Read Dear Adam Online

Authors: Ava Zavora

Tags: #literary, #romantic comedy, #womens fiction, #chick lit, #contemporary romance, #single mother, #contemporary women, #bibliophile

Dear Adam (7 page)

Date: Sat, Aug 4, at 10:01 AM

To: Eden E

 

A miniskirt, not something I can imagine you
wearing.

 

Women often say they like my hands. And my
smell.

 

I am not arrogant my dear, I am self-aware.
I am aware of my faults as well. But who openly expresses their
faults?

 

Your messages are shortening faster than a
depleting erection. Are you busy my dear? I don't want to interfere
with your day off.

 

My preconception about you - is that you're
honest.

 

----------

From: Eden E

Date: Sat, Aug 4, at 10:16 AM

To: Adam -

 

Shall I say that I'm held hostage to the
laptop this morning? That would make you insufferable, I suspect. I
haven't even taken a shower or cleared my plate.

 

If my e-mails are getting shorter, it's
because I'm thinking. I'm absorbing everything you've written.
You're probably more adept at communicating this way, but I am not,
despite having a blog and Twitter, etc. These are superficial
media, easily manipulated.

 

When I meet a man, I read everything about
him - his facial expressions, the cadence and rhythm of his voice,
if he pours water into my empty glass or waits for the server to do
so, what he smells like. If there is anything palpable between
us.

 

With you - you're an amorphous creature
composed of words.

 

You could be anyone. I really hope you're
not the obnoxious attorney two doors down from me. Or an
overzealous acquaintance of mine. Or an ex who is trying to prove a
point.

 

Perhaps I made you up.

 

----------

From: Adam -

Date: Sat, Aug 4, at 10:24 AM

To: Eden E

 

Held hostage, ha, because of me?

 

I had an idea, one that I'm not even certain
of yet, but I'll share it, because I recently decided upon a policy
I am undertaking with you. If I think it, I'll write it. If I write
it, and think, hmmm, perhaps I'll alter it, I don't. This way, you
get me as I am, genuinely.

 

Anyway, the idea is, we could both record
ourselves reading an original text we've written and send it to
each other. For me, it would be a poem. Thoughts?

 

I am not adept at communicating this way,
but it is coming quite naturally.

 

It amuses me when you avoid my lewd
references. It inspires me to make more of them.

 

I was once criticised by a woman for pouring
water into her glass. "I'm quite capable of pouring my own
water."

 

I am none of the above.

 

Are you a naked sleeper? I always wear my
socks.

 

----------

From: Eden E

Date: Sat, Aug 4, at 10:34 AM

To: Adam -

 

There are websites and 1-900 numbers if you
want lewd and lascivious communications.

 

I'm stepping away to attend take a shower -
and don't even think of making a bawdy reference to that!

 

I'll have to think about your offer. Maybe
you should remain in the ether.

 

Is your real name even Adam?

 

----------

From: Adam -

Date: Sat, Aug 4, at 10:39 AM

To: Eden E

 

My real name is Adam. Is your real name Edie
E.?

 

The one thing you don't need to be is
suspicious of me, and in turn, I hope I need not be suspicious of
you. I am being frank and up front with you, even if it is to my
detriment.

 

Do you have the full 1-900 numbers? I don't
have a lot of time to search for them. If I used emoticons, in this
moment I'd insert a ;)

 

No bawdy references, on this occasion.
Bawdy, not a word the British use.

 

The reason I thought that idea would be of
interest to us, is because I think a person's voice reflects their
character and soul, respectively.

 

If you avoid my questions, I'll have to
think of more awkward ones.

 

I'll drive home now, so if you reply, then
mine doesn't arrive soon after, this is why.

 

Until soon my dear.

 

----------

From: Adam -

Date: Sat, Aug 4, at 11:12 AM

To: Eden E

 

I'm home.

 

----------

From: Eden E

Date: Sat, Aug 4, at 11:16 PM

To: Adam -

 

Why in the world should I be suspicious of
you? I've never met you, don't know what you look like, and have no
way of verifying anything you've written.

 

With that being said - do you have any good
childhood memories? Can you describe one to me?

 

If we were to send each other recordings of
our voices, what would yours indicate about your character and your
soul?

 

My real name is not Edie. It's Eden.

 

----------

From: Adam -

Date: Sat, Aug 4, at 11:26 PM

To: Eden E

 

The same goes for you, doll. I believe it's
called "good faith."

 

I don't have a plethora of good childhood
memories.

 

I know it's not Edie, Edie. I was trying to
get a rise. I figured bastardising your name would accomplish that,
darling.

 

I won't answer the question about my voice,
though people often comment on my voice. You will hear it, should
we decide to go ahead with the idea.

 

Are you still abandoning me today?

 

----------

From: Eden E

Date: Sat, Aug 4, at 11:37 PM

To: Adam -

 

The sun finally came out and now I will tear
myself away for good from the keyboard.

 

I will think about your proposition.

 

Don't be silly. I am at a disadvantage
because you know what I look like. My cyber footprints are all over
the place, which is my own fault.

 

You're the ghost.

 

Good night.

 

Edie

 

----------

From: Adam -

Date: Sat, Aug 4, at 11:40 PM

To: Eden E

 

You ask me questions, I give you in depth
responses, and you don't remark on them.

 

I'm glad, you need to get out in the
sunshine.

 

You seem to be becoming colder, is there a
reason for that?

 

I haven't investigated your digital
footprint, though yes, I have seen your Twitter and blog
pictures.

 

I am also thinking about my proposition.

