Bent Words

Bent Words

April 13, 2009

She once read that it takes half the time of a relationship to get over it once it's done so that if two people were together for ten years it would take five to mend. Surely it's been that long, she thought, about a year ago in May when there were only two weeks between her and the arrival of the annual chaos at Road Africa, when it was likely she would race past him on a pit scooter or catch an earful of his laughter 'round the next corner. Surely it's been long enough, she mused, knowing that she should be altogether swaying swiftly in a proud gait without a wink of the added weight of his potential profile riding on her shoulders. And what of it anyway? They have a run in, they say hi or nod their heads at best or listen to their hearts quicken as they pretend not to notice entirely and then they're off swaying swiftly in different directions. It's not as though they could take a leave of absence, find a secluded spot and allow the past four years to melt away with a case of whatever's cold, right?


But it is rather ridiculous when thought about from a more logical angle. In fact, that's the very thing that sets her
beside herself. Quite often the hard truth of it all -- her past with him -- comes rushing at her awkwardly with wildly
flaying arms, wailing words of harsh warning and she is left standing with wide eyes soaked in the forlornness of it.
Stunned that she had let it go on so long when it was actually going on, with a marriage that was not ended and his tendency to renege on the whole thing in the first place, and even more shocked at her inability to let it go when it wasn't.

For Christ's sake! screams the merciless truth -- he had a Wife! What of love and security had she to trip on when the question of his heart stood up like a wall before her feelings? She had not the time to struggle for she knew not when his next sudden departure would be; she only had the utterly compulsive reactions to what she imagined might be his next move. And in all that he could not fathom her reactions to his obstinate indecision. He could not comprehend her words of adoration and forgiveness and frustration for what he preferred of action when it was his own neutral motion standing in their way. He could not move fully forward and there was no going back, just as she could not keep it neat and compact in a little purse of sanity with a nodding smile of patience and unshakable understanding. What of love could be withdrawn from such a tapped out situation?

Still, you would think, by the careful slit of her eye and the slight turn of her cheek toward her shoulder as she walks
away, that there was something to be missed. A trace, a clue, a memory, a bit of unfinished business...

What's back there -- hidden in the once strong familiarities now tromped on by passing years, now smoothed imperfectly over with hesitating hands -- that causes such an obvious double-take, a burning second glance, a lingering glare, a slight inquisition?

Whose elbow still supports the door frame of her home's entrance with one leg crossed over the other ready to make her body swell with his smile... Whose sincere attempts at living, breathing, tasting, feeling life to its utmost extent echo shamelessly in her heart as she tries to quietly categorize the memories? Whose struggle began, proceeded and continues with genuine angst mirrored in her mind as she looks back and looks on and wonders? Whose finger traced her face in the moonlight filled with falling stars and planned perfection?

Whose hand can she feel within her grip when sorrow weakens her sight; whose lips burned with matched eagerness when all she yearned for was his kiss; whose company could somehow set her at ease and yet fill her with exuberance in the same measure; whose hair does the wind blow through when she looks back down the gravel path?

He is back there. With all the pain she permitted him to produce, with all the questions she left with him unanswered, with all the best of her days and brightest tips of her dreams. She knew anger. She knew hurt. She knew pure joy and sweet serenity. She knew and saw and held every color ever conceived. What was good was made of all these colors and really just too beautiful to relinquish. Besides, she thought, how can one merely fold away an entire life into a box of forbidden feelings?

Perhaps she really should just be over with it now but it was there, while he was in search of his soul, seeking to make the most of life, fumbling over the right and the wrong, working overtime to wring every drop of existence out of life that she got caught up in doing the same. And though she tripped, too; fumbling, failing, rising, reaching and wringing, it was then, back there, just over her shoulder, within the careful slit of her eye and the slight turn of her cheek, a little more than half a world ago, that she was... alive.

Written at 11:37 p.m.