Saturday, October 30, 2004
I saw you the other day, framed in the mirror of the croissant shop. As I watched your hair sparkle, your eyes gleam, my mouth curved itself into a smile. I reached my hand out towards the mirror, almost in a dream, and then quickly retracted it, as I caught his reflection too, behind you.
Was I jealous? I didn't think there was any need to ask me that, I would have thought the answer would be clear, as clear as the fresh sea-air breezing into you as you drive down the coast, the lush red strawberries in your father's little patch, as fresh as your breath as your mouth which reaches upwards as your eyes half-close, your lashes tremble slightly in anticipation… I want you so badly I can't even deny it anymore. Least of all, to myself. If you came up to me at the croissant shop, smiled your diamonds up at me, and asked how I was, I would have wept at your feet and made a sorry wretch of myself.
I watched you walk out of the store, your packets in his hands, his laughter ringing in your ears, my envy dogging your footsteps.
The crisp air of Mahabaleshwar is an aphrodisiac, a cunning wile that makes you believe that you're capable of everything in the whole wide world. You have absolutely no equal, no rival to snatch your prize away from underneath your nose, and just when you start believing in your own immortality, Memory comes wafting in, unannounced and uninvited, and the sound of Her bags hitting the floor jolts you back to Reality.
I can't come to this place, you know, without walking down to the Gulmohar Tree. He sees me coming, and holds out his boughs for me. He understands me, and my sorrows. You're not unique, he seems to say, but you're special. Comforted, I rest my back against the old bark, and listen to his slow, silent rumble. We stay like that for ages, He and I, listening to each other, consoling each other, and helping the other along. No explanations are necessary, for why should they be? He knows Everything. We swore by our love underneath those very branches, we witnessed the blooms tingle and tremble together in rapture, you clove my heart in two underneath Him. It all seems so, so long ago now, but not when I go to see my old friend. Seconds pass, then minutes, then whole hours, as I stand there, my eyes closed and my mind seeing. Memories, moments and epochs.
I must have spent close to three hours with Him this time. I remember marveling at the bright tangerine shots streaking the sky, and then at the cold greys setting in, and pulling my jacket closer around me. I sighed finally, and arose to walk back to the lodge. In a way, I was replenished.
I can't stay away. I can't understand how I've fallen back down the hill again, after seeing you that time. The boy behind the counter knows me by face now, the other day I think he even called me by name. I must have - yes, I remember now, I'd left my wallet there a week back. He gave it back, intact.
I know you come by often. Repeatedly. With him once a week, and without him once again. Sunday mornings at 11'oclock, and Wednesday evenings at 5. You buy those round jam-tarts and the chocolate boats. On Sundays, the donuts and the chicken puffs. The girl called Meghna handles the ice-cream machine, and you smile at her. She hands you a butterscotch cone which you nibble over, while making your rounds. A touch of ice cream sticks on the edge of your nose, and I'm dying to reach out and wipe it off. Dying to get you to look up at me, smile in politeness first and then cry in wonderment, clutching onto me and never letting go...
It's the same daydream, everytime. I snap out of it, when I see you pay the boy called Raghav. You smile up at him, and accept the change. You make space for the parcel in your packets, and after another smile at Meghna, you step out the door and I can see you through the glass now, as you shift all your packets to your right hand, walking down towards Colaba. I stay there for awhile, examining the breads intently. My heart yearns to scream out something, but I finish making my own choice calmly without a single cry, and walk over to Raghav. Unfailingly, a loaf of brown bread and a pie. He looks at me, cheery and glad to have a moment alone with Meghna at long last, and bills me.
I leave, only to return the next day.
There are times when I wonder if it's all really worth it. Tell me, was it worth it to give you your freedom at the cost of my life? Who decides these things? Who decides what's wrong, and what's right, what should and what should not be? Can He ever truly not be biased? Who made up that despicable lie about Love being all about Sacrifice? I loved you, and let you go - if my love was the greater one, shouldn't I be the one with the greater reward? Who says that it's mean-spirited to talk about rewards, as far as love is concerned? Who says that love is a Many-Splendoured-Thing?