 

Good night then, enjoy the rest of your day
young lady.

 

It was with reluctance that Eden logged off
her e-mail.

She had barraged Adam with questions and he
had been forthright with her. She did want to know the answers, but
also it was her way of deflecting, keeping him busy with his
replies so that he didn't ask too many questions himself.

She could have easily spent the rest of the
day corresponding with him but she was at a precipice. The growing
warmth he detected was real enough. And that was the problem.

Yesterday was proof she was placing too much
importance in their e-mails. He claimed not to be adept at this
kind of communication, alluding that it was a new experience for
him as it was with her. Yet even so, she shouldn't depend on the
fact that he was paying her attention now. As in real life, men can
be inconstant. Here now, gone tomorrow. Just like Troy.

She clicked on her Twitter picture and looked
at it critically. Not exactly a face that could launch a thousand
ships, but a flattering one nevertheless. Perhaps it was too
flattering? Her expression too come hither? Her lips painted too
rich of a red, too inviting? She had tilted her chin down then
gazed up at the camera, one kohl-rimmed brown eye peeking
provocatively beyond a parted curtain of long, black shiny hair, a
crimson rose tucked behind one ear. She had worn a black and red
halter top.

The picture was a little much, she had to
admit. More like a costume she had attired her Twitter self in- a
pretend personality of someone a little dangerous, sex-kittenish.
Not at all the quiet, conservative persona she projected at work.
Adam could scroll through all her tweets to the very beginning of
her account and never find a titillating entry. Rather the opposite
- geeky rhapsodies over books, publishing news, authors. She hoped
that he had gathered by now if he wanted a racy, online flirtation,
he would have to look elsewhere.

The Twitter picture had been an impulsive act
- taken soon after she broke up with Troy - as if to declare how
well she was doing and wasn't he a fool?

The picture accompanying her blog profile was
a lot more toned down: no makeup, big, horn-rimmed glasses, her
hair, an unstyled, wavy mess. Her real self.

With a real life. Eden closed her laptop,
determined not to open it again. The sun had indeed come out and
she longed to be outside. She cajoled Dante into taking a walk with
her, then ran errands. After his dad picked up Dante in the late
afternoon, she bundled herself up to go to San Francisco. She had
never been to a bonfire before and Ocean Beach apparently allowed
open fires without a permit. Tonight was to be #12 on her list of
36 new things to try before she turned 36.

For a typical summer night, the Pacific coast
was foggy and cold. Eden shivered in her pea coat and went from
bonfire to bonfire warming herself. She took photos of the great,
big ones, impressive with their towers of orange-red flames that
defied the chill. There were families roasting marshmallows and
telling campfire stories. Others were big party groups, rowdy with
music blasting from portable stereos. She avoided those, and
ignored the catcalls from drunken frat boys. She lingered the most
near a calm group that seemed to be composed of strangers come
together, some couples nuzzling each other, bathed rosy from the
glow of the fire, some hippies smoking weed. A long-haired man
softly strummed his guitar. He nodded at her and smiled, welcoming
her into their circle.

She sat at the edge for awhile, staring into
the fire and listening to his music. She wrapped herself up in a
thick shawl she had packed in her purse. She watched the young
lovers kissing, colors playing on their faces from the flames. Her
thoughts drifted to Adam.

She took out her iPod and plugged in her
earbuds with the microphone. She turned her back on the bonfire and
faced the darkening ocean. She didn't want to think too much about
how this would be the first time Adam would be hearing her voice.
She focused on speaking clearly and not too fast, then began
recording a memo.

"Hello," she began hesitantly. "If this
sounds staticky or noisy, it's because I'm at Ocean Beach and it's
windy. There are waves crashing against the shore. There are a lot
of people making a lot of noise." She sniffed. "And my nose is
running."

"Um. I apologize if I seemed cold this
afternoon. I was just ... thinking. It's funny how the way I am in
real life comes across in the way I write. If we were face-to-face,
I, I'd probably do the same thing, which is withdraw. So I can … so
I can think. I'm not good at pretending to be otherwise. You could
see everything on my face. Even if I say nothing."

"Alright. So you want commentary on what
you've written. From what you've told me, you've had an unhappy
childhood. You no longer speak to your parents. And I wonder about
that. But I won't ask you because it's probably painful. And if you
want share with me, you will. But it makes me sad."

"I think I'm taking you too seriously and I'm
mad at myself. I have a bad habit of taking things too
seriously."

Eden paused, not knowing what else to say.
She glanced at the time.

"Oh, this is already over two minutes," she
said in a rush, "I should wrap it up. I don't mean to have so many
lengthy pauses. I, I should have written something down and recited
it. But." She took a deep breath.

"I like getting e-mails from you. Even if ...
even if it's fiction. Really. I was so happy this morning. And
yesterday. Good night."

Eden played the memo only once, cringing the
whole time. Some of it had been drowned out by the background
noise, she was silent for long stretches of time, and she sounded
awkward, vulnerable. She hoped that it conveyed, somehow, that
toying with her feelings would be hurtful. She resisted the urge to
re-record something more polished and confident.

This was her real self, and the man who will
hear it could draw his own conclusions.

 

Chapter 5

 

Subject:
Sunday Shenanigans

------------------------

From: Adam -

Date: Sun, Aug 5, at 5:42 AM

To: Eden E

 

Good morning little lady.

 

Eden had been awake when Adam's e-mail first
arrived. She went back and forth on whether or not to send the
voice memo she had recorded the night before.

"Gah!" she said to no one in particular and
hit send. Then waited.

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