More fiction. Written in 2011.
I want to share this piece because I am fascinated by the dynamic between Rena and Elliott. They are characters that have been with me for five, almost six years now. They don’t represent anybody I know and yet they represent us all- they are fully their own messed up, broken people who still try in every way they can to love one another as authentically as possible without disrespecting themselves or each other in the process. Oftentimes that is excruciating and awkward. But it’s also real.
I lay in bed, immersed in foolish thoughts, letting my heart beat to a Mazzy Star song. Elliott climbs up next to me and places one of the earbuds in his ear, humoring me as he rests his head in the crook of my elbow. We lie there like that for several minutes, silently breathing the same air; listening to the same soft acoustic tune. No worries. No expectations. Only the moment.
He shifts his body closer to mine (I am not even tempted to flinch) and casually plays with the tips of my fingers, letting his own dance lightly along them with the eloquence of a concert pianist. His eyes will not meet mine but he is smiling and for a moment I am convinced he enjoys the music as much as I do. But I know better.
Then the song changes, a quicker pace now. And the moment is lost, evaporated almost as suddenly as it came. Smoky vapors linger but that is the only proof it even existed. He rolls toward me in a light hearted attempt to reach me on a level I cannot be easily found. Our fingers brush as he stretches closer but there is always that centimeter of space between us. We revolve around the same sun but we do not collide.
Desperation hugs onto the air molecules so tightly they begin to suffocate. Part of me knows if I pushed just a little harder I could ease the room of all its suffering, but I lose my grip too soon. His strong arm is a faint silhouette in the distance, reaching as far as it can go. I consider holding out my hand once more but the fall feels too much like flying. I simply close my eyes instead.
Rena sleeps with her back to me, so close I can taste the clean musk of her skin and yet too far away to touch. My love is always most pure in these starlit moments. It is not busy and affectionate as it often is in our waking hours; not frothy with passion as we fumble over buttons and door handles, trying to reach some kind of understanding. The night brings forth a simple, unavoidable humming; a kind of reckless admiration that holds no secrets…no lies and no truths.
I listen to her breathing and watch the way her shoulders rise and fall with every breath. The undulation is graceful and I realize with regret that it is the only action she doesn’t over think. Suddenly I am reminded of June Miller. How Anaїs and Henry both agonized over the possibility that June was merely a projection of their desires, a storyteller not with her pen like them, but with her body.
Without thinking I begin to trace the curve of her spine. She shifts her weight and I retreat. To awaken her would snuff out the magic. Asleep, she is not tense; prepared to brush away my advances and scoff at my desire. She does not rage and cry and tell me to go away, her black eyes shining with a sincere hatred that makes me question everything I’ve ever believed about love. No, in her fluid dream state she retracts those sharp defenses… She melts into my embrace and smiles when I kiss her cheek. In those short evening hours the moon illuminates the earth and I am enough to keep her.
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