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Cyclical Affections

Cyclical Affections


She didn’t mean to break bad. She still wasn’t certain why she had. She knew there was a good chance of seeing him again. It was why she almost hadn’t come back to the small seaside town where she left him over a year before. But she needed to finish with the business she left behind her. So she had spent the 800 miles of her train ride back steeling herself against the possibility.

She had thought she was going to be successful. She even told herself that if she did find him in uneasy proximity to her, which was her way of leaving possibility’s door slightly ajar, she would simply walk away. Even if it meant leaving an uncomfortable wake in whatever setting she might see him in. But she hadn’t counted on the white light burning so brightly inside of her at the sight of him, or so cold. And she could tell herself now, being in some position to reason her way back through the succession of moments that have started coming between them again, that if he hadn’t seemed so unmovable, she probably would have not reacted with as much anger at the sight of him that had once been the depth of her love for him. But he had been the same. The same beautiful man he had seemed to her on the first night she met him nine years before. Funny how that night had been a bar scene too. And all of the oceanic swirling of what had washed between them, even the five mile trench of their emotions that tried to drown them sometimes, had not made a difference in how he looked to her. The son of a !@#$ still looked the same to her. Eternally the same and perfect. And she told herself it was what infuriated her.

Now that she was safely outside the range of him, and on her way back home, she could look at this thing a little more clearly. She wondered if she would ever be able to look at any of it disinterestedly. But maybe it wasn’t the stillness exactly with which he could cloak himself that had incensed her. Maybe she hadn’t been all that incensed. At least, not when she had been leaving the scene. And she could remember a strange and delicious feeling as that cool, cutting laughter came up from inside her when she left the rock n roll bar of their encounter. It was what made her feel as if she had freed herself of him, of the type of him that, she knew, had always attracted her. And it was the tall, dark, lean type that, she could see more clearly than before, has always amounted to a fatal flaw in her inside scene of content. As he certainly had been. It was the tall and darkly something or another she always wanted to keep by her side forever, even as she had never been able to trust herself to it. And where would this reckoning lead her, she was starting to wonder, now that she was approaching the swing of full womanhood? She wasn’t as young anymore, nor as young as when they first met and she decided he was the one who would carry her through the mirror door of her life. But that’s what it had been, she was seeing again. It really had been the glass image of him. And it’s what finally happened, what brought her through to where she was now traveling. So maybe she really had gone back to his town to find him out one last time.

She almost made it out of his town without their paths getting described along parallel tracks, or crossing. On her last day there, and having finished the business that had brought her back, she had even considered crossing over herself by going to his apartment. Just to see him, she told herself then, but that was reverberating even more marvelously now. And she guessed the idea would have been to gauge some measure of her feelings by the sight of him standing in his doorway. She had heard from a mutual friend he was living in a garret of an apartment, some shabby place stuck over a garage. Which would be just like him, she thought, in spite of his being nine years older too. And she could almost see him sitting in there, looking out a window, or trying to read between the lines inside a book cover, and following after those ridiculous unseen presences, as he called them, that to her were still just images bobbing on a page. Which wasn’t it exactly. Or maybe it was exactly it. And it was just another part of what first attracted her to him. And also a part, she couldn’t help but feel, of what had come between them. The slow images of what he could create for her, even turn over for her, had very much been to her liking. But then there came a time when she could no longer see her likeness on the page he was making. And she had thought he should always want what she wanted, which was to make a child-thing of their love, and to keep on creating an image of that child-thing over and over again. And how was it possible to create that thing, that separate living thing, when he left her alone so many nights and went to other places, with her no further away from his table than their bedroom? She could never understand his complaint, or that she had to let him feel what he felt for those other places too. Just as she figured he never understood how all she wanted was for them to live outside all the currents and tugging lines that described the world around them. And in the end, it was what he kept bringing in, the current constantly crossing against her emotions, that became a suffering for her she could no longer stand. She hadn’t lived for him, she knew. But she had lived for them. And it still hadn’t been enough. He wanted those other places too, he used to say, where he senses every man’s, his gypsy twin brother inside him. So why couldn’t he have taken her with him, she wanted to know? Why couldn’t she have gone too?

But she finally decided that day not to try to see him in his or any other doorway. She could also remember thinking, as she walked with a friend to a rock n roll bar later in the night, that she really was tired of taking chances, of keeping to something as chancy as a movable camp. Maybe she was ready to pull the skirts of a town, a neighborhood, or even a career, comfortably around her. And maybe she was ready to let the images of him fade away and start in on making herself the center of her own surroundings.

