Monday, December 26, 2011

Sam Cooke Says There'll Be No Second Time


He walked down the sidewalk, head down and straining against the sweeping winds that were seemingly most prevalent on this particular stretch of sidewalk on the Main Street. He was layered against the weather and despite the cold he felt nauseous, over heated and he wished he had worn a lighter jacket instead of the thick green workman's hoodie he had grabbed off the bedroom floor that morning in his usual sleepy fog.

He caught his reflection in a giant glass window of one of the many abandoned store fronts on Main Street and turned his head quickly away from the man he saw there. His eyes were sunken, even more than was usual for his long, thin face. His eyes, usually a light brown, seemed black and hooded. Every full feature on his face had been reduced to bloodlessness with a serious departure of color and lightness. He looked a very stolid sort and felt that way endlessly lately, much to the chagrin of his family and co workers. They walked on glass around him, impervious to the deep, sad reasons for his recent melancholy.

He thought of her constantly and consistently and swallowed every single painful gulp of her absence, bottling it all up in his gut like a chunk of hard tack. He gave excuses to people who were concerned like “I’m just feeling blue”, “I’ll be OK, just give me time”, “It’s a passing thing” and eventually they believed him because he was considered a sometimes mercurial and solitary man.

Waiting at the crosswalk he took at his phone and stared at it, willing it to buzz in his pale lean fingers. He rubbed his thumb across the screen of the phone and winced as he thought of his thumb on the pulse of her neck while he held her face in his hands, rubbing his nose against hers, staring into her eyes that matched his once.

Later in the evening after he was good and drunk on some randomly chosen lager he pulled out the phone and tentatively composed text messages to her. “I miss you” was the only one that made any sense at all but he couldn’t bring himself to send it to her, out across buzzing electronic lines of modernity to wherever she was. He felt a pang of disgust for his emotional state and shoved the phone back in his pocket.

He had told her once in an effort to help her grieve after losing someone she had loved fiercely that it would always hurt but the hurts fades over time from a thumping throbbing pain to a vague aching feeling. His own words gave him comfort this night and although he slept fitfully without dreams he awoke in the morning with the thought of her soft lips on his chin, the strange and loving way she would brush them all over his face.

He had been happy once, fairly certain of his life goals, needs, wants. Things had been cemented for him until she jolted him out of this contented cloud of commonplace existence. A couple words on the screen of his phone, a few conversations that made them entrenched in each other so quickly and recklessly. She was the first to exhibit signs of melancholy, of strain, of sadness at their situation and in the beginning he was oblivious to it, or at least he tried very hard to be. At first he could handle her unhappiness at their situation with words and caresses, stolen moments. Over time she wasn’t happy with those moments alone and became restless and cranky. She pouted like a child and demanded his attentions and the more he withheld them the more she stared in the distance and let the tears rolls down her round fair cheeks waiting without any joy for him to wipe them away.

It wasn’t long until he met her melancholy with anger.

He ignored her more and more, smashed her pleas with silence and made her certain he was a fickle man, that everything he said to her, all the wistful romantic treatises and promises had actually been ploys and play.

They met one more time before she gave up and turned her back on him forever, arms wrapped tightly around herself and shuffling away, her chest heaving with sobs. He watched her leave with regret and a sour stomach, stood stock still and remained dry eyed and resolved.

When she started her car the music that had been blasting when she pulled up to their spot started again. Even at the distance he was from the car he could tell it was one of their shared songs, songs they had picked for one another to describe their non existent relationship, songs they cooed over and giggled at for their blatant romanticism. She looked out the windshield at him, narrow eyes swollen from crying and with one indiscernible movement of her right shoulder, right arm, the music turned off. As she pulled away he saw her throw something out the window and when she was far enough away he trudged out into the parking lot with dread at what she had tossed from her car. It was a silver CD and written on the front in her scratchy childlike scribbling was ‘My True Heart’.

Somewhere in space and time a dark couple is standing in the center of some old wooden building, a secret cold place, cold and damp. Her hands are in the pockets of her warm wool peacoat, her head is on his chest, his cheek and lips alternatively rest on the top of her head, brush her cheek and her neck, his hands are inside her coat, squeezing her waist with his finger tips. Around them are thick swirls of what looks like gasoline in a puddle, the couple oblivious of the polluted bubble thickly circling them within an orb, encasing them in that tender moment forever. A childish gesture like throwing a CD out of a car window carries enough weight to pop the greasy bubble, coating the couple in goo and separating what seemed like an endless embrace.

And like that the spell was broken, their connection was ripped and torn into ragged pieces and there they were to remain for all their separate lives, hoping the pain of being apart would fade over time from a throbbing thumping pain into a vague achy feeling.


Pickleope said...

That was a very well written story. I liked it. You should submit it to a journal or someplace else for publication. Anytime you can slip "mercurial" into a story, you've won. messy girlfriend said...

i really loved it.. i really love your writing..:)
please write some more!!!!
happy new year to you and all your cute family(of giants;)