Sunday, October 6, 2013

the courage of lovers

He stands in the middle of a lonely kitchen fiddling with the radio. He hears the beginning of a gentle love song and the distinct clacking of heels on the ceramic tiles. He turns to see her standing awkwardly, freshly scrubbed and in a new dress. Her hair is pulled tight behind her head, save for a few unruly strands on the side. The moonlight glows on her olive skin as he struggles to speak. How do you even begin to describe such beauty, such delicate perfection in the rough?

"What's wrong?" she asks, her weight shifting from foot to foot. She pats her dress down, waving away imaginary wrinkles on the fabric. He shakes his head and walks toward her. There is a hunger in his eyes. He takes in some air to speak but hesitates.

"You look stunning," he finally says and she breathes a sigh of relief. Her shoulders relax and her lips break into a knowing smile.

"…if you don't mind me saying so," he adds. For a second, she remembers that he is not supposed to be here. That this is a house she shares with another man. Oh God, was this a mistake?

"Make-them-run-around-the-block-howling-in-agony stunning." He smiles at her, that lopsided grin she's seen him put on countless times and all of a sudden, she is a different woman. She breathes a sigh of relief. Her fears melt away. Such is the courage of lovers.

She walks towards him, feeling braver and stronger with each step. On the radio, the man sings about his lover's eyes. There's a certain warmth in these old records. It's almost like they were made to score scenes like this. As she approaches, the phone starts to ring – yet another cruel reminder of the family that waits for her miles away. He looks at the telephone, indecision in his face. You should get that, he seemed to say. Resigned, she picks up as a voice from miles away clicks on.

"Johnson's. Hi," she answers in her thick Italian accent. It is Madge, a gossipy old woman two houses down. He walks to the fridge to get a beer.

"I was just fixing myself something to eat," she lies. She asks if she's heard of the drifter, a serious looking man with striking grey hair. She feigns indifference, not wanting to cause suspicion by the sudden shift in her tone of voice.

He sits down in front of her and she notices his messy collar. Her fingers dance upon his shirt, little cackles of electricity coursing through their bodies. Her hand finally rests gently on his shoulder. There is a warmth in her touch that he had never felt from anyone or anything before.

He places his hand on hers. She looks longingly into his eyes, noticing the deep wrinkles around the edges. She hangs up. He stands and leads her to the middle of the kitchen. They start to dance, slowly and with all the emotion they'd kept at bay since they met. She rests her head on his shoulder. He takes a whiff of her soft, sienna hair, wondering how he could have truly lived all those years without knowing what it felt like to hold her in his arms.

"If you want me to stop, tell me now," he warns. Before his passion consumes them, before they cross the line they've been toeing all night. Their lips move closer and farther, like magnets undecided of their poles. She closes her eyes until there is nothing but warm current in her veins, his hand on her waist, and her warm breath on his waiting lips.

"No one's asking you to," she whispers, eyes ablaze. He kisses her, spreading quiet little flames from her mouth to her cheeks to the small of her back. He kisses her again and again until her whole body is on fire. He pulls her body to his, their hearts beating to the same drum, to the same love. On the radio, the man sings of their love as it unfolds.

I see your face before me
Crowding my every dream.
There is your face before me
You are my only theme.
It doesn't matter where you are.
I can see how fair you are.
I close my eyes and there you are.

He kisses her until their bodies are on fire. Tomorrow, there would be reckoning but for a few stolen hours, she wanted to think of nothing but his warm embrace, his gentle kisses, and the sound of two hearts beating to the same love.

►: The Bridges of Madison County (1995)
♫: Johnny Harman | I See Your Face Before Me (1980)

HAPPY BIRTHDAY CITYBUOY! Gawd, I'm really getting old. Today is this space's ninth birthday. From adolescent rants to unsolicited advice. Through haphazard movie reviews and saccharine stories, we've certainly gone a long way. Thank you for staying with me through personal crises and countless hiatuseseseses. I am celebrating with a fresh coat of paint (and let's face it, the pink layout just wasn't working). See my first post here.