Unheard as they moved through the air, radio waves flowed ceaselessly across the clear sky of Chicago. Hands all over the city pushed tuning buttons or turned nobs as hundreds of radios wandered through the static, searching the airwaves. An occasional sound broke through, of a voice or a fragment of music ,as reception slid across the spectrum. Then finally, all over the city, several radios tuned in to one station, as a lively voice spoke to them from on high.
When a man loves a woman, can't keep his mind on nothing else...
- This is OLYP, Chicago's premiere station for Golden Oldies from the dawn of time. Believe me, some mornings it really feels that way. Here's another blast from the past that still has meaning for today. It could be a dream of what you want, it could be a dream of what you've lost. Either way, heartbreak never goes out of style. No matter who you are...
Trevor wandered the streets in a haze for the rest of the day. He barely noticed as the once clear sky was broken with wisps of cloud pushed by a tumultuous wind. Light and shadows flowed over buildings and streets in rapid succession, a time lapse effect that held no wonder for him. After a few hours, he found himself seated high above the city, not realizing how he had gotten there. But he had been there before.
Resting atop the domed peak of the Chicago observatory, Trevor barely glanced at the hyper-active sky above him. Clouds sped overhead in a blur as he sat motionless, letting the afternoon light quickly shift its angle on his still form. Like a statue he watched the horizon, as the sun sped towards it like a sprinter.
He'll trade the world for the good thing he's found...
Seated before a polished wood conference table in her office building, Claire tried her best to keep her attention on the meeting at hand. Arrayed along the table's edge were the other doctors and administrators of the hospital. As a group they went through her case load, asking questions about each individual patient and assigning them to other therapists. Claire looked down at the patient files stacked before her and noticed the folder with the name Trevor Hale buried several deep.
As the meeting continued, she realized she was distracted, daydreaming, constantly having to stop herself from glancing at Trevor's name. Suddenly she reached out and straightened the pile of folders, covering his file underneath them. Looking up she nodded with the group as they came to some conclusion she hadn't heard about one of her other patients. Calmly, they all removed that file and moved to the next one beneath it. Claire looked out the window as the sun began to set. Bands of orange light fell across her face as they flowed through the window blinds. Claire didn't notice as she brought her hand up to twist Alex's ring around her finger, almost as if it felt uncomfortable there.
When a man loves a woman, Spend his very last dime trying to hold on to what he needs. He'd give up all his comfort, sleep out in the rain, If she said that's the way it ought to be...
It was morning again and the sun sped skywards as quickly as it had gone down the day before. Trevor continued wandering aimlessly, having not gone home. He didn't notice as he crossed before a bus which was forced to screech to a halt. As he approached a sidewalk vendor, one of the fresh flowers for sale in the display began to wilt as he passed. Still, Trevor barely saw much of anything as he continued onward, moving out of sight.
The instant he was gone Champ came down the street, looking all around as if searching for something. He walked up to the street vendor and gave him a description of Trevor, asking if he had seen him. The man shook his head, once again absorbed in the sports section of the newspaper he held. As Champ walked into the morning sunshine, the vendor looked over in surprise at one of his flowers. It had wilted far quicker than the others. Shrugging his shoulders, he plucked it out of the bunch and without a second thought dropped it into his trash can.
The last remnants of the dream began to fade with remembered lips on hers. When Claire opened her eyes, Alex was kissing her in the glow of sunrise. He hugged her explaining that he was in the middle of cooking her a breakfast in bed, and it would be ready in a few minutes. Claire sat up as he darted back to the kitchen, stretching her arms as she tried to wake herself. Inadvertently, her fingers brushed against the flowers on her nightstand. As she looked over at them, one object stood out: a small plastic wand for blowing bubbles that she had placed amongst the blossoms. Tied around it with a ribbon was a small note from Trevor. It read, Jeff Spinna had great taste in women. Claire pulled out the wand and smiled, thinking about Trevor.
Once she realized what she was doing she forced her smile away. Leaning over she dropped the wand and its note into the waste basket beside her nightstand, Grabbing her notebook computer she flipped open its lid and started the word processor, her lips still pursed in annoyance as she thought about Trevor. A little too forcefully, she punched a title into the keyboard. Then, as she read what she'd written, she became uncomfortable. Unhappy with her work, she turned the computer off, replacing it on the nightstand.
