Monday, February 14, 2011

AFTERNOON AT THE MAJESTIC ~ Irish Author Kevin J. Mackey debuts AT THE BIJOU


 ~ By Kevin J Mackey
debuting AT THE BIJOU!

The quiet of the room was disturbed only by the beep-beep of a heart monitor. The breathing of the woman in the bed barely disturbed the air.

Roy sat on a chair off to her right. In the dim light of the room, he allowed his eyes to darken her white hair to its youthful black, the parchment-thin skin of her face to become smooth with the blush of youth.

He reached out and touched her hand, thin, frail, locked half-closed with age. 

Her eyes opened, looked around for his, and Miriam spoke.

"Still here, Roy?" Her voice was so quiet he had trouble hearing her. 

He leaned in towards her and shrugged.

"I'm going nowhere." 

Miriam smiled for a moment, and then her face twisted in pain. Roy almost stood, but she raised her hand to stop him.

"It's nothing," she said. "Nothing." She looked at him, searching his face. "I did love my husband, Roy. He knew that, didn't he?" 

Roy closed his hand over hers, squeezing gently. He nodded. "He knew, Miriam," he said. "He knew." Roy fell silent.

"But you, Roy," Miriam said, "you never married." 

Roy said nothing, just shook his head. He hadn't married, but his best friend had. He'd married Miriam. 

"Roy? Why? Why didn't you say... Why didn't..." 

Roy looked at her, his face creased with decades-old regret. 

"I was afraid, Miriam," he said after a while. "Young, stupid, and afraid." 

Miriam shook her head. "Never stupid, Roy. Never stupid." She paused a long moment, her breathing shallow, and then said, "I knew how you felt. I felt the same. But I couldn' know..." 

Roy nodded his head, patting her hand gently. He looked at her. "If you could, Miriam," he said, "if we could...would you have?" 

Her smile was all the answer he needed. He reached into his jacket pocket and produced a movie ticket. He held it up, old, yellowed, as out of date in the modern hospital as any sixty year old movie ticket would be. 

"I don't understand," Miriam said as he pressed the ticket into her hand. 

"Shh," Roy said and he stood. "You don't need to. Come. I'll be waiting." 


Roy leaned against the wall near the entrance to the Majestic Theater. The long rays of the afternoon sun were in his eyes and he almost missed seeing Miriam, arm linked with her friend Elaine, coming along the sidewalk towards him. 

He stood, straightening his tie, wishing he'd opted for the open necked shirts he saw other young men wearing as they escorted their dates into the movie theater. 

"Hello Roy," Elaine said as the two reached him. She looked over at Miriam, an eyebrow arched. 

Miriam smiled. "You go in, Elaine. I know Jack is waiting for you." She gently pushed the other girl. "I'll be fine, don't worry."

Elaine nodded, looked critically at Roy, and flashed a grin at Miriam before sauntering into the theater. 

Roy stood a moment, looking at Miriam. Her black hair was swept off her brow above her dark eyes. The line of her nose led him to her lips, cherry red and slightly parted. Her summer dress hid nothing of her neck and he gazed at the pulse beat in her throat. It was fast. 

"Shall we?" they both said as one, and laughed. The ice was broken. 

The attendant took their tickets and they made their way into the cool dark of the theater. Roy had no idea what was playing on the screen. He was only aware of his hand, clasped gently in Miriam's, resting in her lap. Her head lay on his shoulder and the air was filled with the light fragrance of her skin. 

They blinked once they were again outside. It was evening, but not yet late. 

He was tongue-tied, but managed to ask her if she would like a malted. His heart leapt when she said she would. 

Sitting together, sharing one, he was more content than he ever remembered being. 

Miriam looked at him, smiling. "I don't know how you made this possible, Roy." 

He shook his head. "It doesn't matter," he said. "Is this how you would have wanted it?" 

For answer, Miriam placed her hand on his, leaned in and kissed him on the cheek. "It's perfect," she said. 

Later they walked, hand-in-hand, to the home she'd grown up in. They stood outside her gate a long while, talking some, smiling a lot, being with one another. 

"I guess I need to be going," Miriam said at last. 

Roy nodded, hesitated for an instant, and then swept her into his arms. The kiss held a lifetime of longing and, after, they continued to hold one another. 

Roy's face flushed with embarrassment as his body reacted. He moved to break the embrace but Miriam laughed and pressed herself against him.

