May 21, 2007

Alone At The Table

This morning, my girlfriend sat down to breakfast with me. I made us scrambled eggs, toast, and coffee. She nursed a mug of coffee and chain-smoked. Coffee and cigarettes: with those, she never seems to be in want of anything, never seems to want anything.

I ate the eggs swimming in a pool of silence and watched smoke unravel lazily in wisps from the glowing tip of her cigarette. Much like how she disentangles her long limbs from mine every morning - deliberately but without thought, unhurried.

Time moves at a different pace in her universe than me; perhaps much slower, perhaps it doesn't move at all. More than once have I thought of her as the still point of the turning world.

"So," she finally said, then said nothing at all. The eggs cleanly polished off, I started to work my jaws methodically on the toast, watching her.

It is never difficult to imagine a body of water between the two of us. When I'm around her, I feel everything around and about me slows down - my heart, my breathing, my thoughts - as if my body and my self unconsciously realize that the only way to meet her is to be where she is: at the still point of the turning world.

The crunch of toast in my ears sounded like a rush of bubbles underwater. I imagined kicking my legs hard, working my arms vigorously; I imagined swimming my way to her, out of my body, into hers; I imagined I would find the woman I love there, and she had been waiting for me to swim to her all along.

Suddenly, the familiar smell of her filled my nose. I realized then she had stopped, on her way out of the kitchenette, to plant a kiss on my hair. I grabbed her hand before she could pass me by, pulled her in for a kiss, hard and deep; whether to plunge into her or pull her out, I didn't know.

But she disentangled herself from me - deliberately but without thought, unhurried.

"Where are you?" I asked her.

She gave me a slow lovely smile. "There," she told me, and left the kitchenette, mug of coffee and a cigarette in hand.

Alone at the table, for the very first time, I went with her.

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