room till tomorrow morning at 11 o clock. I’m going to dress and go have it out with him.”
Mark shook his head, “No. No, you’re not. Don’t make a bigger fuss now. It’ll bring more attention to us. It’s important, Debbie. More than ever. We’ve got to cover our tracks. And we’ve got to be so very careful.”
She didn’t miss his familiar use of the nickname ‘Debbie’. It’s what he used to call her when they were just going together. It had been shortened to Deb most of the time after they’d married.
He continued, “I don’t want anybody to know that I’ve told you anything. You understand me? NOBODY.”
Before Deb could respond her phone rang. Picking it up she saw that it was Dave’s number. Feeling caught between a rock and a hard place with Mark standing right there looking at her, she went ahead and pressed ‘Answer’ anyway. “Hello. Uh, could you hold for a moment, please?”
Mark raised his brows inquisitively, and irritably asked, “Is that the jerk again? Already?”
Deb placed Dave ‘on hold’, so proud she’d learned to do that, but wished she’d done it before Mark had spoken. She wondered if Dave had heard him? Forcing herself to respond nonchalantly to Mark, she replied, “No, no. This is, um, something else.” It wasn’t exactly a lie: Dave was no jerk.
He quickly read her face and sized up the situation. He knew her through and through, and could pretty well read her like a book, most of the time.
Deb, staring back at him now, feared that’s exactly what he was doing at this very moment; reading her as though she was holding up signs for him. Her face felt as though it was slightly burned. Oh! Why was she blushing?. She could imagine those big red blotches coming on her throat and chest. They always did whenever she got nervous. She glanced back at her phone. Yes, Dave was holding. It didn’t indicate the call had ended. She looked back at Mark’s piercing blue eyes, thinking ‘go ahead, read me like a book. You know what page I’m on, don’t you? ‘ She felt so uncomfortable with Dave holding on and Mark’s eyes cooly registering her every mood and probably her thoughts. The thoughts were racing about a thousand words a nanosecond. How many times had she fantasized about making that part of their relationship different?
Pain seared her temple. It felt to her that an eternity had passed, but actually, it had only been a moment.
A moment in which Mark, indeed, had bookmarked the page she was on and having understood what he read of her, he softly released a murmured hum, “mmmm-uummm–”. Sort of nodding his head, smirking. And with a sarcastic smack of his lips, he asked, “How is the good doctor?” Then without waiting for her answer, he left, letting the door slam behind him.
Deb, half surprised, half-amused, thought, ‘Boy, you’ve got your nerve! A jealousy act? Now? Seriously? ssshhhh…‘ She caught herself. ‘Mmm, now he’s got me doing that!’ She took a sip of her Pepsi and tried to quickly compose herself.
Using her best imitation of Tessa’s sensuous southern pitch, she clicked the phone back to connected. “Yes, Dave? Hello. Thanks ever so for holding.”
His words though were clipped indicating a slight irritation. “Can you talk now?”
Deborah bristled. Men! She switched from Southern feminine to imitate his clipped style. “Yes, I can talk now. What’s up?’
Dave shot back. “That should be my question. But answer this one: Where are you?”
Irritated as she was, Deb tried to soften again. She thought, ‘try to see this from his side; give him an explanation.’ “I’m back in Florida. I had to come ba– “
Dave cut her off. “I heard his voice, Deborah, before I was put on pause. Did you go back there with him?”
Deb huffed, “Look. I’ve had about all I’m going to take today-”
Dave had interrupted her again, his tone back to the Dave she had been attracted to. “Deb? Yes, you’re right. Baby, wait. I’m so sorry. I had no right to come at you like that, or to question you in any way.” At Deb’s silence, he continued a bit awkwardly. “Really, I’m sorry. I–, my only excuse is that it’s been a long, hard day here too”, he sighed, “and hearing Mark there with you, I just–”
Deb decided to rescue him, “It’s alright, Dave, I understand.” She thought to herself, incredulously, (he’s jealous!). She eyed the door Mark had let slam. (And so was Mark. At least a little bit. Both of them?) It brought a small self-satisfied smile to her lips. And then the smile widened. A very pleasant feeling washed over her. “Dave? In answer to your question: No. Mark didn’t come with me. He showed up here unexpectedly. I don’t know how he knew I was here. But, remember I told you I’ve got trouble? I just knew it! I just didn’t know how much. There are some really deeply-serious issues. Mark and I finally, for the first time in such a long time, we’re having a–, I don’t know, I guess you’d call it, a come clean conversation.”
He interjected, “Oh? I see.”
