This is the second and final part of The Spaces Between the Places. Part 1 is here.
For the next month, if she wasn’t at work, Maeve was somewhere around Matthew’s building. She sat for hours in the Peet’s Coffee where Matthew picked up his morning fuel on the way to work. She thought since he was here everyday, she had a good shot of seeing his ghost. When she didn’t see anything there, she headed to Kasey’s Tavern, where Matthew liked to hang out with his friends on the weekends. Again nothing.
She even took to just walking around the building—up and down the sidewalks—circling around the alley. She stood with her back supported by the building across the street (a Halloween store in October), and stared at the entrance to Matthew’s building. Nothing. She was staying out until all hours of the morning— most of the time she came home with enough time for a shower before heading to work.
The other day (other week?) her boss told her she needed to pull herself together. Whatever she was dealing with needed to be dealt with on her own time, not the company’s. Maeve barely kept back the snort and sharp retort she wanted to shoot back at the woman. She was dealing with it on her own time: that was why she was so damn tired. If she could go look for Matthew during the day, she could get some sleep at night.
Later that night at Kasey’s, Maeve looked at the display of her ringing phone. It was Sarah—probably wondering what hole Maeve had fallen down. She let it go to voice mail. She’d started ignoring calls from her friends a couple of weeks ago. They wanted to know what was going on with her—where was she? What was she doing? Why was she ignoring them?
What was she going to tell them? That she was looking for her dead twin? That she started seeing ghosts on St. Patrick’s Day, and now she was doing everything she could to see Matthew? Talk to him? Stop being so alone? Stop being only half of a person? They would think she was crazy. Hell may be she was, she thought as she started on her third margarita.
After almost two months, she still saw the other ghosts. She knew they were real. So if she could see other people’s ghosts, why couldn’t she see Matthew? What would it take to see him again? Talk to him? Feel whole again?
She looked at her margarita and sighed. Her eyes narrowed as she looked at the glass: it was almost empty. Hadn’t she just started drinking it? She sighed again and rubbed her eyes. Checking her phone she saw it was almost midnight. She’d been staking out Matthew’s building for almost two months. If he was here, he was staying in the building. She wasn’t going to see him out here. She paid her tab and went home. May be it was time to get a good night’s sleep.
She started crying as soon as she laid down. She wished she had never went to Fado’s on St. Patrick’s Day. If she hadn’t then she would’ve never seen the ghost. She’d never known ghosts were real, and she wouldn’t have lost Matthew all over again. She curled up in a ball and eventually cried herself to sleep.
Maeve woke up and was blinded by white lights. Her head felt like it was going to split open, and her throat was on fire.
“Miss Andrews?” she heard a voice saying. “Miss Andrews, can you hear me?”
Maeve’s eyes slowly blinked open, and she saw a woman leaning over her. “Can you hear me?” Maeve nodded.
“Welcome back,” the woman said looking at the monitors Maeve was hooked up too. “You had us worried.”
“Why?” Maeve managed to croak out through her painful throat.
“You almost died!” Sarah yelled at her. “How long have you been downing the booze and pills? For God’s sake Maeve, your place was filled with empty bottles. You haven’t been to work for over a week! I haven’t heard from you in over a month! Your mother hasn’t heard from you! How long have you been at the bottom of a bottle?”
Maeve still didn’t remember the last week. The last thing she’d remembered before waking up in the ER was having three margaritas at Kasey’s then going home and going to sleep. She didn’t remember buying all of the booze found in her apartment, much less drinking all of of it. She didn’t remember taking the pills. She didn’t even remember having the pills—they must be left from right after Matthew died when she couldn’t sleep.
Sarah was standing in front of her with her hands on her hips. “You need help Maeve,” she said.
“I need Matthew.”
Sarah gasped and said, “Oh Maeve,” then her friend was next to her squeezing her tight.
Maeve looked at the bottle next to her bed like she’d never seen them before. Prescriptions for anti-depressants and sleeping pills from a doctor she was supposedly seeing but couldn’t remember. What the hell was happening to her? She’d never seen a psychiatrist. Her doctor had prescribed the sleeping pills, but that had been six or seven months ago. This bottle’s date was two weeks ago.
Maeve was still sitting on her bed when Sarah came in and asked, “Are you OK?”
“How long have I been seeing a psychiatrist?” Maeve asked.
Sarah looked hesitant and bit her bottom lip before saying, “Since a couple of weeks after the funeral. You don’t remember?”
Maeve swallowed hard and shook her head.
Sarah gnawed at her lower lip and wrung her hands before asking in a whisper, “Do you remember being in the hospital…not just now, but a couple of months ago—February and March. Do you remember that?”
Maeve felt her eyes widen and all the air gush out of her lungs before shaking her head no. She couldn’t speak. She couldn’t even take a breath.
Sarah took two steps to the bed, sat down next to Maeve, and put her arm around her. She rubbed Maeve’s shoulder a couple of times before saying, “You had a nervous breakdown. You were in Northwestern’s psychiatric hospital for almost three weeks.”
Maeve looked down at her hands. She had them clasped so tightly her knuckles were white. “Was I there over St. Patrick’s Day?” she whispered, afraid of the answer.
“No,” Sarah answered. “You were released a few day before then. Why? What happened on St. Patrick’s Day? Is that when you started forgetting things and…” Sarah trailed off leaving unsaid is that when you started drinking like a fish?
“I’m not a crazy drunk,” Maeve whispered, shrugging Sarah’s arm off and getting up to pace the room. “I know what I saw. I’m not crazy. And I never saw him. No matter how long I looked I never saw him. If I was crazy, I would’ve seen him—he’s all I wanted to see—not the rest of them. I never wanted to see the rest of them.”
“Maeve, what are you talking about? Who did you see? Who were you looking for?” Sarah was still sitting on the bed, but she was wringing her hands again.
“I saw a ghost at Fado’s,” Maeve said, “and then after that I saw ghosts everywhere—except for Matthew! And I looked Sarah! I looked so hard and waited all around his building and his favorite places. But I never saw him! I see every other fucking ghost in this city but not Matthew!” Seeing the look on Sarah’s face Maeve yelled: “I’m not crazy, and I’m not a drunk! If I were crazy I would’ve seen him because he is the only person dead or alive that I want to see! But no I see everyone but him.”
Sarah was crying. The only thing she said was, “Oh Maeve.”
Maeve slammed down the phone. No more! She wasn’t doing any of it any more. No more pills. No more shrink. No more “help.” Of course Sarah had told her mother, and now her mother was trying to convince her to go back in the hospital. She wasn’t crazy. She wasn’t seeing things. And if any of this nonsense was really helping her, would she be seeing ghosts? That hadn’t started until after the so-called treatment—so no more. She threw out the pills, and she wouldn’t be seeing the shrink again.
One of the condos in Matthew’s building was for rent, and she could afford it. She wasn’t crazy. She saw ghosts. And she would see Matthew again. She didn’t care how long it took: she would see her twin again.
©2013 S. R. Atteberry