Well, this man loves a woman, I gave you everything I had, Trying to hold on to your precious love, Baby, Please don't treat me so bad...
He had finally found him. Champ waited patiently on the observation deck for Trevor to come down from his high perch. Silently, they both watched the clear sunset sky, as it turned orange, then purple, then black. Trevor looked down as Champ waited in the twilight, and he finally climbed off the domed roof. Standing beside each other, they said nothing. But Champ understood, and he placed his hand on Trevor's shoulder in sympathy.
She can bring him such misery... Lovin' eyes can't ever see...
Claire sat across from a darkened table from Alex as two candles flickered between them while they had dinner. Claire's face was silent and downcast, melancholy even. Concerned for her, Alex asked her what was wrong. Giving him a weak smile she told him it was nothing as she poked at her plate.
Trevor wandered through the crowd at Taggerty's without much enthusiasm. One of the regulars who knew him called him over to the dartboard where he handed him a mug of beer and several darts. Trevor played along, having performed the trick a dozen times before. Holding the glass so he could see the reflected dartboard, Trevor took aim and slashed his arm forward. His shot went wide and sunk into the wall, finally coming loose and clattering to the floor.
When a man loves a woman, he can do no wrong...
Holding several boxes in one arm and her computer the other, Claire opened her front door. As the night air rushed across her doorstep she gave Alex a quick kiss, explaining that she had some final packing to do at her office. At least that was what she told herself. Asking her to come home soon, Alex smiled and kissed her again. She nodded and softly closed the door. Turning, Claire leaned her back against it as she looked up at the night sky, desperately searching for a way to snap out of her depression. Sighing, she closed her eyes and waited, twisting the ring on her finger.
Back home at last, Trevor rotated the first bead on his string, pushing it with his finger. He had been talking to Claire on the phone the night that bead had moved over. He hadn't realized that secretly he had hoped that it had moved for Claire and him, and not for the other couple he had tried to set up that week. Now it seemed that couldn't be true. Trevor sat down and looked out his bedroom window at the city glittering beyond like stars in a night sky. A sky that gave no solace, and offered no answers. Trevor bowed his head in silence as he closed his eyes.
Yes when a man loves a woman, I know exactly how he feels, 'Cause baby, baby, baby, you're my world...When a man loves a woman.
All across Chicago the song cadenced and ended. Several hundred fickle hands reached for several hundred nobs and buttons. Already they began to turn the channel, searching the airwaves to see what else was on.
The hallways of Claire's office building were empty and echoing, since most of the others who worked there had gone home long before. As Claire walked down the hallway towards her office, boxes and her laptop shoved under her arms, she was surprised to see Jaclyn behind the reception desk. Jaclyn looked up as Claire approached, working on several papers under the glow of a desk lamp.
"Dr. Allen. I thought you had left already."
"Hello, Jaclyn. Yes I did. I went home to have dinner with Alex. But I needed to come back to do some last minute packing. I didn't expect to see you still here. I'm getting a nagging suspicion that you work too hard."
"We all do, Dr. Allen. I was trying to get your records organized before you leave. And I was working on... well, some application letters and my resume."
Claire nodded, sympathiz"Well, if you ever need another dozen glowing letters of recommendation, you can always count on me. I, better than anyone, know how invaluable you are. And... if you ever find yourself in New York, you'll always have a job in my office. I promise."
"No. I'd prefer to stay here. Besides, you'll need someone to keep an eye on Trevor," Jaclyn smiled.
Claire's smile bounced back incomplete, a mixture of caring and sadness passing across her face as she spoke. "I'm sure you will, Jaclyn. I know how much you care about him. He's lucky to have a friend like you."
Jaclyn motioned between them. "Like the both of us, Dr. Allen."
"I suppose. Like both of us. We're certainly more than he deserves, aren't we? Anyway, I'm not going to be your boss much longer. Please, no more Dr. Allen, OK? Call me Claire."
"Claire." Jaclyn's smile widened even further.