But most of all, I wonder about You. About whether you're the same person anymore. I gave you your freedom, is this my punishment then, for not trying harder? And you, do you ever regret coming up to me that balmy afternoon under the Gulmohar, with expectation in your eyes and the divorce papers in your hand? I wonder time and again, whether you're ever as happy as you believed you'd be? Has it worked out for you then, the way it hasn't for me?
You haven't been coming to the shop for a long time, and all these questions whirl at topnotch speed inside me. In the mirror, I can see Raghav bore into my back with annoyance plainly written on his face at my extended stay, see Meghna give him coy shrugs, but they don't understand how I just have to stay here, waiting for you… You haven't come for days, and yet I'm here again. Everyday here for the last two weeks. Only the pie now. I choose, taking longer and longer with each passing day, waiting to hear your footstep. I never do, I take my wrapped pie, and stand out on the street, waiting under the bus-stand, hoping to catch a glimpse of you. I never do. I gaze towards Colaba; the shimmering haze clouding my vision doesn't endear itself to me, but I stay on, determined. I've learnt my lesson, you might say, learnt not to give up on you all that easily anymore.
But I'm not an accomplished liar. I never was, and who knows that, better than you? I lean against the bus-stand for hours now, and I can see Raghav looking out through the glass door, looking out at the crazy old man who's been standing under the bus-stand since morning. I can sense his pique, his bewilderment, and his hesitation. I lied to myself that afternoon under the Gulmohar when I told you bitterly that I could do without you, that I was my own man… I lied to myself when I said that you meant nothing to me, when I reasoned with myself that I couldn't be broken by you. And that lie has cost me so much. No, I can't lie well - maybe I should just stop. Stop telling myself that you're coming back to me, that I'll see you again.
Like a great big Gulmohar myself, I turn, shoulders hunched, ready to walk away from Colaba. The sun hurts my eyes. Like a giant who must return to his castle high above for slumber, after having renounced the world, I turn.
My shoulder knocks off somebody's briefcase. I mutter a sorry, and bend to retrieve the fallen file, and my head hits another. Slightly stunned from the sharp rap, I pull back, and look into a pair of eyes. Gleaming, sparkling eyes. Eyes tinged with sorrow and joy. Eyes radiant with laughter and eyes drooped in despair. Eyes that mesmerize me.
Eyes that recognize me.
posted by livinghigh 4:57 PM...
Falling out of love is as big an eye-opener as falling in love. Actually, even more so. There you are one day, sitting under a gigantic tree, and all sorts of doubts come creeping up on you. Do you see yourself spending your whole life with this one person, does she actually see spending her whole life with you? If she doesn't then you ask yourself why you ever wasted so much time, and so many sighs on her, - and even if she does, then you feel scared. Insecurity is very much a part of love, at least in the beginning and at the end, but then someone wise enough may quip that, if you're insecure, then there was never enough love to begin with.
But it's an emotion that you felt, a rollercoaster ride you've never been on for quite so long, or for quite such a distance. There was a time you swore never to leave her, to come back to her, whatever the odds. There was a time when a night without her was torture, and a night with her was a tease of more beautiful things to come. It was a question of being hungry all the time for her, of wanting to love her with every beat of your heart. But then, someone wise enough may quip that if you were ever that hungry, then there was probably too much lust to begin with.
What you have now is a strange state of mind. You still love her, and yet cannot see yourself spending your whole life with her. You want to be with her, and hold her hand, and nuzzle her neck, and feel safe in her arms, but no, not a whole lifetime - a night will do, maybe two at the most. Maybe telephone calls, maybe sms messages, maybe sweet, soft kisses in the dead of night. But it is an unwritten understanding between the two of you: not a whole lifetime, a moment is good enough for the both of you. But then, someone wise enough might say, a moment was all you ever had, really.
posted by livinghigh 4:08 PM...
