Bent Words

Bent Words

August 04, 2007

April 21st, 2001

Whose wedding was that? Max or Mark or… Manny. Yes, that was it. We were both invited. Or, shall I say, we were all invited.

I cannot recall if I thought nothing of it or if it mattered, even just a little, that I was all alone. I didn’t have a date. I didn’t even have proper directions. I drove around in circles. My dress kept getting dirty from the ashes of my cigarettes. I had tennis shoes on because who drives in dress shoes? I smelled good. Or, so someone said later. The window was rolled down. I didn’t care. I didn’t have my hair or makeup done. I didn’t polish my toes. I wasn’t even wearing pantyhose. I hated pantyhose. I might wear them with short dresses, just to cover the bruises or the whiteness of my legs, but I still hate them.

In the gardens, I saw Shane’s wife. She was lost, too. She had one of the kids with her. Or both. I got out of my car and so did she. We wondered, together, for just a moment, under verdant trees that formed a cave over the road, where in the world we were going. We held invitations – on fine cardboard with hightlighted directions. We each looked at our own and laughed. I said I would follow but she didn’t know what good that would do. But I knew it had to be better than if I were to take the lead.

I parked in the front but I didn’t get out of my car. I sat there for a moment, waiting until I saw someone I recognized. She saw him and I saw the groom. I shouted hello and hopped out of the car to give him a hug. He was frazzled and thinking of something else and walked away with short, quick steps. Everyone made it to the building on time. But not me.

I got back into my car, turned on the radio, poured myself a drink and waited. I was always waiting for something. I never knew what.

After the ceremony, I found the wedding party in the garden. The sun was shining and there was a boom box which played the wedding songs. Flowers and stone walkways lined either side of wherever you walked and, in the middle of it all, a rock well which was empty. Shane’s daughter, very young at the time, was walking along the edge. I watched her little black dress shoe as it slipped on the stone but I was much too far away to make a move. An arm reached out, deftly and silently, and grabbed the girl quickly around the waist. It was her mother.

I sat next to them as she held her daughter tight against her chest. Her head down, her body rocking back and forth, she held onto the little girl until she, so innocent in the ways of danger, pulled free from her mother’s grasp and skipped away toward her older brother and the lake. While Shane and his wife talked about the incident, I accompanied the little girl down the stone steps toward the lake. I told her, “Not so fast” and “Here, take my hand,” because I knew what it was like to want to always be on the heels of an older brother. Though her legs were not as well equipped, she would attempt any feet her older sibling made for if he could do it, she surely thought, so could she.

The reception room was fairly dark. I saw my manager and his wife and other employees I never saw outside the shop. They said that I looked beautiful and skinny and bright. They said I needed a drink and bought me more than I could keep up with. I collected the upside down shot glasses behind the bar. The bartender laughed when I said I couldn’t drink too much beer. “It makes me tired.”

I was seated next to Shane’s wife. She was scrambling, at all times, to collect her two children and keep them awake or fed or quieted or whatever it is that mothers must do without a break while their husbands are busy. He was in the wedding party – doing the wedding march, the silly dances and the occasional shot. I never noticed that part but I saw pictures later. She was busy trying to decide what to do about the run in her pantyhose. “Take them off,” I said plainly. “You don’t need them, number one, since you have gorgeous legs and, number two, pantyhose suck.”

She tucked them into her purse.

Chris ducked out of the festivities just in time to miss another silly dance, stating that “these types of events just aren’t my thing.” I laughed and bought him a drink with one of my upside down shot glasses. He told me he shouldn’t have had it since he was already buzzed. I pointed out that he wasn’t driving – his room was right upstairs – so “who gives a damn?” We shared my last cigarette before my manager pulled me out onto the dance floor. I watched, over Charlie’s shoulder, Chris watching me the entire time.

At the song’s ending, Chris inquired if I had another smoke. “No,” I said, “but my car’s here – should we go get more?”

“I don’t think we should drive,” he said. So we walked awhile and then we ran across the street and obtained more smokes from the gas station. I was laughing so hard over something he said that I almost lost my shoe and he had to pull me the rest of the way across the street to ensure that I wasn’t hit by the oncoming traffic. We held hands so I wouldn’t lose my footing.

Back in the reception hall, I recall becoming upset. Chris said I could go to his room. I began to cry just before he entered room. I sat on the bed, he sat next to me. And then his boldness took me by surprise. He kissed me. In all the days we spent together, he was never one to make such a move but, in an instant of proof, he showed to me his entire heart and the value which it contained and made a move which would linger in my world forever. He kissed me. That’s when I knew he had truly loved me.

But it was all too late. I had already asked Chris to move out and he had accepted knowing that I was not ready for the major steps which he wished to take. I never regretted that decision and I never regretted the night I spent with Chris. To be truly loved like that, if even for a moment, somehow makes the world all right.

The next Tuesday, after I stayed late at work setting up bikes for an open house the following weekend, I chilled out with Shane at the main shop. I told him all about my experiences at the wedding – I told him all about Chris and how beautiful it all was. I asked Shane if he knew what I meant, if he understood what I was talking about and if I should just shut up.

He looked at me for a long time. He looked at me and then beyond me and then back at the payroll figures he was working on. I asked him, “What is it?” and “Won’t you tell me what you’re thinking?” “Come on, I’ve just given you a whopper and here you are, silent as a piece of Styrofoam – what is it?”

“I’m scared,” he said.

“Scared?? You?”

“Yeah.”

“Why?” I asked.

“Because, I do get it, and…”

“And what?”

“Because… we have a potential.”

I never wanted that and, all at the same time, I wanted to cure that angst in his eyes. I wanted him to ‘get’ what I got. I wanted him to know extreme and complete and uncompromised love. I wanted him to feel as loved as I felt, as happy as I was. I wanted him to taste the magic that I tasted every day and I wanted to hear him exclaim, over and over again, that nothing in the world tasted sweeter. I wanted to know what it was like to witness someone undergo that transformation, that beautiful ride, to walk along that road of anticipation. I wanted to replace his dull features with lust and brilliance. I wanted to make it all right and I wanted to share in his rebirth.

But I never wanted to upset the balance of his life. To tread upon someone else’s territory, traipse upon someone else’s claim, meddle in someone else’s affairs. I respected him too much for that.

And then…

His face seemed so close, I wasn’t sure what to do. He made me nervous. I could barely look into those beautiful eyes for I thought my heart would stop. Somehow, I found his neck – the very same I’ve been trying to refrain from for so very long. His lips. His lips. They practically grabbed my own and they wouldn’t let go and I wouldn’t let go. They were so hungry, so eager. It was as though everything in me wanted to be even closer. And closer still…

One cannot always contain their own capacity for love. It boils over as though it were long overdo. It never ceases its extreme temperature. And it never fails to burn – most especially, the one in which it is contained.

Written at 7:11 p.m.