mynewplace: (Default)
He argued with himself with every step – down the corridor, standing in the elevator, turn the corner, now which hallway is it?   He could attribute memory loss to his chemical indulgence all he wanted, but in reality he was just selective; he remembered what he wanted to remember and nothing more. If I pick the wrong hall then I won’t do it. Simple as that... an easy out...  oh hell, there’s her name plate. He stood for long minutes, breathing deeply as he steadied his nerves. Hand in pocket, the “studied casual” look, and just a few quick strides had him past the partition, while she glanced up at the sound of footsteps on her carpet.
She was mesmerized by the sight of him standing there as if he stood there every day. She rose from her chair, her eyes questioning – fortunate because she was incapable of speech. He knew he had to look her in the eye to say it, but meeting her gaze caused a hole to form in his gut, expanding until it seemed to eat him up.
“How you been?” He glanced away. That was too casual.
“Fine.” Her voice quavered, but he couldn’t look up again. If she cried, he’d have to leave. She was sucking her lower lip, fighting tears, watching his eyes scan her bookshelves, her carpet, her back wall - anything to keep from looking ‘up’.
He finally raised his eyes, but had to look away again. She waited, a small snort of frustration her only concession to her feelings. One more time, he tried to look her in the eye.
“I’ve missed you.” He watched her eyes fill with tears as she replied “I’ve missed you too,” while she searched his face for some evidence of why he was torturing himself this way.
A few seconds of that green intensity was all he could bear. He leaned against the wall, while he over-analyzed the carpet.
“I told myself I didn’t… I never thought I would. I don’t really understand it, but it won’t go away.”
“I know.” She whispered. “Me too.” 

His head hung, and she stumbled on.
“I know how hard it is to admit that you were wrong. And I’m sorry that I abandoned you.” Too late – the tears escaped. But he was trapped now, held tight by paralyses of guilt, regret and fear.
“No. I’m the one who’s sorry. I pushed you away.”
“Yes. But you always do that. If you hadn’t verbally beaten me, I think I could have stood it.” 

She always made him chuckle.
He was acutely aware that the hallway was empty. He walked toward her, until her ass was pressed against her desk, and his hand was resting on the surface, by her hip. He looked down into those eyes again, and she held her breath, gaze widened with surprise.
“Kiss me.” He whispered, inches from her lips.
“No.” She held his gaze, suddenly sure of herself and her place.
“Kiss me.” He whispered, deeper this time, in that tone of voice he knew she loved.
Her eyes lost focus, her lids dropped as she sighed before she returned his gaze again.
“No.” And he saw there, as he’d seen so many nights before, that something in her face that said ‘I need so much from you, what will you give?’
“Why won’t you kiss me?” his breath caressed her cheek as he leaned slightly closer, shifting his hips to barely press hers. “You know you want to.”
“Because you don’t care about me. So why should I show you how much I care about you?”
“Show me.” He breathed.
“I’ve shown you my heart, but you refuse to see.” Her back arched and her hips grew wanton. “It’s time for you to prove yourself to me.”
That kiss should have been cold and unresponsive.
The desk shifted as her eyes closed and she felt that familiar softness brush against her mouth. His lips so fully matched her own that ‘Our mouths were made for one another’ flitted through her mind before perfect silence erased all thought. Each individual nerve ending sparked to life until her skin ached for contact and her blood pounded in protest against its venous restraint. Finally, finally her body melted in relief as he relented and pressed his thigh against hers, shifting his hand to her waist to pull her closer while she wrapped herself around him and let the darkness fill her body from her soul outward. In all her years of searching, no one had ever matched that kiss, and the realization pulled tears from the corners of her eyes as he gently pulled away.