Was walking down the road the other day, and soon matched steps with the fair damsel in distress walking a few paces ahead. It seemed strange to be doing that, but I chided myself that it's always good to be taking chances in life. A chance earned is better than a chance lost, and I told myself many other silly things as I matched steps behind her. She may have noticed - I think she did, because she looked back sometimes, and I could see her eyebrows arch upwards slightly. Very Sphinx-like... not that I've ever seen the Sphinx.
So, anyhow, let me desribe her to you. She was one of those women you see on the muggy roads of Delhi every now and then. Very good-looking, and yet, somehow manages to beat that generic curse, if you know what I mean. Anybody who has lived in Delhi will, in fact, know what I mean. This place has the best-looking women anywhere in the country - very well turned out, very sexy, very cat-like, very bitchy - straight hair, peaches-and-cream complexion, but o-so very in-the mould.
But, no, she wasn't like that. There was the standard peaches-and-cream and the hair so straight you'd think she stepped out of one of those computer-generated images Sunsilk employs for their ads, and she had these thick black rimmed spectacles atop her nose. Very fine. Very fine walk, very fine sashay, and I couldn't but help admire her butt, as she walked... and I couldn't but help remember that other girl friend of mine who says all men are hopeless, cuz we rarely progress beyond a woman's boobs and butt. But hell, I chided myself again, it's all a chance, right? and it's good to take a chance once in a while, right? I mean - what could it possibly land me in - some gruelling moments in a police station?
Ho hum, been there, done that.
But no, this babe - she didn't mean to take any business to the police station. She was looking back, like I said, looking back sometimes, with just a wave of her sexy hair, and a slight upturn of her winkly nose. She reminded me of Elizabeth Montgomery - you know, the hottie who used to do "Bewitched' on TV eons ago - and I half expected her to wink her nose at me, and turn me into a frog or something. Whatever... I was going through a phase, and I was having all these weird inclinations... a chance, they say.
So, she turns, this babe.. and with the classical hands-on-hip gesture, I can see her tongue dart out and lick her lips... she's interested, I can tell, and I smile too - one of those beguiling ones, with just a hint of teeth, lips creased back, forming just a hint of dimple. I'm hot too, and she knows that, and I open my mouth -
"Do I know you from somewhere?" she asks, and I'm almost blown away by that voice... the exact tone you'd expect a Perry Mason heroine to use, and of course, that reminds me where I know her from... so I reply, sauvely, smoothly, coming up closer, so that there's only a couple of centimetre's between us, "Only from a novel... But see, we've met now."
Tinkle bells - yea, yea, very cliched, but hey, that's how she was, remember - cliched, but not so... Here she was, just out of that novel, devoid of raincoat and sexily tilted hat, but her lips were ruby-red all the same, and behind those dark-rimmed glasses, her eyes were wide and sexual. I was in heat, and I could feel the heat reverberate of her... and she says, o so coyly, "I'm glad... I thought you were a stranger."
But, o babe, I'm not, am I? So take my hand, will you... Cleverly coloured nails, expertly manicured to a neat oval, not so sharp, not so blunt, and I lead her into the bar... something tells me that it's started to rain, but hell, the drops just splatter away from my shoulders... something tells me, it's late, but hell, I can't hear no wolves howling as yet.
posted by livinghigh 3:44 PM...
Get carried away in love, the novels urge, and yet I wonder what they all mean, she thought, smoothening out her dress, straightening out her hair, arranging the flowers on the table. How do you get carried away in a love that is supposed to sweep you off by its own swift accord, pulling and tugging, till you have no breath left to resist, she questioned, untying the apron that clung to her starched grey dress. It was a gimmick, an illusion, she decided, and yet, how I long for that myself.
How I hated her for telling me she loved me, he thought, tugging on his tie, arranging an intricate knot around his throat. It was never meant to be, hours of conversation, yes, and hours of love-making, but never anything more than that. And yet, she moans out in my arms, when I least expect her to, she moans out, breathes out, whispers out, and worse, she means all of that - those three dangerous little words.
