From Where I Stand

early morning sunlight by piersbarber

The last time we see someone.  The last time I saw you.  You never know it at the time, of course.  And we look back and say, Hmm, was that the last time I saw him?  The last time I touched him?

Was the last time on my road trip?  Almost certainly.  But that doesn’t count somehow.  That was more like a museum trip through the past.  A brief visit.  So many years after the events that changed us.  But before that?

Was it the time in your kitchen?  When I was with Sarah?  What started as coffee or lunch.  I don’t remember, and ended on the floor in two rooms.  In your bed.  A whole afternoon.  Less about sex and more about reassuring ourselves of something.  Soothing something.

What is to be said about that?  But it changed me and all these years later, that afternoon comes unbidden to mind.  The kitchen counter.  A hand.

The heavy air of an Indiana afternoon.  Gray leaden skies or bright blue?  I remember sun, but it may have just been you.  On your screened porch, I remember that.  Something cold in my hand.  The porch swing.  Children’s drawings on the table.

This was in the days when infidelities to me felt deliciously sinful.  Secrets untold affected no one.  If it was never said and remained unknown, it was for all practical purposes like it never happened.  Which I in no way wished at any point, then or now.  It was my recollection to savor, a hardcandy to suck and turn over with my tongue.  Moreso because it was joy in a sea of blinding grief.

And now? And now untruths just taste indigestibly bitter.  A sweeter flavor truth.  Sweet with a grounding earthy flavor.  How did I get here so unexpectedly?  I would not have put money on it.  Somehow with an open-hearted lover, dark to your sunlight, open to your secret places, I find myself at the edge of another clearing in the trees.  Wide open.  All dappled sunshine and soaring vista.  A sense of vertigo, looking back now so many years.

I caught a song on the radio this morning.  A looking back sort of song.  One we sang together, years ago.  And even then we were looking back, weren’t we?  Looking back on the time when we’d be apart, even when we were together.  Each time, I put my hand on your hips, I’d think, Will this be the last time I touch you?

And when you left, the feeling was not as big, not as infinite as the feeling we had together.  Not as crushing as I might have thought.  Hurt with a sense of relief.  A guilty sense that what was a long time coming, had inevitably arrived.  Did I make this happen, a trick of peripheral vision?  Something I saw in the distance, and therefore made real?  Desire and faith and superstition.  And belief I don’t know I have today.  But then, I don’t know I could love quite like that now either.

It took me all this time to realize I left part of myself behind too.  The believer, a man with faith.  Deeply felt.  Open to something infinite and infinitely open.  Ten years to grieve, and only now, to recognize that I folded up into myself like an unmoored kite in a windstorm.

Here I am meeting myself after my travels asking innocently, Where have you been?

And now if I touched you?  It would be unimaginably different.  Open and deep.  Not looking back.  Not looking forward.   Just looking.  And seeing.   And recognizing it all.  A hand on your arm.  Coppery hair across your forehead.  The intense skylight in your eyes.  Absorbing everything.  Not for later, but for now.

Advertisements

3 Comments

  1. memoryandmuchness
    Posted August 27, 2008 at 5:33 am | Permalink

    my heart is twisting around itself and it seems something is caught in my throat. i damn near cried, (i might be pms-ing). beautiful like standing on a cliff.

  2. Calpyso Ticonderoga
    Posted August 27, 2008 at 6:32 pm | Permalink

    Such a beautiful, honest description. Lovely.

  3. blah blah blah
    Posted August 27, 2008 at 7:46 pm | Permalink

    So lovely, so true, awareness, epiphanies I haven’t heard from you.


Post a Comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.

%d bloggers like this: