By M.L. Goodwin
My name is not importation, but my story is. It’s one of joy, laughter, sorrow and heartbreak, but regardless it’s one that must be told and I must tell it, because I am Linda Price, and I am the only one left to do so.
The sun baths summer, leaves fall, cold brings snow, a new year passes, but all remains the same in Ethan’s world. A knock at the door, an expected guest; I yelled his name.
“Come in sis,” his replied, as he flipped through his bank statements, being the book worm he is. Ethan Price, age 28, just a hair less than six feet, a college MBA under his belt, young than me, and a hermit to boot.
But regardless of the words I heard off in the distance. “I should have locked it.” I open it anyways, and wasted no time in my quest; his salvation was on my mind.
“Hey Ethan, so what about tonight, are you coming out with us?” I inquired, sitting at his kitchen table, as I picked at his unorganized bills resting on it; trying not to be obvious.
Ethan glanced up at me, peering through the top edge of his glasses. I hate it when he does that. “I have so much paperwork to do,” he said. “I think — I’ll have to — pass this time.” He then looked back down, as if his life was no longer his, and fate mandates the pain he feels from his X, that bitch!
“Yet again another Friday night in Seattle, and you turn me down again, I can’t believe you,” I said, out of sheer frustration; clinching my fists and jumping to my feet. “Ethan! — the least you could do is look at me when I’m talking to you.”
“Yes, yes,” he said and sitting back in his chair, as he looked at me, it’s like he had no choice in the matter, and this time he’s right.
I just stood there for a moment crossing my arms. “You have been so anti-sociable this year I can’t believe it,” I then looked him dead in the eye. “Robin, the slut cheated on you — end of game — get over it — oh but not for Ethan Price, instead of picking your ass back up you sit around the house, and mope for who knows how long.”
That seemed to put a match under his butt. “I’m not moping, I have so much paperwork to do — I don’t have time to go out and gallivant around like you and, — and what’s that other man killers name?”
“Yeah that’s her; Sue, and don’t let me get started on her!”
“You’re truly the pits,” I said, as I started to leave. “Look ‘we’, meaning you and me are going out to The Wine Cellar tonight. I’m taking you there — unless you would rather stay home and rub another one out!?”
He removed his glasses with a smirk. “Nice language Linda, I’ll think about it,” he said, returning his glasses, as he looked back down at his laptop, it seems my demands were second nature to his sorrow. “Oh and by the way you still kiss people with that mouth?”
I could feel my face turning red; I raised my fists to him again. “You’re impossible! — look I’m coming by at nine, be ready because I’m dragging your ass out, clear!?” I yelled, opening the door and glancing back at him as I slammed it.
“Crystal clear,” he replied to a now empty room, something he’s come accustom to these days sense the slut left.
The clock ticks, the sun retreats over the horizon, an expected knock at the door; one he was hoping would never arrive. “Yes! Yes!”
The door was only a mere ten feet away, but still he hesitated getting to it. “It’s you again, don’t you have a party to go to or something?” he asked, holding the door firmly. “I don’t think I can make it tonight Linda.”
I’ve heard that same story countless times before, and I wasn’t watching his ship sink yet another night. “Get your ass ready!” I said sternly, forcing my way in, and grabbing his jacket. “I’m not taking no for an answer this time!”
“Black dress with purple lace; is gothic all you ever ware out?”
“Yeah, now let’s move it!”
“Okay — okay, I’m coming; you don’t have to be so pushy.”
“Yes I do, I’m not seeing you rot in this house anymore, you’re my brother, and I love you; so move it buddy.”
Down the stairways, in the car, down the street, and into the parking lot where Ethan sees the reverse reflection of a sign in a puddle, ‘The Wine Cellar’ glowing in big neon light with the ‘i’ burned out. Regardless me and my friends give it two thumbs up on the bar scale. “Now I don’t want you being a drag tonight; so get in there and mingle,” I said sharply. “Sue’s meeting us here, and you are to be kind to her; clear?”
He nodded his head; I guess Ethan didn’t want any more flak from me tonight. I followed him in making sure there was no escape, and pushing a bit made me feel in control. But then I’m his big little sister and ran most his life from as far back as I can remember. “Great Sue, another man killer to contend with,” he said, shaking his head.
