Feel Like You Tonight

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Pull up the blinds
Open the door wide
Feel the cold arrive
In my bones
Put on my face
The way I dressed today
Feel like you tonight
On my day

A Tales of Us story..

A Companion Piece to Wish You Could

The home of Lisa Aldretti…

Megan laid her purse on the hall table. Hanging up her coat in the closet, she waved to Lisa by the pass through from the kitchen.

“Nice outfit. One of Patti’s favorites," Lisa quipped. Megan hadn’t meant to provoke; she wore the green cardigan and brown suede skirt because of the cold. Melanie looked up from her novel just long enough to send a stare designed to chill towards her sister ‘in-law.’ Megan sat down on the wooden rocker near the fireplace, turned toward the flames more to avoid Melanie than to seek the warmth. It was still a bit practical since Melanie couldn’t be colder toward her if she tried. Lisa called from the kitchen.

“Hot cocoa coming through!” She put the tray on the hearth; deliberately forcing her sister and her former brother-in-law to interact. Melanie and Megan reached for the same mug; bringing them face to face. Friends since grade school, none of the three women would ever have anticipated the events that threatened to pull them apart... or bring them together for that matter.

“You….” Melanie snapped before snatching the mug off the tray. She went to return to her seat on the sofa only to find her sister sprawled playfully across the full length. She pointed to the other rocking chair catty-corner to Megan. Melanie reluctantly sat down; placing her cocoa on the hearth before folding her arms in a combination entertain me/self-comforting hug.

“I…” Megan stammered. Even now, more than ten months after her surgery, she still felt guilty; a feeling urged along by her sister-in-law.

“Would you two stop it? Just stop it! What would Patti say?” At Lisa’s mention of Patti, both Megan and Melanie gasped… which was exactly Lisa’s intention.

“She told you she understood, Meg…. In fact, what was it she said?” Lisa poked in what almost seemed a cruel taunt but for the tears that fell from her face. Nevertheless, she began to grin; an I- know-a- secret grin guaranteed to set both Megan and Melanie aback.

“And what about you, sister mine?”

“Wha….what?” Melanie snapped again

“When Patti…. You know… she grabbed me just before….”

“No, Leecy….please,” Melanie begged; her expression changing from anger to sad fear. She put her hand to her face in shame; as if being human and hurt was somehow selfish.” Megan winced as well; already knowing too much of her own ‘half’ of the narrative but without any idea what would have upset her sister-in-law so much.

“Please? Lisa?” She too begged but almost more on Melanie’s behalf than her own.

“You remember what Patti said, Meg?” Lisa got up and grabbed a chair from the kitchen. She walked over and placed the chair between them; sitting down as she touched their shoulders.

“She wanted you to be happy. What was it she said when you came out?” Megan put her head down; still needlessly ashamed. Melanie’s eyes widened a bit in recollection….”

Six years previous...Mick and Patti’s home….

The last of the guests had departed save for the Aldretti sisters; sitting at the large picnic table with a very nervous looking brother-in-law. Patti was in the kitchen putting on the obligatory coffee pot when Lisa waved to Mick almost frantically. The night was still very young but Lisa feared time would get away from him after what he had shared with his second best friend only days before.

“I….” he stammered. Never ever considering himself brave, he had the deepest regard from Lisa and Melanie and Patti of course. Two tours in Afghanistan without once firing a shot along with a Doctors Without Borders trip every summer to Haiti; his hands helped to heal little kids and mommies hurt by a conflicts and disasters they never invited.

“Patti, sweetie? Can you come out here?”

“On my way,” she called. A moment later she arrived with a tray with four mugs of coffee; all four oddly preferring coffee just hot and undiluted. She sat down and pulled her kerchief off to wipe her brow; leaving her new-growth hair exposed. Melanie rubbed her head playfully.

“Lookin’ good, sis.”

“Only my hairdresser knows for sure.” Patti laughed until she noticed Mick’s frown just before he turned his head. With her white cell count at a finally decent level things did feel promising, What could it be?

“Mikey has something you two need to talk about,” Melanie stood up but Mick reached out to her and Lisa as he began to sob. Patti leaned close and gathered him into what would prove to be the last hug between husband and wife.

“I….I think I know, honey.” She grabbed his face with both hands and bestowed a kiss of blessing; her tears mingling with his. Neither knew at that moment how prophetically sad and beautiful their embrace would prove to be as she spoke.

