Monday, June 13, 2011

well hot n heavy pumpkin pie chocolate candy jesus christ

When I met Jack, he was just a glint-eyed wallflower. Rimless glasses, witty banter, brogue. I leaned up beside him—against milonga walls—and clasped my hands behind my back, as if concealing purloined fruit, eyes wide and wistful, making as confident a conversation as I could. We danced, but it was afterthought—two songs into the last tanda, one half La Cumparsita—all rhythm play with all this air and space between us.

Come December, he draped his woolen arm around my woolen coat and we walked the awkward way new lovers walk, negotiating gaits. We measured out the space—his pack, my shoulder bag, our strides. We compensated to get closer. He bent his face to mine (too close), to hear me, then was gone. I let him. I dared him. And then, afloat on all those pints of Guinness, the whispered chat until the idle hours, our limbs in innocence leaned into one another, we walked. And it was freezing. Our eyes teared with the cold. Stoplights blurred and it was Christmas—showy 34th Street style. And he let his face linger like that, bent into mine.

We missed
I don't know how many traffic lights, I don't know how many little neon walking men.

When I remember Jack, I will remember that. That pillar in Pennsylvania Station. The way he brushed my hear back from my eyes and said how long he'd wanted to do it. "This," he said. "Just this."

I will remember Union Square, the first snow, when we jumped the fence to kiss beneath the trees. I will remember Pelléas et Mélisande, the Met, the way he flipped my ring, and then his quiet kitchen with the spoon-brewed chamomile tea—before the loft door thundered open and my Brooklyn life became forever changed.


It has been one week since he left. Months, maybe, since I scribbled the above on a gutted box of Junior Mints, speeding through the F train tunnel after a showing of Jane Eyre. If I put it down in ink, I thought, it might stay true.

So far it has.

Six weeks until I join him in Berlin. Until then, I concentrate on making my wax wings. Because life is one long leap off of a real tall tower—and I've decided I prefer the feel of falling to the slow way down the service stairs.


Kathleen said...

forget the wax. there are other things to build wings with, and then you will glide instead of plummet.

Anonymous said...

Have you read "Eat, Pray, Love?" You really give Elizabeth Gilbert a run for her money with your stylish prose and uncompromising insight on life and love. You seem to understand, in a profound way, what love is all about: flowers and tangos and the melancholy mauve of the twilit sky, poached salmon in a white-wine sauce, wooly jumpers, delicious pints of cold Guinness, Brooklyn evenings, dancing 'til the wee hours, breakfast on fire-escapes, holding hands, fingers crossed in the dark, dark theater. You amplify the consciousness of the post-feminist contemporary twenty-something with frightening clarity.

Anonymous said...

How beautifully you've captured the feeling of falling in love, but think your friend is wise. Wings of sturdier stuff so that you can soar.

Phoenix said...

I would agree with Kathleen that wings made of wax aren't the best way to go, as they are usually made for those who want less to enjoy the journey and want more to foolishly touch the sun. :)

Build your wings with your own strength, the strength I see in you, in your heart, and your writing, and you'll do just fine. Yours will not be a sad tale of hubris but rather a love story of yourself.