I waited in excitement for a friend who agreed to come over and watch a film. So many people agreed to things, then cancelled, that I formed a list of dependable candidates in my head, no matter the type of relationship, and she was one. She was definitely someone on the path of friend and, or, lover, and the funniest part was that I had no preference if the paths remained one or diverged in either direction. Often, I had some type of preference, yet I was happy that I did not for that individual case. As a stoic, I wished I could have that healthy indifference more often.

Someone knocked at the door. I walked to open it, and picture stills of each moment began. The way the sunlight fell through the window to warm the floor, the angles of shadows, and the rhythm of my gait to the door. The door opened, and it was not the woman I expected. It was the woman who promised for months to be there, yet always cancelled – always found something, or someone better. Now she stood, more real than the constant dream-state of my life, and more constant than lost memories with her lying in my arms.

She smiled, as if anticipated, and amused by whatever muscle contortions took hold of my face. Did I smile, frown, scowl, or grimace in shock, fear or reticence? All were possible in an instant. I could not help but notice her blue dress fit like a glove, and stopped at her mid-thigh. The sheer, black, back hinted at a vulnerability I knew truly did not exist, along the tantalizing ochre skin. As I walked around to survey, she smelled of warning dragon lily and beguiling cocoa.

She swayed, as if her body belied her mind forever in motion, and entered, as if expected. Perhaps she was, and I hated myself for waiting. She titled the room’s inadequacy, and the unsuitability of the film I chose. As I drew breath to insult her, her mental foot sweep struck, and I metaphorically found myself dazed on the floor when she insisted we go to my bed, and I hold her as if our lives depended on it.

We lie on my bed fully clothed, as I would accept from none other but her, and the sheer black of the blue dress mocked and laughed at me with her every movement. I reassured her that she was dynamic, amazing and beautiful. She knew she was, but for some reason, needed to hear it from me, and any other of the hundreds of men currently on validation rotation for her fan club. Why did she need this from me exactly? I had been unhappily cut from rotation, but time gave me peace, until she reappeared.

Kanzeon was a demon woman who ate children before she became the patron of compassion and cosmic love. If this was symbolism for the way people can reform over time, I was still uncertain which Kanzeon lie with me now: the demon, the lover, the friend?

I began to believe I could be satisfied with life holding her forever, but she suddenly turned and informed me that she could not stay because she actually had a date to attend. This is why she dressed up. It hit me like The 400 Blows. She rose, and although she did not laugh, I could hear the derision and apathy. My hope was a doormat, and my love, something barely fit for her muddy shoes.

She showed me the organic, free-trade chocolate she bought to please the new man so worthy of her time, and smiled in a way never reserved me.

I yelled, and asked her why she even bothered to come if she had a date, when we went so long without speaking. She informed me I was behaving like a child. I took the chocolate, threw it on the floor, and watched it shatter to broken pieces with a sense of righteous anger, validation, and vindication.

I stormed out my apartment before I broke everything in sight and needed to replace it. The door might be open for thieves or beasts, but they could take it all. It was never mine to begin with: none of it. I walked miles to a convenience dépanneur store.

She would replace the chocolate, and act as if none of this ever happened.

She would be with him, and treat him better than she ever treated me.

For whatever reason, he was someone she could respect, whereas, I could never be.

And it still hurt. As much as I dreamed of her return, it was only a nightmare – one to run from on my continuous run to see the sea for the first time – each glance, always the first time.

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