“A man like this rarely has good manners”, they told her when she ran around the globe for him.
Yet, she smiled. Applying her lipstick, topping it off with a pop, the way she had seen in the old Movies. The blood red lines sticking together, mingling with invisible particles of salty air coming from the Ocean that was painting the scenery of their collision that day.
She used her lips much like a guard in some way. Repainting them over and over again with the same rich color. Masquerading seemed so easy to her. Although she knew her face was full of life to begin with. Ever since she got here. Feeling so terribly aroused by his simple presence across the path separating them. When it had been thousands of Miles before, suddenly the air was a little thinner, her breath a little quicker, her heart so heavy to carry. She heard soft Jazz coming from somewhere, maybe it was her mind. A spark and her eyes were full of light, nothing the masquerade could ever undo. When she stepped up to him, her lips curled trying to smother up what he did to her. That same moment she knew she had failed, like she always has with him. A brutal honesty befalling her movements. She always got lost in his smile, but this time maybe it was his lies doing the trick. His hands were in perfect unison with the music when he talked and reached out, trying to make sense of all the love inside of her. He did have good manners, making everything seem like a dance. Of course it was too much, he was never up to understand. It was a disastrous dance of being so perfectly right but being in the painfully unknown too. She fell and fell and fell more. With nothing there to catch her or at least catch up with her. And when she left their embrace she stumbled out of the masquerade, stepped out of being strong and walked away, her lips already smushed from wiping away experiences faded to old, crumbling and colorless memories in a Heartbeats Moment.
The City of Pearls tinctured her forlorn face in a symphony of lights. It was good to her. The people here, the atmosphere. Like it could almost make her forget how just days ago she went through images of the Mississippi washing and whirling inside her lungs, breathing for her and then not. How days ago she stood in front of him, breaking under his scorn when all her eyes revealed was that he was the only plan she ever had. She ran then. She ran away, battled and lost. Looking back seeing someone else settling into the life she had held in her cathedrals of imagination. Someone else claiming and swallowing what she needed, what she had wanted to fight for because it was the only right thing she had ever seen for herself. Coming to this place, she retraced his steps, imagining what he had seen here, back in February. Back when the city was filled with Ravens and 49 questions. It was her time now. Standing at the Crossroads of Bourbon and Saint Anns. Lonestar, faint on her tongue. Still feeling the happiness smash her down, eagerly building walls in her head, inside her heart. Putting in her world what made her feel like she was coming Home. Remembering how good and beautiful it was to look up and see him stand across the Room. His presence, and solely that. All the walls she needed around her to have this protected. She managed to preserve that, to filter the siren and his coldness. In the crashing down and the waking moments of their reunion, his disdain quite clear in the looks they shared she knew better than to ask him what he thought of her, knowing his answer would always be “I don’t”.
The table was set for five. On the porch of the Boathouse overlooking The Lake, dozens of miniature lights and lightglobes were hanging high and low, illuminating the Heart of Central Park. The walk down the deck never failed to bring up all those conflicting thoughts eating me up inside. How I felt home and safe, here in midst of New York smiles and glances and warm lights. But also how I felt this big lie lying heavy on my lips and fingertips, poisoning everything I touched or spoke out. It was never the time to dwell on those feelings. I got together with the so-called privileged women maybe once a month. Today was the third time and I already had them figured out with all their insecurities and false personalities covered up by credit cards, jewelry and juiced up hairdos. Margret had a habit of touching my hand when she tried to stabilize her voice from trembling too much. She never started her stories without hysteric laughter. Playing with her pearl necklace, making the cream white globes of wealth click together, pulling and tugging at her strands of fiery hair she seemed as much nervous as she seemed confident. She was from the South. Always eager to hide rests of her drawl, with her shit eating grin and her need to be everybody’s darling. There was Margret and then there was Sally, the blonde equivalent. Catherine and Susan, not as conservative but still hardly shying away from showing how loaded their bank accounts were, could