the westminster news
Published by the students of Westminster School
By Beck Hanypsiak ’23
Maeve had ceased waiting by the phone. She had resigned herself to the fact that Ivy might never call again. She might never hear the sweet, soothing voice which had once lulled her to sleep. Ivy, her one truest love. Forever isn’t really forever. It fades, sometimes fast, sometimes slow. Whoever said it was unbreakable was a liar. A liar who had tricked countless foolish girls just like her. She frowned.
Ivy used to reassure her with sweet nothings, used to hold her hands when they finally could close the distance, kiss her quickly as if to say, “Hello dear,” and brush the small of her back. The sun had never shone brighter, the birds had never sung sweeter. Why must good things come to an end? Why did thoughts of a gray winter have to replace her yellow summer?
She decided to move the landline back to the kitchen, as the mere sight of it taunted her. The decision to stop expecting letters in the mail soon followed. No more waiting for poems about the ocean and its love for the setting sun. She shut the kitchen door and latched it. She sighed and sank to the floor. No more living life waiting for someone who’s never going to come back. Why had the calls stopped? She would ruminate on that no further. No, it was time for her to move on.
She decided to abandon the hopeless thoughts and replace them with anger, with hate. She had what she desired, but now it left her without so much as a goodbye.
But when the phone rang the next morning, all of her rage dissipated for a moment. She raced out of bed, down the hall and right to the kitchen. A rush of excitement seemed to permeate the entire house. She nearly tripped as she picked up the phone. She rubbed her weary eyes and waited to hear the voice she had been longing for. She instinctively held her breath.
“I’m sorry baby,” was all Ivy said before tears rushed out of her eyes like a vast river, sweeping away the longing and pain.
“Why didn’t you call?” Maeve collected herself. She became infuriated again. She swept the tears from her eyes and sniffled.
“Things get confusing.” An answer far too vague to satisfy anything, so Maeve pressed.
“So, when things get complicated and ‘confusing’ you leave for more than half a year? You abandon me? You leave me to wonder what I’ve done wrong?” Maeve didn’t wish to fight, yet her initial instinct was to yell, scream, let it all come out. She wanted Ivy to drown in her guilt. She wanted, no, she needed for her to be sorry. An inherent desire to ‘get even’ drove her every step.
“You didn’t do anything.” Ivy sighed over the line. Maeve wondered if she was sleeping all right, if she was eating, if she was safe, or if she was with someone else. If everything was ruined.
“Then why?” Maeve stammered. “Why did you leave when you promised to stay forever? You said you wouldn’t.” She cringed when she realized how naive she sounded.
“Don’t make me say it.” Ivy spoke. If Maeve listened closely, she could hear the soft breathing of her beloved. No, not her beloved, she reasoned. She had to be mad.
“I’m hanging up.” Maeve pulled the receiver away from her face and hesitated. Against her better judgment, she brought the receiver back.
“You still there?” Ivy panicked.
“Speak. Tell me why.” Maeve loved her, sure, but she still needed the satisfaction.
“I can’t.” A fear of confronting the uncomfortable always hindered progress, Maeve remembered her mother say. So, she provoked the conversation.
“Don’t give me that garbage. I know you better than you think.” Maeve breathed. She was going to get somewhere with this. Six months of waiting would be worth it, she thought.
“You want the truth?” Ivy relented.
“I’ve been waiting six months,” Maeve retorted.
“Fine.” Ivy paused. She waited a moment. Maeve knew her well enough to recognize she was picking at her nails while on the phone. Something so slight, yet so characteristically Ivy. “I’m scared.”
“Of what? The lesbian thing? No one has anything on us.” Maeve waited. Maeve considered other women, death and disease but not fear. No, Ivy had been the bold one, unapologetically queer.
“I didn’t want you to leave.” Ivy stumbled over her words; her air of calm faltered. A vulnerable side had shone itself like the moon revealing a sliver of itself after hiding. An unexpected answer.
“I wouldn’t have.” It was the truth. No matter how angry, she would always stay.
“So, I left first.”
“Sure.” A simple word to hide the hurt.
“I knew you’d be OK.” Ivy reasoned. Maeve wasn’t convinced. Sure, she could survive, but what use was that without her true love?
“That doesn’t make it OK.”
“I know that.” Of course, then why do it?
“When do you plan on coming back?”
“Whenever you’d like.” Maeve knew that meant there was no plan to come back. Leaving her was perfectly acceptable to Ivy. Yet forgiveness bloomed in her heart.
“As soon as possible.” Maeve let her childlike giddiness come back. Like a child whose father missed everything, she still willingly held her arms open in desperation for him.
“You missed me that much?”
“Of course I did.”
“You’re not mad?”
“Oh I’m furious.” Maeve laughed.
“Leave the kitchen door unlatched, OK?”
“Sure, sure.” Maeve looked at the latched kitchen door and for the first time, noticed how the sun shone through the blinds and made rainbows on the floor. An unnecessary yet beautiful thing.
“You know what?”
“What?” Maeve questioned.
“No never mind.” Ivy teased, always knowing how to get to her. It was as if six months never passed.
“Tell me.” Maeve begged.
“It’s nothing.” Ivy wouldn’t budge. A playful routine they’d do on their phone calls when she couldn’t sneak over. When she couldn’t run over and bring a poem she had written. Oh, the poems she had stashed away in her memory came back to her in a loving embrace. How unfair it was that the worst ones have a way with words. She knew Ivy wasn’t the worst, but Maeve was still a bit angry. The anger that stemmed from love would leave once their hands would reunite. Once their eyes would catch each other’s again.
“You wouldn’t have brought it up if it was nothing.” Maeve knew she had the upper hand with that.
“You live up to your name.” Ivy smiled. “Poisonous lady who gets into my head.”
And with that, the line went dead. Maeve didn’t know what to make of that. She replaced the receiver and went to unlatch the kitchen door, just like she used to.
She didn’t want to get excited, yet her chest felt like a butterfly garden. Small flutters dancing in the sky together, landing on flowers to rest. Yet there was no rest, just the constant but delicate flapping of the wings.
Maybe it was an ephemeral type of love in hindsight, but it didn’t matter. She was happy now, just waiting for the woman she loved to come back. Happy to have her back to start the yellow summer again.