Thursday, April 12, 2007

From Catherine One- Queen Anne's Lace.


Often, as I am laying in bed waiting for sleep to come, another's arms around me, another's body close to mine, my mind drifts back to those few nights we were allowed together. You chased me out into the water and we swam at dusk, after the horseflies had bitten our shoulders raw. The air had become cooler but the water was still warm, and we stayed in up to our chins to keep from freezing. We laughed and choked on seawater and held each other there, under the low tide, trying to keep submerged as long as we could. I watched your face against the darkening sky, your eyes bright in the twilight, full of energy and life and full of a dark thoughtfulness. We scrambled out of the water and ran shivering up to the fire. We stripped out of our wet clothes and lay together in the warm, dry sleeping bag. The night came on and the stars were bold and trembling above us. I counted three shooting stars lying in your arms as you fell in and out of sleep, murmuring words to me that I half-comprehended. And yes, I felt whole then. I felt my place and my emotions properly aligned. I wondered what it would have been like to have all the time in the world with you.

But, as I stared across the fire, its dancing light reflected in your eyes (bold against the night, your eyes always as bright as stars), I saw you trace the horizon, just a mute blue hue, almost complete night, and I knew you were thinking of another. We never spoke much about her. I didn't want to. In some ways, I wanted to believe the lie, that there was someone who drops into your life out of pure circumstance, and they are the ones who are to save you. I obviously wanted to believe that; I fell into you fully. And I am not bitter now that we are apart. I am grateful for having known you, to still know you, though only through these few letters or a chance encounter. Remember the last time we ran into each other? I dreamt of you for days.

The second night on the beach, when we were sunburned and weary from two days in the bright heat and the hot sand, we fell asleep in each other's arms. But I was restless. I dressed and walked out into the cool sand in the night. The night was so bright. The half-moon sat on a field of bright pinholes; the milky-way like queen anne's lace strewn carelessly across the sky. All of it reflected in the deep darkness of the Atlantic, the churning mirror that stretched the entire horizon. I walked out to where the waves were lapping at the shore, a strong breeze whipping my hair around my face. It was bright and the sound of the waves breaking in rhythm stirred the blood in my cheeks. And I wished you had walked out with me, to behold the perfect night in our world which was like a dream for that short time.

But I was also wearing the night like a mask. And the moon glowed, but it also glowed pale with a kind of grief. Our lives each seemed so full, and we were strangers to each other. Everything that happened happened suddenly and out of instinct. It often felt like we were not controlling things. But it was perfect and I felt myself small, so small beneath that giant night, the light from the stars a billion years old illuminating me, the moon slowly cycling over us. I felt ready to give into fate, to let everything slip away and let myself slip into you as easily as I glided through the water. And I rushed back to the tent; I undressed and pushed myself close to you. I took your arm as you roused from your sleep and pressed your palm onto my breast. I pushed my back against your chest and reached to pull your face close to mine. And we kissed and whispered to each other under the lull of the waves and the wind.

Yet here we are now, again each in our own world. I live on memories and hopes. I live because of things you have shown me. Yet we are still so separate, we are still strangers in so many ways. You were always some place distant. You were always many people at once. And I could never ask you to be only one for me. I could never ask you to give her up. Or the memory of her.

I will love you always, and I will always be your friend. But what do we have besides these misty memories?