She looked all curves and shiny eyes. Posed as woman as a simple cure-all, her body a pill, the waiting chemistry of the word Yes. One word untying every victim of life from the railway tracks. New blood, brooding on the futility of sexual capacity. Those bastards draped in honey-suckle, in ample feeling. Hands with too much strength trapped inside. Drunk on missing lovers, driving to the homes of people they all used to know together, they never had each other biblically, except in her city-block verses and tired dreaming. So she hotly looked at him and thought, I could leave right now. I could walk out that door saying, hey, just don’t call me for awhile, okay?
Shuddering into a more sober awareness, the touch of grass beneath her reminds her of fiction. Stains of umbilical fantasy grabbing at her memories, images of kissing, of improbable situations where she gets to be impressive. Doctors saying, we don’t know how long until she’s leaving, but out of everyone, she’s asking for you. The scream of anniversary panic, not in this life, she thought of carrying him through passageways, his body light as music, until she comes to a door with a red exit light and puts him down as if that was the plan all along. Running from wolves, pulling him from fires. Solid threats she could rescue him from. Gratitude dripping from his smiles, another day blocking the doorway with her body.
She can put an edge on any word, turning it on the lathe of her tongue to remind him of all the things that he hasn’t given her, treating him like a sarcastic stranger. The verdict, hell to pay. Incredibly, they kept going. Independence a death in the family. It was like the stop-gap job she took in college, steady, with no real reason to leave. It had never been meant to last so long, but it paid the bills, and she kept hoarding his voice in her fantasies. She began to smile as if goodbye was one last joke between them, and she saw instantly how easily he could defeat her. All he would have to do is laugh. Laugh and turn to her and all her certainty would vanish, replaced by his universe. How can you leave someone who implies that black velvet threats are the smallest plant in an undistinguished windowsill garden?
This was all part of his plan, a map of telling secrets in her dancing. He knew how to pull her hair, how to find her fingertip sounds. Her limited view gave her this, like dust that persists, in spite of the fact that he’d never touched her. It was a game as sharp as the rays of daylight that sent her to sleep on winter mornings. Tall, she thinks, staring fixedly at the ceiling as if there were nothing blocking her gaze from the mirror of the sky. Did I used to like them tall? She thinks she’s stupid and immature, only able to think in boy with girl relationships, unable to conceive of a place where she understands only friends. Fifty ways to leave your lover – by keeping her adoration a secret, by winking uncertainly at a taxi-driver and paying him all the money she could find, by suddenly playing aloof like she was on t.v. Running out of fingers, counting issues instead, so much baggage it’s a matched set.