In the scintillant, predawn light of Sunday morning, October 10, 2010, our limbs were entwined, sweat gathered in the hollow of my lower back where she placed both her hands. She looked up at me in the dark, and in that look, a hundred stories, a perfect wordless unity. But mostly pleading, but mostly vulnerable, but mostly grateful. An unsurpassed beauty laminated by anguished worth. The look she gave was–unmistakably–joy, but I could not shake the sadness present in those blue blue eyes, transformed in the darkness, directing their pain most reluctantly at me. She said something I didn’t quite catch, except the words “make love,” which I answered by covering her mouth with mine.
For brief moments during our night together, I could forget everything, even her lover, who was in the bed with us. I could exist only for the straining of our bodies. But now each memory is weighted, by distance and time and something someone else would call regret. I can’t forget her eyes, which were at the time so unremarkable I had to look at pictures to even recall their color. Now they haunt me, all they spoke of in that instant, in a language summoned, so it seemed, from a different era, a different place. At once helpless and dreamy, arousing a love as fleeting as a lit match, and just as frantic, impossible to ignore. The word “childish” comes to mind to describe them, but only in the sense of unabashed wonder, unrestrained, unmitigated happiness, the depths of which, I was sure, hadn’t been plumbed in ages. I couldn’t help admiring them, even at the same time that I wanted nothing more than to rescue her. Yes. I would save her from her mansion! Her convertible BMW. Her life of ease and leisure. How gallant of me. But I did think that, despite its outlandishness. That’s how certain I was that we were speaking without speaking, that I was, in fact, perceiving her soul.
Then, her lover spoke. They quarreled, and I sat there muted, utterly unable to intervene, even on my own behalf. I’ve no fight or flight, only paralysis. “You want me to leave!” “You’re so mean to me and all I do is love you!” An apology and a grand exit. I waited after they’d gone, alone in their bed, for no good reason. It’s not that I expected her to come back; I didn’t. Eventually, the shock subsided and anger settled in. I got up. I put all my clothes back on, even my socks. In the bathroom mirror, I examined my face, hot with blood, the freshly chewed lips, which at another time would have delighted me, and felt disgust. I wanted her to come down to me, but didn’t. I wanted to sleep, but paced and paced. Then I did fall asleep and when I awoke, she was there, stroking my hair in nothing but a loose white t-shirt. She laid next to me and I ran my hands all over her beautiful body that she didn’t know was beautiful, and I didn’t know how she knew I needed her and came to me, but was suddenly so thankful. Then she was gone again, like a dream I almost remembered.
Somehow I didn’t expect this, this unending absence, this succession of startling moments from a long weekend in October to appear again to me so clearly. A perfect, wordless unity, in a language summoned, so it seemed, from a different era, from a different place.