Terrifying, he thought, tying his shoelaces now. Terrifying, he thought, looking at the maid set the dahlias straight on the breakfast table outside. Terrifying, he thought, listening to his wife singing that croon of hers in the morning room. Why on earth did she have to do that?
She made me believe, and that was the problem, he thought now, frowning in the mirror. A hair was out of place, and he carefully, delicately, set it immaculate. Gleaming, glittering, that was how she had made love to him, how she had seemed to embody all of that he had never hoped to have... and as she went on, telling him, day after day, night after night, she loved him, she loved him, o, she loved him, I began to believe - he looked at himself in the hall mirror. I began to believe. And my crime was, that I did not really, truly love her, but I told her I did, and when I left her, I broke her heart, but I broke my own o, so very much. He plucked a dahlia out from the bunch on the table.
It was a lark, a joke, a fling, that liberated me, because it showed me a side of myself that I never thought was there, she thought, drinking vodka at nine am. I never wanted to do all that, but no, I did, because I loved doing it all with him, she faltered, staring out of the window, a glorious June morning, that even had that o-so cliched bird singing outside her window.
He was good looking, and I could not believe it when he showed such an obvious interest in me, when he wanted me, when he asked me to kiss him in the back of the cab, back from the party, when he asked me to be with him till the next day, when he wanted me to come to him, just then, just now, no delays, no putting off.
It was a kind of urgency we had, because we knew from the beginning it was not meant to be, and even though I knew it was not meant to be, never
meant to be, I could not stop myself from tasting his self-assuredness, touching his frivolous peacock feathers and feeling the thrill that comes with exhibitionism. She touched the lace of her curtain, and sipped at the cold tea that lay on the low stool. The vodka bottle, small and silver, shaped like a bullet, with a sting that burnt and enflamed her core stood there like a burnished placebo now. And here she was, looking out of the window at a perfect morning, wondering whether she had ever been in love, whether she had lied when she had told him and herself that, given a few more weeks, she might have ended up being....
The car revved up and roared away, and she saw her husband's head of gleaming, immaculate hair through the half-open front-seat window. From somewhere, she could smell dahlias, and she thought, aaaa, thank heavens for that girl.
Get carried away in love, the novels urge, she thought, and yet here I am alone, because I was getting to want him too much. She took the leaves and the too-long stalks she had snipped with her little pair of gleaming scissors and went out into the garden to dispose of them. A beautiful morning, and a bird singing, and a world of sunlight, and yet, how does all of that measure up to the fact that the novels got it all wrong, she mused.
I told myself to be on guard when I first met him, I knew that he would go, that he would flit, and I would try to float along too, but would probably not manage, and so I warned myself to stay disaffected, away from him, away from what I could feel, what I knew I was capable of feeling. Was it that I was suddenly attracted to the idea of being with someone, doing things with someone, seeing movies, dark halls, holding hands, linking heads, touching in the dark, sipping coffee together, eating chocolate together, talking late into the night, pressed against his body, so that I could feel his heartbeat even louder than my own - when did all of that suddenly become so important to me, she mused.
She frowned now, and slowly sat down on the steps that led into the house, straightening her grey uniform, brushing her toes against each other inside her tapered black shoes. It was morning still, early
morning, she meant to say, and she still had a single dahlia in her hand. Bright pink, furry, like an animal, slender like a rose, living like her heart.
He said he was not in the same space with me, as I obviously was so ready to be with him. He said, he could not imagine being serious with me, and yet when he said all that, I did not even cry a tear, while I cried buckets for that other young man who met me daily and took me to the movies and then to his bedroom. I had cried a lot then, she remembered, and her features softened suddenly at the thought of remembered emotions, and yet, why did I not react like that when he told me, last night, that it was over? I laughed then, I hugged him, I told him, I knew it would never work out long before – perhaps, because I did - and I left him. He called me, and I spoke to him, he called me his 'ex' and I asked him when we would go for that other movie at the Bistro, and yet, here I am, sitting on the steps, with a dahlia in my hand.
