Read Dear Adam Online

Authors: Ava Zavora

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

Dear Adam (8 page)

 

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

From: Eden E

Date: Sun, Aug 5, at 8:08 AM

To: Adam -

Attach: Hello.vm

 

Good morning, Adam

 

I just wanted you to know that I have fat
calves and thick thighs.

Wouldn't want to mislead you.

 

Eden

 

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

From: Adam -

Date: Sun, Aug 5, at 8:14 AM

To: Eden E

 

Thank you for the reply by voice.

 

"I think I'm taking you too seriously ... "
The next two sentences were inaudible. What did you say?

 

I will reciprocate later today.

 

You can ask about my parents, if you
wish.

 

I appreciate the explanation, your being
pensive made you appear cold.

 

That has tickled me. I have
a penchant for thick thighs. Genuinely. I've always been a thigh
man.

 

For me, it is paramount, whatever we say or
share, is not fiction. Even if the truth is startling, it must be
the truth. I assure you, I have treated you with this respect.

 

I shave my head every day with a razor
blade. Through a desire not to have hair, not because I am going
bald.

 

----------

From: Eden E

Date: Sun, Aug 5, at 8:29 AM

To: Adam -

 

I think I said that I'm mad at myself for
taking things too seriously and that I have a bad habit of that or
something to that effect.

 

After listening to it once I wondered if I
should do it over but decided that a second recording would sound
rehearsed and unnatural. I was following your policy you see.

 

Do you happen to have a copy of The Midnight
Garden on hand? I had the strongest urge to make cinnamon milk last
night after the beach, and I could have sworn I first read about it
in that book but I could only find references to a cinnamon milk
shake.

 

What precipitated your parents and you
severing ties with each other?

 

Do you have any other family? Brothers?
Sisters?

 

----------

From: Adam -

Date: Sun, Aug 5, at 8:37 AM

To: Eden E

 

No comment on my aerodynamic head
decision?

 

I am quite serious as well.

 

I'm glad you followed my policy.

 

I do have a copy somewhere, in a box. I'll
have a look. I have it in many different languages. I collect them
whenever I go to a new country.

 

The short version: My
mother left when I was two years old. My father raised me, which
was unheard of at the time. However he had to give up his work and
such, which presented a growing resentment, especially as I got
older and developed my own mind. At 15, I was invited to leave
home, shall we say, so that he could regain his "lost
time."

 

I am an only child. I was
very close to my grandfather, who passed 9 years ago. The rest of
my relatives, I don't have contact with for a plethora of reasons.
Some of which involve being resented for my success and strong
ambitions when I was younger. My background is one of
poverty.

 

I think we both need to expel the prospect
that either one of us might not be entirely honest. I like the idea
of us being completely frank and forthcoming.

 

----------

From: Eden E

Date: Sun, Aug 5, at 8:53 AM

To: Adam -

 

I have nothing against shaved heads but my
first image was of a neo-Nazi so I decided not to comment. You're
not a neo-Nazi are you? Perhaps you have a stunning scalp and a
beautifully shaped dome.

 

Tell me more about your grandfather,
please.

 

Do you think you inherited any of your
mother's or your father's traits?

 

Isn't strange that this form of
communication inspires on the one hand false identities and on the
other, a baring of one's soul? But maybe the people constructing
false identities are baring their souls in a way - this is who they
want to be or who they feel they are deep down inside.

 

Do you think I'm not completely honest in
everything I've written? Or said?

 

----------

From: Adam -

Date: Sun, Aug 5, at 8:59 AM

To: Eden E

 

Ha, no, I'm far from a Neo-Nazi.

 

My grandfather was a secretive man.
Generous, and strong. He was the first person who taught me what it
meant to be a man. I inherited more of his traits than
anyone's.

 

However, I left out one
detail. At the time my mother left, my father had a good friend who
he had bought a newspaper shop with. A few years earlier, his
friend had lost his wife and children in an earthquake in Japan. He
was resigned to being with another, as was my father after my
mother left. They became lifelong companions and raised me
together. Although not related by blood, I love this man more than
any other person in my life. Though I rarely get to speak to him
because he and my father still live together, in Spain.

 

I hope you've been honest. You seem to have
been. Have you been?

 

I think anyone who projects a false identity
is mentally flawed.

 

You sound young, in reference to your
voice.

 

----------

From: Eden E

Date: Sun, Aug 5, at 9:10 AM

To: Adam -

 

Are you secretive? Do you consider yourself
a private person?

 

Your father's friend/partner - he won't
speak with you behind your father's back? Has your father forbidden
it? Is your father angry at you? Why, when he is the one who tossed
you out?

 

Yes, I've been honest. Have you?
Completely?

 

I hate the sound of my voice. It's much too
high sometimes. You smoke and drink whiskey - I'm imagining yours
is deep and gravelly?

 

----------

From: Adam -

Date: Sun, Aug 5, at 9:17 AM

To: Eden E

 

I am a man of secrets and
extremely private. Some people admire this quality, some vehemently
dislike it. Some people don't understand it and think I am hiding
something.

 

Friend is the word, not partner. I call him
Uncle. He does speak to me, when my father isn't around, which is
rare, though I bought him an iPad (he's 73) and we write iMessages
to each other (when he's not playing Angry Birds).

 

My father resents me, plain and simple. My
existence changed the course of his life, at least, that's how he
sees it.

