an unconfirmed letter

I am afraid that I might hurt myself. I am afraid I might fall down on the sidewalk from weathering these inaudible, raging storms called ‘thoughts.’ I am afraid that a rooftop may be more appealing than a stairwell. I am afraid a tangled body may be more beautiful than a body unmarked, because a body unmarked is as scrambled on the inside as a ball of cat-clawed yarn.

And a tangled body is an honest one.

We sit two seats apart. The distance: Forty inches. Several layers between. Two hours long. Your head laying on his broad shoulders. (I could kiss your head there, whisper soft enough that you could hear the words in just its warmth.)

The lights go out and we are all strangers in this brief moment of suspense,

of expected silence.

A bright orange spotlight illuminates the dancers and showman. They wave, and a sea of hands from the audience rises in mute applause. (I can hear your skin slapping against skin with or without the noise, with or without the storm). The showman’s highlighter yellow jacket sparkling with bits of silver. He flashes the whitest smile.

Then he says something…No, not the showman, but the boy in the place of the ghost of me in the seat next to you on your right. (or was he the ghost in me?) Not a seat apart. The distance: 10 centimeters. Four layers between. Two hours long. Your head laying on his broad shoulders.

He says whatever I imagine him saying, that would move you from your seat to eliminate (me) the space between. He says whatever I imagine him saying, that would move your body as he slides in and out of yours. He says whatever I imagine him saying, that would move your mouth over that width (you said was painful) and lips wrapped around tightly.

He says nothing. He does not have say anything. He says nothing I imagine and I’ll ask you after the show. “Not that night.” is what you’ll say. So, another night? A different night?

You say something. (I pretend you never said it.) I lie to myself, because I am afraid if even the pain goes away what will be left of you? but the ghost of you two seats apart?

The music cues and I hear the snare in the movement of each dancer. I hear the drums in their hips. I hear the treble in their lips. I hear the moans in their open mouths. I see the red flares in their face. I see the heat in their fierce breath. I hear the pleasure in their rhymical motions.

I hear the slapping sound

of naked skin against his skin

after each act in the darkness with the curtains drawn.

The lamplight off/on. The clothes

littered all over the floor. The laundry

basket overflowing. The bedsheets tangled like my hands

clutching the railing in the stairwell to your apartment.

Your panting breaths (you hold) between kisses (you hide).

 

I am afraid when the show is over and the lights come on, I will be gone. I will be one of your ghosts. And he will be larger

than the chalked

outline of where I long to fall;

that nonexistent space between your bodies.

◄ A Plea for hope

Comments

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Jason Bayliss

Sun 21st Apr 2019 11:06

Extremely good. Very, very sad, but extremely good.

J.

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