I remember warm southern days. Pine scented breezes blowing across the campus. Cocoa skin, brown hair and soft eyes to light up my day. Tight dresses, swaying slacks, and tennis shoes. Celebrity hairstyles and attitudes flavored all shades of feminine brown on the yard. I also remember her. She was the beginning and ending of a lot of things; the beginning and ending of a friendship; the beginning and ending of some dreams. But the beginning of my written self-expression.
We met in our freshman year at orientation. Or maybe it was in freshman English. That day she walked into the room in that regal purple dress of hers with the back exposed. Dayum! I don’t know for sure. I can’t exactly remember how and where we met. It’s not really important. What was important was that she had the most wonderful smile; such a dream to walk in the flesh was almost unbelievable to my young heart. A lot of guys wanted to talk to her, fa’ sho’, but she always told them she had someone special waiting back at home for her. And she told me the same thing.
Going into our sophomore year, we gradually became friends. Her caramelized skin reflecting in the hot cotton, Mississippi sun, rubber banded my dreams of fancy from heart, to mind, and then to imagination. Not your average guy fantasies. I would imagine family pictures to be taken of us and the thought of coming home in the evenings to her smile.
I was gone, seriously gone. That wasn’t the half of it. Her personality and charm were full of congenial pageantry with a dash of “keepin’ it real.”
At times, she and I would share a bench and conversation in the cool of the night. Couples could be found strolling together or hugged up in the corners of the campus. The mornings to follow would be accompanied by the bustle of students traversing the walkways to class. The pedestrian traffic increasing with the rhythmic sounds of drumbeats and bass guitars filling the airwaves.
With a homemade card in hand, her eyes in teletype read “Happy Birthday,” then the Johnny Gill “Lady Dujour” lyrics. Her words occupied my attention while we walked to class. The topics were usually nineteen and empty in nature, as I look back. Not that it mattered then or even now.
As day gave way to night and weeks into months, the frequency of phone conversations, library sessions, and walks increased. I had to cover my mouth to keep the butterflies from flying out when with her.
I remember the warm southern nights resonating inside my thoughts like a neo-soul memory. As chance would have it, one night after driving back to the dorms, I told her of my feelings to be more than friends –of my plans and designs to be all that she didn’t know that she needed and more –of plans for a slow dance, served over a personally prepared dessert and candlelight. Plans that together we could construct to escape into our dreams and fantasies. My willingness to meet her on all levels of love. A power couple in the making; An empire awaiting.
Silence was her reply.
Not a “yes,” not a “no,” not a “maybe.”
From the sound of the closing door, I watched her walk toward her room. Coping with the uncomfortable truth of the facts, that we would never be was becoming reality. As reality was beginning to give way to fantasy…
Many weeks passed. The routine of classes quickened in pace with the arrival of the autumn breeze. From within the warmth of my coat, I watched her from emotional shadows. The Fall persona slowly absorbed the energy of the Summer atom. The emptiness of the streets vacated by the arrival of colder temperatures complemented the color of my emotions. The surface area of my eyes decreased to slits, as I squinted in the cold northeasterly wind. Closing my coat, while drawing my arms in close, I took the first step toward her. Reaching out to touch the lines of her face. The warmth of her color, just beyond my fingertips. The cold air hung between the two of us. It existed there because she wanted it to be.
Somehow she was taught to fear what’s in the dark, but my hue could be so sweet to her. A relaxing cup of Blackberry brew, shadowy blue and supple as filtered through the lens, an image of infatuation.
If there’s one thing I’ve always had, it’s a really good imagination. Top-to-bottom. Tasting. Sampling. Intoxicating highs. Rhythm building. Dreaming of warm nighttime skies. Several levels above the city. An abstract tapestry of emotions swarming around me from within the echoes of antiquity. Rustling leaves calling me between the dimensional fabric of mind and reality. Blinds lifted by the breeze. So easily we flow, slow dancing, face to face, soul to soul suspending time and space.
None of this was to be. Never was and never would be. All to be played out in heart and head. I took a step toward her, as her gaze looking forward, through me, past me, never wavered in its concentration.
Upon returning to my room, I lay on my back with the dark silhouettes of furniture as company. This is where we’ll meet, I told myself. My eyes followed the curvature of darkness along her face as she emerged from shadow. Wings stretching out against the evening sky, like black fingers reaching for the moon, the violin strings raced overhead.
Well, what can I say? …When time affords us no opportunity for shared time. When the World offers us no place that She and I can play.
Shifting my position from bed to window and back to bed. With a listening ear, the walls of the room gave way to lush foliage swaying on imagined breezes. Waterfalls steaming down from the ceiling of the room emptied their energy into the bedrock.
She sat on the banks. Her arms were folded around her knees with candy apple anticipation in her eyes. With every step forward, she moved backward. Her orbit falling away. Neither gaining or losing, until. Until, eclipsed, the light showed her no more. And she, finally, enveloped, slipped into the darkness. Outside the borders of my life. I still think about her from time to time, like on that night. Laying in the darkness of the room. Arms folded behind my head, staring at the ceiling and the energy of the falling water.
By malakhai jonezs
© Copyright 2016