It was Thanksgiving, cold and drizzly, classic. I had nowhere to go. Marcy was in Seattle, Colin in North Carolina, both with family. I found solace in a cup of coffee in the student commons, when grace intervened in the way of Edna. Edna and I were friends, but not well acquainted. We talked, and, good friends or not, she invited me to Alitosh's for Thanksgiving dinner that afternoon, Alitosh being a close friend of Edna, the two of them making dinner, and inviting the wayward, such as myself, to share.
Alitosh lived in a cottage just off campus. I knew her only by sight, often seeing her in the commons studying. Always by herself. She seemed self-contained, even aloof. Ethiopian by birth and accent, and, not that it matters, gorgeous.
Arriving that afternoon, Chablis in hand, she welcomed me graciously. I was happy to see Talana, Antoinette and Nathaniel, who were also wayward, and another I did not know—Marketa, and there we were, a group of seven in for the duration. Odd numbers hold portent.
Edna and Alitosh were in the kitchen, Talana, Antoinette and Marketa were talking and listening to music. I was staring at Marketa. Talk about self-contained, she was surrounded by an aura of okay-ness, the likes of which I couldn't remember having seen.
Amy Winehouse was singing her sad stories, I turned my attention away from Marketa to Nathaniel, Antoinette's eight year old son, whom I knew well.
As the afternoon became evening and the wine flowed and the cottage became more and more cozy and more inviting and the dinner was served and then gone, I was fully aware that I was doing what I do.
Edna, apparently psychic, surmised. Edna, I knew, was in a similar state of love with Norville. Edna, apparently psychic but unquestionably sensuous, was at one with Eros. She exuded the potential of passion unbound. Norville was, again, apparently, I didn't know either of them well enough to truly know, immune. Or, immune after the fact. I knew this mostly via Marcy, who was closer friends with Edna than I. Edna reminded me of an Ur goddess, her Filipino slash Hispanic coloring, her round, inviting figure, her dark eyes, combined wondrously; but if she was sensuous she was also militant and uncompromising. I could see how Norville's distance might be self-protective, if not common sense.
All this is neither here nor there. The evening wore on, and I was becoming more besotted with each glass of wine. I don't think the wine clouded my judgment. Present circumstances prove the point, but that's now and I'm thinking about then.
Whatever I was feeling, Marketa was not. So I guessed.
And then, inevitably, the evening was over. I had a dreary walk back to my own apartment and my dreary roommate, but I am not shy, and so asked Marketa, after we had said our goodnights and thank you's to our hosts, and goodnights to Talana, Antoinette and Nathaniel, I asked her if she would like meet for coffee the next day, and maybe go for a walk or to a gallery or park. If she had said, "no," this would be a different story. We agreed to meet in the commons.
The next morning at our agreed time, no Marketa.
We all know life can be cruel, this being a good example. My pit-a-patting heart was becoming sore, my demeanor, I'm sure, was Eeyorish.
I was walking in slow-motion, walking just to walk, nowhere in particular, when Marketa caught up with me, took my arm and apologized in her utterly beguiling, charming Czech accent.
The telling of this makes me sigh. I am sighing.
We walked side by each. I had a song in my head, though I can't remember what song. We walked to the park where the cold, gray, drizzly day seemed sunny and balmy. We stood on the bridge that crossed the duck pond and talked, and we didn't stop talking until we were numb and shivering. We went to a cafe. We had coffee. She surprised me by having a cigarette, but I joined her, I didn't care.
The cafe was quiet, few customers, being post breakfast, pre-lunch. Brunch, you might say. We sipped, smoked, and talked. It seemed as if we would never run out of conversation. We never have.
Time was not ours that day. She had work to do, I did, too, though hers paid money while mine cost money; that is the difference between being employed and going to school. I, too, worked, but not that weekend.
These are details that don't matter. We said goodbye and though it seems unlikely in the telling, kissed. It seemed ridiculous not to. Just a quick, barely touching, kind of kiss.
Time passed and the next few weeks or month are vague and blurry, but January found us together in a new-to-us apartment, setting up house. We worked and studied, we painted, we cooked, we did other things as well, the kind of things people in love allegedly do.
There were moments when I thought she would come to her senses, and it worried me. Experience had been kind and unkind to me. I knew both both sides of that coin, and I wasn't sure of myself. I also felt disbelief. I had know Julie's childish love and Terri's eternal love, until it wasn't. There were others, each a gift or a lesson. Why would this be different? But it was, and is, in every way. She let me into her aura of self-containment, I became part of it, drifting in and out depending on the level of my insecurity.
That was then. It is no longer so. I may be insecure at times in other facets of my life, I am not insecure about Marketa or our love. I have no doubt, not even in the darkest, most sleepless hours of the night.
Poetry by one trick pony
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Written on 2019-03-23 at 04:50
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