Sunday, August 10, 2008

One Door Shuts...

"Don't go. Don't leave. It's still early. Not even midnight. You're not a pumpkin." He pushes a few stray hairs back from her face, an excuse to touch her. "Put your keys down. Here." He takes the keys and puts them on the bureau.

"It's late. I have a long drive." She reaches for the keys, leaves them lying there. He takes her hand, kisses it. "It's a dark night."

"Cloudy, covers the moon. Stay. Leave in the morning." If she leaves now, will she come back? Will I see her again? Will it feel like this? Fingers twisting her hair around his fist, I can't stop kissing her. I can't.

"Stop. I have to go. Really." The keys poke his neck as she kisses him. "I have to go home. I do." She lets go of him and sits up. He stands, then shakes his head, takes the keys and puts them back on the bureau. Clicks the lamp to a lower setting.

"Stay." He bends down, kisses her breasts, her belly. Slides his hand under her dress, touches her gently with his fingertips. "Stay. Don't go."

Eyes closed, hands knotting the coverlet, she leans back. "I have a long drive. It's over two hours." When the words and actions disagree, trust the actions, and oh god, I want to stay. I don't want to leave, I want more of this, more of him, it feels so good, but I promised. I swore I'd be home tonight and oh god, what is he doing now?

Kneeling before her, he bites her, pushes her thong aside and tickles her with his tongue. Looks up, "Stay." Licks her again. "Please stay." His face is haggard in the dim light. "It's too late to drive. Stay."

"I really have to go." He pushes her back, lays on top of her. Kisses her neck, face, mouth, tasting of her. "I do, I promised I'd be home tonight. I am so not doing this, I'm not. I can't, it's too new. I have to leave."

"Stay. It'll be okay. It will. Stay with me. ‘Come live with me and be my love, And we will all the pleasures prove, That valleys, groves, hills, and fields, Woods or steepy mountain yields.' Let me make you happy."

"You quote Marlowe to me?" She runs her fingers through his hair, tightens them. Smiles and kisses him. "The light makes you glow."

"A poet for a poet." He strokes her waist, slides down and buries his face in her again. Feels her shudder, fighting every sensation. "Stay, love. Stay. Look, you're striped," the light through the blinds patterning her. Takes her hand in his, twines their fingers while his other hand caresses her, his mouth still probing, kissing her. And after, kissing her mouth again. "Stay. Please stay. I'll do this all night, make you happy."

"I have to go."

"I can't let you do that, not unless I know." A car passes, stereo blasting, lights tracking across the ceiling.

"Know what?" Holding his face in both her hands, she kisses him, licks the side of his mouth. "You're covered with me. Know what?"

"Will I see you again? Will you come back?"

She turns away, straightens her clothes. He puts his arms around her, tightens them. "Tell me. Tell me yes, that I'll see you."

She shakes her head, picks up the keys again. "I can't. I can't know. I shouldn't have let you do that. I, I, I, I don't know what you'll think of me, what I'll think of me. I'm not ready."

"Ready? If you wait until you're ready, you'll never go anywhere, ever. It's all a mystery," waving his hand at the window. "As for what I think of you? I think you're beautiful. Outsides, insides, ephemerals. Beautiful. If you could see what I see... You can't wait for your life to begin, it's happening now, out there, in here, every minute. There'll be excuse after excuse. Stay. Don't wait."

"I have to go home."

"I'll be your home. Walk with me, beside me." He rubs her fingertips against his cheek.

"I don't know you."

"You will. Stay." He kisses the top of her head, her shoulders. "Anything you want to know, I'll tell you. I won't lie or sugarcoat it. You need to know me. And I want to know you."

"You want to know me? I'm not so pretty."

"So? I want to know your flaws. They make you you, special. Stay."

She shakes her head again and pushes him away. "No, I promised. I have to go."


"And what?" But she smiles, kisses him again. The keys press into his back.

"Take a step. The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step."

"Like this?" She takes a step closer to the door, away from him.

"No, like this." He moves in front of her, blocking the door a bit, kisses her forehead. "Stay." He sighs. "Fine. Let me walk you to your car."

She unlocks the car, opens the door, sits down. He kneels, touches her arm. "You'll come back. You have to come back. Or I'll come to you. I can't stand the thought that this might be it. I've never... I've dreamed but I've never..."

"Hush." She puts a finger over his mouth. "It's okay. I know. But I need to think." What am I saying? Think? I need to escape.

"What you need is to feel. You think too much already. Let yourself feel. If you knew what I feel, what I see, here," placing her hand on his chest, "you'd stay." Takes her hand, turns it over and kisses the knuckles. "These hands, what these hands do, I want these hands."

"You don't even know me."

"I know enough to want to know more." She nods. "Tell me you want to know more, that you're not going to shut the door. Or if you are, that you'll open the window. I'll climb in your window, we can drive off into the night together." He stands and looks up, resting his arm on the doorframe. "No stars tonight. Stars would be cliche, I guess. Just a crescent moon peaking through the clouds. Stay." A plane flies over, red light winking steadily. "I wonder where it's going. Let's go see the aurora borealis."

"Silly. I have to go." He folds his arms over his chest, nods his head, defeated. "I'll come back. Or you come to me." Did I say that? Does he mean it? She looks at him, wanting to read his expression but his face is turned to the ground. She bites her lower lip. I wish I knew. Please let it be so. She turns the keys in the ignition, flicks the headlights on, puts the car in reverse. "When hurlyburly's done, when the battle's lost and won." Even if it's so, that's today and what about tomorrows? Too many tomorows. She blinks the memories of not-tomorrows away, all the pretty lies she's been told.

"No hurlyburly. No battle. We've both had enough war. You'll really come back? Maybe tonight?"

"Really truly, but not tonight. Now move before I run over your feet." She backs out of the driveway. He walks to the curb, watching until she makes the turn onto the main street before he goes inside and lowers the garage door.

Entering his room, it is an alien place, cool, dark, empty. He'd never noticed how empty it was amidst all the clutter. Lays on his back on the bed, staring at the play of light across the ceiling. Moves his head onto the pillow she leaned on a few minutes earlier, one of her long hairs curled there, wondering if she meant it, if she'd be back, if they'd ever see each other again. Everything was against it: socio-economic strata, religion, race, geography, all the indicators and guidelines typically used to predict a good outcome in relationships were wrong.

"Doesn't matter. Don't care." He mutters to himself, holding that single hair to his lips. All I know is, I want that flame, that fire. Oh god, I don't even have a picture of her.

He wants to call that fire home. He wants her like he's never wanted anything before in his life, and he has had life by the gallons. Determined to make it happen, "I'll build a fireplace to shelter that flame, feed it, make it grow. And then I'll build a home around it to keep it safe, a home with lots of windows to let in the light and air so it never feels stifled, strangled from lack of oxygen."

Lying there, taking one deep breath after another, he pulls up the blind, tilts his head to see the cloudy sky. Please come back. Please come back. If wishing can make it so, let it be so. Star light, star bright, there are no stars tonight, wish I may, wish I might, have a dream come true tonight.

The occasional car passes the house, headlights flickering across the ceiling, but wishing doesn't make any of them turn around, pull into the driveway, ring the bell.

Eventually, he falls asleep.

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