life. http://thebklyntimes.tumblr.com/post/50723631021/life #life #thebklyntimes #writing #tumblr
life. http://thebklyntimes.tumblr.com/post/50723631021/life #life #thebklyntimes #writing #tumblr
life breathes its way into you, smiling and frowning upon you without warning.
life finds its way within you, allowing you to shine your light or cast your shadow.
life leaves, sometimes suddenly and sometimes with vicious purpose.
but what life also does is change. it changes us and others if we let it.
life is what you make it, always. the sooner you allow the music of it to fill your life, the happier the rest becomes.
One night when we sat at a bar and laughed, kisses of scotch and grey goose haunted my every waking moment since. The memory of his smile, against my face, smiles that made their way across my lips to keep me sated, like an animal waiting to be stroked again. I held onto the memory of our time when it was just him and I in a moment made for us, where his wife and my husband didn’t exist.
Those memories really got me through countless nights away from Ben and hundreds of nights I spent wasting my time in an unhappy tedious marriage. Now all I wished was to have that time with Ben back, time we stole to be together. Years have passed yet he still haunts my heart.
When I met him, I knew there was something. I saw his ring, he saw mine but the chemistry between the two of us was unmistakable. To anyone at that bar that night we were a couple, happy in love and lust. No one would suspect we were married to two other people and that those other people would be the deciding factor on whether or not we would ever truly be happy.
I’m not some young school girl, not wet behind the ears to say the very least. I met my husband in high school and married him in college. He was a good man, solid in his work ethic, responsible, loving, kind. But there was something always missing between him and I and when we sat across the table from each other at dinner, it was as if that something was present, devouring anything that resembled happiness between him and I. The obligation of our marriage tore at us. Twice we sought counseling, twice I was convinced I was searching for something that wasn’t there, looking too hard, wanting too much.
I had a job with a great publishing firm and everything I worked so hard for was in my hands. He was supportive as I was of him, he never questioned me. His faith in me and what I could do never wavered.
I took a few clients for drinks at North Square and that was where I met Ben. He was tending bar and I found the faint lines around his eyes, the hair graying at his temples, endearing. He wasn’t one of these young kids, he was grown and something in his eyes told me he wasn’t happy either.
When I settled the tab, he winked at me.
“Do you pay for all the dates?”
“Not all of them, I will expect you to pay for one or two.”
“Well that is certainly a deal.”
I couldn’t help but smile, my hand lingered on the bar a little too long. I looked back at my clients standing by the door waiting for me. I leaned over the bar and brushed my hand across his. He looked up at me, his lopsided smile danced across his face.
“Will you be back?” The question hung in the air like wet laundry on a line.
“That depends I guess, do you want me to come back?”
“I want you to put those stuffy jerks in a cab and come and sit here with me until my shift is over, I will serve you the best Scotch we have, then maybe we can think about you repaying that debt later.”
I flushed immediately, pushed myself away from the bar, left my jacket on the chair and did as I was told. When I returned, his towel was slung over his shoulder as he poured a young couple two glasses of wine. My Scotch sat neat at the end of the bar, a glass of ice water off to the side.
Suddenly the only thing I wanted to taste was his mouth. He smiled and nodded to the chair. I obliged. There were a few more people seated eating, the atmosphere had gone from lively to romantic since I had left. I wasn’t sure if that was his doing or if the time called for an adjustment in atmosphere.
I sat and leaned over the bar, my hands in pointed steeples under my chin. He sauntered over to me, dried his hands and placed them flat on the bar. It was almost as if this was his way of laying it all in front of me. As if we spoke some kind of secret language, I did the same. Our fingertips touched. He touched my ring, gently. He approached it as if he might get burned.
He looked up and met my eyes - “Lucky guy….” I smiled. It was the first genuine smile I had given anyone in weeks.
“Not that lucky, since I’m sitting here with you. You are the lucky one if “lucky” means you get to sit with me, that is.”
“I was hoping lucky meant more than just sitting but sitting is good.”
He poured himself a grey goose on the rocks. We sat there for hours; after his shift ended we moved to a table and sat side by side. It was almost too much to bear. My skin felt alive, I was humming with anticipation. Excitement coursed through my veins and the pulse at the base of my neck quickened every time he shifted to be closer to me. We were lost in this time together and I felt like I never wanted to find my way back home.
We talked about our significant others; his wife was a lawyer, my husband an architect. They both spent little to no time at home. We both struggled with loneliness, with aching for attention, with needs neither of them had the time or energy to meet. We both wanted to leave but obligations kept us in a place where Ben and I could never be together.
We talked of the future and of what life had in store for us. It seemed as though we were destined to be here, together right now. Secretly I wondered if he was thinking about me, about us passed the space we had just created. In a few short hours I had entertained so many scenarios, all of them ended with Ben and I in a tangle of limbs and sheets.
But before I knew it, the night was coming to an end. And there was nowhere left to go but home. I was drunk, I knew I was, I don’t drink tons and a few glasses of really good Scotch can help anyone find their courage.
