She told me that her favorite song was “Again” by Lenny Kravitz. Her voice was a soft whisper in my ear, and her body a softer one beside mine, separated only by the arm of one chair and every fear that glistened in her eyes. We were both high on more than weed, and we were both exhausted, and we weren’t alone, but we might as well have been. The laughter of the other’s around us, their jokes and their back-slapping camaraderie merely added to our isolation. They were no different than the moon flitting in and out of the swaying branches of the trees above, and the moths and the candles locked in their deadly tango. The night it seemed, and all its children were there for us, and for us alone.
Or at least, it was so in my mind.
Now it’s the following day and I’m listening to the song, again and again. “All of my life, where have you been? I wonder if I’ll, ever see you again. And if that day comes, I know we could win. I wonder if I’ll, ever see you again.” And I wonder about a girl who could love those lines so much. Where every pleasure was deferred, every wish was killed by negativity before it could ever take flesh. The search for the perfect love, the finding of it, only to cast it back into the wind hoping life and destiny and chance bring it back into your arms again. It’s a great song, but a sad one. How you can meet someone completely amazing and yet you can let them pass you by without saying…anything. Then you wonder why you never meet anyone truly amazing. How could I have let last night pass me by without fulfilling it’s promise? How could I have been so stupid?
I wanted her that night, from mind to body, follicle to toenail, but I did nothing. And she wanted me, inexplicably to her and to me, and hesitantly for sure because she didn’t trust that part of herself that was drawn to me, and she trusted the world not at all. So she pushed herself away from me, from the table full of kindly laughing faces, and away from that night of seductive shadows. She pushed herself away with a snapped “Good night” and fled down the hallway. The moths flitted after her, drawn by the dying heat between her and me. She pushed herself away, and locked herself away in her room, alone and wondering. And I sat outside, with my laughing happy friends and felt myself seized by the oddest mixture of rage and sadness and lust and loneliness.
I remember us, and our canted postures, our breaths doing what our mouths wished to, our hands finding reasons to brush up against each other. It was our last chance for a dance; our last night together before the world intruded and work took us away. And we did nothing. I sit alone now, drinking teas of regret, while she lies in her room, surrounded by friends and familiar things. I wonder if her thoughts are straying, stumbling their way towards me. I know they are not, why would they? She is a woman that ever will ask “Why”, never “Why ever not?”
But what galls me is my restraint, my petulant insistence that the next move be hers. The things I could have said, the things I should have done, all carefully and brightly wrapped in my mind, of no use now. Just extra clutter in that room we all have in our heads, the room full of things we never said. Mine’s more a mansion than a room now.
It amazes me how much we think we’ve matured, become scarred veterans of this bloody war of the sexes. Then lightning strikes and we’re left just as blind and scared as we were the first time it struck. How pathetic this must sound? How weak and despondent? I’m writing now to turn my face away from the mirror. I don’t need seven years of bad luck. I’m writing because my disgust must not be allowed to ruin the fragile castle of patience and faith I have erected. I’m writing because out in the real world, I feel like a coward of words.