Saturday Storytime: The Savannah Liars Tour

Some days you’re reading along, thinking, “This is a good story. That one is interesting. Hmm, I like that.” Then you hit one like this from Will McIntosh, and you say, “Oh.”

Jillian was waiting at the curb with the Mercedes running, the heat cranked uncomfortably high for my benefit. My old, familiar friend guilt joined me as I slid into the passenger seat.

“Good visit? How are your Mom and Dad?” The corner of Jillian’s eye crinkled as she smiled, but it was a tense smile.

“Great. Great. No sign of Mom’s cancer recurring, and you’d never know Dad had suffered a massive heart attack.” It was an old joke, and my delivery was wooden.

I turned on the radio, tuned it to NPR, where a journalist was relating a conversation she’d had with John F. Kennedy in the afterlife.

“You want to have lunch at Chur—”

“Did you see Delilah as well?” Jillian asked before I could finish. For the past few months, Jillian hadn’t asked that question. The question—the only truly irreconcilable thorn in our eight years of marriage.

“You know I always do.” I tried to sound matter-of-fact, but defensiveness leaked into my tone.

“What did you talk about?”

“Just . . . nothing much. Music, mostly.”

“You still haven’t told her about me?”

And there it was. “She’s dead, Jillian. It’s not like I’m seeing another woman. I’m visiting the soul of my late wife.” I dragged my hand down my face, feeling exhausted, knowing the route this conversation would take and dreading the ride.

“How much of the hour did you spend with her?”

I folded my arms across my chest, realized what a stereotypically defensive posture that was, and quickly unfolded them. “You know how hard it is to judge time in there. I visit the people I’ve lost. You knew who I’d lost when you met me, and you knew I visited them.”

Things had become so much more complicated since that innocent time when I’d promised Delilah I’d always visit her, no matter what. Everyone in Delilah’s life had broken promises—her sister, her mother, the men she’d loved before me. She deserved to have one person she could believe in, and twenty-two years ago I swore I’d be that person. When I made that promise, Delilah said she wasn’t asking me to never love again, only that I reserve a small corner of my heart for her.

The thing was, my love for Delilah never managed to stay in one small corner of my heart. It took up more like half, try as I might to contain it. Did loving her too much mean I should renege on my promise?

I shouldn’t have allowed myself to love someone else in the first place. When I met Jillian, I’d been alone for ten years. That had seemed like enough time to grieve, even if visiting Delilah tended to keep the wound open.

Jillian pulled into the driveway, turned off the ignition. “It’s dangerous, going under as often as you do. You’re not twenty-five anymore.”

“The Surgeon General says cryogenic sleep is safe up to fifty.” What Jillian was really saying was the visits were expensive. Outrageously expensive. We could afford it, though. I wasn’t driving us into bankruptcy or anything.

Jillian sighed. She took my hand. “I know you’re in an impossible position. I know that. But you have to see how hard this is for me, especially with us talking about having a child.”

I squeezed her hand. “I do. I’m sorry this is so complicated.”

Keep reading.

Saturday Storytime: The Savannah Liars Tour

2 thoughts on “Saturday Storytime: The Savannah Liars Tour

  1. 1

    Hello Dr carrier i know that im violating one of the rules that you set becuase this question that im going to ask has nothing to do with your post…
    I was wondering are there enough scientific resources to support the hallucination theory?
    I know alot of mexicans who has seen the virgin mary and some of them has tried to take pic of it and nothing appear on their pictures…
    Bart ehrman and gerd ludermann have also proposed this theory that you defend

    I know that this has nothing to do with this topic but i would appreciate if you answer my question Plz

    Have a nice day Dr carrier

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