She said, “No. No, Dave, you don’t. But it’s really, um, nice – that you want to try. It’s not that we’re –. Oh, we can’t discuss this on the phone. Look, I can’t go into it all of it. I haven’t even had time to process it yet. I’m sorry, I know I’m not really making sense.” Mark’s words echoed now in her mind, ‘Tell nobody!‘ She decided to change the subject. “Dave, how’s Susan?”
He answered without hesitation, apparently accepting her jumbled explanation. “Stable, but serious. She’s asking for you. She’s a strong woman, you know? We’re all kinda amazed that she’s doing this well, all things considered. I tried to call you a couple of times already today, to let you know. But you didn’t answer and I didn’t want to just leave a message.”
Oh, so he is still fishing, Deb noted. She responded, “Thank you, Dave, that is so thoughtful. I’m sorry I didn’t check my phone before going out for a swim, just trying to relax. That’s where Mark found me, down by the pool.” She could hear a nurse’s voice over a speaker, paging him.
He said, “That’s me they’re calling. Gotta run~,” there was a slight hesitation before he finished with, “~baby”.
She appreciated his softening his earlier confrontational dialogue with the endearment. So she followed suit. “Okay, honey, talk to you later.”
Hanging up she realized how natural that had felt to her, responding to him in that way. She walked back over to the large glass doors, gazing out at the sea. Then down at her hand. She slid her wedding and engagement rings off while whispering, ‘Help me, Lord, please. I’ve got so many mixed-up feelings inside. I don’t know how to handle all of this. The things Mark’s said … I never dreamed–. And yet we didn’t even get to the nitty-gritty about him and Tessa. Nor about the fire department and, oh Lord, all this stuff about his Dad. I can’t. I can’t!’
She put her hands to her temples again. ‘My head hurts. I can’t cope. And yet somehow I’ve got to. Susan is asking for me. And how am I going to find the man with that red truck?’
Her phone rang again. She smiled. Dave calling back already? Or Mark? Hurrying to pick up her phone she hesitated abruptly. She didn’t recognize the number. But it could be the manager from downstairs. The area code matches the hotel’s number, she thought. So she answered. No one said anything. She repeated “Hello”. Still silence. But she could tell someone was on the line. She thought it also sounded like some traffic noises in the background. She, too, went silent. Looking down at her watch she thought she’d give it about 15 more seconds. She said ‘hello’ once more. And still no response. She hung up. ‘Fool. Can’t say anything. Then she stopped herself. Exasperated she said, ‘Whew, probably a bad connection. Maybe they couldn’t hear me?”
Her phone rang again. Same number. She picked it back up. Speaking louder this time. “Yes, Hello? Can you hear me?” No one said anything. She was about to hang up when a man’s deep voice said, “Wait.” She didn’t recognize his voice. She waited for about another 10 to 15 seconds as an eerie feeling began to engulf her.
Suddenly Simon & Garfunkle’s song The Sound Of Silence began to play through her phone: “Hello darkness my old friend”. Abruptly it stopped. Just those five words had played– and nothing else came through. Her phone indicated the call had ended.
Her hands and feet were like ice now. Who in the world would–? She stretched out across the bed, questioning in her mind. Was it the man in the Red Truck? The nightmare she’d had about Tessa straight away flashed across her memory. Seeing it again now in her mind’s eye. Tessa, standing by the exit door. And Deb could hear that voice. It was repeating again in her head those words: “In death do I trust” That voice? She thought it was deep. But that was– that was a dream.
She jumped up, determined. ‘I’m getting out of here. And now!’
She hurriedly packed. ‘Dear God.’
From what I remember ~ that man’s voice on the phone sounded so much like the voice in my dream! Lord, what were you showing me? Satan? Goosebumps ran over her body accompanied by a very hard shiver.
to be continued
Watch the Official Music Video: Disturbed – The Sound of Silence:
Feature Photo Credit
from Disturbed – The Sound of Silence [Officia Music Video]
Video Credit YouTube.com
#OfficialMusiicVideo #Disturbed #Sound of Silence #WeAreWarnerRecords
Disturbed – The Sound of Silence [Official Music Video]
from the album Immortalized
Directed by Matt Mahurin
Licensed to YouTube by
WMG (on behalf of Reprise); UNIAO BRASILEIRA DE EDITORAS DE MUSICA – UBEM, CMRRA, UMPG Publishing, BMI – Broadcast Music Inc., UMPI, LatinAutorPerf, and 13 Music Rights Societies
The Sound of SilenceArtist: Disturbed
Album: The Sound of Silence
Writers: Paul Simon