The Blues

May. 1st, 2006 05:55 pm
mynewplace: (JimLuv)
I'm alone on a Saturday night, melancholy because I ache with longing whenever he's not around, and ache with the knowledge that I might never be allowed tell him so. He surprises me with a phone call, and I smile at the molasses in his voice that indicates he's very mellow - "half-baked". He's rambling about the usual; music and movies and his friends, but also about what a great time we had last night, and I sense that he's called because he's still feeling traces of the connection. I listen for probably an hour, curled up into a corner of my sofa, joking around with him until he's ready to hang up the phone. He hears the hesitation in my voice, and asks me if I want to say something.
And I ask if I can come over. The question alone is a huge step for me, because I cannot bear to invite myself anywhere, and I'm holding my breath, waiting to determine his reaction from the tone of his voice even more than the actual words he will say. He doesn't realize the magnitude of my action, and graciously acquiesces to my request. I can sense his gentle mood of indulgence toward me, and it eases my anxiety.
The room is dark, the way I like it. It's cool, and he's rearranged the furniture so that we can better see the television. I take my place on the sofa, a bit further away than usual. He needs his space tonight, and I'm more than willing to give it to him - I don't want to disturb the bond of friendship between us.
I have my first taste of Diana Krall in this room, on this night. My initial jealousy, based on his blatant infatuation with the woman is overwhelmed as I slide into her music, and I begin to feel the instruments resonate within my mind. I am enthralled as I stare at the screen while she performs. His commentary, pointing out various nuances in her technique builds on my own knowledge of music and I begin to feel my pulse shift, easing into the rhythm from her bass player. I'm feeling the marijuana take effect in my arms and legs, and it wraps gentle hands around my skull, massaging my scalp. The room grows darker as my pupils dilate in the glow of the television, and I can barely move my head to glance at him from the corner of my eye. He is completely under her spell, but the magic that has woven itself throughout my bones is a combination of him, the pot, and the music. Each influence pulls my mind in a different direction, and I unconsciously allow the music, and the video, to manipulate my mind, while the marijuana works my body over.
Five notes.
There is a five-note bass riff that has carried the blues through the mists of musical time - and when I hear it, my mind is immediately transported to a smoky, dark club where some amalgam of every blind black blues guitarist has blended into one soulful soothsayer, one gravel-voiced troubadour who is indistinguishable as he sits on a stool in the center of a stage, a solitary light illuminating his grizzled head. Five notes, repeated, with a subtle two-note rhythm in the back beat, and my body immediately responds, anticipating each measure as my eyes close and my hips sway, and my shoulders develop that swagger that is only brought to life by the blues.
I'm curled in a ball on the sofa when those five notes are first struck, and unthinkingly my body begins to elongate, my legs stretch out and I slide down in my seat. My eyelids are at half-mast, barely responding as I smile in his general direction. There's a sentence forming in my head, and the hemped-up influence forces me to think and re-think, and AGAIN re-think it before I can force the words out of my mouth, past my pout.
"That has got to be my most favorite musical cliche' of all time."
His cigarette stops, halfway to his lips, and he turns his head. He looks at me but doesn't say a word. The expression I see crossing his face tells me he's totally soaking in what I've said - and I know that it will stick with him forever. I know that every time he hears this song, or even that riff played by someone else, he will think of my words, and he will be transported back to this moment in time - he'll feel the high, he'll remember the sight of me there on his sofa, half-conscious; and some day, he will repeat those words. He will not claim them as his own, but he will repeat them to someone else, and either attribute them to me, or to that other woman that so often is confused with me in his mind.
And he'll feel a tug in his chest, which he will dismiss with a shake of his head, and try to ignore. Maybe, someday, he'll manage to put me out of his mind, until the association is just a brief flicker of memory. 
But as long as I live - no matter where I go, no matter what I do, any time I hear a bass begin the blues, I will be instantly transported back to that moment in time as well. I will remember the way he chuckled and pulled me close when I snuggled underneath his arm that night. I will remember the way his kiss blanked my mind, the way the back of his head felt in my hand, and the way he hugged me when I left him. And I'll wish he were there, wherever I am - listening with me and watching me, learning me and figuring me out.
This is why I will probably never go to New Orleans again. I just can't imagine being there without him.
mynewplace: (Default)

It's a quiet evening, and she isn't looking forward to spending it alone. His invitation is welcome, but there's a nagging discomfort that echoes inside her. She dresses, and spends thirty minutes behind the wheel, wondering how much time she will need to spend with this man. He's forty-seven, and single; she reminds herself that he could be a long term prospect.

