overhaul / undertow

Saturday, May 08, 2004

and now he's in san fran

It is so late I don’t know what time it is, and we are drunk, and the whiskey is almost gone. One more drink each and it’s really and truly gone. We are listening to the music, we are talking about it, waxing poetic, rhapsodizing eloquently about it, its brilliant exposition, its simplicity, its perfection.

It will never be this way again, either, this perfect between us.

The light is red and yellow and dim and good. We snuggle up close in my bed. We are face to face. We sing along with the music. It is the notwist’s song “consequence.” Right now, in our current state, it is the most plaintive swelling surge of longing ever put to music. It is wonderful. Never leave me paralyzed, it says. Leave me hypnotized, love. Leave me hypnotized…

“You’re singing in counterpoint,” he says, his voice low, his breath sweet in my face.

“I am?”

(I know I am.)

“Yeah, you were.”

“I didn’t know.”

(I feel smug.)



The ceiling could be three inches from my cheek, cool, turned to the air above me; my eyes take in the only space that matters, the space between our faces, his wonderful eyes. It will never be this way again, I never get things this good, and I must remember this forever.

We sing and sing, and we are so drunk, and we fall asleep like that, curled in each others’ arms. There has never been anything so wonderful, nor will there ever again.

When I wake he has turned to face the other way, and so have I, towards the cold glazed reflection of the mirrored closet door, the white walls and ceiling expanding away from me, the morning light sliding in coolly through the vacant space between the blades of the window blinds and the wall. I take a deep breath and it fills my lungs and I miss last night already, like a sharp knife against my lower ribs, and I have to face the day.

I never loved him—well, I never was in love with him, but still it ranks up there because never have I felt like,

just for once,

god relented and let me have the happiness I maybe did not deserve,

but which I wanted so terribly badly, just for a second.

For once the upper hand—which of course meant, for a woman, for once equal footing—

to be coveted, and to be coveted by someone beautiful, for once someone so pretty, a thing I’d always wanted but always had felt was beyond the pale of my reach

as a woman who wouldn’t tolerate shallowness and who could not be satisfied with anything petty and cheap (like a beautiful man)—

here was something that was not, yet still was everything I’d wanted—so pricelessly pretty—and for that second it meant my life might be all I ever wanted, all the good and lovely things my mother in her more shining moments had promised me as a child that I deserved—life to curl itself lovingly around my ankles, and present itself open and gifting, full of wonderful things to be had.


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