“Here comes a wave meant to wash me away
A tide that is taking me under
Broken again, left with nothing to say
My voice drowned out in the thunder
But I can’t cry, and I can’t start to crumble
Whenever they try to shut me or cut me down
I can’t stay silent
Though they want to keep me quiet
And I tremble when they try it
All I know is I won’t go speechless”
Speechless from Aladdin
Songwriters: Alan Menken / Benj Pasek / Justin Paul
He moved through her apartment, sliding the Jaguar keys into his coat pocket. He recoiled from the sweetness of the decor as he wandered through her frilly domain.
He picked up a Murano globe and tossed it from hand to hand.
“Thank God, the sun is finally out. It’s been damn depressing the last ten days. How are you doing?”
She smiled and nodded, but winced as her eyes followed the globe.
Damn it. She loved that globe!
With a downturn of her smile, she inwardly cursed the childhood scarlet fever that had permanently damaged her vocal cords prohibiting her from giving him a few choice words.
“Good, glad to hear it.” Catching sight of her expression he replaced the precious object.
“Well, I guess not “hear” it exactly,” he muttered, “but I am glad you are well.”
She didn’t respond to his banter.
“I would have come sooner but you know how it is with one thing and another. It’s hard to find the time to connect.”
In the dining room that was her workspace, he began rifling through the pages that lay on the table. Looking up he said “I see you have been working on the Shakespeare proposal. That’s a very heavy project. Doing a study on the meaning of weather in the entire works of Shakespeare. What an ambitious undertaking. Are you making much headway?”
Her hands waffled side to side as if acknowledging the enormity of the task but also the inevitably of it. She gave in to the welcome beckoning from her overstuffed chair and gave him a steady gaze that was neither inviting nor warm. She tapped her dainty foot on the wooden floor as she sat and waited.
He rushed to fill the silence now grown strangely uncomfortable.
“Entire books have been written on the effect of the weather on our moods.” Glancing over his shoulder at her he said, “Well, of course you already knew that.”
He made eye contact as he faced her. She smiled as their eyes met, but let it fade as he continued his proprietary progress through her home.
Stopping suddenly, again, his gaze found hers. “Have you had a chance to read the work I sent you to edit?”
Gesturing to all the work on the table in front of her, she cocked her head to one side in question.
“I understand” he said, “I know you have other work, but I am under a bit of a deadline myself.”
She pinned him with a glance as she raised an elegant eyebrow and observed him.
“Well, yes, I know you feel I let it go to the very last minute, but as I explained, it was a once in a lifetime opportunity to go to the coast with people who matter and can help my career.” His wheedling irritated her like nails on a chalk board.
“Surely, you can cast aside Shakespeare for awhile can’t you? Just long enough to finish my work.”
Moving behind her chair he leaned down and letting the not so veiled threat coat his words whispered “This is such a little cozy place you have here. I love how you have decorated it. It would be a shame if you must take time off from the project to handle the hassle of a move. Finding a place, packing up, hiring movers, and then there is the cost.” His breath caressed her ear like an unwelcome kiss. “Under the circumstances I think Shakespeare can wait, don’t you?”
His words invaded the room chilling the air and she froze. Panic seized her as she considered the challenges involved in a move for a person who had lost the gift of speech. She had heard this before but there was something different about the threat this time. This time he meant it. This could not continue; something must be done. She fought for control lest he see the tremble that moved through her body.
Noting the slumped shoulders, he moved to claim her acquiescence. Stepping in front of the chair he faced her and saw a new resolve in her gray eyes.
“That’s my girl. I knew you wouldn’t let me down. Well, I guess I should be heading off. I’ll stop by tomorrow and pick up the first draft. I’m sure that will be okay.”
She smiled and stood; her hand outstretched in a ‘wait a minute gesture.’
“What?” he asked a little impatiently, wanting to be on his way now that he knew she would once more fall in line. She handed him a bottle.
Looking at the label he smiled. “My favorite! This Amaretto is incredible. I can’t believe you made it yourself. You must give me the recipe one day. I love the almond flavor. Thanks darling. Sorry if I may have seemed a bit — well impatient. See you tomorrow.”
Tossing the soothing words behind like flower petals in an attempt to mend whatever rift had strained their relationship, he pulled the car keys from his pocket.
She listened to the roar of his engine fade away before tossing his draft in the garbage.
Enjoy your Amaretto. You won’t be coming back tomorrow, or the next day.
She would dispose of the remaining liqueur later. She woke her computer from its sleep and returned to her work.
“Now is the winter of our discontent made glorious summer by this sun of York.” She stopped reading, moved to her windows and opened the drapes. With a satisfied smile, she stretched and let the sun wash over her.