It doesn't take hydrogen gas. Or riding a shuttle.
Or snorting on the whitest, finest powder this side of La-la-land.
(It might take an extra spoonful of sugar, but maybe that's just me.)
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Fiction, I write
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Once Upon A Time
Monday, October 25, 2004
A short story I wrote ages back in college, ressurected, with little tweaks.
The Eternal Moment
I'm nervous. I've probably never been this nervous before in my life, and but for the type of person I am, I would never (ever!) admit that to anybody but myself. Actually, barely even to myself - I'm sitting here, looking straight ahead, a dazzling smile on my face and nary a bead of perspiration atop my forehead, that isn't lined with a single furrow. So, if you were somewhere other than where you are, if you had anything open before you other than the window to my soul, you'd never be able to tell my nervousness.
My heart stops.
But I keep on smiling, even as my mind spirals back at a pace faster than lightning to that first moment I spied the glitter of that particular diamond underneath the glass. That particular ring in that particular velvet case that she's handling right now before me. I can see that moment clearly as if it had lasted only seconds ago. All that planning and all that fussing. All that debating and wondering as to what she would say or do. And then, I walked out through the glass doors, my pockets weighed down, my head turned this way and that, and a tiny voice, the kind you hear about in fairy tales, squeaking in my head. The kind that I never knew existed before I laid eyes on her. What was that voice - higher karma... conscience... or just plain dumb-stick talking?
This is another defence mechanism, you see, this inane, nonsensical chatter in my mind. Anything at all to take away the feeling of those wildly careening butterflies within my gut. This is not just any old denial involved here, you know - my infallible ego is at stake! I suppose that sounds pretty petty of me - the love songs never talk of paeans to the Self, do they? They're all about eternal devotion and sacrifice and silly things like that, ignoring the really important issues like costs and jitters and sex. Listening to me, you'd be at odds with yourself - I'm hardly the model case you'd expect to come about, with your preconceptions about the Lover About To Stick His Neck Out. But I'm also a person here who's very obviously conscious of the single fact that he's just pushed his neck inside the crocodile's jaws. I'm waiting, waiting and watching, while the reptile yawns, making up her mind whether or not to drop the guillotine.
All of a sudden, I'm very conscious of the fact that I kept her waiting in front of the cafe last Friday for an hour.
She's lifting the rock up to her eyes.
Is that a jeweller's lenses there, held ever so delicately between manicured fingers?
(And to think: the song I was drumming my fingers to last night in the car was 'Love don't cost a thing'.)
She loves me, yeah! Yeah! Yeah! Just think that, and you'll be all right. She's been hinting for ages, so you're really just following orders here. There's nothing to be afraid of - she'll smile, wear it, and thank you for it. And yes, if she thanks you for it, that means she'll marry you. (There's never been a case in the annals of rejection where the bitch drops you like a hot rock but prefers to keep the ice instead, is there? Fingers crossed here!) Think positive! No panic! No panic! Cool.
I can see her eyes glitter at the ice. She likes it. I may be inept at reading women's minds, but I can tell obvious pleasure when I see it... She likes it.
Her mouth opens slightly to an 'o' and then purses up. She wants to say something.
She's lifting her head up, her eyes are definitely shining! She definitely likes it! Loves...?
She's going to say something now...
Smile, smile, smile... You're not nervous, not nervous, not nervous...
"It's heavenly!... "
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