These hands take easily to yours, sweet emptiness rendered warm to mutual touch. Ready and willing, I look into your nightly depths to see little but reflections from dim illumination, intent clear as morning mist. Come, you beckon ernestly, come to me and away we’ll go, into the night and far from this madness. Stay, I say, stay here in the chaos with me, where I’m wanted and remembered, not out into the unknown. You beckon until your mortal limits can plead no more, and then you retreat. Ever the face of elegant and inconspicuous desire, you give yourself away in haste. Would that I were as foolish as I dreamed to be, I would’ve whisked away with you and discovered the grounds of my darkness. An ideal for an hour, you retreat back to your corner like the stranger you were.
My eyes are dark and my lips are rosy. Through the hallway, down the winding stairs, out the cloisterious triple-entrance, and onto the corner of the street. Down the block, past the brick apartments and straight to the station ahead. A stop for coffee somewhere crowded, people entering and exiting, me passing through in the same fashion. Down the neverending street with its tall yellow lights illuminating the twinkling lights and passing barges down below, along the river. The wind pushes me along as I cross the bridge to the other side. The sky is periwinkle and carnation as twilight descends. Books, I see tables filled with books upon books upon books. I exhale puffs of brisk evening air as I look through a box of science fiction titles. I leave the books and walk up the bank, to that familiar spot. There you are, bundled up, waiting for me.
It’s effortless on that side where you look up and he’s smiling at you and if you blush prettily this is encouraging and if you look into his eyes for the briefest second and then away to your friend it will still work because you looked his way and that’s what matters because it’s easy there where things are meant to happen at their natural pace and it’s where you meet your friends and lovers amidst the sea of brightly smiling faces and it’s just easier there where it’s a new page for you and you have everything to gain and nothing to bleed out for because they don’t even ask if you’re okay here at home because they’re always sniggering at you and waiting for you to fall on your face and you just won’t see the face you want to see when you pick yourself up again.
My favorite Pogues song came on so I asked you to dance with me. You wove your fingers through mine and flashed that devilish grin and I gave up. A couple of rounds later we were twirling around the floor like a pair of fools in love. People were cheering, laughing, kissing around us. I was intoxicated by your closeness, your warmth, your drunken lust. You tasted like cigarettes and mint. Your eyes were gray and full of pleading. You said I was cruel but flashed that smile all the same. I didn’t know what I was, I said. Still you held onto me, refusing to let go. Don’t go, you asked. Come with me, you said. Those gray eyes pierced me. I trailed my fingers along the line of your jaw as I contemplated my wandering stupor. Come with me, I asked you. You made a face at my not answering your question. But still we kissed and kissed and kissed until morning came.
A thousand miles later I stare out the window at the passing Irish countryside and you come back to me like a fragrance in the air. I realize it’s the clothes I’m wearing. I smell like you, your smoke and mint. I smell like that place. I smell like the dewy morning air in London and the brisk evening breeze in Munich. I smell like the smoky sweetness of the Christmas market in Marienplatz and the tangy spiciness of the Caribbean restaurant in Brixton. And now I smell like the salty thrashing currents of Galway, the insane winds sweeping me off my feet come sundown. I should wash my clothes but I don’t want to. You were the city I arrived in, the metropolis I inhabited for a time and the town I said goodbye to on that rainy afternoon. You were the bus I boarded before getting on the plane that would take me across the ocean and back home again.
You were perfect.