I never knew that missing someone could bleed the colour from the sky. I couldn’t have imagined that without her, food wouldn’t taste as good. I’d never have thought I’d stand on the beach at Unawatuna and not want to go swimming. Without her. Not want to walk on the sand, because she wasn’t there. Her hand wasn’t in mine. How is it that I don’t notice that the sunset has changed two shades, from orange to something closer to the colour of her lips? How is it that I don’t feel the touch of the breeze unless it touches her hair first? I haven’t really listened to music in months — it’s just music without her, where before it was something else. An electric connection between us. How can one woman empty my world so completely with her absence, drain it of colour and flavour and life?
And then she’s there, and every single thing that touches my senses changes totally. The setting sun glowers the most intense carmine I’ve ever seen. The Guinness is so cold my teeth ache, its darkness intense. The potato chip she offers me makes my throat shrink with its saltiness. Her eyes are more breathtaking than I remember — how is that possible that I could’ve forgotten those eyes the colour of dark wood, as deep as a well on the edge of the jungle?
She laughs. And my heart races, out of control.
I feel myself falling, as I know I always will. Helpless. Under her spell. Into a world she somehow, incredibly, makes almost as beautiful as herself.
He walks down the beach in the dark. Shadows flash and creep from the quicksilver light of the fireworks over the Mt Lavinia Hotel. The sand is crowded and noisy. Children pointing at the coloured fire that shoots through the sky but doesn’t interest him. Couples stroll, intimately close, hands touching, lips brushing. The slant of a head, the flash of an exquisite smile tugs at his gaze, and he devours her with his eyes. She walks on. It isn’t her. He scans the faces, as he has time after time, looking for her, again and again.
He has looked for her in a hundred faces, hoping, longing for that moment, dreading it. Every trishaw that passes is peered into. Every car.
He lives for that moment, that split-second, into which will be packed a lifetime of love and need. The trishaw is alongside him, and he feasts his eyes on her — the perfect, delicate lips, carved by a God taking extra care — the long lashes that cover dark mahogany eyes that don’t see him — the arch of her eyebrows, the curve of her cheek. He can taste her in that half second, smell her, touch her. The light strokes her hair. And then the moment is gone, and so is she.
He sits at the table on the sand, and drinks his Carlesberg in untasting sips. His friends talk to him and he thinks of her.
All is gone, all is gone, admit it, take flight.
I gagged in contradiction, tears blinding my sight.
My mind it was mangled, I ran into the night
Leaving all of loves ashes behind me.
The wind knocks my window, the room it is wet.
The words to say I’m sorry, I havent found yet.
I think of her often and hope whoever she’s met
Will be fully aware of how precious she is.
Ah, my friends from the prison, they ask unto me,
How good, how good does it feel to be free?
And I answer them most mysteriously,
Are birds free from the chains of the skyway?
–Bob Dylan. Ballad in Plain D
The lounge is is full of women, and somehow, four out of five are Oriental. And they’re all totally slicked out, the Orientals, at least. The whites seem to be all Hawaii-Meets-Abercrombie-and-Fitch. No one can compare to the way she looks, pacing across the eye of my mind. A tall Thai glides past, and her walk reminds me of her. The same slow stride, leading from the hip, each foot placed with the grace of a cat. But it’s only illusionary, I realize. Even in the huge transit lounge she would have stood out like a star. There are no stars here, and I wonder what she’s doing. It will be past midnight where she is. Asleep. Pillow soaked with the tears she swore she would hold off ’til I was gone. I have never been with anyone like her. Totally out of my league, and I know it. But yet. What sort of love makes a goddess look at a mortal? Continue reading