After Ethan’s messy breakup with Robin the slut left him a mess; it seems that life lost its luster when it came to relationships for Ethan. As far as I was concerned she was a controlling bitch, and she only want Ethan for his money; that cheating slut.
Ethan was trapped like a rat in a maze; he had no options but to bend to my wishes. I knew his only escape was closing time, but he might get lucky and slip out unnoticed.
“Hey Ethan there’s Sue, come on,” I said, dragging him over to the table, waving to the waitress. “Hey Sue what’s up, anything happening here tonight?”
“Nope, same old same old — you know,” said Sue, looking around waving at our other friends.
As the night went on, one drink leaded to the next, but Ethan sat there motionless and silent. I tried a joke or two aimed at him, but still no reaction. All the while Ethan stared off in the distance, as if time was at a standstill. I know he still remembers the pain, and the loss he was meant to endure, but then we all have loss in one way or another. Was it fate that controlled Ethan’s every movement, every action he made, or was it just dumb luck washing down over him? I never figured that one out before the end came; wish I had.
When I looked into his eyes that night, I could see his only thought was getting home where the dam could bake lose, and allow a flood of tears to come pouring out. However that night was different, I seen a moment when Ethan’s pain broke free. At that moment this woman walked in. There were countless women in the bar that night; so why her? There was just something about her, she moved with the grace of an angel, wearing the outfit of a devil; a combination not to be denied even by me.
“Hey, Ethan look at that, isn’t she amazing?” I asked, looking over at her.
“She’s looking at you Ethan,” said Sue, smiling.
“Are you two for real?” asked Ethan.
“Ethan, you — should — go introduce yourself to her,” I said.
He quickly spoke up. “Are you nuts?”
“Ethan if you don’t go over there, I’ll do it for you,” I said.
He sat back shaking his head. “You wouldn’t dare,” now slouching down in his chair.
“Watch me,” I said adamantly standing.
“O.K. o.k., sit back down I’m going, I’m going. I don’t believe you two.” he said, then meandering over to her table.
Tough love it was, but what else could I do? Robin the slut’s memory has overwhelmed his scenes to the point where death was the only option in Ethan’s eyes.
Each step, each breath, each heartbeat, found their way to her table.
Now standing in front of her; she glances up at him. “Hi, you’re new in these parts’ missy?” he said awkwardly.
“Well that’s some pickup line you have there,” she said, smiling. “Have a seat, if you dare partner; Chloe L Winters;” extending her hand.
Ethan didn’t know what to think of her forwardness, but then these are changing times, and it seems Ethan found a new future to look forward to.
“Ethan Price, you must new here?”
“Yeah I am, just got in town last week,” she said.
“Nice, so what’s your contribution to this great city of Seattle?” he asked, looking deeply into her eyes.
She laughed. “Are you trying to put me in a trance?” she asked smiling. “I’m over seeing a rebuild of the old observatory,” she said, trying not to act attracted to him; but I could see she clearly was; us women know.
“Wow, so you’re some kind of engineer?” he asked.
I could see that he was becoming more interested in her by the minute also. “Well kind of, I’m really a bio-astronomer working with NASA.”
“You’re kidding?” he asked, seeing her shake her head no. “Wow you must be some kind of genius; brains and beauty all in one!”
Right then Ethan realized what he just said and blushed, but I knew he only stated the obvious.
She reached over and touches his hand. “Why thank you so much Ethan,” she said, making a big deal out of it just so she can see him blush more; all the while I could see the pain was gone from his eyes. He was smiling, and happy; Robin the slut was gone for good.
“Great a comedian at every table,” he said, as they started laughing aloud.
Ethan felt this close attraction to Chloe right from the beginning, and he could tell she felt the same way, talking, laughing, as the time passes in a blink of an eye; it was closing time before they knew it.
She glanced over at me and noticed I was checking them out. “Ethan who is that looking over here, your ex?” she asked curiously.
“No, that’s my sister,” he said, waving me over grudgingly.
I wasted no time walking over. “What’s my little brother up to; no good I hope?”
“Linda this is Chloe,” he said. “Chloe this is Linda my rude sister.”
