Thursday, July 10, 2008

"The Conversation"

She was static in his world of calm. Electric with energy. She always wanted to move around, sing, dance, make love and tell stories. She made his life more lively, even when it was quiet. And together they had laughter and passion. When they parted he thought it was best to move on quickly. To shut her out of his mind, and pretend she no longer existed. They remained good friends, but the love never quite seemed to dissipate. She still longed for him. She told him often. Said she wanted to start over, and build a new life together. But his doubts weighed him heavily. He was slow to forgive, and quite stubborn. So he took his time.

She called him one day and said she was done. Done wanting him so badly. Done waiting for him to want her again. She said her legs were physically tired from the chase. She felt whatever wrong she'd done, couldn't possibly warrant such distance from him. Since he could give her no definite answer, since he was still unsure himself; she said she'd make it easy on him and walk away.

6 months later he received a piece of mail. An invitation to her wedding. She was engaged to a friend who became a lover, and then a provider. A graphics designer she'd met through a friend. She'd mentioned him only in passing, not knowing herself that she might fall for him in her loneliness. Not knowing there was space in her heart for such a thing.

He called her to congratulate her. His intention was to wish her the best, and to say that unfortunately he felt it best he not be in attendance. But when she answered the phone, sounding already much like another man's wife, his heart began to pound and suddenly his mouth was dry and tart. He cleared his throat and spoke. He told her that he received the invitation. He asked how wedding plans were going. She said they were going well, that she was just putting finishing touches on their honeymoon plans. She said they planned to move back to California, that he had a job waiting in Los Angeles and a house that would be built when they got back from Nice. She asked how he was, and he became silent. He told her he would be in New York. That the weather was nice this time of year and he was planning on visiting a good friend in Jersey. He asked if he could meet her for lunch during his visit. She excitedly agreed.

They sat in a small cafe near E 42nd street, sipping tea and fiddling with deli food. Casual banter polluted the air until he put his tea cup down and pulled his chair in. He sat erect and erased the smile painted across his pleasant face. He looked at her as she waited for him to speak. Her eyes taking him in, brown like sweet tea. The way she tried to hide her admiration; knowing it was inappropriate. She looked away as he began to talk. He told her that he knew very well what he had lost. He somehow could never have imagined she would become the stunning woman before him, and yet he was not at all surprised. He said her fiance was a lucky man, and that he had the utmost respect for him and his plans for their future. He said, sweetly, that he understood how a man would look at her and desire her as a wife. How a man would want her to bare his children and keep his home. She flicked a small tear away, and started to interrupt. He raised his hand, silently disputing her to speak. He continued to say that although he considered himself an honorable man, with integrity, he would want nothing more than a second chance. He said he knew his feelings came at an unusually inconvenient time. But when was it ever convenient to feel this way? She smiled as if she understood. He sat in his seat across from her, in the small corner cafe. With his empty tea cup, depleted and hollow. He couldn't swallow, he couldn't blink. He only waited breathless to see what she would say. Would she walk away from him and live the life they had once planned to have? The life he wanted too soon, that she tried to salvage too late? Was this the story of their beginning, or of their end? She calmly wiped her lips on her napkin and placed it back into her lap. Leaning forward she could only manage a whisper, tears were streaming from her face, and her cheeks were pink with warmth.

She said simply, "I know."


Renee said...

I actually like your story despite the fact that it centers in on romance. I don't like the idea that he silenced her when she tried to speak and I really don't like the idea that he only recognized her worth when she became another mans "possession". I really would have liked this much more from her perspective.

Da Old Man said...

Wow. Is more writing to come?

timethief said...

I absolutely &hearts loved &hearts it! And I want more. :-)

Lotus said...

Thank you! Yes, more to come!