Saturday, February 12, 2005

Apricot Yellow

I ches love to my firste craft;
Therefore hit ys with me laft.

She was a lovely girl, brown-haired, gold-skinned, small-breasted, quick in her movements, and prone to giddy rushes of speech. She could be impatient and tart-tongued, but she laughed readily. She loved making fun of people, of me in particular. But there was no malice in her. She couldn't be bothered with it.

Early on, we sat close together in the shabby darkened music room at evening. She told me about her fantasy of the boy -- except I imagine she said "man" -- she would fall in love with. They would walk in the autumn rain together and get quite soaked, and jump into puddles, and chase each other. And then they would kiss, passionately.

I understood that I was receiving instructions, and I was grateful for it. I was only sixteen -- I was greedy for instructions. Though it startled me to find her fantasies so specific. My romantic fantasies were vague: only the erotic episodes were detailed.

It was autumn. So when next it rained we went walking, and we did jump in puddles and get soaked, and it was quite shockingly cold. But we did kiss. We kissed a lot. It all felt mistimed, like an awkwardly directed play. When we broke up a couple of months later she told me -- not angrily, just sharing information -- that she would never forgive me for that. For having used up that fantasy, having tainted it, when it turned out I was not the boy she was going to fall in love with after all.

My own thought was that I had done her a favor -- that trying to realize a fantasy was pretty much bound to fail. Lovers need to be alone together. It was bound to be awkward with a third party, this fantasy, sharing the walk. Since I was sixteen, and full of quixotic ideals of perfect honesty, and remarkably deficient in common sense, I imagine that I told her so. Amazing that we lasted as long as we did.

As I have said elsewhere -- I have never fallen out of love with anybody. Her eyes were green, flecked with bits of apricot yellow, and I loved her most, maybe, when she gathered herself up in indignation, like a wave about to crest, an eloquent rush of wry humor about to come foaming down. Her wit would disarm her own indignation, and she would finish in delight. Then she would lock her gaze with mine -- in my memory she is always moving suddenly from beside me to place herself squarely in front of me, and staring right into my eyes -- and then she would seize my neck and kiss me.

I hope she has a happy Valentine's day, wherever she is.

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