Friday, May 11, 2007

Diving Further into the Blue, the Lure of the Lost

Two exes called this week. Exes ask questions they would never ask when we played house or held each other on groggy Sunday afternoons. Sunday afternoons with the cat still have some of that feel, of our breathing joining, harmonizing, each trying to guess when the distance will begin. Or was it always there? But when the cat walks away there is no second guessing. His departure has nothing to do with me. His return and that of the exes can be taken as the same. The exes offer to tend to the cat during my travels with an enthusiasm that was never there when they performed the same dutiful task during out time as a pair.

One ex wants to be together on Mother’s Day since we both are without parents in the living world. At what age is one not allowed to use the word orphan?

The other ex sighs with pity when I gleefully recount recent dinners and movies I’ve experienced alone, filled with the glory of being so fully in the moment bereft of explaining or apologizing to an ungrateful companion. Then the usual questions come up about when I had my last coupling, when will I have my next. “Aren’t you aware that time is finite?” I am asked, as if I must hunker down before the storm hits. I look out at the gray skies, knowing that it is fog not showers lingering in those clouds.

Although I sometimes miss the dramatic thunder and lightning of past venues and partners, I relate that I have one, possibly two suitors beyond the calm but murky horizon. Each holds promise, but there is no need to hide from tornadoes or hurricanes in this climate. Both are in the distance, but very real, I try to clarify. Both are a few hundred miles away which garners more guileless pity from the ex as I explain what a charge this anticipation brings.

“It’s always about the invitation, not the dance,” I say, seeing the familiar distance across the table that we shared for more than five years. That distance would still be there no matter how passionately I might hold him, something I am surprised to find myself wanting to do at this moment, then taking comfort in the safety of pulling back. As we part, we hold each other a bit longer than we should and promise to get together more often. He never kissed me with such need when we shared the same rooms. Walking home, I wonder how many messages are waiting for me.

I return home to the cat adrift in his own dreams, keeping his eyes closed and curling even closer into himself as I rub his shoulders, his purrs growing ever louder in acknowledgment without ever opening his eyes. I close my own, think of a remote landscape and release my hand to feel further connected.

As I think of the conversations with both exes, I wonder if I revealed too much, or if they only wanted to stick a toe in the shallow pool, unaware that the deepest shade of blue is never the water itself but what lies beneath and seduces the viewer to dive in, never able to reach the true source of that cobalt hue. Then I remember that just this week an ancient ship wreck was discovered off Ocean Beach. It was there all the time but nobody looked deep enough.

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At 2:40 PM, Blogger Salty Miss Jill said...

Gorgeous writing. I love this!
More, more, more! :)


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