 

I have been honest, completely, including my
thick thigh fetish.

 

I find it difficult to
judge my voice. You'll be able to judge for yourself in the next
hour or so. I don't think yours is too high. It is very feminine.
The appropriate emoticon here would be :P

 

----------

From: Eden E

Date: Sun, Aug 5, at 9:33 AM

To: Adam -

 

Then why are you answering
all my questions? I'll assume that you're being truthful about your
answers instead of being evasive? I would like to know so that I
can then explain my own behavior, which is baffling me. I'm
considered to be secretive or scheming or all sorts of not
flattering things by those who don't know me very well.

 

My son's existence changed the course of my
life too. But it's rubbish to think that a child can hold you back
from accomplishments. If anything, life is richer, fuller, has
meaning and purpose. Are you angry at your father ever? Or have you
let go?

 

What did you do today?

 

----------

From: Adam -

Date: Sun, Aug 5, at 9:48 AM

To: Eden E

 

Bear with me, my next message will include
audio.

 

----------

From:

Date: Sun, Aug 5, at 10:08 AM

To: Adam -

 

I have to leave now. I'll be back later this
afternoon.

 

Eden

 

A man of secrets. Yet opening up to her.

Eden drove to San Francisco
preoccupied, mulling over Adam's e-mails. She parked her car on Van
Ness and ran to her Krav Maga class. For an hour, she put him out
her mind, as the class was rigorous and demanded her full
attention. Krav became another one of her 36 things after she spied
a Groupon of 10 classes for only $45 four weeks ago. The first
class taught her how to free herself if someone was choking her
from behind. She was hooked after that.

That Sunday, they learned
how to take down an assailant with a swift elbow jab to the neck,
followed by a knee to the groin. Even though her partner, a 6'0"
20-something-year-old, held up a body pad for protection, Eden was
very ginger with her kicks.

"You can kick harder than that," he
encouraged.

Afterwards, she availed
herself of their small basement gym, with holes in the wall and a
ceiling with loose particle boards. It was usually empty so she
could do a few rounds on the heavy bag, speed bag, and double end
bag without feeling self-conscious.

After knocking herself out
with combos until she was sweaty and her hair was straggling out of
its ponytail, Eden drove to the Palace of Fine Arts. She sat on a
sunny bench and watched the tourists as she devoured her lunch.
With its Grecian-style dome and Corinthian arches surrounded by a
lagoon full of swans, the Palace was a popular spot for wedding
pictures. There were at least three newlywed couples having their
pictures taken. Brides wearing fluffy, white confections like
meringues, and dapper grooms in crisp tuxedos.

Her own wedding, a million years ago it felt
like, had been very small and simple. It had been a quiet and
mostly somber affair of 10 people. Eden tried to remember if she
had ever looked as hopeful and in love as the newly wedded couples
she saw posing around the Palace.

She felt she should hurry
home. Adam would have e-mailed her his recording by now. He'd be
waiting for her reply. But she felt like dragging her feet,
lingering in the city. Half of her couldn't wait to hear his voice
and the other half was filled with dread.

She drove home when she could not bear the
suspense any longer and bounded up the stairs to her laptop. The
five minutes it took to start seemed like half an hour. She logged
onto her e-mail, and saw that soon after she had left that morning,
Adam had sent her a reply with an attachment. Then sent her another
note a few minutes before she came home.

 

----------

From: Adam -

Date: Sun, Aug 5, at 10:15 AM

To: Eden E

Attach: My Enemy.vm

 

Well we haven't covered anything that deep,
yet, but I think for our interaction to be valid we have to make
some concessions. At least, that's my perspective.

 

Scheming? That's an interesting
adjective.

 

I'm not angry with my father. I've let go of
it. Naturally it saddened me for a long time, but now I rarely
think about it.

 

Today has been quite lazy, some paperwork,
some Internet, some of my American mother, some food, some
self-pleasure, some coffee, some smokes, some reading.

 

Audio attached. My only caveat is that you
delete it by this time tomorrow. I will in turn do the same with
your recording.

 

----------

From: Adam -

Date: Sun, Aug 5, at 3:22 PM

To: Eden E

 

I should be awake for a while.

 

She stared at the audio file Adam had sent
her - "My Enemy" - as though caught in a trance. Then shaking off
the strange paralysis that had gripped her, she clicked on it and
heard Adam's voice for the first time.

 

My Enemy

 

Kissing the cheek of my enemy

Patience, passion, and empathy with myself
because I’ve seen it before

And a massive haze of cigarettes

It’s not a romantic setting

Don’t be hypnotized by this nostalgic
breeze

Walk with prose and a sense of
confession

Demoralizing values in a maze of
depressions

With a belly full of gin and a heart full of
gristle

And an absence of focus

A hastening to reason

Inspired by hatred, inspired by love

The morbid depression that swarms upon the
rivers of blood and gold

The lifetimes of lifeless souls

Young, old, political ignorance

Cold, passionate, yet with open
sentiment

 

Eden’s mouth hung open. She listened to it
again. She accessed her e-mail on her iPod and brought it with her
to the bathroom. She took off her clothes and got in the shower
while Adam read the poem he wrote, letting his words wash over her
bare skin. After she got out, while still dripping wet, she played
it one more time. Then looked at her face in the mirror, which told
her everything.

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