Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Conversation in the Semidarkness, Part 2

I don't know why I'm fumbling with these two characters again, or why I created a Part 2 to this piece. Usually, when I'm done with something I'm done with it, and I thought I was done with them. But these two characters keep getting back together and having conversations, and they've asked me to let them out again. So, I've decided to honor their request. If you are interested, you can read Part 1 hereIt is my hope that Part 2 will give these two some rest and they can stop haunting me.


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I'm going to do this. Somewhere in his mind, his tired mind that can find no sleep, he makes this determination.

He pulls his arm out from under the covers. He rubs his mouth with the palm of his hand. He flicks on the small reading light on the nightstand. He turns to her, beside him. He looks at her, sleeping but not asleep. "Let's play a game," he whispers.

She looks at him in the semidarkness with her deep brown eyes that have come back to beseech him all over again. "What kind of game?"

"We'll take turns telling each other what we liked most about the last person we were with. You'll tell me what you liked most about Ryan. And then I'll tell you what I liked most about Michelle."

"I don't like the sound of this," she says. "And why do I have to start?" She watches his face for the slight twitch of his mouth that will tell her if he's being sneaky, for the faint shift of his eyes that will tell her if he's being deceptive. But his face is like a sheet of glass in the shadows.

"It's my idea, so I'm offering you the chance to go first."

The chance, she thinks. Like it's an opportunity. 

"All right, then. I'll begin," she says. "But what are we talking, specifically, when you say 'what we liked most' about the other person?"

"You know. Something special. Or funny. Or maybe even sexy," he says, still holding her eyes with his. "No holds barred. It's not like we're seeing them anymore." He is still speaking quietly, almost in whispers.

She thinks about what he has just said. She thinks she doesn't know the purpose of this "game". And she blinks at him in the semidarkness, blinks at him with her brown eyes that are now beseeching him to please not go there. She is not sure what to make of it all. Not sure whether or not she should trust him. And she is not feeling good about how this is sitting on her skin. Or how it will sit underneath it.

"You seem reluctant. Would it make you feel better if I went first?" He looks at her with the same steady, glassy face. He looks at her while his head rests on his pillow and her head rests on hers. "Would it?" he says gently.

"I guess." Her voice is as non-invasive as a speck of dust in the cold, dry bedroom air.

"Come here. I want to hold you when I say this, just so we'll both know what's real for us right now." He comes closer to her, and slowly folds his cool arms around her warm body. He breathes in her intoxicating smell. "You smell like crushed violets," he whispers in her ear. And he thinks that he would like to suck her like he would suck the pulp out of an orange.

She looks into his green eyes. Green with tiny flecks of gold. Eyes that change color with his mood, going from green to hazel to gray. Eyes that are always so quiet, but that seem to hide so many secrets. She looks into them, now. And sees green inside green inside green. But she doesn't know why she is so uneasy. And she doesn't know why they're doing this.

"What I liked most about Michelle was her hair," he starts, and her heart jumps a beat. She hadn't expected him to start so abruptly. "It was this gorgeous, rich, auburn color that glowed like liquid fire in the sun, and it danced around her shoulders." He is still looking into her brown eyes, and he is trying to read what they might be thinking. "We'd be out walking on a windy day," he says, his hot breath creating a thin sheen of mist on her nose. "And the wind would tousle her hair, and it would go flying all around her face. Some of the strands would land on her lips, and she'd squeeze her lips together. That was when I wanted her most."

She is still looking into his green eyes. Green with tiny flecks of gold. Darker green, now, it seems. And she finds some comfort in the fact that their bodies are so close together it is almost impossible for her to lower her gaze. If she looked down, or away, what would he think? But she doesn't know how to respond to this confession he has just made. She doesn't know what she is expected to say. Or do.

The air is cold and heavy and dry. And these are moments that feel like minutes that feel like hours. And now, he is seeing her eyes as four, as four times four, as sixteen times sixteen. And her exponentially multiplying eyes are looking at him. And he is waiting for her to begin her part of the game. This much, at least, she sees in his two eyes.

