Monday, November 09, 2015

First Impressionisms

First Impressionisms

They were there. The two of them. Both dressed in a glistening white. So bright, it almost hurt your eyes to look at them.

The man wore a straw hat. That much I remember quite clearly. It was titled at a most peculiar angle, and I remember thinking that somehow that tilt was contrary to the laws of physics. The hat should have fallen off his head.

Perhaps it was at that point that I knew something was wrong.

They were sitting under a tree. I think it was an apple tree, but that is only a guess. No, it's more a fabrication on my part. I think that somehow, secretly, I wanted the tree to be an apple tree. I do sometimes tend to fly to images beyond my knowledge. I suspect it was simply an oak or an ash tree or perhaps a willow. Those are much more common along riverbanks.

Yes, they were near a river. Not a large river, something just a little bigger than a brook or a creek. I'm trying to fill in as many details as possible, but the sun was so bright, you see, so bright that the whole landscape was a little hazy. Imagine a painting by Monet, a world seen through some kind of gauzy veil, in a way that nothing is really very distinct. That was how this moment appeared to me.

I learned later that he was in the war. He had been wounded in the leg, you see, and she was his attending nurse in what we would now call the medevac. At some point during his recuperation, they fell in love. I don't think that part of this story is too unusual. What was different, perhaps, is that she was married to some industrialist back in New York City, a powerful tycoon with many connections across the world.

To be honest, I was mostly indifferent to their meeting by this river. Oh, I did find the picnic basket and the bleached china plates spilled over a gingham tablecloth somewhat stereotypical. I try not to judge, of course. It seemed eerily familiar, like I had read about it in a dime-store novel or seen a similar scene in a Saturday movie matinée at the Bijou. It's difficult to know what I remember and what I am making up.

They spoke to one another in hushed voices. I could only make out a word or two from where I was sitting, but those were seemingly insignificant. I know that, at one point, she repeatedly blurted out, "No, no, no ..." and then began sobbing. He maintained a look of stoic resignation through it all, even though he had an uneasy air about him. They were definitely at odds with one another. That much was certain.

I had turned away for a moment to look back along the road. Esposito was supposed to bring up the car, and he was late. Not that I was worried at all. He had never failed me, well, never in the past, so I had no reason to suspect he would fail me now. I can't say that I was getting uneasy, but you know, circumstances need to be exact in such matters. Eventually, the black Mercedes would wind its way down the road, and all would be as it should be. It was just a matter of time.

As it turned out, time was the problem. When I turned back to see that the china plates and the gingham tablecloth had disappeared back into the picnic basket, I may have panicked. Well, yes, of course I panicked. I crossed the stretch of lawn in no time at all. I shot the woman first. One shot, clean, through and through. The man I had to shoot twice, once in the back, and then another into the base of his skull. I noticed that when he fell, his straw hat did fall off at last.

Quite honestly, that is all I remember.



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