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The Last Time I Saw You - Dialing Your Number Now

I am troubled. An ordinary state for me.

It’s one of those scenes that if it appeared in film or stage it wouldn’t be believed. Overly designed. Contrived.

Two rows of box condominiums. Driveway between. Identical windows above identical garages. Each facing each across the chasm of the drive.

I stood in the center of that drive. On the concrete running down its center. Concrete stunningly white, unstained. Perhaps it was the artificial blackness of the sealant applied to the surrounding drive that made the concrete so blindingly white. Sealant applied with such craft I could not detect one splotch on the gutter or any of the garage slabs. Perfectly cut, unnaturally straight lines.

Several minutes I stood there. Speaking nearly the entire time. Unbroken by traffic, or pedestrians. Not one of those many garages opened.

It was during a pause in the conversation I noticed all this. Was trying to assess the conversation. Discern what was not being said. Assess my desire. Discern the intentions. You stood there deflecting, masterfully, as so many women feel need. Yet there was something. In the eyebrows? The dipping of the shoulders to one side then next as if trying to decide which way to turn? You stayed. Stood on the sidewalk. Dead on the center-line of that gutter. Six meters from me. Something in the eyebrows said ”This is the last I’ll see him.” Is that it? Is that what they said? That’s certainly not what I want but, just as certainly, it isn’t what I’m speaking. Nor am I speaking at my depths.

So idyllic that if it appeared in film or stage it would not be believed.

You standing there. Shimmering sidewalk. Perfectly rectilinear runnel of stunning white concrete. From your feet to mine. Surrounded by too black asphalt. Windows, garages unblinking. Not only motionless but utterly absent of even an indication of others.

There you stand. Gorgeous. A more perfect feminine geometry than this rigid rationalist feigns notice. But I noticed. That animal part of my brain, usually so easy to dismiss, took notice of you the moment you moved into my visual field. Usually, within milliseconds my analytic will seize upon some other detail. Distracting me onto a trajectory of work, of song, of decision, conversation, of cerebral activity that is the comfort of my world.

Three years I worked with you. Three years I was your boss. I stayed bound by the dictates of that relational confine. Took great comfort that I need only respond within its realm. Boss, worker. Even within those confines I noticed something. You, unrelenting, unavoidable, vocal, logical, rational. With the service of rhetoric demanding action contrary to standards. Leaving me unable to answer. Obstreperous. Impossible to dismiss. Justifiably so. All so astonishingly beautiful.

I am no longer your, nor anyone’s, boss. The irrationality, the impossibility, the ill-advise have all advanced upon me in my freedom.

There you stand. Gorgeous. I finish the conversation. Saying none of what I’m thinking, feeling. Infused with the colors of love, admiration, desire.

The pragmatic won that moment. I said goodbye. Turned and departed. Walked right up that too white path. Still wondering “What was in those eyebrows? Those shoulders?”

You standing there on that shimmering sidewalk. Gorgeous and not your usual obstreperous self. I standing there, chattering, wanting to uplift. Not wanting to ever leave. Faced stark with the absurdity, impossibility of building a life with you. Expansive chest, acid belly all at once.

I love you.

That I know.

But where and what now?

More impenetrable than that too black asphalt.

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Comments

  • LisaMM
    LisaMMover 4 years ago

    A very strong and compelling write, laced with inner turmoil and confusion, conflicting emotions of love and desire and having to let go. So wonderfully and visually expressed. I felt all the emotions and warm reflections.

  • Thanks! This is a shortened version for the Challenge. Had to edit down from nearly 900 words to 600. Your comment reassures me that I didn’t butcher it.

    Original Version

    – Honario

  • Steven Mace
    Steven Maceabout 4 years ago

    I found the story disturbing rather than expressing warm reflections…a perfect study of obsession.

  • Yes, there are definitely elements of obsessiveness. Some of the things that interests me is ‘Where is the threshold of madness?’ ‘When does the action of the normal course of things shift to the aberrant?’ ‘Does the ordinary person ever experience these cusps, a simulacrum thereof, or is it exclusive to realm of the genuinely disturbed?’

    – Honario

  • PJ Ryan
    PJ Ryan4 days ago

    Very well written. I like the voice. Congratulations on your feature in Short Stories!

  • Thanks!!

    – Honario

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