“Come on Ethan she can’t be that bad?” said Chloe, in a gentle voice, as she held my hand; I knew right then and there she was the right one for him. “Nice gothic dress.”
“Wow, I’m impressed Ethan, she’s a keeper,” said I. “Hey Chloe if you get bored with him I’m not far away. Ethan I’ll call you when you need me.”
“My sister, always around to ruin the day,” he said, as I looked back I could see a smile on his face. I think he was happy I dragged him out.
“She’s not that bad, besides I just might take her up in her offer,” she said.
“What? Wait, did I miss something here?”
“No.” said Chloe.
“You like girls?” asked Ethan, seeming confused at the moment.
“I like both, I couldn’t image going through life only experiencing half of it.”
Ethan didn’t know what to think at that moment. “Well I’ve never been one to judge anybody.”
“Good, then we don’t have a problem here,” said Chloe. “So tell me about you, and your family?”
“Not much to tell, you know my sister now; my mom and dad live in New York. That’s about it. And you?” asked Ethan.
“Nothing to tell, I have no brothers, sisters, dad, or mom. I’m just an orphan with no past, only a future to look forward to.”
“Wow that’s too bad; really sorry to hear that.”
“Don’t be, it’s not that bad, I’m free to be me with no questions asked.”
Ethan told me all about her later that week. I felt bad for her also, but then happy because I knew she had a future with Ethan.
Hours turn to days, and then to months; cold brought snow once again, spring brought flowers, cookouts, and good times with friends. I stood back and watch their love grow each and every day. I couldn’t be prouder with both of them. It was only three months before Chloe moved in with him, as I recall. It seemed the more time he spent with her the closer they became. Chloe was constantly pushing Ethan to go on walks by the lake, he would tell me. He would always say. “You’re the reason for my happiness sis.”
Every day seemed to be all the same when it came to their love. I think it all started on one particular day, a day Ethan confided in me. It was some months later; he wanted my advice about what kind of engagement ring he should get her. I was thrilled to hear the news. “Have you told anyone else?” I asked.
“No, you’re the first, your my sister and you’re the reason for all this so….”
Later that night we went shopping, I was amazed that he knew her ring size; hell he knew everything about her. I suggested springing it on her at the lake; she talked about the lake so much. “Water is where it’s at!” she would say to me often.
“Perfect, the lake it is,” he said.
The next evening Ethan meant her at the lake. “Wow I can’t believe it’s been about two years now. It went by so fast, I can’t tell you how much fun I’ve had, and how you made my life worth living!” said Chloe happily, sitting down in the sand next to him to watch the sunset.
“I know what you mean, my sister keeps telling me I’m a different man, I think she’s proud of me,” he said. “And you!”
“I know she tells me the same thing, she really is a good friend,” she said, holding his hand.
“But it’s all thanks to you; you’re truly my guiding angel, and my devil at night,” he said, snickering.
“I think we complement each other, but I miss the ocean so much, when my job is done here I’m planning on going back to the beach where I belong,” she said. “And I want you to come with me Ethan.”
Ethan would do anything for Chloe as she would for him. “It would be hard, and I would have to sell my house… But yes!”
He then smiled, and gazed into her eyes, reached into his pocket and pulled out a beautiful ring. “Chloe L Winters would you do me the honor of being my wife from now until the end of time?” he said nervously, awaiting her response.
She turned away and started crying, her tears flowed like a river; she gazed back at him. “Yes! Yes! of course I will you silly boy,” she said excitedly, kissing him.
I’ll never forget when Ethan called me the next morning and told me. He was so exceeded; the high pitch tone gave it away. “She said ‘YES.’ I was so nervous I thought she would turn me down.”
I slowly fell in an arm chair, one I had placed just this morning from rearranging. I’m glad for I may have ended up on the floor; the news took my breath away. I was so happy for them I started to cry tears of joy. “No way, I knew she would take you in a heartbeat; congratulations bro, good going!”
“Thanks sis, I’ll catch up with you later; love yeah. Bye…!”
