Bent Words

Bent Words

August 18, 2007

She could hold it in no longer. Her desire, her need, her single truth. Besides, she was never one to give into the cool ease of complacency. After all, he had told her that, no matter what and no matter when, she could call him to find out how he was doing. And now it seemed more important than ever – to find out, to inquire, to make a small request. Her one request. Her only request. What they both needed…

She dialed with delicate and uneasy fingers, as though the phone were liable to self-destruct were she to touch just the right combination of numbers. Holding her breath, she waited, her thumb cautiously covering the off button, as each ring began and ended. The moments grew shorter as she resolved to end the call when a sudden sound of silence followed by muffled movements made her pause.

“Uh, hello?” she whispered.

“Sorry,” he said from far away. “I… I dropped it – my phone.”

“Hi.”

“Hi.”

Barely recognizing her own voice, she made her request with quick spoken words and awkward reverses. She didn’t have a clue if he was really on the other end or if all of this was merely something to be rudely woken from in disappointment. She just kept talking until finally he broke in, asking her when and where.

When and where should they meet…

Anywhere. Anytime; but now is better. Nothing like The Now. It couldn’t be too soon or too long or –

“Just meet me at the old shop...”

She drove – though it wasn’t far. She opened and closed her cell phone fifteen times, forced herself to inhale deeply with each hollow thunder of her heartbeat and, before she was parked, she downed a concoction of liquid courage so potent it made her choke. But it had nothing to do with her trembling or her dizziness. That was all anticipation. A firm madness that had followed each mention of his name, each touch of a memory and every dream she could not forget was now overcoming her tenfold as she slowed her speed to watch him leaned against his vehicle, looking as calm as the snow falling outside a bedroom window.

No words. No sound at all. The car door closing made no noise, the footsteps over the gravel were silent, the passing traffic was as far away as the ocean. Her fingers tap, tap, tapping over the cover of her cell phone did not register as the distance closed. Nothing mattered – not the mortgage or the dog or the picket fence or the grass to be cut. There was no fear or indecency, no objections or denials. Nothing stood between them and their weighted stares. And in the darkness of night, as a million nights before, she reached out for him.

Her long, slender fingers yearned desperately for that singular moment. To touch him, blindly with her eyes but wholly with her soul, and feel the warmth of his skin and know for certain, without question, as total and complete proof, beyond any and all chance of a doubt, that he was alive. So very alive and so very real. Before her, above her, below her and all around her, everywhere – as he had remained throughout the years despite her every attempt to let him go – absolutely and perfectly alive.

She felt his breath upon her face, her shoulder. She smelled the sweetness of her memories and cherished the outlines of his fingers moving up along her arms. His closeness piqued at all her senses and she was lost within that sensational reality. She was forgiven and unforgotten and he was alive and thriving and beautiful.

Every inch. As she had always adored every inch, every bend, every roughness, every sign of life, she adored it now a thousand times more. She was just as taken as she was a million miles ago because, after all, she had never let go and never exhaled the depths to which he reached.

Every gesture, every word, every provocation of laughter, every embrace, every tilt of the head, every touch, every squint, every step, every sigh, every inch…

Cherished.

Adored.

Real.

Alive.

Written at 11:03 p.m.