have made the circle complete. But then, there was me. Being married to one of New Yorks richest, but most definitely not finest, I was invited to a whole new society of obligations. He dragged me into this world of high class dinner parties and pompous ball festivities from day one. And whenever he wasn’t around I was supposed to answer social calls of all kinds of other unnecessary sorts. Just like these evenings at the Boathouse in the depths of Central Park. Sometimes I felt like a wounded soldier, crippled and troubled. When I sat down with Manhattans infamous White Collar wives. Devoted, money spending wives to their bigshot husbands. Eying me with suspicion, watching my every move. Like I was an intruder. Sugarsweet Talk, Backstabbing Glances. They made me feel sick. My life made me feel sick. I hated it with so much passion, hated the money. Hated my Husband. When I met him I felt paralyzed to the idea of fighting. I gave in, gave up and I settled for everything I never wanted. I settled for hating my life and myself in it. The only thing I did not hate was New York. This city and the memories it held. Memories of someone, never him and me, but memories of somebody important. Bittersweet, painfully keeping the little bit that was left of me in the here and now. Still questioning decisions and choices I’d made that could have never involved him no matter how hard I tried and wanted them to be. Whilst still in thoughts I noticed how they got down to business soon that evening. It was easy for me not to pay attention while they were raving about ridiculous dream vacations on fantasy Islands. I listened yet I didn’t, really. There was no participation whatsoever from my side. I know they were usually happy about my lack of voice and welcomed my chosen opting out each time they shared their tediously transcendent lives, laughing like Hyenas. My eyes drifted to the big Oak Trees outside the Restaurant, beautifully colored this time of year. And I wondered how anybody could ever want to get away from this. It saved me, during these meetings, the city tinted in yellow and orange and red. Lost in thought, I imagined him jogging by. His bright neon sneakers glowing on the damp, wet ground. I visualized it for so long, my train of thought derailing on my face. It made my studied apathy disappear and revealed a smile and a certain glow in my eyes only he ever managed to evoke. They were still talking, but I sensed they started to notice. Sharing confused looks, talking slower. I heard them. Driveling about what they got their Husbands for Christmas and Birthdays and anniversaries. Porsches, a Rolex, Yacht Cruises. Gladly paid for with their Husbands Credit Cards. It was a farce and they didn’t even realize. They didn’t realize shit. Not how pathetic their lives were, not how I was still seeing him outside, concentrated on his path, music on his ears. The New York sky guiding him through the Park. “I gave someone Sand once. It was his Birthday and he was 3000 Miles from his Hometown. So I put Sand from his Beach in a Box and gave it to him.” Everything was quiet. It felt like the whole restaurant stared at me in disbelief. Unbelieving, shocked glances. Maybe even a little disgust. I woke up. Feeling lost, under scrutinizing and pejorative looks. The one time I did open my mouth I had to throw in something awfully honest, something silly and meaningless to everyone except me. I wanted to punch myself in the face. Instead I punched myself in the Heart, the way I could always do best. “He hated it.” I said, giving my best to make it sound like a joke. Hiding how much this realization still hurt and haunted me. I was glad to see it work. They were all back to laughing, hitting my shoulder. “Some kind of story.” one said. Yes, some kind…
How sure I was, of doubt
Your mind often terrifies me; its a creative mind. Of the strongest and most kindest kind.
And there I was, asking the world how it could have ever functioned in the absence of you.
Without the touch of glee in your words.
Of all the people that have walked up to you I felt like the smallest. How sure I was, of doubt.
An unimportant dot in your big scheme of memories.
The dullest color in all of your shining lights.
I tried to hide in alleyways and on foreign trails; but I was just aware of so much more.
Bending under thoughts of conspiracies that could never involve you but that fed my grueling brain with the one thing that could make men go to war.
It was Hope you handed me with an ivory touch and a slap on my creaking bones.
‘In Hope we shall fight. In Hope we shall live. In Hope we shall love.’
Was it not what the wise whispered.
Death of Hope and Death of Imagination were things I dreaded the most.
And isn’t it true that when a writer lets you in her sanctum, creates words out of you, creates a world around you, you can never die.
I write. And I write about You. And I beg that you please won’t take my Hope away from me.
Because you’re my shadow. And I’m in Chains.