Friday, February 15, 2008

period

I was feigning a smile and stirring the rum and coke I hadn't yet tasted when I felt the air in the room change. It became hard to breathe, and something made me turn towards the door. I saw a head of sleek brunette hair and an extended arm shaking the hand of a stranger. She gently tugged at the back of her slate gray suit jacket and passed her briefcase into the coat check. A silver sparkle on her left hand caught the light as she turned toward me. Our eyes met for less than a second and left me reeling. I knew who it was before I even turned to the door.

I spent the evening stealing glances at her from a corner, staring at her over the rim of my glass, watching her out of the corner of my eye. I kept waiting for my heart to drop, bottom out – for that hollow feeling to swallow me whole. But it never came. I never felt empty.

I tried hard to picture them at home on a Friday night: pizza and beer, a rented video, pajamas. Their comfort was inevitable, their love quiet and convenient. I imagined the day he gave her that ring. He’d be nervous, stumbling over his words, and she’d find it endearing. He’d finally say what he came to, she’d smile and whisper his name. Neither of them would cry.

I watched her make her way around the room, watched as the people she hugged goodbye smiled genuinely, sincerely. I tried to remember a time when I’d felt a shred of affection for her. I couldn’t, and imagined the rest of the room to be faking it.

I thought that she’d ride the train home that night, enter their apartment to find him reading in a chair, waiting for her to return. He’d rise to greet her and slip her shoes off. Kiss her lightly, say he missed her. Soon they’d go to bed. They probably hadn’t gotten a new one since the time I’d shared it with him. But he never thought of that now, not with her under the covers. He’d lie between the sheets and watch her as she hung her skirt in the closet, unashamed.

Numb. A small part of me missed the sweet torture, ached for the dull throb of the familiar realization that they are real. I found myself alone in a crowded room drudging up old memories, trying to resurface an ounce of that former pain. But I couldn't. For all my hard work, nothing came. No vacancy, no sadness, no heavy sigh. As she exited the room, I thought this certainly meant I was over him, her, it. I felt my shoulders square and my chin rise. I thought surely I’d find someone new – a new lover, a new friend. A new scenario not destined for tragedy.

But I still didn't feel anything.

6 comments:

MissHum22 said...

Yey! It's funny how that works. You go over it and over it and over it until one day you don't care anymor(That's my theory on pain anyway). Good for you - great post.

Anonymous said...

Wow. Now we're doing some real writing on here.

You know what I think makes a great book or a great piece: it's when you read it and you enjoy it so much and it makes you want to pick up the pen and do it yourself -- and it makes you feel like you could do it.

But you know you couldn't. Because it takes genius to write sentences like that.

You've still got it. Write a book. Please.

KiKi said...

Yes eventually the heart really does go on. When it doesn't hurt anymore, BEST FEELING EVER.

becky said...

Thank you guys so much. I really appreciate your kind words and support. Thanks for reading and taking the time to comment :)

Phil said...

Becky......motherfucking EXQUISITE. I'm glad you actually took my advice and wrote this. See?? You've come full circle :)

PS - Zach never did get his apology for that bitch ruining the movie. What a jagoff.

Melanie said...

GOD you are such a good writer