Scenes From a Love Affair
I am the music, the music you can’t hear. I am your rough and tender hands as they wander on my hips. I am the hard wings you call arms. I remember your strong arms and the way they held me in the night. You and I, we are not that different. We walk the same beach, near the same waters, and swim the same length in a pool we didn’t build ourselves. You told me you could not swim, so I held you while you sank.
We see life as a whimsical mystery, a journey, an adventure. I want to go with you to the places I can’t go. I want to be with you in the places you don’t know. We are not the same, we are just made of the same essence. The road trip, when went to Austin I will remember. The time we drove for hours, going nowhere, and stopping randomly in the middle of a town, I won’t forget. The dirt on the wheels and the grey sky and your stubble every time we kissed.
When we don’t speak, we know each other best. When we don’t know, we are the most ourselves. I am a bitter woman when you smoke your cigarettes in silence, in secret, and tell me you need to breathe. In the night I watch you when you sleep and want to take a picture. But I don’t. I just watch your pink lips rest. In that town, when we both slept in a car, under the stars, you and I were our best.
You said I was your best friend. What is a friend? What is it we do to each other? What kind of friendship is this? It’s intense when you are not yourself. I know the real you. I’ve met him. I’ve touched him. I love him. In the night, I dream he loves me. I see him in the clouds of the Austin sky, where dreams go to die.
Don’t put on a show. Stop acting. You are not good at it anyways. This is not a dramatic pause, you can’t take a nap for eternity. This is your real life. You give me monologues about your face and all it has endured in the sunshine, with its deadly rays. But you don’t even tell me about the infected places in your heart. So we sit in the morning light in a place far away, in a city we don’t know and each of us makes promises we can’t keep.
I am standing here under the great grey sky, while you tie your shoes and don’t look at me. I will always stand here. I am not that strong. I am not that right. I am not that wrong. We went to the casino that night in another town. Let’s sit at a table and I will deal the cards. Make sure I get the Jack of Spades. I’m eager to know the secrets of your hand. Whether you are bullshitting or you are really a man.
The African mask I bought at T.J. Maxx is haunting me. I hung it near the fireplace, where no fire actually comes. The elephant statue on the mantle is roaring for me. In the East, we think we are made of air, fire, water, and earth. I understand all of it except the fire part. Where am I burning? What am I burning? I burned your bread and my bra the other day. I hate you, I think. And when I look at you while your drink your scotch that’s free and you turn to the waitress and smile. I know there’s not enough of me. I can’t see you look at anyone else you see.
I may hate, I mean probably as much as I love, you. Relationships exist so we can torment each other until we die. It gives us something to do, to break the monotony. You said you were mine, I believed in your monogamy. This is the game. Do we love, do we not? Is there such a thing as non-love, when I used to love you but I can’t stand your laugh anymore? I would rather make you cry. So I hand you an Ace of Diamonds and we are one under this starry night sky.
The Buddha statue in my living room expresses peace. The mirror in the foyer looks at me. When I look in my own eyes I see you in my reflection. I see more than your face, more than your body. I see the outlines of your spirit. I see your light. I also see your dark shadow behind you. What would light be without darkness? It would not be noticeable. In fact, it might not exist. We might not exist. I look at the pastel watercolor paintings in the hall, at the hotel we stopped at. I think about the bed we didn’t make, and the love we didn’t make, and the truth we were too afraid to fake.
I saw a gun in my dreams that night. It was you and me and a gun. We stood there, staring at the gun. Wondering what violence really feels like up close. What it smells like, how it sounds. It was quiet and was between us in a room with no windows. Who will shoot who first? Who will shoot themselves? I awoke and saw you sleeping peacefully while I cried. You didn’t wake up or realize. So like you to not notice me die.
This is not a movie. Nor is it an audition. You don’t get to practice your lines. It is your turn to be real. I will watch you. Don’t worry about falling when you stand, I’m write behind you, writing it all down. Do you have any dreams you want to describe? Dreams of living and dying under the same sky.
Which one of us is free? Which one of us is me? Where do we go from here? We have seen each other with no words on, no clothes on, no song sung, and no bandages on our wounds. Love is a battle that earns you no badges no medals, no prizes that you can take home. We couldn’t say the nothings we say, or sing the impossible tunes. I hit you that day in your heart as we drove home and you told me you were scared of the dark. I hit you with my snarled sarcastic laughter.
Still, I gave you my best. Now let’s live happily ever after.