I clasped the phone in my hands and looked up at the celling. I only wanted to see pitch white so my mind could run free from the news I had just received, and then I smiled and hung the phone up; “YES!” I screamed I was so happy for them. They planned their wedding October 31st, “Halloween.” It was Chloe’s favorite holiday; she left her ghost n’ ghouls up all year, not everywhere, but just a touch here and there. Their plans include a haunted castle in the highlands of Ireland, with all their friends. A gothic wedding with all the fixins’ to make it complete. Afterwards a long honeymoon in the same castle, no dough the honeymoon room was in the keep. As the days faded way and Halloween approached it seemed that they became inseparable; until one day.
Ring… Ring… Ring… Click… “Hey I’m not at home — leave a message, and I’ll get right back to you. Later.” Beep…
“Ethan, It’s the 13th only two weeks left to be free, I love you so much.”
Ethan told me he was washing his flashy new sports, it just arrived that morning. “That’s sounds like my cell phone ringing — it is!” he said, running into the house. “Where is that damn thing — there it is?”
He fell onto the couch tripping over the coffee table. “Damn, missed another call, I really have to remember to keep the cell on me,” he said painfully, picking up the phone, and listening to the last message, just then I walked in.
“Hey bro, what’s up? Nice car, is it fast?”
He ignored me, but that was ok because he had this smile on his face. She called him every day on her lunch hour, but for some reason she called early on this unforgettable day; he called her back.
Ring… Ring… “Hello, astronomy department, Chloe L Winters speaking.”
“Hey beautiful what’s up,” he said.
“I’m glad you called, I’ll be about an hour late tonight,” she said.
“Anything wrong?” he asked.
“Nothing, I just have to finalize some wedding plans,” she said.
This funny look came a crossed his face. “Okay, I’ll see you later then, bye,” he said, hanging up the phone. “Strange, she sounds off?”
“Off? She’s fine,” I said.
“Yea, right it’s just me.”
Later that night me and Sue meant Ethan and Chloe at The Wine Cellar. We were man hunting, well that’s how Ethan put it, but still he was right.
“Hey you two, how are things going?” I asked. “Halloween is getting close.”
“Good, were making final plans on the wedding, in fact we just got our license this morning,” said Chloe contently.
“That calls for a round of drinks,” said Sue, as she grabbed my hand. “Come on Linda, bar now. I see this cut guy eyeing us up; I think it’s a tag team night.”
“Great!” I said.
“Get a room!” said Ethan.
“Hey it’s cool, there just have fun; life’s too short to ware blinders.”
Just after we left Chloe slowly sat down as if she felt faint; Ethan saw the look on her face. “Chloe are you alright?” he asked, getting no reply for a moment.
“I’m fine, I just felt a little off, is it alright if we head home now?” she asked kindly.
“Sure thing, I’ll just tell the others, give me a minute,” he said, heading off to the bar.
I saw Ethan coming over to us, the look on he’s face was one of great worry and concern. “Is everything ok?” I asked.
“Not sure, Chloe isn’t feeling well, I’m taking her home,” he said, giving me a kiss goodbye.
He quickly headed back to where Chloe was sitting. “Are you ready?” he asked kindly, holding her hand.
From this point on I can only tell what he told me the next day. On the way home she didn’t say anything to him, she just looked out the window. When they stopped she glanced over at Ethan, and grabbed his hand. “I wrote a letter some months ago, and I think it’s time I give it to you, before it’s too late,” she said sadly, as tears started rolling down her face.
He turned and looked at her. “Too late?” he asked nervously. “What’s going on?”
She was silent for the rest of the way home; when they arrived she clinched his hand and glanced back at him. “Ethan my love, you need to carry me in, I’m too weak to walk,” she said quietly.
“To weak?” he asked shocked. “Okay, now you’re really scaring me Chloe, what’s going on, I’m calling the ambulance,” he said, panicky dialing 911.
“It’s no good, it’s all in the letter, help me in my love.”
“Yes, I need an ambulance 6472 Sherman Drive now, and I mean now!” he yelled, looking over at her fading away. “Chloe, Chloe!”
He jumped out of the car running around to her side, opening the door and pulling her out and onto the grass, his senses were so heightened that he could hear every blade of grass brake beneath his feet, as he laid her down holding her head. “Hang on love,” he said, his heart was racing as if he just ran ten miles.
