This is story of a stranger that became a lover, then a stranger again.
A story of a song that once was ours, and now I carry as mine. And, it feels appropriate that the song is called bloom because some beautiful things are just a season.
Shall I write it in a letter?
Shall I try to get it down?
Oh, you fill my head with pieces
Of a song I can’t get out
I found Charlotte amid a bubble bath after heartbreak, a glass of wine, a brash download of every dating app in existence, and a simple stroke of my finger. I certainly wasn’t looking for anything real, and lord knows I wasn’t ready.
A match quickly turned into a series of witty sports puns that rolled off me with ease, and I don’t know fucking thing about sports. I should of known then I was going to move into unprecedented spaces with her.
She arrived to our first date unfashionably late in a full face of make-up and heels, which to this day she’ll argue aren’t heels at all.
“They’re boots,” she’d exclaim!
She is indescribable. She walks a tightrope between disheveled and flawless; toes the line between masculine and feminine. She is uncategorizable and I had absolutely no idea what to do with her. I had always dated stone cold butches and jesbians (Justin Bieber look-alike lesbians). And, she is neither of those.
As I stood up to greet her I flashed through what I like to call the four stages of swiping grief:
- Shock, “have I been catfished?”
- Denial, “You are not the butch I ordered!”
- Annoyance, “Damn, you really need to update your profile.”
- Acceptance, “Fuck it. I am already here.”
“Let’s get a drink,” I say.
That was the first night in a series of many that began with whiskey and ended with me in awe of her in the morning light.
At first I wanted to blame the liquor because I’m not the sort of girl that goes home with a stranger from a dating app, and she wasn’t even my type. I wanted to believe that I lost my senses to a pool of warm cinnamon tinged liquid. Rittenhouse Rye was to blame for those uninhibited kisses. In truth though, I lost my reason in her most mundane manifestations, and in a sea of synchronicities that I couldn’t explain but felt to my core. That iteration of reality is endearing at best, and quite clinical at worst. And while I’ll freely shed most everything about myself, I’m quite certain pride is bound to my bones. And what prideful woman admits she lost herself in details so categorically simple.
I fixated on how she scrolls through her phone, with her middle finger; an obscurity made natural . When she smiles the corners of her eyelids sink slightly and softly as one side of her crimson tinted lip rises. It is as if the crease of her eye and the end of her lip are nervous lovers leaning into each other briefly just recoil back. I got addicted to the way her eyes change when something I spoke resonated. They widen into a big black mysterious pools and I know I have her even when she doesn’t utter a word. I stare back; our souls caught in a staring contest. I fell for the way her small frame falls into chairs with no apologies for the consumption of space that is not proper for female bodies like ours. She does it anyways. My senses sank into her simplicities as easily as my body fell into her bed.
When I woke in the morning as the sun was spilled in through her skylight I expected to I’d be riddled with guilt and anxiety. Instead, I felt totally still.
In the morning when I wake
And the sun is coming through,
Oh, you fill my lungs with sweetness,
And you fill my head with you
And as she rose to make me coffee, bare, I think every ounce of air left my lungs. In that instant I knew I wanted to be one of her habitual peculiarities too.
“Play it cool, she is just a stranger,” I told myself.
And its true she was a stranger, but I wanted to know everything. Why did she have so many things hanging on her walls, and how many years did it take curate? What are all these books? Has she read any of them? What are her favorites? Why does she have so many protein bars? Does she ever cook? What is up with that?
Under different twilights we met with whiskey, wine, and my relentless curiosity. I couldn’t have her as a mere stranger, I wouldn’t. I wanted to know her.
Nestled in her arms I asked brashly, “what are all these random things on your walls?” Where she toes lines, I bulldoze through them.
“They aren’t random! They all have meaning,” she pushes back.
Bullshit. There is no way every single object has meaning. I quiz her.
“Okay, what is the story of the wooden fish hanging from rafter?”
She tells me the story of her childhood home and a toy fishing pole. I can almost picture it: her young, wild, curious, standing on the edge of lake wondering why she can’t catch a fish, blissfully unaware that pole is just a toy. I point to more objects and with each story my guarded heart softens. I imagine that it’ll take me years to learn the meaning of every little thing in her room, and pray to a god I don’t fully believe in that I get the time.
The books, she read them. She loves poetry and French literature, mostly about love. And it is quite curious because I can sense she is just as terrified of love as I am. Where I chose avoidance, she drowns herself among it like a parched man in an ocean of undrinkable water. Safe on shore, I wonder how she stays afloat. I fear I would be swallowed whole.
She hands me one of her favorite poems and watches me as I read it. I’m silent afterwards. She asks what I think, and I say it is painfully sad. She grabs the book out of my hand and lays kisses down my neck. I forget the poem and my senses entirely. I’m overboard lapping up undrinkable water that only leaves me needing and wanting more. I’m drowning, and like fool enjoying it too; swallowed whole.
I love you.
Can I take it to a morning
Where the fields are painted gold
And the trees are filled with memories
Of the feelings never told?
Its the night I am to leave town for two months to city where she knows I have another lover. A lover I kept just to temper my feelings for her. We spend the night making love. No corner of my bed left untouched. When the day broke we stayed in bed laughing, talking, and loving until it was dark out again. I as rose, bare, to throw my life into suitcases I felt the weight of time and miles weigh on me. I had spent my two years in Nashville always trying to leave. I couldn’t peel my eyes off her. Her makeup was gone and the curls that usually hung in her face were pinned back. I could really see her, and it was first moment I wanted to stay. I drove away from her still. Sleepless, I steered into the twilight until the song bloom pulled me from my trance.
When the evening pulls the sun down,
And the day is almost through,
Oh, the whole world it is sleeping,
But my world is you