He showers and shaves, kisses his wife's cheek and climbs into his car. Forty minutes fly by as nervous fingers drum the steering wheel to the wail of a steel guitar.

She smiles sweetly at the first sight of blue eyes beneath his ball cap. She immediately sees the pain in his face, and her resolve softens as she climbs into his car. Her heart aches as his voice starts to break, but the hint of grief passes while they plan the evening. She expresses surprise to see that he's married, and his voice deepens, cracks again as he speaks volumes with sparse words. He has his wife's permission to be there this evening. He wants to drink, but she will be driving back home. Should they get a room or go to a bar? Another wave of empathic pain sweeps her at his next words.

"Did I tell you I lost my dad? Yeah, just a month ago, I'd been caring for him for four years...."

She's suddenly decisive, and they get a room. She knows the best relief for this particular need. She also knows he'll want to talk, after sex empties his emotional reservoir, and she tries not to think of herself as a psychologist.

He's pliant and agile, rough and assertive. His skill makes her smile, even as she winces. Her mind tries to reconcile the age on the man's profile and the age of the man in the bed. He mentions his time in Viet Nam and confirms her suspicions, but there's no confrontation. It's pointless to force the truth from him, because she just doesn't care. She lies sated while he drapes an arm across her waist. His words are filled with pride in hard work, his grandchildren, not so much when he speaks of his children. Images of a dark head crowd her mind's eye, she can't shake him even here. It makes her realize she's incapable of providing the comfort this gray haired man needs. He whispers again that she could spend the night, but she slowly shakes her head. She has a million reasons, but voices none. Her silence becomes more pronounced, she can find nothing in her head worth speaking aloud. His breathing relaxes, deepens, and she glances at the clock. She forces her mind to quiet while she watches the hour come to an end.

He awakens when she leaves his arms, and she dresses in silence. She wraps soft warm arms around his chest as he kisses her goodbye and she whispers "thank you" into his neck.

She is barely five miles down the road before the tears start. Tears of shame that she couldn't be sweeter, that she couldn't hold him and soothe his aching heart a moment longer.

He sits naked on the bed, head in hand, long after she closes the door.

mynewplace: (Heart)

She stands framed by a white screen door, the black of twilight behind her. She's holding a blanket, with a Rubbermaid box over it, and a hopeful smile crosses her pixie face. Before she even walks in, I stop her with a look.

"What have you got, honey?"

Her words come in a rush, as if to prevent me from saying no. "Well, Taylor had to go inside and I couldn't leave them outside by themselves all night, their mommy left them and those boys are mean and I thought maybe we could..."

"Honey, you KNOW we have a cat! We can't have those baby birds in here!"

"But I thought if we put them up high and I found them some worms, and, ohhhhh...."  I squealed and ran for the door as one dark blob fell to the pavement. Plop, plop, and tears stream down my face as I babble "Move back honey watch your feet oh no oh no, ohmygod you poor babies."  I scoop them up into the blanket that's now in MY hands. Their little heads bob, searching for a wing to snuggle under. Despondent, Scarlett follows me into the house, and her sobs are harmony to my own.

"I'm sorry mommy I didn't mean to drop them, but my hands were full and they slipped and..." I carefully arrange them on the blanket. The fat-bellied baby bird trio reminds me of the Ace of Clubs, with their heads under one another's wings. They have maybe thirty feathers between them, tipping awkward bony wings. I reflect on the resilience of wild things that live in trees. Baby birds seem to be made of rubber, the way they survive a fall from such heights. But there are no limbs at odd angles, no painful chirps, no little necks seem broken. I sit on my sofa and try to remember what I know.

Scarlett's litany continues "I know Ming won't bother them Mommy, we'll put them up high where its warm. They're so cold Mommy, can't we warm them up somehow? What if we pray? Couldn't we pray that Jesus will keep them safe?" The tears on her face are a mirror of mine.

I search quickly on an avian website, which confirms what I know - return them to their nest, or leave them alone, and the adult birds will find them and care for them on the ground. Returning them to their nest is not possible, it's two stories up, and the girls have moved them more than once already. There are dogs and cats that wander these yards, and cruel little boys run the sidewalks. Naked birds don't stand a chance. None of the alternatives are feasible, and I wrack my brain for ideas.

