Bent Words

Bent Words

October 22, 2007

She wonders if they ask about her half as much as they ask her about him – their ‘friends.’ The people they saw every day or the ones they ran into on the weekends or the ones they met only when a favor was requested. She wonders if it could be half as hard for him as it is for her – to hear his name spoken almost every day or, after having three whole days go by without a single inquiry, the shock she feels on the fourth day when it is. It’s as though a Buick were dropped on the roof of the building directly above her head… There’s nothing else in the world that registers beyond that crushing sound; like the world caving in without mercy.

That’s how it feels with the very mention of his name.

And if he knew this, she wonders, how he affected her still, so completely, would he simply run away? Would he see past the wide of her eyes, securing suddenly her unkempt secret and abscond with silent sympathy or would he quietly hold her stoic features with a knowing stare, acknowledging the yearning still wrapped up in their unfinished story? More importantly, she wonders, would she be capable of wending through a moment in a room filled with him? Knowing that all she was allowed to offer, all she was allowed to receive, all she could give or take, hold or toss away, remember for the rest of her days, was the simplicity of an acquainted nod.

The standard, laidback, slightly knowing motorcycle nod. Less intimate than the wave, less formal than a handshake and hardly noticed by those not assimilated in the circle. Almost too discrete to define…

And for that reason she almost hopes she doesn’t see him. She hopes that his presence in her world never stems beyond the mentioning of names or the dropping of a few photos. Because, otherwise, what would she do with a mere nod? A ‘mere’ realization of his obvious detachment, a simple suggestion that, as far as they go, nothing beyond this can ever come to be. A minor motion suggesting the basic acknowledgement of each other’s existence, a common significance in a world that was hardly such, an empty gesture – compared to the endless nights of being enveloped in each other’s eyes, searching for strength and truth and meaning.

Yet she searches still – the streets, the cars, the vans, the trucks, the bikes, the passing people, the faces, each window, every solitary stance, every slightly bent head, every possibility – for a single glimpse of him.

She searches the sky, wondering why, after each mention of his name. “Was it really meant to be this way,” she asks desperately, “or am I doing something wrong?” Clenching her eyes shut with pride she fails in resigning the stream of tears, her memory working overtime, her hopes that she cannot stave, the longing she cannot seem to lose, the misery of ‘if only…’

But that’s just how it feels. Too real, so close, lingering on her tongue, stamped upon her sleeve, wildly pressing upon her chest, crushing her world from above, every time, without fail – with just the very mention of his name.

Written at 9:37 p.m.