The snowmelt covered the city sidewalks and filled in the porous surface, as it ran off the edges and down the sides. She walked the city streets in her heeled, Mary Janes, straight legged in the early evening, while observing the overhanging lights of a winter wonderland. Spying the club down the street, she decided to duck inside some memories for old time sake.
The music played quietly in the background, while she sat trapped inside a love song. She nursed the delicious ache of a star-crossed love, so, so sweet, it ran through the fingers and down the arms, where once a lover attentively sought to catch each drop, who is now, no more to be found.
She sat in a booth at the back of the club with her legs crossed, wearing a champagne colored long coat, while contemplating the expiration of such effects as that of a lingering thought.
Looking around the room, she ran her fingers across the lip of the glass, slowly circling the rim. An ice cube broke apart under the duress of the melt water, audible in its crack and collision. The image of his smile resisted dispersion in the face of those ephemeral moments; its fragrance continued to elicit a flood of chemical reactions. Under the influence, his voice lured her here. A place tucked away in a corner of the downtown city lights.
* * *
The lights hopped into the chrome of the spinning wheels; tracing itself along the lines toward the back corner of the car before jumping back into the white noise. He sped ahead and out of view with the electronic glow of the dashboard giving his face an orange warmth. Subconsciously processing the variables of the road laying in front of him, his thoughts spun a new thread, thinking of her.
He revisited her laid back, jazzufunctional persona, remembering their last conversation. Her voice trapped him with a subtle innocence, speaking in a rhythm, lulling him under the influence. The seduction of her song and the playfulness in her eyes was usually enough to keep him frozen in place. He always found himself nodding in agreement with her, but not this time.
He reached forward and turned the volume up on the radio as he approached the city limits..
I sure did not plan /
To feel a love so grand /
This weight is heavy on my head /
Not leaving of your left hand /
* * *
A live band played in the forward section of the club, accompanied by two turntables and a mic. Mahogany wooden posts framed the sound box. The percussion printed the math; fractal symmetry inflated the melody. The candy coated shine of the brass bounced on the melody, pushing the placid surface into ripples. While, the DJ spun the one’s and two’s filling the amplitude of the echoes.
The singer, out front, wore a yellow rose in her hair. The caramel brush of her skin played with the mustard sway of the lines of her dress. Snapping her fingers. Salty and sweet, the jazz in her vocals twanged bluesy; burning the edges of the mid-tempo composition with a tinged heart, smoky and ethereal in volume.
Her thoughts were interrupted by the server’s inquiry with a soft push of words coming from her side. “Excuse me. Would you like to order something to drink?”
She ran her eyes across his. “I’ll take a rum and coke, please..” But her eyes faded before should could complete her request. “Thank you.”
“Changing things up, huh?”
“What was that?” She asked turning her attention back to the server.
He repeated the question. “I said you are switching things up? You usually sit in the booth over there.” He nodded toward the booth directly across from her.
“Yeah. Just a change of pace.”
Sorry, I’m not love /
I’m lost in a blur /
I’m dealing with a lot /
I’m feenin’ for your heart /
I, I, I
* * *
She looked out at the parking lot, remembering the last time she’d watched him walk inside the club, shaking off the dampness of the outside air. He arrived at their booth just as the server walked by. “Can I start you off with anything to drink?”
“Yes, I’ll take a rum and coke, please.” He replied.
He smiled as he slid into the booth.
For a second, she contemplated the shared smile, shared look that was, at times, the only exchange between them. “So how was your day?”
“It’s much better now.” He said as he reached his hand over to pick up her hand and place it inside his; focusing and concentrating on the silk of her pecan color, he asked. “How was your day?”
She swirled the ice cubes around in her glass and took a sip. Lowering her eyes, she looked at him from the side, the chemicals processed the emotion from the color of his scent making landfall, even in the reenactment of the moment in her mind. She smiled and said told him “Let’s go.”
She sat staring into the half empty glass on the table, lost in thought. Pushing him down onto the bed in her apartment, she paused. “What?” He asked. Their breathing became shallow as they began to kiss, caress, and taste. Pushing past boundary waters, they rocked with the open sea. She held his face within her hands. Their eyes locked while her fingers trailed lightly across his face, releasing her chemical over his receptive pores. His pupils dilated with the absorption. His lips puckered.