“I’m so — sorry — I let you — down, I love you so very — much, you are my Sun, moon, and my stars — I would do anything for you,” she said. “Kiss me — one last time Ethan.”
She then kissed him with her last breath, and then died in his arms.
“NO! NO! Chloe!” he yelled, at the top of his lungs. Ethan held her lifeless body and began to cry profusely. “No — I — Can’t — Live without — You!”
Ethan didn’t even hear the ambulance as it pulled up, or EMTs rushing out and throwing there bag out on the lawn. They moved Ethan away from Chloe’s body. He just stood back, and watched as they pulled out a tag on her necklace; one he’s never seen before.
“And you are,” asked the EMT.
“I’m — her — fiancé,” he said, with tears rolling down his face.
“I’m sorry to say there’s nothing we can do, she’s a DNR, most likely due to a serious medical condition, I’m truly sorry.”
Ethan ran over and held her lifeless body as he looked up at the EMT’s. “Please — Help Her! PLEASE!” he begged.
“Damn it, move over Jim, and give me the paddles!”
“You could lose your job to say the least.”
“I don’t give a shit; I didn’t see any tags did you? Now get over here and help me!”
They worked on her for the next 30 minutes, but all their attempts were futile. The lawn was a mess with empty sterile bag and open tubs of electrostatic gel. “I’m sorry we did all we could. We have to take her to the hospital; they will code her DOA there. I’m so very sorry for your loss!” said the EMT. “Is there anyone you would like us to call, any other family members?”
“None — none that I know — of,” he said, barely through his tears. His pain was more than he could take.
Ethan sat there on the lawn as they drove away with her lifeless body still not believing what had just happened. He didn’t move from that spot until I came by the next morning; that’s when he told me everything.
“What in the hell are you doing? Why didn’t you answer your phone? I called like a zillion times,” I asked furiously, looking down at him on the lawn. “Why are you sitting out here? And what’s all this mess, and Where’s Chloe?”
He gazed up at me. “She died,” he said, as more tears fell to the ground.
“Who died Ethan?” I said worried, then becoming terrified. “Ethan, Ethan! You’re freaking me out now.”
“Chloe died in my arms last night,” he said, still crying.
I fell to my knees and glanced over at Ethan as my eyes glassed over; I was petrified. “I’m so very sorry Ethan, what happened?” I asked, as I started to cry.
“I have no Idea — we got home — and she gave me this letter — then died in my arms,” he said, still lying on the very spot she died in.
“Ethan you have to come in before you…”
“Before I what, ‘die,’ good I can’t live without her anyways,” he said, burying his face in the ground; smelling her perfume for the very last time.
“Damn it you have to come in — now!” I yelled, pulling him in the house. “You said she gave you a letter. Give it to me, I don’t think it’s a good idea for you to read it now,” I said, sticking my hand out. I was in such shock I was barely able to function; heart racing, hand twitching, but I had to keep my wits about what I just learned.
“No, leave, I need to be alone, leave me alone!” he yelled.
I did my best to comfort him throughout the day, but it seemed to be a useless endeavor, he wouldn’t eat, drink, or talk to me; he just lay on the couch gazing up at her pictures.
Ring… Ring… “Yes?” I asked. “Okay, Okay, bye.” Click…
“Ethan, it was the hospital. They need me to come in. She has no family, but us; are you coming?” I asked.
“No, I want to remember her as she was; not cold and dead laying on a table of steel!”
I didn’t know what to say to him; my heart was braking and I can’t image how he felt. “I’ll be back soon,” I said sadly, grabbing my keys and heading out the door. I’ve never been so sad in my life. I was a wreck; it happened so fast. I guess we are all prone to a moment where we could just up and die. I fear this time there’s no saving Ethan from the pain.
After I left, Ethan pulled out the letter and found the nerve to read it.
To my love Ethan, you have given me all the joy in the world. I’m so sorry I did not tell you of my heart condition. The doctors informed that I had a maximum of two years. It would’ve given me great honor to spend them as your wife, but this was no guarantee. I could pass away at any moment, but for everyday I spend with you I would gladly give up a month of my life, you truly are my soul-mate, my dear Ethan.
