Tuesday, May 27, 2008

A Romantic Vignette

As we stood upon the dock, the setting sun leaned in gently to kiss and caress the gently breaking waves. Slightly embarrassed, I looked around the see if there were any young children around who would see this rather blatant display. Dimly, I wondered where the sun had learned to be so flagrantly sexual in public. Rock music, whispered a voice in my head, or maybe those cartoons from Japan that have robots that are of an unreasonable size. The soft, soothing sound of Barry White began to roll across the ocean's blue green expanse, and as the sun began a sloppy makeout session, I was finally forced to look away. Christ, I thought again, fucking robots will do it every time.

Beside me, Bob stood unmoving, simply taking in the scene with her eyes. They were totally normal eyes, actually, there weren't limpid pools of anything, really. Seriously, really normal eyes, like on most people. Going into detail to describe them would be silly, as it would be in most cases.

Really, normal eyes. No shit.

Looking at her now, I remembered sitting at a little cafe with her in Italy. A tall, handsome Italian bartender had served us delicious, home brewed coffee, and talked at length with us.

"Italy, eh," I had said to him, attempting to pick up some local flavor, "Nice place."

"This is Mexico," he had said to me, eyes twinkling as we shared this private joke. Two strangers in a cafe, laughing at one of life's little absurdities.

"Of course," I had chuckled, glad that I could put him at ease. He simply looked away and began sweeping, but every arc of the broom bristles seemed to scream, that dude is pretty cool. Satisfied, I broached the subject of Bob's name. Surely, I had suggested, it was rather odd for a woman's name? Particularly one of her beauty. She had merely looked uneasy and plucked out another of her odd little knuckle hairs, a habit I had grown to love.

Now, staring at her on this dock, I wished desperately that I could just take her in my arms once again, whisper to her that the knuckle hair was probably nothing, that we could live forever in a little cottage by the water and raise either children or lobsters, or possibly both. How I wished I could simply describe my dreams of our future to her plainly; the two of us, old and gray haired, contentedly watching our children and lobsters fight inside a makeshift gladiatorial ring. The long pole we would use to prod the lobsters into a fighting fury would be gently, lovingly grasped in our hands.

The dock was our place of comfort, to watch the horny sun, the locals fishing, and small, overly affluent American children slowly slip into the mixture of ennui and contempt for their wealth that would dominate their lives. An old man returned with his fishing net, glancing at me compassionately. The old, in many ways, are more perceptive than the young, their lifetime of experience enabling them to read meaning into the smallest of clues. My eyes met his, and saw the sympathy there. As he passed, he let out a strong, meaty belch, as if to say, "With the wisdom of the ages, I do see your situation, oh young one." The heady, pungent odor of falafel that accompanied it lent it the weight and gravitas it needed.

Turning, I took her by the shoulders. I'd realized long ago that there was only one way to go about this business, and that was with honesty. The rest of the time, I was merely steeling myself for the coming storm.

"Bob," I said, the corner of my mouth twitching desperately, like a fish that has realized its own mortality, "I forgot to tape Seinfeld. I think it was a rerun of that one episode, with the hot tub? Yeah, that one." In my mind's eye, I could see how clearly the furrows on my brow would give away my turmoil to her. As if sensing my thoughts, her eyes dropped from my face, glancing to the side. The light they reflected back at me was very ordinary. There was nothing special about the way her eyes reflected light. "Oh," she said.

Realizing all was lost, I pushed her over the dock. Someday, I thought bitterly, we'll watch that episode together in heaven.

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