Tomorrow I've got to decide what hotel in Grand Cayman they are staying at and research Leesie's injuries. I plan to write another poem for Leesie and finish translating Michael's rough draft into a dive log.
Another big question for this novel is what to do with the chats? I thought about cutting them out, but I want to keep the format consistent with the other two books. At the beginning, Michael and Leesie are together all the time, but that could change. I don't know. Kim is still out there. Leesie can't type at first, but Michael can. What do you guys think?
What was that? Quit stalling and post the poem? Okay. Sorry. Here it is:
Michael pushes the wheelchair
down the chilly jet-way.
no midnight escape flights
out of the Spokane airport.
He drove all night to make this
6:00 AM AA flight to Chicago,
while I rode cozy, my seat
tipped back, piled with pillows.
Wrapped in a hospital blanket,
a gift from my nurses—
who all had a crush on him—
I slept. First time
He greeted me with a yawn stifled
into his smile, when I
opened my eyes to discover
we’d roamed to the other side of the state—
bays and islands, seashells and tides—
gulls in the distance like the ones we fed
that first time we talked
back when I was lonely but not alone.
“You okay?” He touched my arm.
“I’m fine,” I lied despite the pain,
as desolation lapped like waves
against my heart.
Alone. Lost. Forever fallen.
But never lonely with Michael.
He gave me pills. “The nurses said
not to let the pain get out of hand.”
I wanted to protest. I need this hurt.
It’s something real to fight,
not like the ache in my spirit,
the divine hole that will never heal.
But I swallowed for him—
for his fingers touching my lips
as he placed capsules on my tongue,
his hands holding up my water bottle,
the kiss I demanded for being
Now, he lifts me from the wheelchair,
settles me in cushy first class,
front row, window seat.
He sinks beside me, presses my fingers
sticking out of my cast, closes
his eyes. “Just give me a minute.”
I stroke his hand with my fingertips.
“I love you.”
His mouth corners turn up as he drifts away.
I analyze the minute contractions
of his nose when he inhales.
His chest lifts and fills, and falls
as the air silently escapes.
I close my eyes and trace the vision
cementing it in my mind,
in case he evaporates
I catch my reflection deep
in the pre-dawn dark window
beside me, ignore the black eyes,
the scarf that doesn’t camouflage
my shaved wounded scalp,
focus on the ugly white
gauze plastering my nose,
wince when I try to use it,
force air in through my mouth,
slow and steady,
like Michael taught me.
“Max the 02,” I imagine he says.
“It’s good for your head.”
The surgeon said I’ll snore.
Poor, Michael. I’m such a freak.
He’s out the whole flight.
An attendant reaches across him
to hand me a soda that I can’t hold.
“Wish I could sleep like that.”
I direct her to set the cup on my armrest
table thing that blocks my knee from
touching his. “Shhh. He deserves it.”
Three hours I watch.
It isn’t enough.
He wakes when we land.
I nod. “You?”
“I’m great.” He smiles
but it’s thin.
How can I say I love him?
his life. Kidnapped his destiny.
He says all he wants is me.
What if he’s lying?
What if I’m not enough?
What if he gets sick of being
What if he can’t love me
I force a smile. “Where to next?”
He shakes his head. “Too easy.
That’s the first place they’ll look.”
“Didn’t know you were that into
this evil mastermind gig.”
He doesn’t laugh. “We can go
there if you want.
Gram would fly out—
stay with us awhile.”
My heart pounds. “She’d tell my dad.”
“Yeah. He could come, too.”
He combs his fingers through what’s
left of my hair. “Just like old times.”
I close my eyes—thankful
that my face is masked—so
he can’t see what I desperately desire.
“I can take you home, babe”—
his whisper holds hope—
“just say the word.”
I inhale too deeply
and the pain from my ribs
knifes to my heart.
He shakes his head.
“When you’re ready,
I’ll take you.” He imprints
the promise on my mouth
with his lips.
“I’m ready for you, Michael.”
My kiss says it better.
O’Hare is packed. He says
its always like this. But—
he’s got a shiny white cart
waiting that whisks us like
magic through the masses.
I get to board our plane first.
We don’t bother with a wheelchair.
I start to hobble through the gate,
but Michael sweeps me in his arms
“The doctor said I should walk.”
His breathe tickles my ear.
“Aren’t you tired of this?”
I let him into my eyes
where all my fears hide.
He cradles me close. “I’ll
never get tired