Title: Such Are Promises
Author: valentine (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Summary: "I have squandered my resistance for a pocket full of mumbles such are promises." -Simon and Garfunkel,
Disclaimers: Not mine. Yeah, I don't know where this came from...S&G just wouldn't leave me alone and then Jae's challenge made it okay to be short.
Feedback appreciated. And, as always, thanks to N.
Such Are Promises by Valentine
The snow was falling when she knocked on my door last night. She came unannounced but not unwelcomed. She led me to the bed and tangled my body in hers. She was hard, pinching and clawing, and expecting nothing less in return. For whatever reason she couldn’t get this from him, not last night. So I was brutal, not the usual soft and lingering touches that she so craves, because I am whatever he can’t be for her.
It was only after she was sated that she pressed her lips to my flesh and whispered the words I can never quite hear. Mumbles that I sometimes mistake for promises. She fell asleep then, her head resting as it always does comfortably against my chest.
And sometimes this is enough. Sometimes this is all I want, to be together like this as she lets words tumble form her lips in a disarray she is not allowed anywhere else but here. To be there when she presses her lips against my skin and speaks words of sorrow and elation and all those in between.
On nights when she comes to me tasting of cigars and Jack Daniels I realize that I am but a distraction, that any body would do and she would neither notice nor care. And then I remember that it’s me she comes to. Maybe not first, but always last. Late at night, and early in the morning when she needs something more, it’s my door she knocks on.
Now I keep my eyes closed as she slips out of bed, feeling the familiar, delicate way she shifts her weight in order not to wake me. Some days I can reach out for her. Some days, when I can catch her before she makes it to the shower, we can stay together this way for precious minutes before she goes. Most days, like now, she runs to the bathroom and scrubs me out of her pores. She looks at me, these mornings, through lowered lashes as she moves around like a hurricane desperate to escape it earthly confines. I used to object, used to insist and then to plead. Somewhere between then and now I leaned that if I let her slip out, without protest, there’s a greater chance she’ll be back in the evening. So even after last night, when she was nothing but tear slick cheeks and muffled sobs I don’t say a word. She’s never that girl in the sunlight anyway. She knows I’m awake now, she knows I’m watching her, and her body is tense under her suit and her head carefully bowed. So I close my eyes again because this is the way we are. Sometimes I remember that this is the way we’ve always been.
The first time, that very first time, I went to her apartment because the power in our building was out. She opened the door and laughed at the sight of me, stub of a candle in one hand and Tangeray in the other. So we drank: my gin, her tonic. I won at cribbage, she at rummy. She kissed me because I was so obvious. I kissed her back. By then the snow had stopped falling and though the lights remained off, I went home, her lip gloss lingering on my tongue.
The second time was a crush of lips and hands so desperate that I felt tears being drawn from me, or maybe deposited in me, I’m still not sure. Then, as now, she never talked about work, never had to. The day’s trials are all there, in the knots of her back and in the curl of her fingers on my hips.
On rare occasions she makes apologies. She wants me to believe that we are together in this, that it hurts her too. And sometimes in the mornings I do, believe her. And then she goes to work, stands up and speaks for an administration that is slowly tearing her apart. She goes to work and is seen by everyone. I go to work and wrap flowers for the Georgetown crowd. So, no, we aren’t in this together, there’s no way we could be.
But I always open my door for her. I always let her lead me to the bedroom because, sometime between then and now, those mumbled words against my skin have become close enough to promises.
Back to the Big Block of Cheese Main Page