Wednesday, January 21, 2009

June 1999

In her eyes, the inclement weather was particularly propitious. The dark clouds had scared away her impending knell.

For today.

The swirling masses were irascible, threatening to rain down lightning, should she leave the safety of her home. It regaled her to pick up the telephone and make that call.

“I regret that we cannot meet tonight.” She attempted to keep from sounding mordant.

“Do you really regret it, miss?” His acumen was exceeded only by his courtesy.

“Matthew, of course I do. You know how I await our meetings agog.” She feigned ebbulience, shifting in the span of a breath to something quite the opposite. “Do you dare call my integrity into question? Does your captious mind attack my anguish like a bandog?”

He was quick to respond: “Oh, miss, I do pray I have not offended you. I bathe in virtu, and your beauty is the finest art ever created. It is the oasis in a desert of the most severe aestival heat, and I beg you to allow me access to your waters.”

The flowers of his proclamation could not hide the emotionless delivery of the bouquet, suggesting that the gamut of her theatrics was less cogent than she would have wished. Perhaps she realized this: she absconded from the conversation, placing the phone back in place.

She turned to the open window, feeling as strongly as she felt the biting wind that the telephone would not ring again. The window seat became her throne as she watched water collect on the windowsill, reminding her of taws from her youth. Only alone would she rule her world; only alone would her heart remain as cold as the moon, as protected as a redoubt.

Yet even she, in her chichi apartment, was beneath the moon. She thought about it often, the pains of being a sublunary subject to the queen of the tides. Somewhere between avoiding her past and evading her future, her desultory mind sometimes amused itself with dreams of sending scions to challenge the queen’s rule. But the kobolds of her mind denied her this dream, convincing her that any progeny would choose the land or sea over the space beyond, finding his passion in vexillology or finding office among a political quorum.

It all seemed so wretched, this structured life. She would much have preferred an anarchist son or – at very least – the leader of a junta. Why live at all if you only swim with the current?

The phone.

She picked it up in silence, hearing bells in the distance. Had her time arrived?

“You mustn’t tease him that way.”

She had nothing to say.

“Don’t you see how perfect it would be? You already know his parents. And I could introduce you to the aunts and uncles well before the wedding. I’m sure even if you don’t like Aunt Sarah you’ll surely like Uncle Michael.” She chuckled to herself. “We’re quite the multifarious group, you see.”

Arbitrage.” She had found a single word.

“What?” Apparently her lexicon did not stretch so far.

“You sold me.” She grumbled.

“Whatever that means.” The voice on the other line responded with a sigh. “Just stop being a slugabed and come over here. He paces the hall waiting for you.”



A small voice crept out from her trembling lips. “Did you ever love me?”

A long sigh erupts from the phone. “You know I love you.” A pause. “Just like Mama loves you. Just like Papa loves you. Just like little Lil-”

A crescendo: “Did you - ever? just once? - think about me? HOW COULD I wear white and walk across an aisle,” she blinked away tears and wiped her nose with her sleeve as her voice faded away again. “To…to someone else?”

“Oh, my Hannah.” Three little words. The world was no longer broken and the clouds were- 

A firm voice erupted from the phone, “Hannah. It was never like that between us. It’s sick to suggest such a thing. I don’t know where you’re getting thi-”

She set the phone down on the table, and turned back to the window. A tinny voice continued from the handset, becoming more forceful with every step she took. She reached the cold panes of glass and pressed her cheek against them, giving away the warmth her body had no right to possess. Out of the corner of her eye she caught a faint glimmer of silver moon shining through the dispersing clouds. The voice on the phone no longer mattered. She was worshipping her queen.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

May 1999

At the beginning, she was nothing more than a name on a paycheck. I cannot reliably say how many times Miss Ana Valdis collected her enolument at my mahogany desk. For the longest time, my senses were not attuned to her soft whispers of acknowledgement and downcast eyes. In my nescience, I surrounded myself with gewgaws - women whose physical effulgence served, if only temporarily, to conceal the exiguity of their character. I attracted them with my luxurious lifestyle and we shared every pleasure possible for two travelers whose paths intersect. I never had desire nor need to change my path to fit theirs', finding pleasure in the company of many women seriatim.

Upon the dissolution of one such relationship, I sought out a bivouac with one from the same fiber, yet something hindered the alchemy of my anatomy, the thaumaturgy of her thighs.