23 February 2006

The Park


This year I have tried hard to see things from someone else's viewpoint. Doing so has meant the need to observe some temporary distance in a white hot friendship. It is difficult.

Last year I wrote about a similar episode which occurred nineteen years ago and where I never made allowances for another's emotions. On reflection it seems to say more about me though. Oh and there is another one to come which is connected. I hope you will excuse this repetition but it has some importance to me and will serve to fill the gap while I am working on some other things...

The lunchtime park was glittering and heavy with the sweet scent of mown grass. Office men and women smiled and flirted over rolls and coffee under the open arms of late spring oaks. She neither saw the trees nor felt the sunshine. The bench slats pressed into her spine like a surgeon’s knife. Today was the same as every other yet unlike any other. He had let himself out in the night.

Her larynx was hard and brittle. She made no sound as tear rolled after tear. A jet twinkled overhead, a tiny silver bullet streaking lives across the blue void. She stood up stiffly and walked. Dire Straits spilled from an open-top Mercedes, queued at the lights. ‘... do the walk of life..’

Their love was the first and last. His fingers learned a tender touch on her skin, never practiced before, born only for and because of her. They slept and awoke, laughed and wept in harmony. He held her the way she needed. He knew without asking.

Even last evening he said he was happy. “Are you sure you’re happy?” She had probed for the hundredth time, her eyes racing across his face looking for a flinch or tell-tale frown. One hundred times she had asked since he walked in on her and out on his wife. Had he lied? He can't have been lying, because we knew unspoken thoughts, sick fear pounded in her head. His last sentence had included the word ‘cherish.’

For six weeks he had folded his clothes on the floor and kept his toothbrush in his pocket. Every day he had cleaned her bathroom as if to erase traces of his presence. He wiped his reflection from the mirror. His fleeting possessions had hovered over surfaces and were gone now. This was the morning he had vanished.

Too intense to persist. This supernova of passion, fusing flesh and soul had scorched everyone around them. Now the cataclysm had engulfed them too. The baking ground radiated white heat and she whispered, “I’m breathing mercury.” Pavement cracks offered the only reason for her steps. Her limbs were pointless now. She implored a stranger, “Help me, I can’t get any air in.” No answer came.

In twenty years she might wake from this horror and the park will be empty, unless in her sleep she forgets to breath...

“Maybe you're the same as me
We see things they'll never see
You and I are gonna live forever.”
Oasis - Live Forever

15 comments:

doughgirl said...

Funny Perfect that I should stop be here today of all days. I know to well this story of love, pain and suffering. I think its one of the bonds you and I share in our so distant friendship.

It hit me today in re reading this and you know I love to. This is what struck me...."For six weeks he had folded his clothes on the floor and kept his toothbrush in his pocket. Every day he had cleaned her bathroom as if to erase traces of his presence. He wiped his reflection from the mirror".

Reminds me of the place I find myself only for different reasons. Im working on it though.

My heart aches everytime I read this...oh anGreen eyes which is my favorite. I am here PV, though I dont always appear, I am here.

Perfect Virgo said...

DG - I like this one too and I realised most of my new readers hadn't seen it but how did you know I would post it today? Your sixth sense is working well, it seems to happen when you are working through similar emotions.

Writing about these things is my way of capturing the precise thoughts as they form in my mind. If I don't they drift through my fingers like sand and I can't seem to recover them.

What we need is warmer days to arrive to allow long fast rides. I know you are here even though you keep a low profile.

Cocaine Jesus said...

didn't catch this the first time round. no matter. bloody good. the impact from the 'unsaid silences' is like the shot from a gun. hits the target with an enormous bang.

Queen Neetee said...

Oh my goodness! This is so brilliantly human.

She neither saw the trees nor felt the sunshine. This line started it all for me. Wow, do I remember the insanity of Love. And this line too, He wiped his reflection from the mirror.

Your story impresses me so much because it's usually women who speak endlessly of Love and the affect it has on their lives. To read the words of a man on this subject is fascinating because it renders us all human but absolutely loopy because of that darn Western way of Loving one another.

This is excellent!

Wow! Thanks!

Perfect Virgo said...

CJ - I think the best tales are always rooted in reality.