“Shhhh.” She said, directing him to be quiet while she kissed his lips and face.
Lingering just at the edge of his lips, she devoured his exhalations. The smoke of his desire effervesced to the surface of his skin. Pulsing out of his open mouth. Slowing in the moment, her face hovered just above his face. She closed her eyes and focused on the feel of his breath on her lips. Licking them, she tasted the warmth on them.
They floated along as the evening gave passage to the daylight of the following morning.
“Another rum and coke?” Asked her server, interrupting her thoughts. She folded her arms on the table, focusing on the ice cubes in the glass, thinking back through time, she remembered how he felt near her.
I never mind /
I never know what to do but /
To float in your river /
It hurts inside me /
Its all a fever /
In the midst of time /
I float in your river /
Now I’m missing in mine
“No. Thank you.” She replied.
“I can get your order started now or circle back to you, one more time?” He fumbled in his apron for a pen. “Will your friend be joining you again, tonight? You guys make a great couple. I’ve never seen two people have as much fun and enjoy one another’s company as you two.”
For the first time that evening she touched the menu. Flipping it open, she scanned the dinner entrees. Letters, black symbols, groupings of curves and lines sped by without any acknowledgement of understanding. Flipping the menu over, she eyed the breakfast selections. They always ordered Breakfast, regardless of the time of day, except their last time there.
* * *
“Excuse me. I’m gonna skip the morning menu. Can I get a Reuben with a pickle on the side? Thanks.” He turned to her and asked, “Are you sure you aren’t hungry?”
“No I’m good.” She replied.
“Okay, but you’ve really never eaten much over the last several months that I’ve known you — Anyway, It’s just, for the moment– I think it’s the right thing to do.” He reached his hand to take hers, but she moved it out of reach. “Are you sorry we started this –.”
“Sorry?” She paused to consider the question. “Not so much, no.” Looking at him she said, “It is, what it is.” Shrugging her shoulders in an attempt to brush off the emotion. “And it already is becoming what it never was to some degree.” A frost of nonchalance fell across her face. “You’ve already made the decision for the both of us. What do you want me to say?”
Caught inside the emotion of the statement, he could see the pain in her eyes. He weighed his responses wanting to not cause further injury, but the damage was done. He stroked his goatee, smoothing out the edges, “It’s the best thing for us both.”
“See and that’s where you’re wrong. It’s what’s best for you. But love ain’t a solo game.” She looked away from him at the other tables and booths. Anything to put her full attention elsewhere. “At this point it really doesn’t matter.”
For a moment, they searched one another’s eyes for meaning, while knowing and understanding this would be the last time. Silence partially filled the vacuum. Looking off in opposite directions, they wondered about what would never be.
* * *
“Do you need a few more minutes?” The server asked politely.
“No,” she said to the server, shaking her head. “Can I get the check?”
Looking through a nearby window, she noticed the snow floating to the earth; noticing many hearts losing their weightlessness as the gravity of their vulnerability, their nakedness, their exposure to love pulled them back down to the well-worn traffic of sidewalks and the everyday shuffle of routine and safety.
She slid to the edge of the booth, while placing a tip under the glass of spent rum and coke. Walking toward the door with her memories in tow, resisting the movement, wanting to hold on to the little honey that remained around the edges. A busboy came by and scooped up the lone glass. Hell ain’t what it used to be; now accepting the applications of star-crossed lovers who find themselves doing the right thing, even when it feels wrong.
The heavy wood of the door closed behind her, slowly, as she stepped out onto the fresh snow. With the crunch of it under her feet, she left footprints as the only evidence that she’d ever been there, in love, at that place, at that time. And they too would disappear into history.
Why don’t I just stop? /
Hope for way too much /
I’m leaving in my thoughts /
I’m trying, but I’m not-not
By malakhai jonezs
(C) copyright 2016
Song lyrics credit: Snoh Aalegra, “In Your River”
img src: http://www.toomanymornings.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/03/night-downtown.jpg