With a sigh I lead my daughter out the door. Sweet grass replaces the blanket, and the babies are laid on top. They're so sleepy as they soak up one another's heat; they're breathing, which is all I can hope for. We walk to a secluded spot beneath the tree, and place the box too close to the ground to satisfy me. My mind screams protest - It's too cold, I don't see any birds around, I KNOW those brats will hurt them!  But its all we can do.

We pray - that Jesus will keep the babies safe, but more importantly, that Jesus will give us peace with what we will find tomorrow. As we walk back into the house I remind Scarlett that we've done all we can, and we must accept whatever fate is dealt the birds.

She says "I know Mommy. It's the circle of life, just like in the movie."

Edited after some wonderful advice from a woman at yahoo groups critical_writing_annex.
mynewplace: (Default)
I'm dismayed at how dependent I've become on livejournal. I went all day without a single email in my mailbox, and grew more depressed each time I checked it. I realized that it was because I hadn't posted in a few days, and you know, that is kinda sad. A couple of interesting things have happened this weekend.  )
mynewplace: (Default)

I answered the phone, and the voice on the other end made me lose my breath. 45 minutes later he was at my doorstep, and my heart was trying its damnedest to get out of my chest as I let him in. No matter how much we talk, his voice always makes my skin burn, and seeing him in my house, having his focus even for these few moments, is enough to make me ache to be touched.

He fiddled with the stereo, popped in the cd he brought with him, and pulled me to the center of the room. I hadn’t bothered turning on the lights, the moon and the streetlamp were more than enough as he wrapped his arms around me and kissed my cheek. The music started, and I immediately recognized an old Billy Joel song that I had been singing in the car quite a bit lately. But there was a difference. It was subtle and I looked up at him, about to ask what was different when the voice, his own voice poured out of the speakers. The incredulous look on my face made him laugh, as tears welled in my eyes and I whispered "How did you know?"

"Shhhh..." was the only response before he bent and kissed me, his moustache brushing over my lip as he caressed it with his tongue, sliding it gently inside as the firm warmth of his lips covered mine, turning my mind to mush. Brief, too brief, before he moved to my ear and murmured "Its you. Listen."

Some people live with the fear of a touch
And the anger of having being a fool
They will not listen to anyone
So nobody tells them a lie

I leaned against him, swaying more from the contact than the music, the words that had pierced my heart so many times of late now taking on more meaning than I’d ever dreamed. The idea that he’d chosen this song and gone to the trouble of recording it for me left me gasping, fighting sobs while his hands stroked my back, my hair, and he kissed my ear, my neck and danced me slowly around the room. That he’d seen so far inside me after I’d made such an effort to never let anyone in again had me wondering if I were transparent to the world. For the second time in a year, someone had managed to get inside my skin and see what was there, and actually try to understand. And for the first time in my life, someone had chosen to do something for me, to show me in this small simple way that he wanted to see more.

The voice on the cd made me shiver, and I pressed my lips against his neck. I’d loved listening to him from the first song I’d ever heard him sing. Not in my wildest dreams did I imagine I would ever hear him sing to me. I unconsciously hummed the harmony while I buried my face beneath his jaw, his chest vibrating against mine as he hummed along too, and I smiled at the feel of it.

I'm not above being cool for a while
If you're cruel to me, I'll understand

He looked down at me, kissing the tears left on my cheeks and running a warm hand through my hair before he bent and took my mouth again. The bitterness of my own tears mixed with his sweetness, the heat from his body rushing through me as I sighed into that kiss, giving myself to him. No effort, no seduction, just allowing him to convince me that he wanted me, filling me with the warmth of his tongue, his lips, totally losing myself in the sensation. I slid my arms around his neck as I felt my knees grow weak, while his mouth took mine with an uncharacteristic aggression that had my flesh pounding.

I am an innocent man
Oh yes, I am an innocent man

The music faded and he sat on the couch, pulling me into his lap. He kissed me again, gently, and I saw an amazing heat in his eyes that I’d never seen before. I had no idea what he had in mind, but I could tell from that look that it was going to be slow, torturous and absolutely incredible. ETA: The second half of this is under construction...


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