Sunday, June 15, 2014

lilies strewn across the muddy milky way

Woo me, she demanded.
As I looked into her eyes, I felt something inside of me quicken and quake.
She had issued a dare too blatant to ignore.
I swirled the ice around in my tumbler, letting the clink of ice against glass distract me from the words that were lobbied at me.
I often pay lip-service to my desire that women could imitate the straightforward manner of my own sex.
Communication is a lot more pleasant, you know, if it's delivered in a concise, clear manner. No guessing, no games, no beating around the real meat of the issue. 
Just make your point in simple English, and there you are.
But this was a sort of candor that would make a mighty oak quake.
I wished that there was bourbon left in the glass. 
Alas, there was none. 
Liquid courage always deserts a man when it is most needed.
Her words cut through the layers of affected mystery I had carefully assumed that morning with the rest of my toilette:
Do it. If you're so wonderfully keen on me.
I, at a complete loss for words, resorted to the classic--and much maligned-- ad hominem argument that my high-school debate teacher had thoroughly whipped out of me. 
Unfortunately, my high-school debate teacher was not here. In private moments, all the instruction of my saintly and aggressively encouraging high-school debate teacher on the subject of the Properly Constructed Argument ["The Properly Constructed Argument is the Properly Conducted Argument."] tended to fly from my mind as if the hounds of the Baskervilles were at their heels.
Thus, I spoke, to disastrous affect:
Sort of quite not a lady-like thing to do, ain't it? Daring a lad, I mean. That's quite a tall order, quite a dare. Rather bold, I'd say.
She didn't seem very impressed with that statement, and sent a withering glance through my eyes into the back of my skull.
Well, rather, I think it was supposed to be withering. 
I felt rather creamy inside, rather like my heart had turned into a tureen of tomato soup.
But I also felt a cold chill of contempt run up and down my spine, sort of in the area of my brain stem, right where her icy-cold eyes had landed.
She launched into such a tirade.
And what a tirade, I didn't listen to much, I'm afraid. I mean, I'd gathered the gist of it:
Some remarks (peppered with absolutely titillating tones of bitter vitriol) about gentlemen not leading ladies up the garden path and into the valley of derision or debauchery or something along those lines.
She was a vision to behold when her temper was aroused, she peaked when piqued, sort of.
Her eyes glistened with all the saucy fire that was stored up inside of her, and she tossed her head, and her arms gesticulated about, cutting through the air at haphazard angles like some possessed windmill.
With every breath inside my body, I wished I was Don Quixote, and I would charge like a madman into those windmills, and those arms would wrap themselves around me and hold me prisoner in an embrace worthy of a giant.
And if you just won't, then I don't see the point of all this.
I wanted to tell her that I would. My God, of course I would. That, dearest goose of a creature, that was all I had wanted to do for quite some time, and I did think that I would do it, come hell or high water.
But the words didn't really shape up the way I wanted to them to. She had that effect on me. On my own, in my head, I could talk to her with all the eloquence of Wordsworth. 
But, then I would talk to her face, and realize that all sorts of surprising things came out of her mouth that I was never quite prepared for, and had to pull the troops back and regroup.
By then, she had flittered on to the next thing, and my nascent eloquence was left behind in the dust.
I would I was never really good with words, not to her, not out loud.
So, my mouth moved, I think. Perhaps it was frozen.
All I know is that no words came out.
She looked at me. Her icy eyes had softened a bit and looked more like the deep blue of a frozen river than a steel knife.
I could feel them looking into mine, but I don't think she found anything in the soft brown shades that effectively disguised the windows of my heart.
She sighed.
She moved her chair out from the table, stood--so slowly, like molasses rising-- and pushed the chair back in, very deliberately.
Too deliberately.
I knew that if I just reached out and touched her hand the frozen river in her eyes would melt and begin to flow.
But I etched out invisible designs on the cold glass of my tumbler with my fingernail.
And I could barely look at her as she hesitated behind her chair, hovering in mid-air for a second.
In my peripheral vision, I made careful note of the soft twitches in her fingers, her mouth, open as if to speak, and the tension in her foot, poised to move, but suspended in the air for a second.
And then, the moment passed, without me lifting my head. 
I stared at the ice cubes for an elongated minute, watching the perspiration form on the glass as the ice began to melt.
All that was left was a faint whiff of her perfume.

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