I looked at him with lazy eyes. He smiled and rested his hand on my face.
Ben, tousled hair, five o’clock shadow, jeans and t-shirt that fit just right, the smile that broke across my face must have been telling. I noticed the young innocence in his as well, lopsided and full of promise. I smiled again and laughed.
I was happy.
He gathered me into his arms and I knew from that moment that I wanted the rest of my life to be spent looking into those eyes. I didn’t want to ask him any more questions about his wife because the truth was I didn’t want to know. I convinced myself that it didn’t matter. What mattered was right here and now and the journey we were going to take together.
When he asked if we could get a room at the hotel the bar was in, I agreed. I called my husband to tell him I was too drunk to get home and that I felt sick. He was half asleep and yessed me to death. He called his wife and before we knew it we were on our way up to a room.
The click of the key card echoed in the hallway, my heart pounded in my ears. He opened the door and walked in, turned to me and extended his hand. I walked into the darkness of the room. The door closed behind me, I leaned back against it, my purse slid off my shoulder and on to the floor.
I could feel his smile, warming me as he leaned in to kiss me for the first time. I felt amazing and I knew that I tasted a future on his tongue. I was taken aback by the urgency I felt in that moment, how my body buzzed and came alive under his mouth. For the first time, in a long time, I knew what I wanted. I wanted him. I wanted Ben and I had wanted him since the moment he winked at me.
I spent a lot of my life doing what’s best for others; I always took a back seat. I never really went after what I wanted or needed. I lived in a perpetual place of always wanting more than what I had. I wasn’t only like this in my personal life, this spilled over into my professional life as well, I never put my foot down and I never complained. I just did what I was told. Sure it made me successful but I wouldn’t say I was thrilled to be alive or fulfilled. I was voiceless, maybe even faceless at some point.
But when I made the decision to be with him, I conditioned myself to feel a certain way; this was what I needed. I felt like I was floating from issue to issue before that night. And now, my spark was lit. I felt alive. I felt more wanted than I ever had. I felt like I was glowing. And I also knew this was different. It should have felt wrong, immoral but not one thing about it did. Not to me. Not to him. And we were what mattered.
My body and heart screamed. His lips on my neck, breathed me in, devoured me. I felt his hands on my cheeks and his mouth adored me with kisses. I knew there were no more words for what we felt downstairs. We talked of all the love we had for our spouses and not that it justified what we were doing, we both admitted to loving them and wanting to attempt to make it work with them. We both felt an overwhelming sense of debt, maybe it was loyalty in a perverse sort of way.
He stopped kissing me, his mouth inches from mine. We breathed each other in, the scent and taste so different it was intoxicating. He laced his fingers with mine and led me to the bed. We sat side by side first, our hands intertwined, just the slightest pressure resting between us. The weight of the kiss lingered in the thick air. Emotions filled my thoughts and I felt the guilt as it weighed on me, on us.
“Would you like a drink?”
I released his hand, “Yes, please. Something strong.”
I giggled. The happiness edged its way in, slowly erasing the doubt from moments before. He gave me a sly smile and winked again. The second time that night.
Life would take us in different directions. We wouldn’t ever have a time like this again. We would make plans and they would fall through. Now was the time.
We talked. We talked like it was something we had always done for years. We laughed until we snorted and told each other corny jokes. We traded pick -up lines from our hey days and did old school dances.
When we finally made love he took me to places I didn’t know existed. He worshipped me with his eyes, his hands, his mouth and I welcomed him with everything I had and was. The morning bustle had begun and the sun had been up for hours before we went to sleep. We made all of our necessary calls and slept together.
And for one fleeting moment I allowed myself to imagine a future with Ben. I thought if we could make it through this, we could make it through anything.
When we woke up, we ate naked in a mess of sheets and blankets. We spoke more about our lives. We made what we had comfortable for each other and we turned this encounter into a place of knowing and wanting and being, a place of acceptance. Instead of trying to pretend it didn’t matter, we decided to recognize that it did. We spent the day curled around each other and curing one another of the emptiness we both felt.
It is something I really can’t explain. I fell in love with Ben a million times since that one night at North Square and it wasn’t the infatuation of something different or new. I knew in my heart this man would change my life. The memory of his voice got me through difficult times at home. And I was helplessly in love with him for it. We had an understanding – we would have North Square that one night and nothing else.
As the day went on and time ticked away, we knew we had to say goodbye. Our conversation dripped with need. I kissed him with the hopes that his taste would linger like honey on my tongue. I missed him, though I would never tell him that. I needed him to go. I didn’t want to appear needy or weak but I certainly was. I knew I would feel him pulling at the edges of my days and since I knew where to find him, the itch wouldn’t be that hard to scratch. But his life wasn’t with me, it was with his wife. And mine was with my husband. And that was something we chose to accept and learned to deal with.