Neetee - this experience had a profound effect on me yet I never discovered the effect it had on the other party. I can guess a little at the immediate impact but the reaction is pure speculation. If this little insight into the thinking of one man on the subject of love fascinated you then I'm proud.

boulies said...

Oh my goodness, this is brilliant! Interesting the way you weave the experience of the affair and the park scene back and forth. You made me feel so much empathy for this woman. Anyone who has lived can identify with this kind of sorrow. Your writing is a perfect blend of story and prose. Of course you are... perfect virgo! I sat down for a quick read and got zapped by this. Storytelling like this needs much introspection to make it come together as this has done. I don't imagine you can pop one of these out for us to read every other day. You've truly inspired me. Thank you.

mussolini said...

delightful, pv :)

boulies said...

How crazy! Didn't read anyone's comments first, now just read Neetee's. Same beginning as mine. See, we know what we're talking about.

Queen Neetee said...

That's for sure boulies! We do know what we're talking about. It's a brilliant piece.

Patry Francis said...

Profound and beautiful. "He wiped his reflection from the mirror." A perfect sentence if I ever read one.

Perfect Virgo said...

Boulies - writing from ones own experiences usually comes across as more convincing. From this distance I can be more objective and the introspection is less painful. I would love to slap one of these onto the page more often but the associated turmoil would be hard to cope with.

I hope the intensity of the affair in contrast to the park scene's normality shows that life goes on all around you, with passers-by oblivious to and even ambivalent towards a tough situation.

Mussolini - just a wee vignette. I am pleased to see the new entrepreneurial lifestyle permits blog time ;)

Boulies (encore un fois!) - "great minds think alike" don't they say? I won't quote the second line of that saying as it would be rude! I too prefer to comment under my own steam and return later to read other's reactions. I know you ladies know precisely what you are talking about! ;)

Neetee - thank you, thank you! I'm bowled over by yours and Boulies response - heck a sensitive man "We'd better have him framed!"

Patry - as an aspiring writer I'm extremely interested that you should single out that sentence. With hindsight it seems like I was embarrassed to be in that position and needed to virtually deny the episode. The reflection disappears on it's own doesn't it? I was just making doubly sure...

Queen Neetee said...

I read over my comment to you and felt that I should expound upon my reasons for liking this piece.

It's because you crossed the line of male silence on this subject remembering pain with such fine truthful detail about something that at one time was so delicate and joyful that it made truth take a backseat to the reality of it.

Here, you have expressed such beauty in that kind of social taboo and pain. It was like a folk opera. Dire Straits spilled from an open-top Mercedes, queued at the lights. ‘... do the walk of life..’ And though it sounds like art, it was life.

This supernova of passion, fusing flesh and soul had scorched everyone around them. Women know this feeling and speak of it aloud, rarely do we hear such a phrase from a conscious male. More men should read this!
I can quote the whole thing, but I won't. There was a knot in my heart when reading it.

It's not that you should be framed, I know there are other men out there who express their feelings too but, as for you, you should be proud to know that you did not kill the truth of that painful time with some Machismo attitude. You remember and can still speak of the pain that had you two riveted.

Just remembering the pain of love from time to time makes me so happy that I LOVE to be alone now. I'm too old for that stuff.
:)

Perfect Virgo said...

Neetee - I'm not very good at filing things away in permanent cold storage. Stuff is always revolving towards the front of my mind. That's what makes it easier to define precise feelings - even from 2 decades ago!

I think you're right, there is a kind of beauty in pain. Pathos is a powerful tool in media generally. At 48 I don't try to hide emotion any more although in fairness this was a very concentrated episode and hopefully not typical of my day to day living!

Did you notice I only made sideways references to my own emotions? As the reader, if you can infer my feelings from my estimate of her reaction then I have succeeded in my implications. When writing it was a conscious decision to reflect my feelings in hers.

By saying "framed" I was poking fun at myself, a strategy for reprimanding myself for getting too serious!

No I can never forget or alter my view of that time, thank you for recognising that. "Love hurts" sang Nazareth in the 70's, it did and does and will do! Maybe you are better off loving being alone. Even as an 'older' youngster! ;-)

Queen Neetee said...

I've chosen you as Blog of the Week on my site! You definitely deserve it. Your writing is superb.

Perfect Virgo said...

Neetee - blush, blush! Why thank you ma'am, I'm honoured.