Jimmy Tanner – Part IIDec 24th, 2009 | By Stephan Ikeda | Category: Ah, Look at All the Lonely People, Series | 833 views
“Goddammit you’re beautiful.”
There’s a woman beneath Jimmy Tanner and he’s not sure if what he’s just said is true or not. He’s had too much to drink. He is staring in a stupor at the motel television and can’t tell if the people are fighting or celebrating. Jimmy’s pants are down at his ankles and his brown socks and shoes are still on. With every thrust he makes, he can feel the wedding ring in his sock scrape against his ankle. Jimmy can’t remember how it got there or how he got here. “It doesn’t matter,” Jimmy thinks. He’s here and he’s done. The woman beneath Jimmy releases her grip from the duvet, as she lies on her back.
“Do you really think I’m beautiful?” The woman asks, as she is now rolled onto her side. Jimmy is getting out of bed and pulling up his pants. He knocks over a glass of water that is sitting on the Bible. Jimmy is not a religious man. He was always asked to use a coaster at home. “Old habits never die,” Jimmy thinks. He picks up the glass and feels guilty.
“I’ve got to go.” Jimmy says.
“What do you mean you have to go?” the woman replies.
“I mean I have to go.”
“Well, where are you going?”
“Home.” Jimmy reaches into his pocket and throws a crumpled five-dollar bill at the bed. “Here’s for the room.” The woman begins to cry, as Jimmy opens the door and stumbles out of the room. He walks to his car and leaves the motel.
* * *
Jimmy is lying in bed looking at a picture taken from his wedding day. He smiles as he picks up the small frame with four golden doves in each corner and laughs at how ridiculous his moustache looks. He shakes his head at how breathtaking she looks. Her left leg is lifted in the air and their lips are locked. “Goodnight, my love.” Jimmy says, as he kisses the picture and turns off the light.
* * *
Jimmy is staring in through a window. He is in a backyard next to a birdbath, filled with decorative stones and bright green moss. The beige pleated shades are drawn only half the way down, so Jimmy is crouching. In the living room directly in front of him, there is a fireplace ablaze. In the room beyond, there is a large dining room table with burning candles on it. There is a bottle of wine and two glasses. A woman walks in from the other room and she has short, primped black hair. She has a black cocktail dress on that hangs just below her knees and a white apron around her waist. She has a stunning shade of burgundy lipstick on, and Jimmy can only imagine the mark it will leave on the forehead of the baby in her arms. She puts the baby in a highchair and turns around to a man. The man puts his hand out, and she grabs it as they embrace in the doorway. They kiss and her left leg lifts in the air. They are perfectly framed in the doorway for Jimmy to see. He turns around and lets his body fall to the ground. He puts his head in his hands and cries.
* * *
Jimmy is on the phone. There is a woman screaming into the receiver and a baby’s cry can be heard in the background. “Dammit Jimmy, just sign the papers!”
“But Livia…” Jimmy pauses, and puts his hand to his head. He begins to cry. “Livia, I love you. I love you so much it hurts.”
“Oh Christ, Jimmy. Why do you have to say that? We’ve been separated for three years. I’ve found someone else and I’m very happy. Happier than I’ve ever been.”
Jimmy begins to cry hysterically. “Oh, God. Don’t say that, Livvy!”
“Don’t call me that. Just sign the damn papers and move on. I’m hanging up now.”
* * *
Jimmy Tanner is at a bar and Ella Fitzgerald’s ‘Got a Pebble In My Shoe’ is on the jukebox. Jimmy is ordering his fifth whiskey soda. He got off of work several hours ago and is still in his suit. He is wearing a brown-checkered suit with matching brown slacks. His tie is bright blue and doesn’t seem to go very well with the rest of his clothes. Jimmy’s hair is soaked in sweat and is poorly combed to the left. He has sweaty hands. Jimmy is sitting hunched over at the bar with his right hand clenched to his glass. Jimmy has a wedding ring on his left ring finger, which is down at his side. “Got a pebble in my shoe, only one thing that I can doo-oo-oo-ooo, oh!” His eyes are closed and he can’t stand Ella’s scat. It makes him feel manic. He opens his eyes and notices a woman sit down four stools to the right of him. Jimmy drunkenly stares at her, as she orders a glass of wine. She glances his way and he smiles crookedly at her. She smiles back and takes a drink of red wine. “Now it’s going to my heel, maybe I got socks appeal!” Jimmy fixes his tie and gets up from the stool. He heads to the back of the bar to the restroom. He goes to the sink and splashes some water on his face and raises his face to the mirror. Jimmy looks at himself and gets lost in the reflection. He stares into the mirror until his face loses meaning and then takes off his ring. He puts it in his sock. He exits the bathroom and sits next to the woman. “Hello.” Jimmy says to the woman.
“What are you having?”
The woman blushes. “Merlot.”
Jimmy turns to the bartender. “One glass of Merlot and another whiskey coke.” The bartender nods and Jimmy turns to the woman. “Jimmy Tanner. Nice to meet you.”
She extends her hand, her face still as red as the wine. “Julia. Julia De Luca.”
“Got a pebble in my shoe, ouch! And you gotta keep dancing all the time!”
* * *
A young, unkempt man with a guitar is asking Jimmy Tanner for a cigarette. Jimmy is standing outside of a bar. The man thanks Jimmy and turns to leave. Jimmy stops the man. “You ever been married?”
The man laughs. “Me? Not a fucking chance, man.” He reaches for Jimmy’s cigarette and lights his own with it. “I had a dog once, though. That was as close to love as I’ve ever gotten.”
Jimmy pays no attention to the man. “It’s the greatest feeling in the world. My wife… She’s the best thing to ever happen to me. I don’t know what I’d do without her.” Jimmy pauses to take a drink. “Sure we’ve had our differences, but who hasn’t? She’s the love of my life and I’d do anything for her.”
“Sounds like a pretty special woman,” The man says as he picks up his guitar to leave. “I’d hold onto that one.”
“I will,” Jimmy says as he rubs his wedding ring. The young man is a ways down the sidewalk and Jimmy Tanner is now talking to nobody. “I will.”
* * *
Jimmy is crying. He is sitting at his kitchen table with a pen in his hand and there are tears all across the divorce papers that are in front of him. Jimmy Tanner is thinking about the day he proposed to Livia. They walked along the autumn path down by the pond. Some boys were skipping stones on the opposite side. The couple’s hands were clasped and he remembers the moment she laid her thick head of black hair on his shoulder. The August breeze blew some of her hair into his face and tickled his nose. He laughed and pulled her tight against him. He kissed her and stared into her eyes. He bent down on one knee and had said, “You’re the love of my life, Livia. Will you marry me?”
She jumped into his arms and cried, “Oh, Jimmy, of course I will. I love you so much!”
Jimmy lifts his head and wipes away his tears. He smiles as he rips up the papers and adjusts his wedding ring.
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