We loved each other, fiercely and I found more of my life in that night that I spent with Ben than I thought existed. I drank in every moment and prayed for another to share with him. I couldn’t get enough of him and saying goodbye was probably the hardest thing either of us ever had to do.
As we walked out of the hotel, hand in hand, he turned me to him. The moon hung in the dark sky behind him and I gazed up, lost in his face. He kissed me and held me close, inhaling the scent of my hair. I pulled my face from his and smiled.
“Thank you, Ben.”
“You are most welcome. Don’t thank me. Please take care of yourself. I know we agreed to go our separate ways but Penelope, if you need anything you know where I am.”
“No, Ben.” I put my arm up to hail a cab. “We promised we would go.”
The cab screeched in front of me, I grabbed the handle and opened the door, sliding inside with one fell swoop. He was on the sidewalk, he stared at me when I turned to him and raised my hand. He ran his hands through his hair and turned, walking back into the building and out of my life.
I cried all the way home, when I got there my husband wasn’t home and I slipped into a hot bath and slid into bed. I tossed and turned thinking of the night he and I just shared. I longed to be in his arms and cried into my pillow, wishing I could go to him.
When I finally slept, I dreamt of Ben and have every night since.
Two huge wooden doors stare ominously facing the street, the oak heavy and cold beneath my hands. I push the doors open and enter the vestibule, the peace that exists within this space makes me smile and I breathe deeply feeling at home.
As I walk in I notice small candles in sconces line the walls, groups of them flicker next to a small box where parishioners pray for their wishes. I kneel on the small bench in front of them and am bathed in warm light, the smell of incense hanging in the air. I close my eyes and sit in this moment, the silence feels like my warm bed on a cold morning.
I stand and push open the heavy doors leading into the nave where the congregation sits. I place my two fingers into an elaborate font, the holy water is cold, shocking almost. I make the sign of the cross, the water drips down my forehead slightly. I look up into the high ceilings, arched with the beautiful work of artists from around the world, paintings line the back walls. Stained glass windows let the light in, bathing the floor with shadows of blue, red and green.
My heels click on the wooden aisle, the same aisle I imagined walking down as a little girl before I was disenfranchised and gave up on God. I never got to wear my white gown and walk into the arms of my waiting groom, instead I married in front of a judge when they called the number on the top of my application, the law usurping God.
I walk into the sanctuary, feeling immediately as if I am on hallowed ground. Once I reach the altar I feel like I am intruding, the lush linens draped across the table where the most blessed of sacraments are given. I reach out to touch them, silky and smooth beneath the fingertips of this sinner. I cross behind and run my fingers along the great wooden chair that sits at the front of the church. I turn to stare out into the nave, wondering if nerves settle into the person sitting in here.
I turn towards the doors as I walk down the aisle, the Church is empty this evening. I look into the bay where the organ is held, its huge pipes extending up to the ceiling. It was a grand majestic instrument that sat in a trestle above the vestibule. I could almost hear the music drifting through the air, the voices in harmony. The pews shine as if they were just polished, the kneelers all wiped and maybe still damp.
I slip into the last row of the church when the heavy doors swing open behind me. An older woman walks in, kneels at the aisle and slips into the pew across from me.
Even though I wasn’t alone anymore in my own silence, I felt at peace with her there. She was calming and simply bows her head, the rosary beads in her hands slipping from finger to finger as she mutters her prayers to God. The crystals catch the tinted light flowing in through the windows and reflections dance across the floor with every shift of the beads. I find myself staring at her and I suspect she knew because a small smile plays across her face.
She stands at the end of her pew and motions for me to move over, I do without question. She slides in next to me; her smell reminds me of home-cooked meals and Sunday dinner. I want to reach out and touch her; she seems impossibly soft, gliding through the church as if her feet don’t touch the floor. It seems like she is reading my mind when she reaches out and pats my knee, the rosary beads dangling between her hands. They jingle when she moves.
“What are we praying for my girl?” she asks. Her voice is thick with an accent and history.
“Clarity. Oneness. Tranquility.” I answer with tears shining in my eyes.
“You ask for a lot that is already within you. Look close. You are tough as nails, I can tell just by the way you sit, head held high even though sadness has settled in your eyes.”
She takes my hands in the last pew of that Church, her skin is soft and warm – she holds the beads between us letting my hands hold onto them, to carry the weight. She breathes deeply and begins to whisper as her prayers carry into the eaves of the Church and up into the sky.
By the time I push through those wooden doors and out into the snow, the sun has set. She sat there still, facing the front of the church. I turn to look at her once last time, knowing I would probably never see her again and we shared a special moment.
It isn’t until I get home that I find the rosary in the pocket of my coat.
THAT kinda day…..
i fell in love with your thoughts. your smile lights even my darkest days. i am grateful to everything on high that my blessing is you.
i’m scared of you. of losing you. of not being near you to touch, to taste, to love.
my world has grown immensely because of you, your mind has changed my patterns and your heart has taught me to breathe.
i owe you more than i could ever repay, i will spend my life indebted to whatever led me to you.