“Whether we like it or not,” Hopper wrote, “we are all bound to the earth with our experience of life and the reactions of the mind, heart, and eye, and our sensations, by no means, consists entirely of form, color, and design.
Jess left Maryland to get over an affair. She returned to Maryland while in the midst of one. Not completely sure why she followed her lover to Baltimore, Jessica Davies found herself held up in a Federal Hill town house, waiting for Jim Rizzi. Jim, himself a former expatriate, returned to Baltimore after finishing an EMR expansion deal in Italy. He had no intention of staying with Jess, neither she with him, but there they were. For their separate reasons they’d remained entangled with one another. The couple had been in Baltimore for over a month and Jess hadn’t bothered to inform her family that she was there. She would, of course but not until she was content with her surroundings. She knew Jim would eventually be spending more time with his wife and she would have the entire place to herself, free to entertain as she pleased and never having to explain the older man hanging around her. It was a hopeful hunger, the idea that she might live rent free and without having to put out, but for now she was waiting for Jim Rizzi.
Texting before realizing it was time for Jim to be home, Jess asked how long he’d be. As she threw her Blackberry onto the sofa she realized Jim’s car was pulling up out front.
“You’re missing me?” Jim threw his keys on the coffee table and reached for the stack of mail which lay beside them.
“It seems later, Jess stated. After a minute, Jim kissed her on the forehead.
“What’d you do today? I tried to call you before lunch.”
“There was some sort of sales meeting I had to attend; boring is the only word to describe my day.” Jess watched as Jim combed through the mail, not really listening to her excuses. “I stopped over to Lexington Market and picked up some of those hotdogs you like.” Jim appeared not to hear her.
“The kids are coming in town.” Jim had a daughter who lived in Denver but who also visited twice a year. This had never been an issue; Jess was overseas and Jim would come home when his daughter was visiting giving Jess an opportunity to be with friends her own age. But now there was a problem. The townhouse now being used as their love nest was the same place his daughter and family stayed whenever they visited.
“Are they really coming here?”
“That’s what the email said.” There was silence. They sat quietly until Jim said, “I wanted to ask you if you could stay with your family.” Jess looked at Jim and sighed.
“Yeah, sure, why not,” she said. Jess was angry but what choice had she. The town had its own use and that use was understood. Jess would have to go home.
“How long will they be here?”
“Not sure. Bridgette’s got a thing or other and she says Don’s dad’s in the hospital.” Jim took out his checkbook, wrote a few checks for the bills, put them in their respective envelopes and lay them back on the table.
“We’ll have to see what happens. You need some money?” Jim grabbed his keys from the table.
“We’re not going out?” Every Thursday since they’d returned to the States, Jim and Jess had a standing date for sushi. They would drive to Towson, hit the mall, and afterwards grab a meal at San Sushi on Pennsylvania Avenue. Jess still looked forward to it even though she was sure she was over the relationship.
“You go. Buy yourself some shoes or something. I’ve actually got to work on something back at the house.” Without waiting for a response, Jim pulled out three hundred dollars from his wallet, counted it, and tossed it on the table. Jess didn’t even bother to look; Jim was always generous. She knew better than to express her anger she had no right. Jim had always been honest about his feelings. He loved her but his family would always come first. Without expression, Jess walked Jim to the door, kissed him, and leaned against the door frame. “I guess I should mail those?” Jim smiled politely and headed for his car.
“I’ll call you when I know what the kids are gonna do, okay?” Jess also smiled politely but didn’t answer. She watched Jim pull away and then stood motionless in doorway. For a minute she did nothing. Then, realizing that she would have to depend on her family for shelter at least for the foreseeable future, she tore up Jim’s mail and put the money he’d left, in her back pocket.
“Fucking loser! Mail your own God damn shit!” Jen grabbed her Blackberry, her keys, and her purse. “Fuck you!”