Name Of Love

Entry by: Jim bob

12th February 2016
Name Of Love

Ralph didn't think she loved him, really. Not in the true sense of the word anyway. He also knew he should come clean. But, when she called him from New York to tell him she would be over next week, he started to believe it might be possible that she did.
‘ I’ll be on the Heathrow flight’, she’d said, her Manhattan twang shrill, intense through the hand set, thought Ralph.
‘So’ he’d replied. ‘You’re really coming then’. He’d just finished brushing his teeth when the phone had rang, and not quite got as far as the Listerine. A few specks of white froth had flown from his mouth as he'd spoke.
‘Of course I’m really coming, Ralph. What is that supposed to mean? Eh?
‘It's just that you said a lot of things in the past, and they never came off,’ said Ralph, feeling brave for being firm. Silence ensued. Ralph engaged the Listerine bottle, swigging from it, gargled, and spat in to the kitchen sink. Still, a silence.
‘You still their’ he asked, feeling like he had some semblance of an upper hand here, a modicum of an advantage, a stream of steadiness. Ralph also knew that he’d loved her dearly for almost five years now. Everything from the green eyes to the flowing locks, to the high cheekbones, to her steady addictive giggles. The whole caboodle.
‘You don't think I love you’, she said breaking the silence. ‘Do you, Ralph? You don't believe we have anything now, Is that so?’
It was Ralph’s turn to feel deflated, he thought. Jimmy Grimshaw, Ralph's best friend and fellow musician, had told him to be careful ‘ with this one’ he’d quoted. Something Ralph hadn't forgotten, despite this announcement almost three years ago. Ralph knew it was the danger element of their relationship that grabbed him, the excitement, the torrid aggressive love making, the meaningful, rich discussions always lasting in to the early hours. Ralph loved her too much, yet still wondered if this was reciprocal now.
‘I don't know,’ said Ralph.’ One minute you say you’re coming, the next you’re not. What am I supposed to think, Kalyn. Just what am I supposed to think?’
‘You know how much work I have to complete with the departments, and the heads of congress. You know that I can't just fucking drop everything like that. You choose to live in England and you know that I can't live over their with you right now.’
Another silence. Long. Kalyn was upset, thought Ralph. Moira Stewart was reading the ten o clock news he noticed, flickers of light from the television dancing around his dimly lit living room.

Jimmy Grimshaw had been married three times after finally throwing in the towel to it.
‘I’m done with that Ralph’ he’d told him, also three years before. Perhaps it's me, perhaps not, but I can't get to grips with them. I simply can't.’ This was something else Ralph had clearly remembered, and he’d considered his opinion, not for the first time, may well apply to him too.
The only problem was that he loved her, madly. He ought to consider her political commitments, he ought to remember her torrid past. Perhaps it was selfish of him not to. But, in the name of love, what was he to do. Jimmy couldn’t help him here. Ralph was on his own with this one.
‘Please come over then, Kalyn. We can talk for a week and try to sort this out’ he said in his quiet way, a tone he always managed to maintain. Ralph absently picked some nuts from the bowl on the table and popped them in his mouth. They tasted strange, he thought. A combination of Listerine, and cashew nuts, he decided, was nothing short of revolting. He quickly cushioned the headset against his ear and shoulder and poured a large MacAllan to douse the taste in his mouth. It worked.
‘I can't leave my Mum, Kalyn. You know she is dying up there in the home. When the time comes, I’ll be over, but now isn't it. Just come here, and we can talk for a week.’ Ralph took another generous sip from his drink and swept back his long hair. He thought that wearing it this length made him look younger, at least that's what Jimmy Grimshaw had said. Ralph didn’t think it did. Ralph thought, especially on days like these ones, he looked every day of his 55 years. The drugs and wildness from years back had taken its toll. The life of a successful musician had its pit falls, however, Ralph knew that it had been worth every minute. He enjoyed the life of writing songs now, and an occasional appearance filling in as a session musician. He earned enough, and besides, royalties still accumulated from the early days especially though out the Summer. The Macllan engaged his head, something he wasn't that familiar with these days. Booze, thankfully was something he could still take or leave. Many of his friends weren’t so lucky. But some, quite a number in fact enjoyed their lives without it.
‘Ten am Heathrow, the usual flight. Saturday’ she said. And Let's stay in London for the night, like we did a couple of years ago.
‘ I’ll book the Mayfair, like I did a couple of years ago,’ returned Ralph, feeling somewhat resigned to his thoughts, instead a decision of acceptance, something that he’d done many times before. Ralph could hear her laugh at the other end, a quiet laugh, audible enough to satisfy him. It was the kind of laughter that said all was okay with her, that pronounced, for the time being, things were acceptable.
I’ll bring the rabbit’ she said.
‘What’ said Ralph, surprised. ‘Rabbit?’
And she laughed again. Loud this time.
‘You know, the scented rabbit you gave me all those years ago. You’d sprayed your cologne over it.’
‘Oh yeah. My God, I remember that’
‘I never forgot that, Ralph. The day it arrived in the post. The whole mail box reeked of Ralph Lauren.’
Ralph thought of Jimmy Grimshaw again, and a time his comments had been thought provoking. He’d told him he had to surrender sometimes, if things were to be wonderful. He’d have to love her enough to want her every day of his life. Sacrifices came with a price, he’d said. But, those sacrifices had to be worth making for every second of their lives together. Highs and lows, he’d said many times. Jimmy was, indeed a friend. Although it’d been two years since he’d died - a victim of excesses, Jimmy’s advices spoke to him regularly, as if he was some kind of guardian angel.