“You are my life. Every bit of you has given me joy, but I wish I had known sooner.” Mick’s face turned quickly again to a mask of shame; colored more darkly by grief.

“No, no…” Patti pled. “I’m not disappointed. Only sad that I never knew until recently…. That…..” She forgot the kerchief clutched in her left hand; wiping her face with her sweater sleeve. Mick’s expression still mirrored the needless shame he still felt now mixed equally with apprehension and confusion.

“You were so hurt that you hid who you were… all these years because you were afraid your father would hate you….” Patti stifled a sob but continued.

“He acted all your life like he hated you so … so this is what we’re stuck with….Oh fuck…” Patti threw her half-empty mug of coffee against the brick oven to her right. Mick tried to get up but she pulled him into another hug; this time with a gentle pat on his cheek.

“At least tell me your name before I throw another mug. “ All three pairs of eyes looked at her. Mick shook his head; more out of defeat than denial,

“Okay…. Then I get to choose. You look like …. Kathleen? Nope, Bridey?” Patti shook her head as her nearly always present indomitable smile returned.

“Lady and gentlewomen? May I present for the very first time Mrs. Patricia Aldretti and her beautiful bride Megan O’Connell.” All four women smiled; albeit nervously. Lisa was relieved that the secret was finally out, even if it really wasn’t a secret at all. Megan was no longer Mick. And Megan knew she was loved. Patti fell in love all over again with the best friend she ever had. And Melanie fell in love again with the only one there who never knew she loved him….

The present…Cocoa with a wee bit of Jameson’s….

“So when she grabbed my arm….” Lisa continued; pulling Melanie back from her foray into the past. And Melanie looked at Megan and every single conflict she felt hit her hard. She began to sob. Megan shied away, but Lisa placed Megan’s hand in Melanie’s.

“Stop it, Leeze…. I’m not your client.” Melanie protested.

“No, Mel! I’m your sister.”

“I….I miss Patti.” She gasped. Megan’s presence was hard enough to bear, but it went way beyond grief. Lisa half-smiled.

“Confession is good for the soul. Tell her.” Lisa squeezed both of their hands; ‘her’ meant both of them, since Patti had blessed them with each other. Megan spoke haltingly; urged on by Lisa’s free hand rubbing her back.

“When things … for the last time…. She told me…. About…..about you, Mel.” The words came slowly, but seemed to bring courage to all of them. Melanie gasped; feeling ashamed of her love for Megan as if Patti had never known. Or that Patti stood between the two. She did in a way but not to separate them but to bring them together.

“Just before… or was it in recovery….I saw myself….in my mind…. As Megan. It was like when Patti and I…. but when I looked down….”

“You were in recovery, Meg. You were crying in your sleep. ‘I can’t…this isn’t right’ and ….” Lisa choked back a sob.

“You said you should have died instead of Patti. And you kept going on about …. A wedding... Wedding dresses...How Patti wanted you and Mel…. You woke up and cried in my arms.” Lisa continued to rub Megan’s back.

“It’s been over four years, Meg and I see the way you look at Mel when you think nobody sees you. You love her and you hate yourself.” Lisa squeezed Melanie’s hand.

“And you hate yourself for loving Megan.” Melanie stopped sobbing long enough to nod.

“She loved you both enough to know you were as much meant for each other as she had been for Mikey, right?” Lisa stood up and pulled Megan off the chair and onto her own; leaving her sister ‘in-law’ next to Melanie; physically completing what Patti had begun. She kissed both of them on the forehead; her tears an unction shared in a way with Patti as she said softly,


Several months later…

The fire almost seemed to roar a loud rebuke against the cold. The blinds were open; inviting the moon to shine happily in. Two women lay sleepily under the covers. The evening’s apparel lay draped over the sofa on the far side of the suite; their resplendent white giving testimony to the special day. Somewhere not too far from there Lisa Aldretti fell asleep in a gentle, satisfied peace that comes often from the feeling of a job…of a very special errand well done.

And even as the two drifted off finally into their wedded bliss of repose, they heard the gentle music of Patti’s voice… the last time anyone would hear her this side of heaven….

“Be….as one….”


Pull up the blinds
Open the door wide
Feel the cold arrive
In my bones
You, me and more
We bumped and crashed in dirty snow
Up to our sin, we might as well
Melt into Sunday

Words and Music by Alison Goldfrapp and Will Gregory.
As performed by Alison Goldfrapp

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This story is 1780 words long.