"And Caesar's spirit, ranging for revenge,
With Atë' by his side come hot from Hell,
Shall in these confines with a monarch's voice
Cry "Havoc!" and let slip the dogs of war, ...”
Arizona sat all alone at the hotel bar, the storm was over, having blown itself out sometime early that morning. The aftermath, however, was only just beginning. She had checked into the Archfield after Callie had refused to talk to her all day, except to yell--extremely loudly--in front of everyone,about Arizona's indiscretion. After being thoroughly humiliated at work, she decided drinking alone was her best course of action.
So sit and drink she did, stewing in her hurt and anger and humiliation. Running her fingers through her hair, she grabbed ahold and pulled it tight, allowing the pain wash over her. Pain. Pain was good . The physical pain took away all that mental anguish that was trying to crush her brain, even if just for a second. Sighing deeply, she motioned to the bartender for a refill.
She noticed a smartly dressed woman, with medium brown hair and wearing a vintage looking pendant around her neck, approaching her. Her eyes held a mirth that Arizona was in no mood for.
"Hi, my name is A..." the woman started.
"I don't care what your name is. I don't want to know you and I don't want to talk to you." Arizona interrupted. And you don’t want to know me.
"Hey, no need for rudeness. It's just.... I could feel your pain from all the way..." She pointed vaguely over her shoulder in the direction of the restroom. "It was calling to me."
"My pain was calling you? From the toilet?"
"What? No. I was not- I wasn't on the toilet. I was far, far away from... the toilet. “
Arizona managed a garbled chuckle and a serious eye roll.
The stranger raised her eyebrows, “I don't talk to people much. I mean, I talk to them, but they don't talk to me. Except to say, ‘Your questions are irksome’ and ‘Perhaps you should take your drinks and your literal interpretations to the other side of the bar’."
Arizona sighed and turned to stare the woman in the eye. With a slight tilt of her head, she gave her best leave-me-alone look. Bailey would have been proud. “Sounds reasonable to me.”
The woman persisted “I was just trying to be nice, you know. You look sad, and I know what it's like to be hurt by someone.” After a pause, “My fiancée left me at the altar. Then my whole town fell into a sinkhole. Then I kind of… had to, uh… split?” The woman visibly shivered, “For a while."
Arizona blinked, hardening her features once again, but listened. The woman took that as permission to continue.
"Let’s just say, in my line of work, you don’t stay… hmm…“ The woman paused, as if trying to find a suitable word. “ Gone … for very long. So I’ve recently been drafted, along with some newbie drama queen, who thinks she knows it all, back into the ven… er, consultant business. It’s kind of depressing, but the benefits are good.” Arizona stared at the woman, face unreadable. “Oh, I kind of made that all about me, didn’t I? Look, I know we aren't friends. We aren’t even acquaintances. But I do... have ears. Plus, sometimes it's easier with a stranger, right?"
"Ha!" Arizona laughed, covering her face with her hands and rubbing her eyes.
She looked back at the woman and swallowed hard. "I'm the one that did the hurting. I cheated on my wife. Then I blamed her for it." She picked up her drink, gave it a swirl, and downed it. “Yeah, strange women seem to be my ruin."
The woman seemed surprised by this revelation.
"Hmm, that's different. Are you sure your wife didn't cheat on you? Because you are giving off some serious 'woman scorned' vibes."
“Nope. I’m a big ol cheater” Arizona sighed. “That’s me. Betrayer of vows. A one-legged vessel of hatred. Anger and humiliation are my friends.”
“Ok, not my usual turf. First of all, lesbians aren’t my specialty. The new chick, however, is all over them. My services are usually used to make reprisals toward men, but with all the shuffling at headquarters maybe I was the only one available…?” the woman ruminated to herself. She waved her hand in front of her face and shook her head as if to indicate that line of thinking was not for Arizona’s purview. “Anyway,” She continues, “ that level of pain, I can work with.” The woman grinned and took the seat next to Arizona.
“What does that even mean? Are you a shrink or a prostitute?” Arizona asked.
“Something like that. Tell me about your leg. How did you lose it?”
“Don’t you think that’s a little personal?” startled and slightly offended, Arizona openly glared at the woman.
“Well, you brought it up. You can’t just call yourself… what was it? A ‘one-legged vessel of hatred’ and not expect curiosity on my part. I’m only human, after all.”