When, o when, will I get carried away in love, she wondered, sniffing the wan smell, hearing the woman on the first-floor landing snuffle slowly in her dressing gown, recognising the faint whiff of the vodka in the silver bullet.
posted by livinghigh 3:34 PM...
All those words that I never assocate with myself come rushing back to my ears: nightcrawler, solitarist (is that even a word?), pretender, magician, mysterious. It is a different kind of trip I get when I'm like this, rushing through the city streets at night, and it doesn't matter if there are people around me in the bus or not. I live by myself on these trips, through myself. Sometimes, something in the trembling yellow light awakens me, and I look at the object that struck me, and I smile, or I wonder, or I stare.
That little girl in the red and gold lehenga, for example, one day in Chennai - it has been so many months since I last saw her, and yet, I cannot alight a bus without wondering about her, what she's doing, whether she's still pulling and punching at her dad's pock-marked cheeks, the way she was when I first saw her.
And over here, there is the music. A strange kind of background, jarring and yet, so completely melting into what I'm feeling. Harsh punjabi bhangra, mingled sometimes with the raunchiness of a Bollywood number, all of which are punctuated by the saucy voice of the deejay as she speaks in English to the turbaned bus driver who has just dipped his moustachios in a pitcher full of creamy lassi. Like the way I have just sucked the juice from my rabri-stuffed parantha... delicately, holding the steaming delicacy in both hands, nimbling at the crust, and then probing with my tongue till I feel the hot sweetness ooze into my mouth, and then I suck slowly, pulling in some more of it. In some strange, undecipherable way, I think of the parantha that I'd eaten just minutes before alighting this particular bus, and no, I would not have it any other way.
No other way, but to hear the fast tempo of the young men, tired and haggard-looking, in white pinstriped synthetic shirts who get on the bus and start chanting - they're selling a part of themsleves, I think, and cannot but help peer closely, almost indecently. A map of the city, complete with the knowledge any blue-blooded vampire would want to know of where the city's blood banks are, what any tireless sleeper would want to know of the bus routes that criss-cross the metropolis, promising always of something greater, more magnificent, more awe-inspiring - like this simple ride, next to a young man who looks old, tired from his day, who sits slumped in his seat, and I'm dreading the fact that, any second now, his head will fall onto my shoulder, and I still don't know how I'll react when that happens.
But I have my window. And my window has me. My window has memories for me. Of so many other bus rides in another city, where I sat there with a girl dozing next to me, her shoulders also slumped, her head tilted slightly back, resting on my torso, and my arms around her, holding her close so that she doesn't fall, so that she doesn't wake, and I am content merely to watch out of the window, at the waves in the distance, rolling by under the watchful blue moon, making little rustling noises as they kiss the shore, that I can hear even above the solitary roar of the bus, as it rambles its way through the dead of night, through the dead of the countryside.
Another time, another city, no other person next to me. I watch the clouds gather in battle formation overhead, grey and black and silver and blue and a strange shade of ochre, and I message the person I'm thinking of... I wish you were here, I punch in my cell phone, I wish you were here with me, and we were out in the rain, I wish I could kiss you, and then we could make love... as the imagined rain softly patters on the grass outside the bungalow. I wait for an answer to my message, that never comes.
What does come is another emaciated-looking young man, in the trademark white pinstriped synthetic shirt that sticks to his body, replete with the odor of a long day's tediousness. He's chanting those same lines again, about blood banks, and bus routes, and shopping malls, and old historic buildings in this old historic city - all of which can be purchased from him at the behest of a crumpled piece of paper bearing a bald old man's face on it - and I smile almost in mean spite to myself. You're too late, I want to tell him, the other one has already come and gone, you're just too late - and I'm mean, yes, but I melt too at the thought, and I wonder what it is he will do now, after his brilliant oratory is over, and he has finished passing his little books around, but they all come back to him, with nary a crumpled piece of currency?
