II — We stop at the next bench
We stop at the next bench, only a few yards away and she sits gently. We sit close. Our shoulders touch and she leans in to read the writing together. It’s about being in the bar, what happened and what happened after. We turn to the last sheet because we both need to know. It says that we go out for an evening together. In fact we’re meant to go to the party. Maybe we do maybe we don’t; it isn’t very clear. I ask how she feels about the people at the party. I know how she feels about one of them. He isn’t the same as me she says and I shouldn’t worry. So I worry. If she likes him and she likes me too then we must share some aspect. My dislike for him taints me, makes me afraid that she’ll start to see me the same because after all: he’s where I’d probably end up. But we leave the party behind quickly and he and I aren’t resolved. We walk through the streets, laughing, stopping to look in the shop windows. On a corner a young girl plays a flute and the music flutters around the architecture of these old buildings. It hides behind pillars and flits lightly as some mischievous fairy. The whole air is lifted and others stop to smile. We stop. She watches the girl and I watch her, missing the point. That is: I am missing the point. Somebody asks me if time has stood still and I reply that it has. We stand for some time and then walk on. It’s very warm for late in the day. I ask if she likes dancing and she wiggles her hips at me with a grin. I take it as a yes. I know this club, I say. We can go and dance later when it’s dark and I won’t be able to avoid touching her. It’s what happens after the dance that I can’t decide on because I know it has to come crashing down around us because if we dance, if we touch in a certain way then we end right there.
The weight presses down on me, urging me to what I’m not. You can change it right here, but the words to reply fail me. Instead, I put my head down and start to walk. I know where I am, I say. She’s behind me when we come to the bar. I stop, only because of the music coming out the door, not because of her, I think. The tune is familiar, and the trumpet handles it well. He stands under a spotlight, illuminated for just a moment, just long enough to lay down this bed of dark purple velvet for the audience to sink into and roll themselves up in. That’s me up there, I tell her, but the trumpet turns to me and smooths over my words so that she won’t hear. That’s me. That’s what I was. I remember, a long time ago maybe, but what I was comes back and I look at me and feel whole for just a short time. Let me get us a drink. She turns to me quite suddenly. I agree and she goes off to the bar. I watch the heads turn as she passes by. The bar man pretends not to notice her approach and runs a hand through his hair, rubs his nose. I take the cigarettes out my shirt pocket and lean back into the soft chair. The hot room makes me sweat under my jacket, so I take it off and let it fall beside me. My hands are up behind my head in an attempt to put me at ease. If I look laid back then I’ll be laid back, but it feels wrong so I sit back up and lean on the table again. She’s still at the bar, visible every now and then between the men and women that have gathered about her. And then she begins to slip out, pulling their gaze with her and walking towards me with a drink in each hand. The heads turn in the opposite direction as she walks back to me. This time, she comes round my side of the table and puts the drinks down, and then she stands there. Smiling at me. So I move over and she eases herself down onto this big soft chair right by my side, pressed right up against me and is still smiling at me intently.
Green eyes. Green, pale eyes waiting for something. If I kiss you now, if your lips touch me… I feel her hand on mine. That’s okay I had already decided. It’s not a problem. And she leans slightly into me, tilting her head. She filters out the last vestiges of illusion and the trumpet stops and the people step back into the shadows spilling out of the walls. I know her body so close; as if we had never been separated many eons before and if I lean into her, the universe starts to go back.
I follow the contours of her chin to a delicate cheek and then back to her gaze and then I lean into her so that our lips are barely apart. I would end here, I think.