You would only be reading this letter because I have passed away too soon, not having the chance to tell you of my condition. Please remember me, and go on with your life.
Best wishes my love.
He dropped the letter, and hung his head down as the tears rained down onto the floor. “I miss you so very much,” he said sadly, getting up and pressing his head against the window. He gazed out, as he felt this cold chill run down his back. “Oh how the cold wind blows; giving me the feeling of loneliness. I can only see a future filled with darkness. A life full of sadness, one that only time can release me from. How I pray for the heavens to grant me a quick end.”
He spent the next two weeks in his house never going out or talking to anyone. I tried for the entire time to bring him back to life; back from the pain of loss. At that time I didn’t understand how deep the pain was, but know I now that pain, loneliness and sadness were his only friends. The only time he left his house was at her funeral; Sue and I were there. I was so sick with sorrow, hands shaking; I barfed in the car when we arrived at the cemetery.
“Are you all right?” asked Sue.
“Yeah, I don’t know if I can say good bye to her.” I said, as the tears rolled off my cheeks. Sue hugged me, holding me tight; it was right then and there I wanted time to stop.
Out the door, a slow walk, now standing at the grave, I looked up seeing Ethan.
We were the only ones there besides the priestess; she gave a speech about the moon, stars and universe. Then Ethan gave a speech. “How sad for someone so kind and so genital to be so unknown… but I will never forget her,” he said, then turned and walked away.
That was the last I ever seen Ethan; my brother. What I found out afterwards was. He had drained his bank account, sold everything he owned, bought a boat. Then on their planned wedding day he sailed off into the sunset, not telling anyone where he was headed.
On the 31st I received an unexpected knock at my door, as I approached the door I had this feeling of loss; it came over me like a wave. “Hello, I’m from Speedy Fast Couriers, I have a letter for Linda Price, are you her?” he asked.
“Yes,” I said as he handed me the envelope. “Now who could have sent me a letter,” I quickly ripped it open, as the courier left.
To Linda, in keeping with the past events that coincided with the demise of my soul-mate, I wrote this on behalf of Chloe L Winters; in the hopes you will understand my future.
Linda as the cold chilling winter months approach, I see the falling leaves gracefully fluttering through the air, as they descended to the ground; to their final resting place. Only to have the wind blow them in a new direction that destiny has chosen. Who would have ever thought that my life would have not been much more than the falling leaves on that fall’s day? The turbulence that life brought me after her death, was just like the falling leaves when they encounter the ground quickly rushing up to meet them.
This is how she impacted my life. Not unlike the leaf, I felt free of the downward pull by a gust of wind called Chloe. My loved one, you have shown me all there is, and all there will ever be. I can only hope to believe that my leaf will land on hers, — my love Chloe.
Linda I want to thank you for all your love and understanding throughout my life. You have always been there for me; I could not ask for a better sister or friend in my life!
All my love sis and farewell.
I dropped the letter and watched it fall to the ground; it seemed like forever before it hit the floor. “No, No, Ethan!” I screamed, crying aloud.
No one ever saw Ethan again, he was presumed to be lost at sea. At his wake held on Halloween a year later I said these final words to my brother.
“My brother Ethan Price came to believe that life was just circular in nature, but on that fateful day he met an angel that the gods sent him called Chloe. She gave him all the love and support anyone could ever need. He used to tell me that she truly made life worth living; the joy of waking up beside her every morning meant so much to Ethan. I can only hope that they are together once more, goodbye my brother.”
The months that followed were one of joy, and sadness for me. Two years later I was blessed with a good husband and then two beautiful twins. I felt it only fitting to name the boy Ethan and the girl Chloe. Even years after that, I would never forget about the two people that I loved the most in life.
On every Halloween I made it a point to light two candles and say some words for them, and the true love they had for each other; saying. “I asked the heavens to watch over Ethan and Chloe, no matter where they maybe. My love to both of you, and may these candles guide you home, and to each other!” Tears would always roll down my face with these words, as I lit the candles. This ritual went on until the day I died, and on my death bed, and with my last breath; these words I spoke. “Ethan & Chloe I hope I see you both again."