And now, I can’t tell my heart from my cunt.
Mimosa (Note: Please read A First Hand Narrative- Part 1 before proceeding)
If you ask me now what made me go up to visit the city once again, I would tell you, with great conviction, that it was plain affordable; especially since now my best friend had moved there herself into a spacious new apartment, spacious for the city anyway. However back then I wanted to see if there was anywhere we’d go.
Sex-crazed [or so I presumed (and preferred)], he talked me into meeting up with him at his place. But nothing happened except for him closely inspecting a tattoo I had recently gotten on an easily visible part if my body. It’s more difficult to establish physical touch with somebody you sexually want than with somebody you don’t, a psychology teacher, that I knew we’d both had had, had once said. I wondered if the same thought ran through his head while it was still passing through mine. Really read somebody, that’s all I’m incessantly trying if I’m to not lose my interpersonal glue.
I sneaked an idea of a movie the following day, a rare film that was running only for a week, one of the many unfair advantages that urban populace lands. Although, why we really did this was mostly because the idea of two hours of AC, a luxury to us strugglers, seemed like a respite from the throbbing heat of the city’s imposing exteriors.
Weak lights of the curtained screen fell on his neck. If I ever felt shy to move my gaze above to his face it was only because his adam’s apple had a way of having caught me. I lost track of the movie before us; the last thing I remember was a close look into a young girl’s closed fist, gaps between fingers each holding a little flower between them. The scene before us carried a charge. I felt restless and yet all the movement I could manage was a shuffle to reach for a sip from a mineral water bottle he had bought and kept by his side. When I put it back I felt a little brush on the side of my thigh by his seat. It was so momentary that I didn’t know if I really felt it. I gave it a thought for what seemed like a whole five minutes before realizing that he’s probably trying to make a move!
To make it easier I put my hand closer to his seat, under the armrest. Resisting another sip of water, I stayed still in my seat. He wore a grey sweater, which I could see, covered his arms in a way that made me feel a little heat rising from the back of my neck; something I’ve felt before from being too closely placed to another. It consumed me how a slight tilt of my head would be so obviously detectable if I were to steal a glace above his Adam’s apple. I never turned to face him again for the rest of the movie because yes, he indeed was trying to make the first move- he took my fingers between his. I froze. All the words we wrote had had expressed all that’s only understood in our private, solipsistic ways, and our intertwined fingers got that… Reaffirmed that.
I didn’t want to turn to face him now. The lines of his palm had led me a lot further into him. He drew a line on the inside of my arm with his index finger so slowly it may as well have been a snail hiking. He drew it all the way up till the inside my elbow, using just the tip of his fingertips. Something shot downward..down there. My arm hungry with a stringent need to itch it. I pressed my legs together. The heat..the air conditioner confusing me.
We did write about how we would like to kiss each other for so long that our lips swelled; we’d find a terrace where we could do this under a clear sky. I thought now, how we must both secretly remember this or secretly acknowledge that we have forgone that for a conspicuous public space what with a pretence of invisibility instead.
Before I could catch it, his other hand was on my stomach, which contracted on reflex at his cold touch. Like a Mimosa I only knew to stay closed as he felt the undulating flesh there. When he took his hand away my eyes opened. The movie had nothing left to say, nothing I would hear anyway. Or he, for both his hands was in mine. One little whimper and it all would have to probably end. It would have been a reminder of the present, indicative of the disillusionment- time to straighten up, kids. But instead, I thought I’d still handle it if some of this charge were shifted to him. Suppressing a noise, I grabbed his groin- a move I’d never dared before. Molten lava in my ears made everything audible but in a long, steady, static noise. I had astounded myself. I felt him rise into his jeans. Unfettered like never before, I made my way inside his jeans but his belt guarded it. That’s as far as you get in public, you may think. But he didn’t. He pulled in his stomach till all my hand found his penis and let his breath out so the belt could lock around my wrist. I understood now how soft a man’s flesh is at his cock so his boner can be thoroughly rubbed. I needed to push more of my hand down the belt to reach him properly. It did feel like somebody’s dirty place in the way that they use it to pee, so I reminded myself not to make presumptions about his sanitation and really touched him with all the love I could find inside me for the person who perfunctorily wrote back to me.
“Your hands don’t shy at all.” He said to me on our silent way back to his place.
“I use them a lot, remember?” I replied after a brief pause with a teasing smile, though internally I was still gawking at my blaring nerves.
He was recipient to my second hand job too but there was no more. The following day he met me to call things off between us. I flit like Lisbeth Salander (the girl with the dragon tattoo) on her motorbike.
Caller no. 99
A long, long haul at invisibility and lying on the verge of quitting being consistently miserable at something sporadically dear had become a way of life. Nothing ever happens by itself, so much I had started telling myself. And without much conscious effort, I started taming the social sloth. An outward peek let in many a furtive glance. An extended smile met with assured reciprocation. Share a tale and there’d be three right back. Then one day, the world didn’t feel like a small place. On another, somebody found me.
He was quite. Or so I thought from the way he didn’t direct much at me. In a way he had been invisible too; he definitely wasn’t a resident of my thoughts. He had a slick way of showing up and when he did, it felt like side-notes written way off the margins. He stayed in contact, though.
He stayed in contact long enough for the notes to somehow move to the middle of the page. This made me go back to all the notes he had ever scribbled and it all added up to one linear, conducive message.
“You use your hands a lot.”
That was the first time he made an observation about me, aloud. I had been explaining to him of the time I discovered as a kid that I didn’t have a 20-20 vision. He listened to all my meandering musings through the evening as we walked and walked and waltzed, eventually, into our separate ways.
I would see in my dreams that I’d conjured up the courage to quit my job. Sometimes I’d say something laughably dramatic, other times it was a scathing comedy, and some fortunate other times I’d be relieved to be fired. One morning when I woke up I decided to turn the dream into reality.
Only after having been home for a week and listening to nothing but Chris Cohen (Overgrown Path, indeed) did it seem like I’d left the city in a hurry. There were cafés I’d always passed by that I’d always wanted to go to, pens made of bamboo that were a pending buy, plays and screenings I could never catch because work always held me up. When one day I got a text message from him, asking me to a free film screening a couple of days in advance, was when I really accepted that I had left behind some unfinished business.
I started by replying by e-mail how sorry I’d been for never telling him that I’d moved, abruptly and tentatively, back to my hometown and how much I appreciated the thought of the free film together. It led to a steady back and forth of replies, which slowly took form of letters. Over the course of a month, the contents of the exchange went from nervously platonic song recommendations to a postmodernist Her (the film Her… minus the futuristic overtones) where the possibility of my moving back again wasn’t exactly lying on the moon.