Monday, February 12, 2007

Intertwined, Part 1

How is it that people fall into your life and you have no idea how they got there? It seems as if you wake up one morning and realize that they are in your life and you like them there. At least, that is the way it has occasioned to me.

Sitting on this park bench, I think of him, and for no particular reason. I haven’t thought about him for quite some time, not nearly as often as one should imagine. Pigeons randomly come and sit beside me and ask for breadcrumbs, some asking nicely and some not-so-nicely, but it doesn’t matter because I have no bread crumbs to give. Instead I focus on him: that guy across the park who is walking his dog. I have actually watched him for quite some time as he makes lap after lap around the winding sidewalks of the park. One lap he actually passed by my bench, and I got a good look at him. His features seemed familiar, and perhaps that is why I am remembering things.

His hair was sandy brown and curly, but smooth. Of the seemingly thousands of times I ran my fingers through that hair I never found a tangle, despite all the twists and turns and loops it took on its voyage to his neck. My hand rested there, too, on his neck. His jaw was much too triangular and sharp to touch, especially when it was clenched. That crisp jaw line bled upward into narrow cheekbones that were offset by his large, lavish eyes. His eyes are what took me the most. They were perfectly almond-shaped with long eyelashes and covered by full eyebrows that were golden brown. His eyes were always clear; never once do I remember a single red streak arcing across that ocean of white before it collided with the dynamic color of his iris. They changed color for any reason, his eyes, from the weather to his clothing to the mood he wore at the minute, and anywhere from a brilliant sea foam green to a brown so deep I would have drowned in its depths, if he would have let me.

He fell into my life when I had just come from an ugly place and bore more of its wounds than I did its scars. I have heard it said that you find your soul mate when you can finally live with yourself and be alone in the solitude of who you are. A nice thing to say, I suppose, provided you wish to live alone in the solitude of who you are. He fell into my life and I used him as a bandage until I healed, and in that time we grew together and became intertwined, he and I. Then one rainy day we were sitting in a café, and he was telling me about some cabin in the mountains that his parents owned. I remember blinking, watching him over a cup of coffee, trying to figure out how he made his way into my life, and ultimately realizing that I liked him there. Six months later all I could remember was him.

We spent hours together. Most of my waking hours and, come to think of it, most of my non-waking hours I sought him out. I didn’t spend time with him because he was endowed with good looks or money or anything so material. As a matter of fact he was not a particularly handsome or rich man, as some might call handsome and rich, but every day his traits wove a tapestry for me that was unimaginably gorgeous. I spent time with him because I enjoyed who I was when I was with him. I’m not quite sure why he spent time with me.

He taught me things that were amazing to me. Things about God and people and relationships and life in general. He saw things that no one else did, and he shared them selflessly. He was daring and subtle and knew how to break the rules without getting caught. (Now that I look back, though, he never really broke any rules, but just kind of bent them.) He knew how to be fun and crazy and wild, and walk away with no regrets because he had done nothing regrettable. He was mysterious that way, to be able to do so much and know so much without a hint of intimidation, and to be able to be almost animal in his passions while maintaining unblemished purity, and his dotty decisions were almost always proceeded by two blinks and the wrinkling of his brow. I grew to expect those two blinks just after his eyes changed color, or at certain times of the day, or when the crisp line of his jaw became even sharper.

The nature of our relationship was always something of an enigma to me. We spent a great deal of time together, and I grew to have a great infatuation with him. Indeed, more than a great infatuation, instead more of a quiet resolve to always have him around me. The time I spent with him was wonderful. We would go on long walks in the park, finding trails that no foot had trod in years, following them to the end before we would dare think about coming back again. We would sit on a bench in the pouring rain with limp cigarettes hanging out of our mouths, talking about the weather and complaining about the government; or we would lay on our backs in a field at night and count stars and talk about any topic that could possibly be dreamt up until the sun trumpeted its arrival at the horizon and scared all of our stars away. And when all of our fun was finished, and I could no longer keep my sagging eyelids apart, he would tuck me in, and kiss my forehead, and tell me to have sweet dreams about him. I loved him deeply.

In fact, I told him that I loved him. One day in the park, while the clouds were brimming with rain, we were walking briskly toward our café so as to avoid the deluge waiting to be unleashed from above, and talking about the stages normal relationships go through. Suddenly the urge welled up within me and I stopped him by the arm and pulled him close to me. I gently put my finger over his lips and told him softly, “I love you, you know.” He blinked his eyes several times slowly, and I watched as those eyes turned from grass green to a deep brown. He lightly brushed aside my finger that lay across his mouth, and then kissed me, full on the lips. It was the first time in all those hundreds of hours we had spent together that he had given me a real kiss. It was warm and wet and gentle, and his lips were soft and supple. One of his arms snaked around my waist, holding me close, while the other hand gently caressed my face. I never knew how long we stood there, or how long the clouds had loosed their torrent upon us, but rain had saturated us completely before our embrace was broken, when we walked slowly toward that café, hand in hand.


lorri said...

it's good. can't wait to read more.

Stacy said...

so i was thrown off at the beginning b/c i was thinking of your telling a story and not as an author writing from some girl's point of view. kinda freaky before i started reading it as a girl narrator vs. a guy. sorry. we're good now. carry on...