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For the Love of Infatuation

A Pastiche of 'The Great Gatsby'

Photo by Orlova Maria on Unsplash

Outside the wind was loud and there was a faint flow of thunder along the sound. All the lights were going on in West Egg now; the electric trains, men-carrying, were plunging home through the rain from New York. It was the hour of a profound human change, and excitement was generating on the air. Laylie’s voice rang out

“One thing’s sure and nothing surer

The rich get richer and the poor get~children.

In the meantime,

In between time~”

She didn’t know the entire song by heart but she played and sang with such exultation, one soon forgot such a detail. Laylie Wolfsheim was a name wrought with notoriety for gambling and any social injustice you could place on a woman of her status. Everything she had, from her wealth to the way she carried herself, demanded your attention. She was like Gatsby in nearly all ways but one, she wasn’t a criminal. Laylie was often widely discussed, from newspapers to little senile, old women gossiping over cards. Even Gatsby’s rumors, while abundant, seemed minuscule in comparison to the alleged empire of hers. She was a beautiful woman with raven hair cut to her shoulders, caramel skin, and an athletic figure. Those features were lovely but you couldn’t ignore the fact that her eyes screamed, her voice lied, and her smile never climbed to her eyes.

While watching her play, my mind wandered to the book Tom had been talking about, The Rise of the Colored Empires. I suppose the author must have met Laylie, she could topple us all.

As her song ended, I noticed something in her expression. Usually she wore an expression similar to that of Gatsby’s; distant, but now it was full of faint despair.

I saw her sweep herself away from the piano as the last note passed through the air, allowing her silk dress, stained a crimson darker than blood, to flow behind her, and walk towards the doorway. Her footsteps resounded in the air as she vehemently walked. She stopped halfway to the door; expectant and with anticipation, as if a sweet voice was about to beg her to stay. Silence answered her unspoken plea. She looked briefly to Gatsby. He was too absorbed in Daisy to take notice. She shook her head as if to awaken herself and continued.

Daisy was wandering around the room taking in every object as if its existence took precedence in that very moment. Gatsby was following her with his eyes, as I went over to say goodbye. A small smile lingered, but I saw an expression of bewilderment come back into Gatsby’s face, as though a faint doubt had occurred to him as to the quality of his present happiness.

“Goodbye, Gatsby,” I said plainly, not caring if he heard me or not. I had lost all desire to be polite, so I turned towards the door. As I passed the gardens I noticed a speck of red in the pool. I approached and saw Laylie floating apathetically, still clothed in the blood red dress. I glanced at the pool and she laughed, “He hasn’t made use of it all summer, so I thought I would.” She smiled a brilliant but artificial smile.

“Almost five years!” she continued. Her every action, her every word was intentional; calculated. You began to wonder how much planning went into her life, but her words now seemed different. 

They had a different feel as if she had relinquished all prior calculations and spoke aloud and honestly. "There must have been moments even that afternoon when Daisy tumbled short of his dreams." She was sitting on the edge now smiling as if it helped her find all the answers to her problems. She at looked at me searchingly. My expression must have displayed disapproval for she quickly added, “Not through her own fault, but….” she trailed off as she sunk back into the crystal blue water.

“He loves her,” I started, “bought this house just to be near her.” I glanced around his vast and majestic mansion. Laylie looked at me incredulously, “He did a lot more than buy a house for her. I helped him. I made him, everything he has or is or ever will be is because of me. But Daisy, she is the perfect subject of his colossal dream, his illusion! She is all he’ll ever see or want. No amount of fire can challenge what a man will store up in his ghostly heart.” She was standing now, staring at the doorway letting her words fall upon the closed ears of the mansion; upon the deaf ears of Gatsby. She regained her composure and apologized, she commanded me to call upon her anytime I pleased.

“When?” I asked. She looked at me, seeing me for the first time I realized. I realized something else. She was a colored female with more wealth than myself. She was an unstoppable force, the police, reporters, measly gossip; nothing tore her down. But a man that threw parties and reached for green lights could. For some reason this disgusted me, “Whenever,” she said strongly, “Whenever you want. Goodbye Mr. Caraway.” I saw her walk solemnly away from Gatsby’s dream towards her own next door.

I felt a slight pity for Gatsby and Laylie, it had gone beyond them, beyond everything. Their perfect worlds that they had thrown themselves into with such creative passion, adding to it every bright and shiny speck that drifted their way.

Laylie felt Gatsby fit her world of wealth, rumors, and appearance. Daisy was a gracious reminder of a beautiful past. Gatsby and Laylie asked as much as they dreamed and they stomped out the fire of life for the pursuit of a candle. They were lost, remote, possessed by some intense notion. I went into my house out of the rain, leaving them to their infatuation with dreams.

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