Claire noticed her reaction and felt touched. Putting her things down on the reception desk between them she quickly stepped around it and gave Jaclyn a warm hug. Jaclyn returned it, sensing the sadness in Claire's shoulders, a sadness brought on by more than Claire's feelings towards her.
"Dr. Allen, is something wrong?"
"No. Nothing." Claire pulled back. "I'm just going to miss you, that's all."
Jaclyn's brow furrowed in concern. She could hear it in Claire's voice despite what she said. Something was bothering her. But she realized that Claire didn't want to talk about it.
"Do you know if Dr. Greely is still in the building?" Claire asked, ignoring Jaclyn's worried look.
"I think I saw him a few minutes ago. They all had a late board meeting."
"Well, I needed to give him..." Claire searched through her boxes until she pulled out a vanilla envelope, handing it to Jaclyn, "my official letter of resignation. Could you run that over to his office for me? I should do it myself, but I'm just... not in the mood to face him right now."
Jaclyn looked down sadly at the envelope she held. It felt solid and real in her hands, reinforcing the fact that Claire was actually leaving. "Sure," she said.
"Thank you. Thank you very much." Claire picked up her things and opened the door to her office. Jaclyn's hand on her shoulder stopped her.
"Dr. Allen..., I mean Claire?"
"Trevor's going to miss you too."
Claire smiled and sniffed once. "Thanks, Jaclyn." She moved into her office as Jaclyn softly closed the door behind her. Somehow she knew Claire needed to be alone. With one more glance between the folder she held and Dr. Allen's name on her door, Jaclyn turned and moved down the empty hallway, heading for the director's office.
As Jaclyn approached Dr. Greely's office, she saw that his secretary had gone home for the evening. The reception desk before his door was deserted. A voice leaked into the hallway through a sliver of open space from the office door, slightly ajar. Moving closer, Jaclyn realized the director was on the phone, talking with someone. Uncertain she should interrupt, she paused, listening to gauge the importance of the call.
"Yes, we've just come to our conclusion tonight," the director was saying. "All the rest of Dr. Allen's case load has been re-assigned. And though she may protest when she hears of our decision, we've given his case over to you. Well... considering his continued delusional state and his resistance to conventional therapy, we all felt that a more physiological approach was called for. No... I'll tell her in the morning. No need to ruin her evening. yes, I'm sure you'll be able to help him. After all, Trevor is an ideal candidate for your drug. I'll send all of Mr. Hale's files over to your office tomorrow, Dr Frechette. Yes, thank you. Goodbye."
Jaclyn stood there stunned as she listened in the darkened hallway. There had been nights away from the office, usually at Taggerty's across the street, when in a more relaxed setting Claire had told her of the dangers of Dr. Frechette's drug. Claire had always done everything she could to keep Trevor out of Frechette's clutches. This would crush her. Infuriate her. Jaclyn had to tell her immediately. She turned and headed back to Claire's office, running.
Halfway there she stopped, growing more panicked by the second as she considered it. In all honesty, what could Dr. Allen really do? As of tomorrow, or tonight if she delivered that letter, Trevor was no longer her patient. Once she left for New York, there was nothing preventing Dr. Frechette from using his drug. It was too late to stop it. Only one solution came to mind. Trevor. She had to warn Trevor. Jaclyn turned again and ran back the way she had just come, towards the front door. Hopefully, Claire would take a while to notice she was gone.
At the water cooler outside his office, Dr. Greely stepped back after having taken a drink. Turning just as Jaclyn came running past, she forced him to scramble to get out of her way. He heard a quick "sorry", but she didn't stop. Wondering who it was who had almost run him down, he watched as she sped down the hallway. Wasn't that Dr. Allen's assistant? Why were things always so...off, in that office? Oh well, he thought. Dr. Allen was a gifted psychologist. The hospital was sorry to lose her. He turned back to his office.
Jaclyn finally burst through the front doors and into the night air. She paused as she thought to herself, wondering if she was crazy for doing this. She realized she wasn't. This had to work. She had to save the god of love. Not crazy at all.
