He was watching the room. The place he had once been thinking of as his home. Ironic.
He was looking at the wooden swans. The fireplace by which they had spent no, not the fireplace. Not the mirror, either; definitely not the mirror.
He turned his attention back to the gracious swans. Why not the swans, after all. Anything would do just not to look at her. Her, whose vibrant personality showed in every detail of the interior. Her, who was now facing him.
As Sonny, he saw her as a not so young and not so beautiful woman. Scrawny, hed call her. Her eyelids were swollen with the tears she must have shed or she didnt. In her eyes there was no flame there used to be. No sparkle of life. The totally lack-luster eyes. The mirror of the soul an extinct volcano. Ironic, isnt it. He had never seen her like this before. And he could not bear to see her like this.
But there was no mystery now as to whom to thank for all these changes in her. None other than himself. The creature that resided in his mind, that had usurped his body. The creature talking to Julia right now or chewing the words, rather.
Those expensive wines? No taste in them, old gal. They cost you a fortune, and they taste sour. Same as you, Julia. Youre dull, you taste sour. No zest in you.
Mason wanted to shut his eyes not to see her look but his body wouldnt obey. He was doomed to suffer every second of it.
Okay, she said softly and indifferently. Why do you keep coming?
He smirked. Dropped in the other day. You were not in. Your bosom buddy was. Feeding he stammered.
Every time it was a battle for Mason to pronounce his daughters name. Sonny felt the danger and instinctively opposed this. The pause lingered.
Feeding? Julia prompted displaying a total lack of interest.
Sonny opted for the baby. Mason knew he could not call her that. Maybe before she was born, but hardly ever so even back then: he had insisted Samantha was our baby from day one.
You know! he said, suddenly enraged. I realize one man is as good as another to warm up your bed, - or eer those shoes were old with which you followd my poor body
Julia looked up. Shakespeare. That was familiar. The man standing across her lounge seemed not in the least so.
But I will not let you dont you dare let Samantha think I am her daddy no longer!
I dont want you near Samantha, Julia said in the same flat voice. You have no rights whatsoever. Go away.
Mason struggled hard with his own body. He needed to get close to Julia, to get her to understand he needed that so desperately he did break through. He reached out and grasped Julia by the elbow.
She let out a pierce shriek, and he could see he scared her. Mason hurried to let her go, and Sonny took over again.
Youll see what happens then, he said menacingly.
Sonny needed Julia to stay away from him. She presented a very real danger to him. He needed to push her as far away as possible. You try and shut me out of my daughters life, Ill do the same to you. Ill have her kidnapped; youll never see her again!
Julia gasped. Mason did, too, inwardly. He remembered clearly it was the one and only thing Julia had told him she would never forgive him. He remembered he had answered he would rather die than hurt her like this. He wondered now if it wouldnt be better for him to actually have died.
Well, Mason could do nothing about that abominable Sonny Sprocket character. She could. But she wouldnt.
Would she?
Julia walked to the door and held it open for him. Go, she said as quietly as before. And dont you ever come back. Or Ill call the police.
He did not move. The part of him that was Mason was clutching at the flinders of the life he had ever dreamed of living in this house, with this woman.

Then hate me when thou wilt, if ever, now,
Now while the world is bent my deeds to cross

The lines popped up in his head all by themselves, and, strangely, Mason felt a tiny bit relieved. Shakespeare ah, some part of his life Sonny Sprocket could never lay his hand on. He could profane this house as he did, he could make the woman Mason loved more than life itself hate him, - but there still was this private domain of Masons soul that Sonny would never ever possess. He felt it was half the battle, and smiled, really smiled, so unexpectedly that Julia was caught off-guard.
For once, Masons lips and tongue obeyed the order of his mind, as he completed the sonnet out loud,

And other strains of woe, which now seem woe,
Compared with loss of thee, will not seem so.

With this, Mason walked quickly past the wide-eyed Julia.

/Olga Lissenkova/

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