Repressed memories of a murder leads to a lifelong obsession. Elliot Chan was just a toddler when it all went down, but now that he’s all grown up, he’s searching for the missing pieces. He’s searching for his mother, the woman in the green cocktail dress.
Elliot Chan – The Woman in the Green Cocktail Dress
By Rock Kitaro
“When I count to ten, I want you to open your eyes. Tell me what you see. Elliot, open your eyes. Tell me what you see.”
“It’s dark. Like nighttime. There’s a light to my left. TV’s on. Everything’s grainy with blurred lines like the Zepruder film but I see the semblance of an American flag. I’m sitting low to the floor. I don’t like this.”
“It’s okay, Elliot. It’s okay. Don’t be afraid. This is why we’re here. Confront this. You’re not alone.”
I was sitting back with my eyes close but my mind open. Palms were sweaty. I didn’t want to see it but she was right. It would never end if I didn’t go through with it.
“Tell me what you see,” she prodded.
“I see a fat man sitting in a lazy boy. Right in front of me. In a white tee shirt, black pants, and a large belly. He’s bleeding. He’s bleeding out. He’s twitching. The handle of a knife is sticking out of his chest and I’m just sitting there watching. What is this? Who is he?”
“I’m not doing anything! I’m just sitting there. It’s the same as before! Nothing’s changed.”
“Keep watching!” She urged.
Even with eyes close, tears came through.
“Wait…” I said, almost in a gasp of relief. “Someone just walked by. Long calves in a green dress. High heels glistening from the TV light. I smell her, her scent, her perfume as she just walked by. Dude, she is stunning. That dress, looks like she just came back from a cocktail party or something.
“She’s walking towards the man on the love seat. She’s standing there. The man, he’s struggling to look up at her. I can hear him. He’s wheezing. I don’t know what he’s saying. Oh! She just grabbed the knife! She’s shoving it deeper into his chest. Oh my god! What the hell is this! He tumbled back! She literally just shoved the knife so hard that he fell out of the chair. She’s screaming. Stabbing him over and over again! Dude, she’s stabbing the hell out of him! I can’t do this!”
“This is messed up!”
“You’ve come so far, Elliot! See it through. You’re the only one who can!”
“There’s nothing… She stopped. She’s getting up, standing over the man’s body. Damn…There’s blood everywhere. It’s pooling around her heels. She’s walking my way. I see the knife. It’s drenched. I can’t make out her face. The TV light, it’s not enough. I’m looking up at her. Long dark hair. Her hand’s clenching the knife. It’s completely drenched as if she just dipped into a can of paint.”
“Don’t be afraid.”
I couldn’t tell if it was Dr. Wilkerson or the woman in the green dress who just told me that.
“Go on, Elliot.”
“She drops the knife. It hits the hard surface floor. She’s walking away. I turn to watch her go but I can’t see her anymore. She entered darkness. I just hear the clacking heels fading in the distance.”
“And the knife?” Dr. Wilkerson asked.
“I don’t pick it up. I don’t do anything. I just sit there. Like a dumbass.”
Finally, I opened my eyes to the white popcorn ceiling. Dr. Wilkerson’s nodding, seemingly proud of my accomplishment. Odd. I didn’t feel accomplished. I didn’t feel fulfilled and I for damn sure didn’t feel satisfied.
“How do you feel?” She asked.
“Not good, doc. Not good at all.”
“Before we entertain the possibility that this actually happened, is there any chance you saw this before? On TV or in a movie?”
“Ma’am, I saw Scarface and Goodfellas when I was six. This doesn’t even compare.”
“Where are you going? You have thirty minutes left in the session.”
“Doc, I really appreciate everything you’ve done. Really, today was truly a breakthrough. I’ll follow up next week. I promise.”
I was halfway out the door when she tugged me by the sleeve and said with caring, compassionate eyes, “You really do need to talk about what you saw.”
“Ma’am, I just did.”
This all began because of the reoccurring nightmares that decided to hit not long after I enrolled into film school. I understood the neighborhood of Chelsea tended to have that affect on impressionable artists but this was different. New York was supposed to be the place where I could shed off the past and begin anew. But no matter where I went. The unanswered questions lingered like a chronic illness, like a sore throat. There’s no vaccination for what I had.
I was walking past the eclectic boutiques of hipster vibes when I felt the vibration in my pocket. It was Marvin, my father, giving me a call.
“Hey, how’d it go?” He asked.
I heaved a little sigh before changing directions on a course for Washington Square. It’s a park in the Village known for its ripoff of the Arc de Triumph, but ideal for self-reflection amongst the shaded trees, the exquisite monuments and a lovely central fountain. Twas still early in the day, so I didn’t expect it to be noisy or packed.
“Dad…I have to ask you something and I think it’s about time.”
He’s groaned. I got the feeling he knew exactly where this conversation was headed.
“Dad…who are my real parents?”
After a long pause, he said, “Elliot, I think its time you come home.”
“Yep. Was thinking the same.”