It may have been the long hair,
by Tara Teeling
the way the honey-brown curls
undulated while he moved,
rubbing me in all the good places,
as I watched him walk.
There was the exchange of words,
in a hot, cake-crusted bakery,
while he ate orange cranberry muffins
and sipped ice tea through my very own straw.
I couldn’t hear what he was saying
because I was trying too hard, peering
into him, hearing his blood pulse with
the soft metal churn of the wheels in his head.
This music was distracting.
I’d seen him out there,
strutting down busy streets with
a guitar bobbing on his back,
but he was more a ghost outside, a phantom.
When you’ve lost control,
everything they do becomes careful magic
and so you watch, and you learn.
I was not dangerous,
I was merely hopeful.
A few times I thought
I noticed something more than
his amusement: milk-warm jealousy
when the dogs began to sniff,
mild intrigue on winter weekdays.
I wished for him to act on it,
like all the wild ones do,
spurring a new way of life,
one in which I could wear black
and long boots and look like I
was meant to.
He never did.
I wore the black, anyway,
dabbed myself with oils
and tried to make friends with
this painful, yet benign association.
I lay in bed, countless nights,
staring at the ceiling, bargaining
with unseen forces to make him love me.
That never works.
In a white mirror,
I found that I was beginning to
recognize the reflection as it slowly
took on new colour and form.
I understood her more than
the person who used to live there.
It was an odd atmosphere,
whirling comfort and thrills together
in a mellow microburst; a soft, red dawn.
Through all of it, his distance
and amiable indifference,
I was able to preserve him,
without the smears or defects
of a repellent, dulled reality.
These many years on,
it is a lovely thing to dwell on:
an uneven love which
never proved unworthy,
but is better where it breathed.