Shades of Hemingway / Medium Exposure Part 2, Departure

*Author’s note: This is part 2 of 13 parts, to better understand the content of the story it is suggested you scroll back to the Prelude.

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Of course, then I woke up.

I hadn’t been visited by Hem in nearly six weeks, almost time enough to forget the whole trip to Key West. I had minimized my blunder into infamy with the local police department. I chalked up the subsequent court appearance I was preparing to attend as a casualty of Middle Aged, Out of Practice Party Person Gone Wild. I had just about enough time to think that I had imagined meeting the trio of Hemingways and finally had my circadian rhythms under control.

That is… almost.

Now I laid in bed looking at my alarm clock, having awakened just minutes before it was scheduled to go off. Today I would be catching the Key West Express back down to the “scene of the crime” to make my day in court the following morning. I’d spend the day in Key West and then ferry back tomorrow night… only this time I’d be going alone. Keith and Laura were already settled back into their normal routines, my return was to be strictly business. I would throw myself at the mercy of the court, pay my debt to society (my legal representative suggested I would get a fine and probation) then bid ta ta to the sleepy little hamlet that had caused me so much discomfort.

My only concern was what would I do to wile away the hours prior to facing the judge and afterwards waiting for the Express. The only people I had any inkling of a relationship with outside our group were the ones in charge of our bed and breakfast. Unfortunately staying at Marrero’s wasn’t an option. They book months in advance and besides, I had gained a little notoriety. I will always be remembered as the guest that fled the ghost of Enriquetta in the middle of the night.

Instead I would be staying at a rooming house directly across from the Hemingway Estate, which I deemed a tad bit ironic. For $150 a night my 8X9 walk in closet (which shared a bath with 3 other “rooms” and didn’t even have a set of dresser drawers) would be my sanctuary. I would have ample time to meditate on the consequences of my actions on the other side of the street just a few weeks prior.

I had tossed and turned for hours wondering what had become of the Hemingway trinity (as I struggled with my continued belief that there was no such thing as ghosts.) Were they limited to the realm of old town Key West? Which of the three would hold dominance over the other two? And why were they frequenting my dreams as they had been? Keith suggested it was because I was limited to time and space in the world of the walking awake. He theorized that in dreams the spirits can meet or take us anywhere, that time bends and events can last hours, days or longer. He then surmised that during our dreams we aren’t limited to the laws of physics, our age can fluctuate and even our wishes can be granted if we learn to manipulate them right. (I told you Keith was a thinker) I wished he was going with me on this trip. Something that would re-occur in my thinking several times before it was through.

I hadn’t packed much, just a change of clothes and some toiletries, nothing long term. I couldn’t believe the contrast of emotions I was feeling for only my second sojourn to the Keys. While I was visiting I toyed with the idea of perhaps one day living there but this day I dreaded my arrival at the southernmost point of the United States. I had never been in trouble with the law, not so much as a parking ticket. My little fling with my friends now left me feeling like I had strayed beyond the realm of acceptable behavior. I had turned into the John Dillinger of the Conch Republic. I walked about carrying a sandwich board of emotions declaring that I had committed an unforgivable sin. I was public indemnity #1.

The fact that Annette and I had separated didn’t help. Ironically the trip that should have put us closer together had somehow been the beginning of the end for us, which I didn’t see coming. Now not only was I going back to face the music alone, I was emotionally drained and feeling a little bit lost. Such is the way with relationships, when one wants a change and the other is content with the way things are. I wasn’t blind sided but I was not farsighted either. I was tired and wanting the whole ordeal behind me. For the first time in years I wanted to leave Florida, tuck tail and move back to Iowa.

I found myself running an old Roy Orbison song over and over again in my mind, finding comfort in the fact that someone else had felt at least as bad as I was feeling in order to compose it.

Your baby doesn’t love you anymore…

But responsibilities must come first. I had a life outside of my love interests. I have a business and comittments I couldn’t duck out of no matter how appealing the idea was… of just chucking it all. This matter of returning to Key West was a compounded problem on two fronts. First, my brush with the law and the settling of accounts with those I “injured” and second, facing the conflicting reminders of my prior visit there with Annette when life wasn’t so complicated and cruel.

Golden days before they end

whisper secrets to the wind

your baby won’t be near you anymore…

I imagined I would meet someone else on this trip. We would be traveling on the same ferry boat, bound for some exotic place. Her requirements of me would be purely physical, no strings attached. All she would care about was hot, kinky, unbridled, anonymous sex.

Tender nights before they fly

send falling stardust seem to cry,

your baby doesn’t want you anymore…

It’s over…

I would no longer be carrying this torch. There would be no more questions or feelings of guilt, no blame game. It was time I took this opportunity and ran with it, never looking back. There were so many things I could do with my new found freedom and I was determined not to be caught up in the past. This was my chance for a new beginning and I would seize it with both hands. No more feeling lonely, no more feeling used, no more feeling that my life wasn’t worth a plug nickel. (what ever that was)

It breaks your heart in two

to know she’s been untrue,

but oh! What will you do?

When she says to you

there’s someone new,

we’re through ooo… We’re through.

So this would be the time. I had made up my mind. I would go to Key West, face the consequences of my little mistake and look it squarely in the eye. I would balance the scales of justice and come off victorious.

It’s over… It’s over…

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