Monday, January 31, 2011

Best left unsaid

 This was for an English class. I wrote it after about 26 hours awake. Other intoxicants may have been invovled.

It was a disaster, the first time we met. I had spent the last thirty minutes unsuccessfully flirting with your best friend.  It took the glare of a resentful boyfriend, returning to the table laden with drinks, before I got the picture. The flare of amusement, or possibly contempt – I have always been too afraid to ask – rose in your eyes as you masked a giggle with your drink. In retrospect my dejected look, the collapsing of my posture, the slight drop in my jaw was probably hilarious. I’ll never forget the smug little look you shot me as I fumbled for words. The bar that I’d drank in a hundred times before appeared more clearly than I’d ever seen it as I tried to avoid that condescending gaze – not to mention the blissful couple beside me. I noticed how incongruous the tacky disco ball was with the rustic slabs of timber it hung between, the inches of paint covering the rough stonework, the grooves worn into the floorboards adjacent to the bar. After a careful examination of the wood grain table I ventured a look in your direction. Condescension had faded to sympathy; I should have left long ago, but sheer embarrassment had kept me there. That’s when you leaned in and muttered under your breath ‘Why the sudden lack of locution, has a feline absconded with your instrument of phonetic articulation?’
   A joke at my expense; only minutes ago I failed to impress your friend, the linguistics major, with a display of verbosity.  I should have taken the hint when she was unimpressed by my detailing the semantic difference between ‘disinterested’ and ‘uninterested.’
   Your friend extricated herself from the boyfriend’s arms and proceeded to drag you away. I heard her chastise you as you were being pulled away ‘It’s the end of semester. Quit it with that nerd shit already.’
   It wasn’t until you left that I properly noticed you, or the way you wore that red dress. I was left to stare at an empty doorway. There was nothing left to see, but I kept staring.

Had I recognised you immediately the next time I saw you I would have been mortified, but it wasn’t until half way through the class that I realised the pretty girl I had been sneaking furtive glances at wasn’t a stranger. The following conversation was tentative and uncomfortable, but you graciously accepted my offer for a coffee as recompense for ‘being a dick’ and here we are. 
We are sitting close; the distance between us is so small that neither of us can help but be aware of it. More elegant than a touch, it draws our attention to the tension between us. The energy contained in those few centimetres becomes a force in itself, like the energy required to hold my body weight just off the ground. I could crash down at any second, but I don’t. Our conversation follows the same pattern. Everything is subtext and implication. Sentences are carefully constructed while we try and provoke each other into letting down our guard.
    Then again, I am known for hyperbole, exaggeration and over analysing everything. Maybe it’s all in my head.

No comments:

Post a Comment