Bent Words

Bent Words

January 23, 2008

So every now and then he treads upon my doorstep, following my smile inside. We fumble through what was meant to be a hug and, before I pull away, I feel the slight tingle of what isnít quite complete.

I never tell him this.

Instead, I ask about his weekends on the ice, inquire about his family, wonder at his recently shaven face. He doesnít ask about me but I tell him how Iím doing anyway. He doesnít ask how work is going but I give him all the particulars, including the melodrama, and I wait until he picks up on something he recognizes. He always recognizes something Ė the moved pieces of furniture, the assorted letters on my desk, the clothes that Iím wearing.

He never seems to notice the notes in his hand writing that I keep close at hand Ė the ones I review daily. I forget theyíre there or else I might be so inclined to show him.

ďLook at this,Ē I would say. ďHereís proof. I have proof!Ē

But I never tell him that I know and I never tell him that itís me who needs convincing. I never tell him that he loved me.

When he comes up behind me, close enough to caress, I notice the new scent upon his shirt Ė the difference between then and now. New soap or laundry detergent. Itís stupid so I donít mention it. But I notice things, too.

I notice how he kisses my back. The way his hands fall gently on my skin. I notice the way he watches me and I notice, too, how his eyes wander away. I never ask him where heís going when he looks away.

Weíll lie together silently and heíll stare straight up at the ceiling and Iíll be tempted to ask if heís juggling the meaning of this all but Iíll be stricken with the realization, just before I open my mouth, that I actually know better. Heís likely thinking about what needs to be done Ďback home,í who he needs to call and all the other things he could be occupied with as of right NOW. He always has somewhere to go.

And he will.

Iíll watch him leave.

Iíll whisper the things I didnít say to the window, watching the words stick with my breath, his taillights disappearing Ďround the corner. Iíll think about the night Ė that night Ė when he says I lost him but I wonít remember what it was I did or what it was I said. Perhaps Iíll never know. I want to know but Iím afraid to lose him all over again. I want to tell him Iím sorry for whatever it was about that night that made him step aside. I want to tell him, while heís here, looking down upon soul with those honest eyes, that I love him still...

Written at 8:55 p.m.