Arizona looked at the woman, sizing her up and debating whether she could tell a stranger her story. Her thoughts were interrupted when the bartender returned, this time with two drinks.
The woman stared, a slight grin on her face, eyebrows raised. She nodded a bit in encouragement as she waited for Arizona to respond.
Arizona sat, stubbornly refusing to say anything. She fiddled with her drink, picked at the napkin, bit at her nail, then side eyed the woman again. All the while, the stranger sat there… with that face.
Just say it. "Plane crash." Arizona simply stated.
"Oh.” The woman said, sounding slightly disappointed. “Well. That's… surprisingly mundane," the woman exhaled. "I was hoping for something outrageous, like a shark attack, or maybe a bear. Definitely something involving an animal. Are you sure you didn’t poke a bear?"
As the woman continued her musings on any and all animal attacks that could result in loss of limb, Arizona gaped, not sure how to react.
"I'm sorry my trauma isn't traumatic enough for you." Arizona finally replied. "You can leave anytime you like... as a matter fact, why don't you?" At the woman's confused expression, Arizona clarified, "Leave."
“You are an angry one, aren’t you?” the peculiar woman asked. “I’m not leaving until I’ve heard the tragic conclusion. So whose fault was it? Was the pilot drunk? Is that who you’re so angry with? Do you wish he had…?”
“It was no one’s fault. Shit happens…,” Arizona said after a pause, “I would say ‘excuse my language,’ but I don’t really care what you think.”
“Why were you on the plane?”
“Can we not talk about the plane crash? Just… anything but the crash. Please?” Arizona asks.
“Tell me about your wife then. Why did you cheat?" Arizona flinched, waves of anger and remorse pouring off of her. She closes her eyes, trying to get her emotions under control.
"Oh wow. I can feel that," the woman visibly shivered. "It's like my skin is crawling. Why are you so resentful towards her? What did she do to you? Is she a bitch? I bet she’s a real bitch… Oh. My. God.“ she gasped. “She wouldn’t have sex with you because you only have one leg? That’s it, right? No wonder you are so mad at her.” The woman proudly stated, sure she’s hit the nail on the head.
“What? No, she… she loves me. She tried so hard to save it. To save me...”
“What do you mean, to save it? How?” the woman leaned forward eagerly awaiting more.
“She’s a surgeon--an orthopedic surgeon, a rock star. She works miracles.” Arizona muttered, getting emotional, “Every day- she works miracles. Just… not on me.” Arizona sighed, “She promised, you know? She promised me she wouldn’t cut it off, but in the end…”
“She betrayed you.”
“Yes,” Arizona said.
The woman smiled and gestured for the bartender to bring more alcohol. “Tell me more.”
And Arizona did. For the next two hours she talked, and drank, and talked some more. She told the nameless mystery woman her entire life story. She spoke of her childhood, the constant moving, of never making long-term connections and of never needing them. She spoke of her beloved brother and his tragic death, and how her and her family didn’t deal with it. She talked of medical school, old girlfriends, and old dreams.
“I was something, you know? I was going to travel and save kids and not be tied down. I was going to have sangrias. I won a Carter Madison grant. No one does that.” Arizona drunkenly slurred. “I was saving babies in Africa, and now I have one leg, and pain, and everything is so hard. I just want it to not be hard anymore. I just want... something to be different.”
Arizona went quiet. The woman stayed silent, sensing Arizona’s need to reflect.
“I have a daughter,” Arizona continued, “who is amazing. She is such a miracle. And I am ruining her. I am. Me. This person I've become. Filled with anger and self-pity and hate. I'm destroying her life and she isn't even aware of it. She has no idea what I've done. My beautiful sweet baby.” Arizona sobbed. “She'd be better off without me.”
Still the woman waited, not saying a word.
Arizona’s face hardened again. “I'm so angry at the turn my life has taken. It wasn't supposed to be like this. I never wanted any of this. And you know, I think I've finally figured it out... what my problem is….”
The woman turned away, instinctively knowing this is what she’d been waiting for all night.
“It's...Callie.” Arizona fumed, her anger consuming her. “She made me want this. She changed me… it's her fault. None of this would have happened if I didn't love her so much. If I had just stayed in Africa, stayed away from her. I... I wish… I wish I'd stayed in Africa.”
The woman turned back to Arizona, who gasped to see that the stranger’s face had suddenly become very wrinkly, brutal and deformed looking, the embodiment of Anyanka, Patron Saint of all women scorned.