Maybe he'll sigh, like I did, and hop off the bus, and try his luck in another one - 53A, from Uttam Nagar to Lal Qila, green and white and grey, DTC, Propelled by Clean Fuel, say the painted blue letters.
Damn! I ripped my pants on a nail, as I hurried to my feet.
I think this is my stop.
posted by livinghigh 3:34 PM...
she said, leaning over the table, a smile curled around her lips as she did so, consider all this around us, and tell me that you wouldn't trade all of it for just a few seconds of bliss?
He was leaning back on the velvet of the iron grilled chair, as he observed her. He wasn't quite sure what to make of her, when she said that, and then settled back into her seat, re-arranged an imaginary stray strand of hair behind her left ear, and looked back at him. She was playing, he was sure, but how serious was her game he could not tell. If he answered yes, then would she take his hand and then repair outside in the balcony, or maybe to his car, where she would let him kiss her? If he answered no, would she marvel at his control, and then forego the kiss in the balcony for a nightcap - and more - when he dropped her home that night?
The question was: which one did he want more?
The question was: how ambitious was he?
She waited for his reply, all the while feeling the satin coverlet brush smoothly against her back. There was a strand of hair she brushed behind her left ear, but that did not distract her from the objective she had. It was him, she knew, he... he... he was the one, she knew beyond a doubt. But would he answer yes, and then she would lazily flick her cigarette ash in the ash tray, pretending to be unconcerned, all the while trembling like a leaf inside, wondering how his tongue would probe her soul later...? Or would he answer no, and she would sigh inwardly, but feel strangely secure, that he was not ready as yet (though he was very much the one), and she would re-assume her role as protector, priestess, mystery, ice all at once?
The question was: how weak was she really?
The question was: which role was her forte?
posted by livinghigh 3:33 PM...
faith, sorry, Faith
faith, sorry, Faith
Grab a piece of the rainbow, the old lady with the gold tooth said, as she shuffled up the stairs to the church. Absurd, of course, as there had been no rain for the last week or so, Nashik was water-starved, and a rainbow was beyond reckoning. But she was adamant, as she got down on her haunches now, and clasped her hands together. She was speaking to the statue of the Infant Jesus at the far end of the church, hoisted up above the altar, a perfect imitation of a miniscule Bal Gopala. This was the heart of Maharashtra, in a town that titles itself the City of Pilgrimage, with a board proclaiming the same pinned on the wall outside the Taj Residency hotel, that in turn announces to all and sundry that they are welcome to the industrial heartland of Maratha-land. Mixed signals, perhaps? But that was altogether beyond me, as I spied the old woman, wrapped in brown, with a scarf the deep dark shade of ebony atop her head, and her spectacle frame glinting a glassy ochre, as she now started moving towards the statue of the Infant Jesus, on her knees.
Maybe I was imagining it, maybe she wasn't really saying 'Praise the Lord' as she moved on her knees, maybe I had imagined her advising onlookers to capture rainbows in mid-flight as well. Maybe it was all part and parcel of the age-old gag about perceptions moulding and deciding how you see (and hear, doubtless) things. Ho hum... Bal Gopala, or Infant Jesus, or Bala Yeusha, as the old Marathi man at the corner put it.
She was moving now, and at a pace incredibly faster than I could have imagined anybody her age doing, but then I could see another man buying candles (a whole dozen of them) at the corner shop, which he was going to set up below the altar, and there I was, myself, hunched up on one of those smooth rosewood benches, sitting forward, watching the old brown woman, the tall candle man, watching the frescoes on the wall that depicted the crucification of Christ, and I remember thinking - wasn't this a bit too gory for a church dedicated to the infant Jesus, all these gory scenes of crucifcation? And I wondered, too, whether it was sacriligeous of me to recall the astonishing charges set forward by Dan Brown in his Da Vinci Code, while among the pews of a gleaming church - but shall I ever be able to think of Christianity in the same light again, without thinking of Da Vinci and Dan Brown, and the rest of the rigmarole? But enough said, and not enough done. Isn't it time I got along with my prayer?
