Monday, February 16, 2009

Short Distances

She can still taste his cells as she tries desperately to wash her mouth out with thick handfuls of liquid soap that her mother continually buys in bulk, just in case some kind of overwhelming storm approaches. It's been over three months since the last time either one has said much of anything to each other; casual breaks in communication with other interested parties usually occurring in the form of a dirty look from across some scattered living space. She's been trying, though. Trying to save face, trying to rewind and watch the embarrassing playback from a different outsider perspective, just to see if she can still recognize the way her face looked, as if it was a mugshot, or in preparation of a lie detector test and subsequent police line-up.
He's moved on, and she knows that. Her mother says people jump from rock to stone to gravel to dirt until it's all just another forgotten fossil in the ground, but she doesn't want to necessarily believe all the truths. Not at this point in her disjointed life anyway. Her mother may be like her friend's mothers and his friend's mothers, but she isn't prone to any of their aged and phony sensibilities, not so long as she can still feel something.
As she thinks about it more, dwelling on some absent-minded sense of nostalgia, she also begins to wonder if he still thinks about her, and furthermore if she needs to do something else. One final and truly lowered attempt at stirring his mind from one gutter to another. She cancels and re-administers plans with people she knows aren't necessarily worth her time, but worth his time, and therefore it's all the same kind of minutes to the both of them.
Her wishes finally come true in the blue bathroom of a mutual friend's house; the wallpaper of soft and bouncy angels atop white clouds reminding her of the ceiling in the concert hall where she first watched The Nutcracker. There were many illusive happenings on stage, and yet she couldn't help but continue to look up at the permanent view, which was only given life and movement in her own fractured brain.
The landscape of the bathroom walls didn't have as much of an effect; her head and neck bent down towards the ground again as she listened intently for any sign that this last gasp was justified.
Instead, as time sometimes moves backward, he returned to the living room, grinning childishly, while she washed her mouth out again, and started to think about why such impulses would continue to creep up on her, until it was finally time to grow up. She would marry a once-bitten, twice shy professor the following year, while his unexpected inheritance would help fund the next structured porn empire. It would be on New Year's Eve when they finally ran into each other again, with close to nothing left to say.