Monday, October 6, 2008
A History Mystery: Day Five / Part Two
The Personal Journals of Morgan Victoria Beauchamp
Tuesday, October 28,
The day after my birthday finds me groggy, restless, itchy, and de-energized… and alone again, it seems.
Apparently I had more to drink than I thought. When Mattias woke me by pounding on my door, I was in no mood be awakened. With a pounding head and body that ached, and didn’t want to move, I barely managed to pull on an oversized T-shirt before answering the door. At Mattias’ stare, I put my hand to my throat and discovered the necklace still in place. No time to explain on my part, or gawk on his, he shooed me into a fast shower and then threw jeans, a turtleneck and a sweater through the bathroom door. In short order, we were in his Toyota and somehow he managed to avoid a speeding ticket getting back to campus. Later, he explained, my pale appearance worried him which was why, after shoving me into the lecture hall, he came back with a quart of hot coffee and sat off to the side. Normally he doesn’t attend the seminars, but it was sweet he watched over me. Unnecessary, but sweet, nonetheless.
Also thanks to Mattias’ foresight, I was able to get the discussion started based on my class notes. A good grad student assistant is certainly worth their weight in gold. I have to find a way to give him a bonus for Christmas. Or the way I feel tonight, possibly my job once he’s completed his doctorate.
I’m not entirely sure where this listlessness is coming from. I didn’t drink that much alcohol last night. And the lovemaking was invigorating, not draining. As I sit here at Café du Monde, hoping Jean Baptiste will find me tonight – can you believe we haven’t exchanged phone numbers or email addys? It seems so surreal to be in a modern relationship without a hot text or two to get me through the day – I feel my energy returning, but I’m also slightly depressed.
I’m still wearing the necklace and in touching it, I can feel the touch of my lover, but I wish for him to be here touching me now. Of course, my sweater is hiding it. It wouldn’t do to advertise such an obscene amount of money around my neck. I love this city, but I’m not fool enough to believe I’m immune to muggers who would attack me for my cell phone let alone a laptop or a valuable piece of jewelry.
And just where is my lover tonight? It’s almost as if I can sense him watching from a distance. Is he hiding behind the bushes? Is he in the shadows? Or is it merely my imagination? Most likely. He stumbled out of my bed so fast as dawn approached, I wouldn’t be surprised if he was half way to New York by now. Is my self-pity clear enough for you, Papa?
So, in order to redirect my thoughts, I’ve turned to the journal of Jean Baptiste the pirate. At least he is still with me, even if his present day counterpart has chosen to do the conquer-and-run routine. Oddly enough, the journal seems easier to read tonight. There’s a bit here I hadn’t discovered before. It seems he had a lady he loved enough to give up the sea for. Constance. Such a romantic my pirate was. I’m able to eke out details of their meeting, at a ball he hosted. The closely cloistered lady managed to escape the watchful eye of her uncle and they met in a most decadent clandestine manner. Most suitable for the pirate he was. So, what went wrong?
I’ve spent most of the night deciphering just the first few pages. My head is pounding and the noise of the café seems so loud tonight. The streets are absolutely teeming with early Halloween celebrants. And my other senses seem over bright tonight. I was actually scrambling for sunglasses this afternoon. Fortunately Mattias was willing to loan me his pair and when I hit the Quarter, I found a shop where I bought huge, super dark, Jackie O sunglasses. The fragrance of the coffee and beignets is keeping the more unglamorous odors of the streets at bay for now. Surely the remaining dregs of my hangover.
I’m distracted again. So, Jean Baptiste of 1761 fell in love. If I’m reading it right, he spent several weeks courting her and working up to the idea of marriage. Which probably led to the idea of breaking it off with the Jamaican mistress. A wise plan. Had he begun courting me, I’d have expected the strumpet on the side to be history in a very fast way. Like, immediately.
As fascinating as this is, and truly, this find is historic and momentous, I hate that I’m distracted by my body’s longing for my lover. I’m also cold, so sitting inside and drinking coffee is helping somewhat, but I want to be outside where I’m more visible should he be looking for me. I can’t believe I didn’t get a phone number, a business card, an email, a website, a MySpace… some way to contact him! Was that his plan all along? Stalk me until I fell into bed with him and then leave me? Is the necklace payment for the night? Am I only a whore to him? Granted, he did me the honor of making me feel very high class about it - I must get this necklace appraised - but still. I’m not a whore and damn him for making me feel like one!
Just the thought makes me want to rip off this collar and toss it into the river. Let some dredger pull it up years from now and wonder at the mystery of where it came from. The thought almost makes me giggle. As a historian, anthropologist, and part time archeologist, I can just imagine what sort of tizzy such a find would stir up. Jewelry is not my forte, but I will get it appraised tomorrow and then find a way to return it to him. At least if he’s going to pay me, I’d like some sort of idea of how much he values me and my services. A disgusting thought, is it not, for an academic like me?
Oh how my mind wanders…
There, I’ve just put another two hours into interpreting this gobbledygook of French, English, Spanish and dialects of several other languages in between. Constance was most important to our buccaneer swain. So much so, that he’s heading out on his ship, the Gilded Lady, tomorrow to make one last run to his mistress. It seems he plans to tell Diabolique things are over between them. And then his crew is next. He’ll proctor an election for a new captain then return to New Orleans to begin life as a gentleman farmer with the proceeds he’s gained from his years of privateering. I wonder, did he tell Constance that he was leaving her for a time and why?
I really must get this journal authenticated. I’ll task Mattias with that chore tomorrow. More than anyone else, he can be trusted, and there are some grad students in that department who would love to do him a favor. Why doesn’t he see how the younger ladies lie in wait for him? I’m old enough to have been his babysitter for crying out loud. Is he one of those men who fantasized about a hot affair with their nubile teen sitters? I suppose I never told you, Papa, how Mr. Milowiki tried to cop a feel each time he drove me home after sitting with those demon twins he and his wife cooed over. You probably would have killed him, I imagine.
And now I circle right back to where I started my evening, wondering where Jean Baptiste is. Does he, too, have a mistress to set free? Or am I the mistress? The endless spirals of speculation are driving me batty. I have research to do and I’ve allowed myself to be distracted by a man who loved me last night and left me alone this night. Was I so terrifying? Does he have a wife who caught him sneaking in the door?
Ah, Papa, I wish you were here to advise me. What goes through a man’s mind at a time like this?