As he listened to her giggles through the receiver, Ralph paid close attention to his dog, Lulu, an old white German Shepard, lying by the long radiator. The dog didn't move about much anymore, and Ralph knew the old girls days were numbered. It's colour, mostly greyish white now with balding patches here and there, were well earned age signs, that embraced her, epitomizing her enriched life, not a decayed one. To Ralph they were symbols of grace, of battles won, of love earned, and power respected. Lulu suddenly yawned, looked up at Ralph, emitted a shallow bark, then rested her head back on her feet, and closed her eyes.
‘I do love you Ralph’, said Kalyn, finally serious again. ‘How could I not’
‘I know you do’ he replied, turning away from Lulu, and knowing, within himself that he wasn’t sure. This thought, he considered was merely a testament to how he felt. Jimmy had told him many times that you got to love yourself, on all occasions. If you don't then you’re doomed. Yep, another thing Jimmy was right about. Ralph hadn’t always liked himself. And there was good reason to. He knew that. Of course Kalyn loved him, he supposed, but did he love himself? That was a question with multiple answers. Multiple choice if you will. Perhaps it was time to come clean he thought.
‘Do you really’ she asked.
‘Do I really what’, he asked, her question distracting his thoughts.
‘Know that I love you’ she said. He could hear her puffing on a cigarette, exhaling the smoke in long fast motions. He admired the way she smoked, powerful, aggressive, the way her nature sometimes was.
‘Of course I do’ he said, and finished off the whisky. He’d tried putting it behind him, believing it was something that shouldn’t affect him because it happened years ago. Before they’d even met. Another part of his life. But, it did. And this was, in some way, whether he liked it or not, fucking with his head. He looked at the town lights from the window. So much light, he thought. So many more buildings had been erected in the last three years. So much more to look at. Ralph didn't think it was a good thing. Everything moved so fast now, rushed, frenetic, ugly.
‘That's good then. Well, I’ll see you Saturday. Don't forget to book the restaurant too. It's going to be busy.
‘Yeah course I won't, love. Right must be off to bed. Rehearsals in the morning’
‘Sweet dreams and I love you’. Then she was gone.

A week later they were sitting in one of the restaurants at the Mayfair Hotel. Kalyn was armed with Harrods bags by her side. They sipped on Crystal, and toasted their six month gap. They ordered food, conversed with the Maitre D. They had a special dessert, on the house; Strawberries flambe with peach ice cream. They toasted again, and smiled engagingly as the restaurant slowly emptied of patrons. Later, they made passionate love, mostly throughout the night, in between more champagne and cigarettes. They even serenaded as the sun emerged gently over the London skyline.
I have got something to tell you’ said Ralph, later that morning. They were breakfasting on the terrace.
‘Have you now,’ she answered folding her arms, a small smile, possibly sarcastic emerged on her lips.
‘It happened a long time ago, and I hadn't considered it important’
‘Why not?’
‘I don't know, perhaps it is important after all, otherwise I wouldn’t want to be telling you’ Ralph found himself saying.
‘You took the words out of my mouth, Ralph’ Ralph paused
‘You may not like it’ he concluded.
‘I may not but tell me anyway’.
He drained the rest of the espresso, hoping it would alleviate his champagne head, evading his hope that Kalyn wasn't going to leave him.
‘Come on then’ she said, a smile still evident, her eyes digging in to him
‘I killed a man in cold blood, Kalyn’ he said.
Silence. Kalyn replaced her cup in the saucer, and dropped her head.
‘You what’, she said, her head remaining down.
‘You heard me, love. You heard me’
‘I just can't believe this’ she said. A waitress came over and cleared their plates, and quickly made herself scarce again noticing the tension between the couple.
‘I,m so sorry’ he said.
‘I just can't believe this,’ she repeated, and raised her head. She broke out in to a smile
‘What? Asked Ralph, amazed at her cheer. Then she began to laugh.
‘Are you alright’ said Ralph, her reaction concerning him enough to think that this may be too much for her altogether.
‘Yes I am’ she replied sweeping back her hair from her eyes.
‘You know what, Ralph’ she asked
‘What's that’ he asked, impatience engulfing him
‘So did I,’ she said. ‘So did I’ she repeated.