"Roy," she said, "I birthed five babies. I know how these things work." 

Roy laughed gently. "I'm sorry, Miriam. I was always so timid." 

"Shh," she said. "You gave me this day. I will treasure it always." 

Roy nodded and released her. She stepped away, making her way to the door of her home. He watched a little longer and turned away and sat down on the hospital room chair once again. 

"Was it worth it?" a woman, bearing a distinct resemblance to Elaine, asked. 

Roy looked over at Miriam, who lay motionless in her bed, and nodded. "Yes," he said. "Yes, it was." 

"Good," said the Elaine-like woman, and took him by the arm. Roy flinched as her fingers burned his flesh, her claws piercing his skin. 

"Come with me," she said. "Payment is due." 

Roy stood and the two of them left the hospital room. 

Later, a nurse, responding to the heart monitor alarm, was surprised to find her patient's visitor slumped in his chair. 

She shook her head sadly. He had visited her every day. They'd seemed to know one another well. Maybe it was fitting they should both die on the same day.

(c) 2011 ~ Author Kevin J Mackey
Valentine's Debut ~ AT THE BIJOU

Photo Credits:  
The Majestic Theatre ala Kimburlee
Miriam at the hospital ala Alfinat0r

KEVIN J MACKEY, the ubitquious KjM we see flashin' finesse come Fridays in Fiction'towne? Yep, that's the one true only. This Irish fellow charms with a gentle suave to his soft sensibilities that sneaks up on you until your grinnn has overextended your face and the smile stays inside . . . why sometimes, for hours. He's lyrical, he's a researcher of the right word or sensation to evoke the right moment. Aye, he's blessed by the wee leprechauns even in the San Francisco Bay area for at times this transplanted Irish man's poetry or his Shakespeare grows right up through a deft brushstroke of a short story or a lilting prose, and you know, you just know you wish to linger your drinkin' it in, just a bit longer.
Absolutely*Kate:  So Kevin, what's the story with your stories @ KjM - on the web? Rumour has it you really REALLY like to write -- 

Kevin J Mackey:  I'm glad you asked that question Kate, though your blarney has a bit o'the Kathleen to its sheen too. I wanna write, gotta write - writing keeps me awake. That's as much as one can ask.
Absolutely*Kate:  Glad we are to stay up late with what you then offer Mr Mackey. You've been sighted trying out different red velvet seats at a proliferation of our AT THE BIJOU shows recently. Sure trust you're going to be a regular and we see you keeping us in a bit of awe regularly up on the stage.

And Kevin just smiled. 
Ah, but the twinkle in his eye. 
Twasbeautiful to behold.

 Keep munching your popcorn,
holding hands and smoochin'
and enjoying theRomance.
and . . . come a tomorrow near you,
AT THE BIJOU's stellar authors
have some heartwarmers 
to cuddle up with . . .

                during the ~


grandstanding with ~
featuring Robert J Randisi
in spotlights and interview

~ Absolutely*Kate
and our swanky staff of renown


Paul D Brazill said...

A splendidly touching chiller.

KjM said...

Madame Kate. Thank you for showcasing my story in such an extravagant, and elegant, manner.

Your comment about my reaction..."just smiled" puts me in mind of the Don McLean song "Everybody loves me Baby" and the line -

"And I'm twice removed from Oscar Wilde, but he didn't mind, why, he just...smiled"

So, I'll just smile, and be on my way.

Before I go, Paul - thank your for your comment. Glad you enjoyed the tale and happy that the nuances call made it through my prose.

Laura Eno said...

Oh, my... Kevin, you had such a beautifully sweet tale going (not your usual style, but it is Valentine's Day) then, smack! Punch in the gut. I feel better now, knowing you haven't gone soft. :)
His was the best of love, sacrificing himself like that to give her one sweet day. Awesome.

Author said...

What a terrific tale. Love, eh? Always a price to pay!

seana graham said...

An excellent matinee, with a nice twist at the end.

KjM said...

Thank you Laura, Julie and Seana for the comments on my story.

Glad you enjoyed it (and Laura, glad to not disappoint :)

Linda said...

Ah jeesh, Kevin, you got me all teary-eyed. gorgeous little story, a real love story. Peace...

Unknown said...

Yes... the gut still hurts... Glad to see Kevin here at The Bijou... Hopefully there will be more to come.

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