Chapter V - Daniel Leaves and Gemini BoutiqueA Chapter by Suze
A description of Sam's store and of how her relationship ended.
The only thing that feels good anymore, besides a cold beer, is opening my shop in the morning. My shop, Gemini Boutique. "Gemini" because both Ritchie and Cass were born under the sign of the twins; "Boutique" because it sounds better than "head shop". If you want a bong in the town of Manchester, you come to me. Not that I only sell smoking stuff; I have jewelry, clothes, trinkets and all the tye-dyed hippie s**t you could ask for. I even make some of the jewelry myself. But the "smoking accessories" are my big money maker, and the piercing really amped business up when I added that a few years ago. I had promised Kayleigh she would get her first non-ear piercing for free at my shop the day she turned sixteen.
I even have two employees, Ray-Jay and Billy. Billy pierces people's faces and belly buttons four days a week in my little back room and Ray-Jay runs the cash register, checks id's, watches for shop-lifters and keeps the music bumping. Ray-Jay has been with me since the day I opened, we've known each other since his big sister, Raina, brought me home from school on the first day of kindergarten so we could prick our fingers with sewing needles and become blood sisters. Raina and Ray-Jay are family. Billy is just a piercing fanatic who tries to get in my pants every other day. We make a pretty good team, though. The shop pays my rent, keeps me in pot and leather jackets. Beats waiting tables at Denny's any day.
It was my boyfriend, Daniel, who encouraged me to open shop; he even fronted me half the money for start-up costs. He was sick of me coming home with an aching back and smelling like grease, feeling like a failure. At the time I made jewelry on the side, selling mostly to friends and family and occasionally to an out of town shop or two. He was the one who said I could do it, who signed me up for an accounting class at Manchester Community College and forced me to go every Tuesday and Thursday for a whole semester. I bitched and moaned every step of the way, but it was worth it. I do my own books, and even went back to MCC the next fall for business. If only I could have hung onto Daniel the way I've hung onto Gemini.
Daniel left about six or seven months after Kayleigh died. Paid the rent and utilities up for two months ahead, packed his stuff and split. I suppose it was just too hard to sit there and watch me fall apart by himself. Cassie had always been Daniel's partner in sanity against my day to day drama, and once Kayleigh died she was no longer available for duty. To this day, though, I don't know what the straw that broke the camel's back really was.
It was a Tuesday, just a regular day. I closed up shop around 9 o'clock after having a few beers in the backroom with Billy and Ray. Ok, well. To be real about it, it was more than a few beers. As in, five. Maybe a couple lines, at least one joint. It had become the close up routine, actually. Lock the door at 6:30, crack a beer at 6:31. Billy would come down from the peircing room with whatever he had, maybe Ray-Jay would go for a packie run. I would do the register, paperwork or whatever while the guys straightened up the shop and ran the vacuum. Then we would just chill for a while. It didn't seem to be a big deal at the time.
When I got home that night the house was quiet, and call it intuition or whatever but I knew something was wrong. Daniel always had something going, the t.v. sometimes but usually music. The silence was seemed almost alien to me.
"El?" My voice calling out in that void gave me the creeps.
"In here." Daniel was in the kitchen, seated at table, drinking one of my beers. Another small strangeness; El wasn't a big drinker, he might have one or two on a weekend night but never more that that and almost never during the week.
"Hi, babe." I stood in the doorway, still wearing my jacket and holding my purse. I remember actually holding my breath, waiting for bad news. I thought of Cassie first, then my brother and my father. Daniel just sat and took a couple of sips from his bottle of beer, not meeting my eyes. What was going on?
When he looked up at me, I no longer wanted to know. His mouth was set and grim, and there may have been the shine of wetness in his eyes. I felt a stab of dread between my breasts, then, and I fought not to understand what I already knew.
"What's going on?" My voice was low, but steady.
Daniel shook his head a little, looking away. Then he spoke. Whatever he said exactly I no longer remember but the sum of it was that he was leaving. When I look back to that night I do wonder if I could have saved it. If I had just listened, maybe? Or talked, I guess. All his words, though, they started this white noise in my head and all I knew was that he was walking out. I don't actually remember picking up the beer bottle, but I do remember the instant relief the sound of it hitting the stove gave me. Daniel got to his feet, picked up his keys and the last thing I saw of him was his back.
By the time Cassie, who at that time was still Cassie, came to help me clean up the kitchen that I had all but destroyed, Daniel was all the way gone. Clothes packed and carried away, bike picked up. He had even left me $300 in cash with a nice long letter, but I had put the envelope away without reading it. Copped the cash, though, and bought lots of rounds the next night at the bar. Call me chicken, but I've never read the letter. I just don't want to see in writing that I already know, that I was left. Again.
© 2012 Suze
The Split - A Story About Sisters
About~Hi, my name is Suze - thanks for stopping by!~ I am a fiction writer mostly but have found that I have a taste for essays lately as well. I'm here to seek the opinions of other writers on my work, .. more..