Trevor rose from where he sat by the window as he quickly moved through Champ's darkened apartment towards the front door. Someone was outside knocking on it loudly, frantically even. He was in a hurry to make it stop.
"Wait, I'm coming already! Don't get you're toga in a knot! Don't strangle your-" He pulled the front door open and Jaclyn immediately rushed in, out of breath as if she had been running.
"Trevor! I've come to warn you!"
"Jaclyn, calm down. What is it?"
"You can't stay here, Trevor! Whatever you do you can't let them do it!"
"I can't stop them, Jaclyn. they're determined to get married and there's nothing I can--"
"No, that's not it! I'm talking about the hospital, Trevor! They've assigned you to another therapist!"
"Yeah, I know. Claire told me they would. What bozo did they dredge up from the shallow end of the fun pool to try to--"
"Trevor, listen to me!" She grabbed his shoulders, frantic. "They gave you're case to Dr. Frechette! Thorax-B? Do you recognize that?"
"Dr. Fre... he got my case?" His voice sounded like it was unthinkable.
"Yes! They're going to fill you up with that drug! You can't let them, Trevor." Jaclyn was still trying to catch her breath.
"Well... there's no way Claire would let them."
"Trevor, she doesn't even know. I was just at director Greely's office when I overheard. They've made their decision and they don't care what Claire thinks."
Trevor felt his hopes disappear. All of them. His voice sounded fatalistic, empty. "Then there's not much I can do about it, Jaclyn."
"Can't you use some of your..." Jaclyn jiggled her hands in the air to indicate his godly powers.
Trevor couldn't help but smile. "No. I've got nothing down here except what everyone else has. There's no trump card in the deck."
Jaclyn looked into his eyes, still frightened.
"What?" he whispered.
"You've got to run! Leave! Go to another city. Don't let them find you, don't let them do this to you! We both know we're not crazy! Well... maybe you do. It's the only way, Trevor."
"But how am I supposed to match up a hundred couples if I go into hiding?" Jaclyn would have laughed is she hadn't been so concerned. He was persistent to the end. "And I'd never get to see Claire again..." his voice trailed off, more concerned about the latter than the former.
"That doesn't matter, Trevor! She'll be in New York and you'll be in a padded room! All that matters is that you're OK."
"So I should... run." It sounded too simple as he said it.
"Yes! Far away! As far as you can..." Jaclyn was desperate.
"OK," he said resolute. "OK. I'll do that. I'll run so far that they'll never find me."
"Look, I'm sure Champ will help you out, Trevor. The three of us should be able to find a way to get you safely out of Chicago. Where is he, anyway?"
"At work. He ends his shift in about half an hour."
"Fine. I came straight over here when I heard, but I've got to get back to the office to tell Claire."
"That's not a good idea, Jaclyn."
"But she has to know, Trevor. At least for a chance to say goodbye."
"We've already said goodbye. And if you told her, what's stopping her from calling the police to grab me before I escape?"
"You know she wouldn't do that." Jaclyn sounded surprised he had even suggested it.
"I know... she wouldn't. But what could she do instead? Help me leave? Keep her silence? That wouldn't look very good to her superiors at Lakeview, or wherever she ends up in New York. Either could cost Claire her job. No. She's taken enough risks for me already. Don't tell her. There's nothing she can do that wouldn't end up hurting her, and I don't want to do that, Jaclyn. Neither do you. Claire can't stop this anyway."
"Fine, Trevor. Just promise me you'll leave. Tonight."
"I promise," he smiled. "They'll never find me."
Jaclyn nodded. "I need to get back to the office before Claire gets suspicious. I'll come back to help the second she leaves." Jaclyn turned towards the front door.
Trevor grabbed her elbow and pulled her into his arms for a hug. Jaclyn blinked as she found herself there, a place she'd imagined and dreamed of. She hugged him back as she had always wanted to, closing her eyes to capture that cherished sensation. To capture a moment she would never forget.
"I'll miss you, Jaclyn."
She laughed. "Yeah, I've been getting that a lot today."
Jaclyn broke the embrace and hurried out as Trevor closed the door quietly behind her. He nodded to himself in the darkness of the apartment. "They'll never find me," he said.