Friday, December 31, 2004
Short story time. More mush.
The Wrong Side of the Street
I'm seeing you after what seems like years. And I feel none of the passion I did earlier. I love you, still, at least I think I do. But I feel none of the passion, none of the ache. I flirt with you still, I touch your arms lightly, I whisper in your ear, and am aware of the slight tremour in your skin, but I want none of that.
I am content to see you like this.
It was not always like this.
There was a time when I would wait, wait, wait, wait and then wait some more to hear from you. There was a time that I would take the cell phone when I saw your name on the display screen, and scamper away somewhere to sit in seclusion and talk to you, listen to your drawl, the way you told me you wanted to see me, be with me, love me. And then I would come back to my chair and my friends would nudge me, and ask me how fast the rocket that had taken me to the moon had gone.
It was something like that. Something stupid.
I remember that time we were lying in bed, a piece of sinful chocolate truffle cake between us. One fork. Chocolate cream smeared on the white china. My eyes liquid as I looked at you, my lips hungry for you. We talked about love, about what we wanted from each other. The boundaries were drawn, and I knew that. You were from the wrong side of the street, and I was from the never-never land that you outgrew ages ago. We were playing with each other, it was a god-given boon that the play was always so intricate, always so delightful, and always left us feeling slightly unsatisfied at the end, panting always. That was the way it was meant to be, you said, and I agreed. I was panting, I was sighing, I was in heaven, though I held myself back.
But of course, it didn't really work. When we went out for dinner with your friends, I would become this listless creature who is awaiting his last meal before he is shot. When we would be in the dark, in the movie hall, I would slip my hand underneath yours and squeeze slowly, and beg you to reciprocate. I would do little things in the dark, but freeze instantly when the intermission came on, and one of your brainless friends spied my red face and suggested popcorn. I think they wanted to know what the hell you were doing with me. I hope the answer wasn't that hard to come to you.
"I'm not sure where this is going," I would say, in unconcealed ire to my friend. He would stroke my arm in response. Sympathy, sadness, ire, I wonder if he felt any of those of my behalf... I would almost feel the salt in my eyes out of frustration.
"I haven't got any word as yet. I can't be the first one to call. I'll look funny. I'll look desperate."
"No, you can't. Wait, then. Wait. The call will come, don't worry too much," he would say, and I would hope that he was right.
Of course, the call would always come. You would always call and explain things away in a breezy enough way. There were reasons in the world for you to be delayed, and I was supposed to understand it. I told myself that I should understand it. You were from the wrong side of the street for me, for god's sake - everyone had warned me about you. They had pointed you out to me at parties and told me never to go within ten paces of you. I didn't. I believed my friends. I kept away from you.
You were the one who first came up to me.
It was my fault I couldn't resist you.
Not then, not when you first came up to me, a smile on your lips, and not when I found myself slowly slipping into you. I told myself, get your guard up again. That one is on the wrong side of the street, that one is not meant for you, you can't slip, you can't slip, but of course I did. And that was the end of it.
Because you caught on. And that was the end of us.
So, over another piece of sinful chocolate cake, you told me that I was on the wrong side of the street for you, and we should move on. I did. I listened to you, and reasoned with myself that you were right. That this falling business was likely to give me vertigo if I didn't cross to the other side of the street. I looked at you and nodded, and never cried, hugged you that night, and stayed awake the whole night, blinking away tears that refused to come, while staring at the shadows playing on the floor in the dark.
You wanted us to move on, and I did. I moved away to another city, and told myself that Thank God you had caught me before I had fallen wholeheartedly, that Thank God, you had had the grace to leave me my dignity. I suppose I thanked you too, in my mind, in my private reserve, so many times, thanked that you were on the right side of the street.
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