“But why should I believe what you say this time, anyway?”
She had raised her voice a little, protesting against what she thought was an accusation in my voice earlier. I was taken aback, startled by the vehemence of her protest: who was I,
a victim of circumstances, to pass judgement on another victim of my actions?
“It’s not that way,” I said. “ It’s not that way at all. After all, she came by herself this time. I didn’t tell her to. She came over to pick her stuff. Well, she wanted to talk too, things got messy and, uhmm. . . Look, it won’t happen again. Never. I promise.” I instinctively sought her hand as if to reassure her. She nestled closer, wanting to assuage me, to fight the enemy of lie in that voice. Her warmth gradually powered my lungs, ribs: life quickened within myself and I felt this sharp pain of truth-lie-truth-lie as I tightened my left hand round her right-hand fingers.
I could feel the prolonged shivering of her body thrilling into mine, and now it was me who wanted to cry as I remembered Tee, my partner in crime, a crime I couldn’t muster the courage to admit in front of her. Our little mischiefs had borne something totally unexpected and this feeling was somehow mixed up with a consiousness of Tee’s past anguish and suffering in trying to maintain our relationship; a relationship I never took so seriously. I felt confused and bitter at my own internal turmoil. Where was the power of words when one needed them? How could I tell her that when she had caught me with Tee I was just from viewing her pregnancy test results, and that soon I was not far from entering fatherhood? How could I, when her innocent eyes stared deep into my face, (hoping I would stick by her forever as promised) – oblivious of what I had got myself into?
Now when words were in flight, it was the only knowledge,the consciousness of past suffering and loss together with her, that brought us together. We had gone through a lot, and this consciousness gave birth to our mutual need for each other. My heart seethed with hopeless rage and I bit my lips trying to hold myself together, trying to hold back the impulse towards recognition of our mutual nakedness. But the rage, the impulse, urged me towards her, making me hold her closer to me, gradually laying her on the bed, surely and methodically removing her clothes with her hands making impotent gestures of protest.
” Oh please Joe don’t do that.” Hearing that fear of need and desire in her voice, not to mention the cooing vibrance that came with it made hot blood rush up and suffuse my whole system as my body sought hers in a locked struggle on the bed. I felt the tip of my blood-warmth touch her moistness and for a second I was suspended in physical inertia. Then she cried once, “ Oh,” as I descended, sinking into her who now received me in tender readiness.
Then we started slowly, almost uncertainly, groping toward one another, gradually working together in rhythmic search for truth, for a lost trust and hope, exploring deeper and deeper, my whole body aflame and tight with painful desire or of belonging. And she clung to me, she too desiring the memories washed away in the deluge of a new beginning to what we had before, and I now felt this power in me, power to make things right, power to right my wrongs, power over lust, power over mischief, power, power. . . and suddenly it was her who carried me high on ocean waves of new horizons and possibilities in a single moment of lightning illumination, oh the power of flesh, before exploding and swooning into darkness and sleep without words.
I woke up in the morning, a little messy with her by my side no more. She was gone.Just like a lover’s fading peck, like the wind’s sweet tingling of the neck, like the silent cry in a cremation ground, like innocence snuffed out of a wounded heart, like the ensuing silence when the dead depart: she was gone!
All I found by my drawer was a little note she had left behind;
We were lying in bed, you were lying: take care of your son, teach him not to break hearts like you did. After all, I went to war for what we had, you never even laced your boots! We all wade across life’s streams, not even sure of our return, but hoping to meet somewhere in life’s maze while searching. . .searching for an outlet. Time comes when we have to move on, sometimes not prepared to pack our own, but only abide by nature’s commands. Boy, bye!