Friday, March 27, 2009

Oh Comely Kooks

The way he wore his beard, just beyond the edge of trim, where the occasional hair would stick out from the cheek revealing its successful escape from the shears, left the plane of his jaw active and moving as if it were a wave whose movements signified the tides of ideal diner sandwiches and the currents of coffee rings. Like her, he was an active cafe goer whose enterprise had to begin on the lip of full mug, as if he were jumping into a volcano.

That he winked as he passed sent her eye darting about his face, diving beneath the surface of those bristling waves down to the bed where the silt of his features lay. His mouth was lips and line across that which was hard to know but looked to have rested closer to a smile.

She had seen that smile in a dream the week before. She was with a boy from school, a face only partially known for a few years in middle school, once and only once fantasized over. They walked in the dream and found themselves in a woods to have sex. Crunching pines needles under their feet lead the way to a wooden bridge that ran across the river in their town. A railing connected up to the bridge and the sloping floor of the woods, and the other side came out on a bank toward the road. Not many people ever used the bridge because this end was far from the edge of town and there was another trail-head that let out closer by.

The bridge pushed away from everyone, from the town, and that was where he wanted to have sex, to get away from everything they knew while she wanted to do it by the railing at the trail's mouth, which wasn't over the water. She was afraid of the water, and the idea of having sex was the idea of moving away and she wasn't sure that she was ready to leave, but the thought of doing it in mid-air where the wind was blowing, over the flowing water pulled at her, tugging her away even with her uncertainty weighing her down.

They agreed to do it on the platform, and images started to spiral in the skies. They were images of the town, shapes like sculptures of the people of the town spinning in the sky around them between the silhouettes of the trees and the purple shadows on the underside of the clouds, showing her and the boy the hidden chambers tucked away behind the walls of their home. The world passed through them, guiding them through the places they'd stared into everyday whenever they saw a front door.

She saw her friend Nicole, who was already having sex, and lights blossomed showing her everything they had never been able to talk about. And how similar this boy was to her friend. Always an outsider, walking in the shadow of his name. She wanted to talk with him about the ways they liked each other, the way it could made them feel as if they knew the answer to every test they'd ever have to take, and if they had been able to, if they had risked it all and had sex then, they would have been able to draw the shape of the world.

When she looked at him she saw herself reflected as a paper toy in the center of his dark eyes, and the darkness wasn't bad, and the innocence he saw in her wasn't good. These were alloyed emotions, empathy and sorrow and loneliness and happiness all stirred together and fired into a metallic glass that reflected not the light but the consequences of their actions.

He was not someone she'd ever spoken with, but once, without knowing why, she had seen him smile and thought of seducing him. She remembered his smile in that dream and saw it again on the street with a wink .while it snowed.

He had put up his small grin just as soon as he left the subway. The smile for its own sake and for the weather and for the small falling snow. He put his hands in the pockets of his jeans rather than his jacket, where they might be cooler, but would help him feel as if he didn't need the extra level of protection. Flaunting daylight on a day off of work he pulled back his shoulders, arched his spine and raised his head, feeling as if a string pulled up on the crown of his head. He was embarrassed when, just as he passed the girl and met her eyes in a way a conditional introvert rarely chanced, a flake blew into the corner of his eye and melted just on the lower lid, and the cold and the wet tapped at his sensory nerves and shut the eye, and he knew that she had seen him wink and he worried the rest of the day what she had thought of him.

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