Tuesday, June 21, 2005

That Is All There Is

This is something I wrote in what now seems like another lifetime. Perhaps it was as well. This piece is something still held close; something very surprising I learned about "absolutes". A significant measure of time later, I am pleased to know that I would not have gone back and done anything any differently.

It is one of my greatest fears - looking back at my life a few months later and wanting to do things over. As far as choices go, I am not sure I believe there is such a thing as the right decision. The "right decision" will be proven in time. However, at the time, there is such a thing as a good decision. Mercifully, this one still remains a good decision!

That Is All There Is

"We may never meet again, you know." Even then she had wondered what he had meant and she wondered now as well. Dragging deeply on her cigarette, her mind turned to him again. For a while all he had been was a voice on the telephone. A few days later, he had become real... human... tangible. Hard, detached and ruthless, he was the fulfillment of her Howard Roark fantasy. He was an intellectual challenge... nothing more, nothing less. How he excited her!

They didn't care about each other and yet had a pulsating awareness of themselves. Meeting her for the first time that day, he had taken her home. After a few minutes of polite conversation, he had bent and kissed her. She remembered being stunned by his singularity of purpose. Now, she was surprised at herself. Wasn't that why she had gone there?

She replayed that scene in her head for the millionth time. Lying there in his arms, she had heard him ask,

"Do all your friends kiss upto you?"

"No.", she had laughed. "You should meet them. You'd enjoy the thrashing they give me."

In an unusually comfortable silence, he had spoken again. "Then why are you so surprised at my ability to detach?"

She had looked at him for a moment, and slowly answered, "Because... my friends will be around tomorrow morning and you won't."

"Doesn't that irritate you?"

"Would it help any? If I was to get annoyed, would you change your mind?"

"No, and you know it."

"Then why should I waste that emotion on you?" Brave words to cover an uncertain interior.

Thirty minutes later they had gotten dressed and she had smoked while he made business calls. She committed every detail to memory, knowing she would never see him again. He had said something about taking a break and then perhaps calling her back but she couldn't remember what it was....

A lizard scurried across the crack in the ceiling, reeling her out of her reverie. She went to the kitchen and poured herself another cup of coffee. She had asked herself this question so many times and still had no answer. "Why did I do it?" She still didn't know... or did she?

Her gaze swept across the room. The tangerine walls, the bean bags, the paintings. Her home; where she could be free and honest. She flicked a switch and Billy Joel's River of Dreams filled the spaces around her and walked onto the balcony. She shook her head, as if trying to clear it but there was no escape. She sat down, her back to the rails and acknowleged it. She had gone there for herself. She had done it to explore that part of her that he had brought to life. Gone to find out if it was indeed her responding to his verbal lovemaking? What had happened to "sex without love is meaningless?"

But it had been her and she had to accept this facet of herself. It was nothing to be ashamed of. She had taken control of her sexuality and jumped straight in. She had made one mistake though. She had expected him to call. Two weeks had gone by and she was still willing the phone to ring. Maybe this was the part of her not meant for casual intimacy. Yet part of her. Inexorably her. She smiled and picked up her favourite volume of Vikram Seth's poetry. As the indigo curtains swayed gently in the breeze, she began to speak,

"To make love with a stranger is the best.
There is no riddle and there is no test...

To rest within the unknown arms and know
That this is all there is; that this is so."


mErCuRiAn said...

Well written! I'm sure this is one of the things that everyone goes through but only a few can actually write about. Nice style too. Well done, keep it up :)

i-me-moi said...

hmmmmmmmm :-) every woman's fantasy, ce n'est pas?

wanderer said...

Brilliant. Thanks for sharing.


Extempore said...

@Sprechen: Sometimes, fantasy has a strange way of turning into reality, e n'est pas? :)

@wanderer: Thanks! Am glad you stopped by - do come again. :)

Parth said...

I was going through your blog archives. For want of filling up your blog with a large number of comments, I'll restrict myself to commenting on this one. Excellent work. Very identifiable treatment. Now I know why men strive to be Howard Roark's too :-) BTW, I forgot to drop in this small heart-felt ordinarily written write-up about Rock Beach that I penned eons ago. Have a look when you get the chance. You'll know why I requested you to photograph the place. :-) http://parthp.blogspot.com/2004/08/achingly-perfect.html