“Do you want to talk about it?” Levi asked with his sandwich inches from his mouth.
Did she want to use the dull steak knife she cut the sandwiches with to open up a vein and bleed out in front of him? It would be about the equivalent. She never talked about her early life. Mary and Roy were the only two people who pried a few facts from the bottomless abyss where she hid her past. To confess to the emptiness in her life, growing up unloved and unconnected would make her a pitiful character. It might appear as if she was trying to solicit attention or sympathy when she wanted neither.
Instead of replying to her emphatic statement, Levi bit into his sandwich consuming it in four good-sized bites. Her chair squeaked across the tile, as she jumped up to make him another one. She busied herself with placing the meat on the bread. Her back was to Levi, which was a good thing because he saw too much. His eyes were like some mutant superhero's, but instead of seeing through her, he saw into her, the secret needy side that she worked so hard to hide from everyone. As Melody Gibbons, hospice nurse, she was an unremarkable, efficient professional. Few people ever questioned the person behind the job title.
“What are you doing woman?”
Levi’s words stopped her, especially the woman part. Slowly, she turned and bathed Levi in an icy stare. “I believe we discussed my name before. I have one. It’s Melody and I’m making you a sandwich.”
A grin crossed Levi’s face. “I knew the woman part would get you.”
Putting down the cheese, she put her hands on her hips. “So you’re out to bait me. Is this a game you men like to play with us women?” She emphasized the last word.
He shrugged his shoulders as his eyes glittered with amusement. “I can’t say about any other men. I’ve never tried it on anyone else, but you. It cracks the glass shell you wrap around yourself. Tell me, Melody, do you object to being called woman because it reminds you’re a living, breathing female.”
Her breath caught for a second as she forced herself to exhale normally. Was he implying that she was attracted to him? They both knew the answer to that. Not a subject she wanted to address, so she went with a different approach, when in doubt stay as close to the truth as possible when answering. “I dislike woman because it is so generic. It makes me not an individual, but just another woman without a face or identity. Any woman would do. Woman, go get me my coffee that sort of thing. Growing up in foster homes, my name was usually girl, new girl or that girl. Could be the reason behind why I resent it.”
Levi took a long drink making her wondering if he’d even heard her. It would serve her better if he hadn’t. At least, she hadn’t tacked on that often she wondered if she even had a name since no one ever used it. When her mother left she packed Melody’s identity in her flowered suitcase before she vanished with her latest man. Couldn’t refer to herself as Jill’s daughter since Jill was no longer around.