Love Lies Bleeding

By: Meghan Ciana Doidge

CHAPTER ONE

Pamela's Bedroom, Vancouver Suburbia — Morning





Rain relentlessly lashed the normally pretty city. Majestic mountain and ocean views were completely obscured by heavy cloud. The sky’s endless weeping dampened joy and drained despair down street corner storm drains. Snow would have been a relief, a comforting blanket, but today, there would be no quarter. Today, love would be tested.

    And how could love triumph against such a bleak onslaught?

•••••••••

Pamela, her shiny, light-brown hair pulled back in an elaborate French twist, stared out the paned-glass of her bedroom window. Rain speckled the glass, creating shadow tears on her creamy, otherwise unblemished cheek. Pamela was thirty-one years old, but looked to be at least four years younger. She was a Taurus, but didn’t know much about astrology beyond the fact that she supposedly had a predilection for artistry. To that end, she used to be a graphic designer, but today she felt like she wasn’t anything at all.

    The gray day did very little to illuminate the pretty pink and white space behind Pamela. Even the silky fabric twined around the canopy bed was lackluster and drab. A mournful song by Sarah McLachlan, Hold On, played from a laptop situated on a white-painted antique makeup table to Pamela’s left. The music — a song she’d heard played live at the Royal Theatre during her university years — only emphasized the heavy though resigned mood surrounding Pamela. The concert had been a date early on with Grady. Pamela had been so tired she’d slept through the opening act, but once Sarah started to sing, she’d been wide awake. The same couldn’t be said now, as she stood unblinking, statue-still until the song finished.

    The silence was heavier than the music.

    Pamela shifted her gaze, her movement sparse and precise, to the DVD tray of the laptop. A disc titled, Pamela & Grady Are Getting Married sat in the tray. The laptop was decorated with a pink-flowered, japanese cherry tree inspired skin. Grady had burned this particular DVD for his mother, but Pamela doubted anyone would ever watch it now.

    Pamela pressed the tray ever so lightly. It closed, swallowing the DVD within it.

    A video began to play on the laptop. A lightly graying, but more elegant for it, woman appeared on the screen. The woman, Valerie, who happened to be Pamela’s mother, smiled for the camera and enthusiastically began her narration. “So this is the story of how Grady and Pamela met and came to be married. To hear Grady tell it, it was love at first sight …”

    A blood-red rose bouquet, long ivory gloves, and a silk chiffon veil were laid out on the frilly double bed. A heart-shaped, ruffle-edged pillow bearing the initials P&G occupied the center spot of the mound of white-cotton-sheathed pillows lining the head of the bed.

    Pamela turned away from the window, away from the laptop. Carefully raising the skirt of her ivory wedding gown, she crossed to the bed. Her dress also happened to be decorated in Japanese-inspired cherry blossoms. In fact, three pink poof flowers were tastefully clustered at the waistband. Pamela was in no way Japanese; she just had a thing for pink flowers. She slowly, painfully slowly, dragged a glove off the bed. Even more slowly, if it was at all possible, she pulled it onto one arm.

    On the laptop, Valerie continued to tell her story. “Pamela was on a blind date at a hockey game, and the date wasn’t going well. Grady and a couple of friends were seated in front … was it in front or behind? Behind, then he would have had a clear view of Pamela.”

    Pamela fumbled with the pearl buttons at her wrist. Her hands weren’t shaking, just uncooperative. She was aware on some deep, almost unacknowledged, level that she wasn’t exactly doing well. She couldn’t even really feel the fabric of the glove, though it was a slim fit. This wasn’t at all how any of this was supposed to be. She’d spent years planning for this day. Practically enacting the sequence of events, collecting pictures in a wish box, and generally dreaming. She’d known the first moment she kissed Grady that he was hers forever. She reached for the second glove.