She couldn’t remember now how long she had been inside the bar before she saw him. She and her friend nicely turned more than a few heads as they entered the room’s half-light. And they kept the attentions of those dark faces as they made their way to a place at the bar. It was enough for her, she thought. It was just the right amount to quicken something inside of her again. She hadn’t wanted to think how long it had been since that last happened to her. And the band on the stage was in session when they came in, which only added to the twists and turns these rhythm and blues roadhouses could force on her perceptions. It always would take her a moment or two before she could wholly enter into these rooms whose sides were bulging with all of the animal energy that gets released in there. The currents of the music, the drunken sailing of so many lifeboats on the floor, the smoky air making everything seem so spectral to her, and the masks everyone wore, but that never did hide the charge of desires turning inward, turning, as often as not, to the underbelly, the dark-of-the-moon side of musical dreams. But once she found for herself a steady object, like maybe a barstool, something she could hang onto in the middle of the swirl, she was all right. She could enter into it all then. She could take her place in the stream.

She began to relax a little, feeling herself widening a little to let the scene of it all come in. She was also feeling something of the night rounds of excitement getting carried on alternating and charged currents. With a friend to talk to, and with the snifter of green Chartreuse in front of her, she was already preparing herself for the return home the next day, and into a life that was at last starting to feel like her own. And it always would be an enigma for her, she was thinking, switching back and forth between where she was then and where she would be tomorrow. The enigma was the green liqueur that never failed to interest her. She told herself she drank it because it let her sit through several hours with a single, slowly drained glass in her hands. But she knew the real attraction for her was that it couldn’t be analyzed, or dissected, on any of the points of her palate. The stuff would stay a mystery for her, and one she could dally with through an entire evening. And if only he had taken her in the same measureless way, she found herself jumping again. If only he had not tried to pin her against some ridiculous tapestry. Those were the times when she flew most furiously through the spaces surrounding them, trying to find a way to escape him. And she always resented his intrusions into places she figured he didn’t belong, asking his questions, wanting to know about her, and trying to peel away at the layers of her. They were her places, not his. It was just not fair, she told him more than once, that any man should be looking to get inside a woman. And why should she have made it easy for him anyway? Besides, she always feared that, with his picture answers in hand, he would no longer love her. Her mystery, she could admit, has always been her greatest prize. And also her greatest defense. The one behind which she always kept herself inviolate, untouched, and, in the last, as enigmatic as the drink in her hand. But sitting on the barstool, while one part of her talked to her friend about her new town, her new job, and her new life, she realized that the cloaks of her mystery making had still failed her, and that he had stopped trying to see inside her anyway. Which was when she couldn’t believe what she was seeing, seeing him sitting in the back of the bar by a window.

She knew immediately she really hadn’t expected to see him again. She had let herself believe she would get away from his town without the outside odds of her feelings catching up with her again. She realized also she didn’t really want to see him, and that she didn’t want to take any more chances in a game described by him. And it was the places of pain she felt again, the places she had hoped were sleeping like a still-birth long ago forgotten, or like a great bear nicely settling into her own chosen cave of hibernation. But this was a child-thing still very much alive, and it was shaking to be let out of her. And wouldn’t she ever be able to let go of him, she thought? Couldn’t she ever be free of him in the way she had been released of all the men that came before him? She just couldn’t understand why the sight of him could still give her so much pain. Or was it the greater portion of her Chartreuse she took in a swallow, and that felt like a flame scorching an inside path through her.

Her friend saw the state of shock she was in. The woman then turned around, looking for a clue, and she saw him too. But he still hadn’t tried to notice them. Being too attentive, they decided later, on the rock n roll music coming down from the stage. And she would tell her friend she couldn’t believe how he could still look the same. Still sitting by himself, still so self-contained, and even in a crowded bar.

Her friend didn’t need much to get her moving towards the door. She quickly saw, coming back a little to herself, it was time for them to go. But what a long way that suddenly separated them from the door. She really didn’t know if she could get out of there. Everything in there had become so distorted for her. And it was a kind of dancing dissonance being played out all around her. The music started screeching in her ears, and the floor was waving underneath her feet. And it was only when she finally reached the door she realized she still had the snifter in her hand. But she knew there was no way she could return it to the bar.

As they stepped off the porch, and onto the sidewalk, she heard that little stream of laughter starting to flow out from inside her. It was then she walked around the bar, with her friend keeping close beside her, to where he was still sitting in the window. She looked at him for a moment, watching him, and seeing the likes of him that was so neatly being framed for her. And she drew back on the snifter in her hand, strangely thinking as she did, let him pick up the broken images. She then threw the glass at him with all the fetter-breaking strength that was in her. And then she started running as fast as she could, her friend still keeping close beside her. And they both started laughing as crazily as two teenagers might laugh at the first big decision to interrupt the flow of them. Remembering it now while sitting in the train taking her back home, and remembering how easily her moment had come to her, she also remembered a favorite poem of hers about that silly lady of the lake whose love for a shiny knight had kept her pasted to a mirror, and who could only look at the world around her through a mirror’s reflection. And maybe she was free of him now, free of his hold on her. All it needed, she was beginning to marvel, was for a lady in waiting to shatter the image of a gallant’s picture.

Last edited by Terreson, Nov/22/2015, 8:52 pm
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