Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Moment of Terror

He's half-dead when I see him. Cigarette in hand, his hair disheveled, and eyes that keep squinting as if it hurts to look. Books and papers strewn across his desk spill onto the floor. His normally spartan room now cluttered with objects reflects the aftermath of some inner madness. He's calm now,sort of dead and wrung out. There's no where to sit, so I shove a few things to the side of his unmade bed: notepads, broken pencils, three different thesauruses,an ashtray with some of its contents spilled onto the sheets...ugh..

"Sorry", he says with a slight smile. I didn't notice that I had expressed my disgust out loud.

"How have you been?" he says, as he toys mindlessly with an empty bottle on the desk. He doesn't look at me, just stares absently at his hand fiddling with the bottle.

"Better than this", I say indicating his messy room, and he gives a short laugh.

There's a long silence. Light streams through the window and warms my face. I stare at him - a solitary figure, slumped and defeated in his chair. Crumpled pieces of paper: the ruins of thought, lay at his feet. He is a pathetic (it pains me to say "pathetic") image of corroded vitality.

He sees me staring at him. My expression must have been honest because he says: "Don't pity me". But in defending himself he seems all the more vulnerable. He is weak. His weakness is terrifying. His overwhelming humanity is terrifying. With terror there is a moment of suspension, of transfixion, where one experiences the unforgiving frankness of the soul. In my moment of terror, I understand him more than I have ever understood anyone in moments of love.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

The Threat

He said I was beautiful. He seemed afraid, maybe because he said it in spite of himself. He was helpless because of me; the unintentional me. The perversity of human nature made it so.

I was helpless too. I had surrendered myself to the word "beautiful", and in the moment of its utterance, had tried to breathe life into it so that what he said could be true, more for him than for me. No, for me as well as him. I needed to verify him so that he would verify me. It was the culpability of love. The word "beautiful" was as malicious as its loveliness. Vulnerability trailed the last syllable and suspended itself between us, but I snatched it away with a kiss.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

The Terrace

He lifts the glass and the ice clinks. Then setting his glass down again he glances at me as if to ascertain something. The chair creaks as he shifts backwards and smiles faintly. Then he shakes his head and sighs, running his hand through his hair.

"You're a prude", he says. I shrug. He begins to tap his fingers on the table.
"You're just demure...", he says, still trying to categorize me. "You have no signals whatsoever", he continues. I remain silent.

Suddenly he drags his chair next to me and resumes his former position - his back against the chair with one hand supporting his chin, looking at me contemplatively.
"What do you want?", he asks. He brushes against my arm as if it were the most natural thing. I pull back. I feel like defying him.

He frowns almost imperceptibly, but then looks up and smiles benevolently, acquiescing to my resistance which he no doubt finds stubborn.

"You won't give in," he says matter-of-factly and sighs again.

"Either way I'd lose you", I say.

"I shouldn't matter" he says quickly, brushing the matter off.

He gets up abruptly and walks towards the wall, leaning over it with his arms. The terrace overlooks an unkempt garden, dully illuminated by the house lights and filled with weeds and potted bougainvilleas. In the distance are the shadowy rooftops of various houses, obscured by the vague outline of trees.

Suddenly there is the sound of a car approaching in the driveway below. Its headlights mangle the serenity of the surrounding shadows. I can hear people traipsing up the stairs. Laughter and girlish squeals drift towards us. And then they are here, slapping him on the back, assaulting him with hugs, compliments...everything merging into a general loudness. More girls coming up the stairs, sparkling jewelery, bare mid-drifts, giddiness...

In the midst of the impending disorder he casts me a glance. A girl hooks her arm into his and I recognize the gleam in his eyes. "Time for me to go" I say, and I turn to leave before the party starts. I'm relieved he doesn't try to stop me.