Tuesday, September 18, 2012

All the Music

We lay in bed curved around each other like a pair of intertwined question marks. I threaded my arm around her and pulled her closer as we drifted off to sleep. In that quiet haze of unawake and unasleep I kissed her neck and the back of her head, the unfamiliar bristle of her short hair the last thing I remember. Earlier that night we had wandered into a street fair. It was a warm summer night and the wide avenue was a beating heart. All manner of people were out and of course it was the young people that wanted the most attention. They spoke loudly to each other in stupid platitudes but they were no less sweet and charming for it. Bands of every style and genre occupied their own little corners, half moons of people standing in audience before them. We went from band to band listening, dancing, laughing. It was loud, and we tried to carry on a conversation over the noise but a lot of what we said got lost in the tide of sound. Sometimes I would put my arm around her waist and pull her in some direction or other. She kissed me in the middle of the street. We went from one end of the fair to the other, looping from one side to the next in an affectionate pilgrimage amongst the music, the drunks, and the loudmouths. By the time we returned the whole thing was breaking apart. The place was emptying and garbage displaced people as the most noticeable thing on the pavement. Earlier still that evening she had come home with me for the first time. We kissed the whole way there. The sex itself was terrifying and inelegant, as first times are when you are with someone you care about. Afterward we had lain in bed sweaty and shy talking, talking, talking as the vertical shadows from the blinds grew longer and were eventually swallowed up by the night. “Let’s go out,” I said. We dressed, and a little later we saw the roadblocks and the crowd milling just beyond them, and we plunged smiling into the torrent of people. So it was after we had been naked and alone that we drifted through all of the music and noise. I wanted to hold her hand but somehow it didn’t seem right. And this is why adulthood is so fucked up sometimes: it is only as adults that holding someone’s hand seems more intimate and personal than sex. After everything we had already done I could not find the courage to take her hand in mine and interlock our fingers in the way that we interlocked our bodies later that night as we fell asleep. For reasons I don’t understand and that at any rate are beyond my control, I'll probably never see her again. But I will remember the street full of music and the way her body fit mine and that I never held her hand.

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