So I say my prayer then, and I arise from my rosewood pew, and I walk toward the door. The brown woman is trundling through the pages of the fat bible placed beside the altar, her crawling is over, and I can distinctly hear her say things about where rainbows can be found if you look hard enough for them. The candle man is gone now, but as I leave the church, I can see his dozen candles all set up in a line, twelve equal brothers, flames licking, flickering in the semi-dark below the altar.
Bal Gopala, or Infant Jesus, or Bala Yeusha, as the old Marathi man at the corner put it. Maybe it's all a matter of faith, sorry, Faith.
posted by livinghigh 3:26 PM...
The Eternal Moment
The Eternal Moment
I'm nervous. I've probably never been this nervous before in my life, and but for the type of person I am, I would never (ever!) admit that to anybody but myself. Actually, barely even to myself - I'm sitting here, looking straight ahead, a dazzling smile on my face and nary a bead of perspiration atop my forehead, that isn't lined with a single furrow. So, if you were somewhere other than where you are, if you had anything open before you other than the window to my soul, you'd never be able to tell my nervousness.
My heart stops.
But I keep on smiling, even as my mind spirals back at a pace faster than lightning to that first moment I spied the glitter of that particular diamond underneath the glass. That particular ring in that particular velvet case that she's handling right now before me. I can see that moment clearly as if it had lasted only seconds ago. All that planning and all that fussing. All that debating and wondering as to what she would say or do. And then, I walked out through the glass doors, my pockets weighed down, my head turned this way and that, and a tiny voice, the kind you hear about in fairy tales, squeaking in my head. The kind that I never knew existed before I laid eyes on her. What was that voice - higher karma... conscience... or just plain dumb-stick talking?
This is another defence mechanism, you see, this inane, nonsensical chatter in my mind. Anything at all to take away the feeling of those wildly careening butterflies within my gut. This is not just any old denial involved here, you know - my infallible ego is at stake! I suppose that sounds pretty petty of me - the love songs never talk of paeans to the Self, do they? They're all about eternal devotion and sacrifice and silly things like that, ignoring the really important issues like costs and jitters and sex. Listening to me, you'd be at odds with yourself - I'm hardly the model case you'd expect to come about, with your preconceptions about the Lover About To Stick His Neck Out. But I'm also a person here who's very obviously conscious of the single fact that he's just pushed his neck inside the crocodile's jaws. I'm waiting, waiting and watching, while the reptile yawns, making up her mind whether or not to drop the guillotine.
All of a sudden, I'm very conscious of the fact that I kept her waiting in front of the cafe last Friday for an hour.
She's lifting the rock up to her eyes.
Is that a jeweller's lenses there, held ever so delicately between manicured fingers?
(And to think: the song I was drumming my fingers to last night in the car was 'Love don't cost a thing'.)
She loves me, yeah! Yeah! Yeah!
Just think that, and you'll be all right. She's been hinting for ages, so you're really just following orders here. There's nothing to be afraid of - she'll smile, wear it, and thank you for it. And yes, if she thanks you for it, that means she'll marry you. (There's never been a case in the annals of rejection where the bitch drops you like a hot rock but prefers to keep the ice instead, is there? Fingers crossed here!) Think positive! No panic! No panic! Cool.
I can see her eyes glitter at the ice. She likes it. I may be inept at reading women's minds, but I can tell obvious pleasure when I see it... She likes it.
Her mouth opens slightly to an 'o' and then purses up. She wants to say something.
She's lifting her head up, her eyes are definitely shining! She definitely likes it! Loves...?
She's going to say something now...
Smile, smile, smile... You're not nervous, not nervous, not nervous...
"It's heavenly!... "
posted by livinghigh 2:16 PM...