There was a girl

There was a girl who loved a man. This man knew she loved him because she told him.  Once, and many times after in fact because you only stumble with such words the first time. So she loved him and he knew it, and it was the love you find in movies and songs, and also in quiet afternoons, though this part he might not have known for high drama gets more notice in these situations.

She battled with this love because sometimes it felt more like war. She fought for his attention, and surrendered more than she ever intended. She lost days because of hours, and saw the underside of more nights than one ever should alone. She cried to friends, and to the moon, and one night to him, where she discovered this man she loved unmoved by her tears. On that night she made her deepest acquaintance with loneliness yet. And for weeks, months after, she held him off with this loneliness, wrapped it around herself, and waited for the love to lessen.

But the girl continued to love the man. The love had snaked its way in to her bones and anchored in the deepest part of her. She missed him and began to forget the sharper edges of their relationship. She remembered instead the way he had touched her wrist on that very first night. She remembered his worried eyes and the soft pad of his thumb against her lip. She remembered him singing in her ear, and the rough of his neck, and the tremble in his throat when she undid his tie.

She began to polish the grooves out of her memories and soon only shiny surfaces remained. She slipped these memories in to her pocket and took them out at night in the dark. She started to hold on to every last night and let go of every next morning, and soon her loneliness recalibrated in to longing. And when only longing remained, she took the memories out of her pocket and laid each one before the man in a gesture both hesitant and hopeful.

The man had been waiting. He welcomed her return and held out his hand, and when she took it both were full of forgetting. This man and this girl could not write their own ending. The end of their affair would not be quick and strong. They could no longer tell the difference between falling down and getting back up again, but they held on to each other just the same.

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