When I first met her, I should have known. Always approach your people;
do not let them approach you. The sort who approach you are invariably crazy.
She walked up to me. She was wearing a skirt of green velvet that clung
to her legs. I have never seen such a material; it has a life all its own.
Strangers used to touch her skirt; you were compelled to see what it felt
like. I looked at her, saying nothing at all, raised my brows slightly.
She was oddly good-looking, eyes that sloped downwards, heavy. Black hair,
curled, mulberry lips. Arched brows. A woman who wore jewelry. She held
out her hand and began talking to me, looking at me sideways. I slid easily
into her conversation, highlighted, seduced; she was very clever, warmed
you like wine. She held out her fingers to me. That night, she held me around
the waist, slid her hands into my coat pockets. I could feel her clutching
my keys, jingling them. I don't know why this didn't upset me. It was a
very strange thing to do.
Two months later, I was moving out of the country, to join her. The weather
She refused to speak to me; I remember trying to speak even to her friends:
they refused to talk to me as well. She had lied about me to them, sealed
them from me. Both of us were fists, clenched inwards.
I realize now that it was the numbing coldness of my childhood, repeated.
I was thinking that winter would end somehow. A world of winter had sprung
up between us; everything we touched was covered by frost. And so, as we
parted, she was even more of a stranger; she had closed herself up entirely
against me and was frozen shut. A stranger on the street could have elicited
a warmer response. I remember thinking that making love was the loneliest
thing; she would be murmuring things to herself, refuse to look at me, push
my hands away.
That year I grew used to it. I loved her avoidance, the gesture of parting,
a push. I loved her negative, knew only her negative; the space between
her sternum and backbone was a bag of dark blood, refuse.
And when she was gone for weeks on end, I loved
her absence also. It was a tangible hole one could
caress; unutterably dark and sad. A bag into which any memory of us could
fit and dissapear.
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