Saturday, January 17, 2004

Here's some ficciones and some wishful thinkings from an experiment that never really went anywhere:

2nd November 2003
3:19pm: Day 9
We're carving pumpkins for Halloween, pumpkins that will sit on my front porch and alert children dressed as some hidden facet of themselves that there is candy to be had at this house. It's a free-for-all in the most pagan sense of the words. We've spread newspapers across my kitchen floor and have taken my slightly dull steak knives to the pumpkins' bright orange skin. My hands are covered with pumpkin slime, with the guts of the gourd, and I menace him with them. I shape my fingers like claws and hunch over like a troll, snarling "graar, I will touch you with my pumpkin hands" but he doesn't seem to notice. He's totally focused on his own pumpkin, engrossed with whatever he is ever so carefully carving on the side facing away from me.
"Whatcha carving?"
"A secret. You'll see. What are you carving?"
"A pumpkin." I'm a little annoyed that he won't tell me what he's making, that he's not into sharing with me. Returning my attention to my own pumpkin I give it two eyes, a nose, and a mouth. It's now stopped being a pumpkin and started being a jack-o-lantern.
"Ok, I'm done. Close your eyes, I'm going to turn out the lights and put a candle in it so you can get the full effect.'
I sigh and close my eyes, slightly irritated at his childlike flair for the dramatic. I feel the lights go out and hear a match strike, my nose hairs curling up at the smell. "Ok, open them."
I do, and my annoyance melts in an instant. Carved into the side of his pumpkin in even, precise letters is 'I love you.' I've been wanting for weeks to hear this, to know that I'm not the only one having this feeling. My toes start to tingle and all I can manage is to weakly squeak out "you do?"

28th September 2003
5:06pm: Day 384
I have never been so aware of my arm before.
We're sitting side by side in the dark, and my whole attention is focused on my arm and how close it is to his arm. I wonder if I should move it over far enough that it touches his, and I wonder if I should apologize and pretend it was an accident or if I should pretend to not notice and leave it there.
I wonder if he's just as aware of his own arm and how close it is to mine. I hope, desperately, that he does. I do not want to be the only one in this situation that is entirely unsure.
This awkward feeling is new and different, and I think that I would revel in it if only I was sure that it would end. If I was certain that eventually it would end, that I would be able to put my hands on him without apologizing, then I would be delighted by this feeling.
Instead, I'm merely overly aware of my own arm in the dark.

22nd September 2003
4:43pm: Interludes
I sit cross-legged on the counter trying desperately to maintain my nonchalance as a wave of pink rides across the miniature windows. I almost have myself convinced, except for the fact that I'm sweating bullets.
I don't want this to be happening.
It's been in my head constantly for the last week, wiping me out. I try and imagine, if it's going to happen, what it would look like. But there aren't any pictures there, and I'm so far out of my element that my brain is still scrambling to catch up.
I watch the wave of pink and inside my head is a tilt-a-whirl, a roulette wheel, and I just want it to stop either way, yes or no, for it to stop so that I can tell what to do.
I break my cool and look down. The single pink line says, quietly, no, and I'm so relieved that I almost cry.

19th September 2003
12:45am: Day 7
He leans across the table into the pool of candle light. "We're going to get married, you know."
I'm confused. "We who?"
"You and me."
"We are?" I giggle slightly, waiting for the punchline.
"No, I mean it. You don't know it yet, but it's true."
This is our first date and I'm definitely being fed a new line this time. "When are we going to get married?"
"In three years."

15th September 2003
7:29pm: Day 6
We pass on the street and each hesitate and stop, half turning to face the other. Neither one of us is sure that we should be conversing. I speak first.
"Um, hi, how are you?" I've run through this scenario a million different times in my head and my brain is so overwhelmed with the possibilities that it has shut down.
"Um, not too bad. How are you?"
"Not too bad." This is not the way this should be going. In my head, it works differently. In my head I'm much cooler.

17th September 2003
6:37pm: Day 4
His eyes are never narrowed, and I wonder why change is strangest when it doesn't happen.
There is sometimes in the eyes of men that I meet a flicker which tells me that somewhere in their brain a movie is playing, and that I am the star of this movie and I am naked. I can see that the movie has started from the slight narrowing of the eyelids, the slitting of the pupils, and this glance starts a fire in places unmentionable in polite conversation. There is a thrill of power there, a slightly sick shiver in the reptile cortex of my brain. It makes me feel the other side of feminine, the side that favors leather over lace.
I never catch that look on his face. I wonder what is there behind his eyes, why it is that he never seems to want to ravish me against the refrigerator at 3:00 in the afternoon. This brings with it an insecurity that also carries femininity, but it is the feeling of girlhood, of uncertainty. I have been too long a woman to feel sure in the land of those younger and so I must move warily and with extreme caution.
I see that I cannot fight indifference with lust.

5th September 2003
8:23pm: Day 3
"This chin," she taps her finger directly in that cleft that I always want to bite, "is nineteen years old."
I nod smiling, knowing where this is going.
"The windowsill, on the other hand, is sixty. I like to think of them kissing, of the transferring of young skin cells and old paint flakes."
I look around the room and see, as expected, the tattered old copy of "Flappers and Philosophers" that I gave her years ago on the floor by the chaise. "Been reading 'The Ice Palace' again, I gather."
"Yes, dear. Romance isn't really dead."
I find this to be strangely touching. When I presented her with the book years ago I had no idea that it would become such a friend.

2nd September 2003
10:33pm: Day 2
Her hair is long and golden-red and I like to hide behind it, a shining curtain through which I can see the world. She humors me, leaning foreward over my face and shaking her head so that this silken hair shimmers and ripples like something not of this world. She is young and beautiful and laughing, and I wish that she could always be this way.
But she can't. Someday she will cut this hair and with the snipping of its strands her laughter too will shut off. After that, whenever she leans over my face there will be something guarded in her eyes. I wonder if that curtain from which I viewed the world was really a barrier between her and the outside.
I wonder which went first: youth, beauty, or laughter.

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