"One of the things I really liked about Ryan was his strong body," she begins. And she looks very carefully into his eyes to see if they will flicker. But there is nothing in the eyes. There is nothing in the face that is like a sheet of glass. She does feel his left leg shift slightly off of her right leg. But that is all. "His body was so muscular and so well-proportioned," she continues, "I used to call him David." She feels like some of the pressure has lifted. She feels like it is easier for her to open up to him and talk about these secrets that she has never talked about with anyone. He has made his confession, and she has started with hers. There is no point in stopping, now.

"Why David?"

"You know Michelangelo's statue? That David."

"And what else?" he says, his voice giving nothing away. His eyes giving nothing away. Everything glassy and clean and neat. Even his left leg is now back to its old position.

"Well," she says. "He had the hottest body I'd ever seen, really."

"And what part of his body did you like best?"

"His legs," she says without a moment's pause. "I wanted his legs to just... well, you know." And then they are both silent. Silent in the semidarkness and in the afterglow of those last two words that hang above them in the cold, dry air. Hang. You know.

And she watches his eyes. And before she sees it, she feels it. The change. The transformation. The possession. And before anything else registers inside her head, he has jumped out of bed in one leap.

She sees his fingers roll into his palms. She sees the knuckles whiten and protrude. She sees his back stiffen and his shoulders square. She sees him roll up his hands into two fists. Two fists as hard as bowling balls. Two fists so hard if you hit them they'd break. She sees all of this in the semidarkness, and realizes that she shouldn't have...

And she watches, with her hand covering her mouth, as he drives both fists against the wall by the bathroom door. Drives them in and then explodes.

"Do you still love him?" He is screaming at the wall he has just killed his hands against, and he looks like a madman having it out with an invisible enemy.

And her eyes are crying, now. Crying as if they have been activated on their own, unattached to any emotional mechanism inside of her. "I don't love him," she says softly. "And you're the one who wanted to play this stupid game. You manipulated me."

"You didn't seem to need any goddamn encouragement to remember his sexy legs, did you? Do you still want him to fuck you with his goddamn legs? Do you want him to shove both his legs inside you up to his neck? Is that what you fucking want?" His rage is bubbling between his teeth. She can almost taste it in her mouth.

"How can you be jealous of someone who doesn't exist for me anymore?" she says quietly, trying to swallow her tears so he won't hear them.

"What the fuck do I have to be jealous about? He's a fucking has-been. And you're out of your mind if you think I give a shit about any of this."

And now, he knows he has said too much. Again. And said too hurtful. Again. He has punched and pulped and pulverized. And she has said nothing in return. And he wishes she would say something, wishes she would cuss him out and call him a bastard and a dirtbag and a jerk and an asshole. But he knows she won't. And he wishes he could take back those last couple of minutes that had started with an idea born of... what? Curiosity? Power? Or was it jealousy that had possessed him, like she'd said?

"Where do you see us five years from now?" he says with defeat, having switched off his rage as if he'd pressed a button. And he wants to believe that there is hope for some kind of future for them. And he wants her to know that he wants to believe.

"I would've wanted for us to be together," she says, her voice still damp with sadness and fear and confusion. "Married. Happy. With two beautiful children. A boy and a girl." And she stops for a moment to swallow the thoughts that have just rolled into her mouth. But these thoughts want to come out. "I'd even picked out names for them. Esmeralda and Sebastian." And she asks herself why she is telling him this, and why she is even still there, and why she had come back, again.

"Esmeralda and Sebastian. I guess most kids nowadays have really weird names. Esmeralda and Sebastian would be no exception."

"But our kids would've been so gentle and so beautiful. And they would've loved their names."

"You don't really believe that, do you?"

He turns around, now. And his lips are twisted in some kind of expression that she can't read.

"What names would you have picked for them?" she says. And she waits, thinking that it wouldn't matter what the names are because they would be the names of their two beautiful children.

But he is silent. For moments that feel like minutes that feel like hours. "I don't know," he finally says. "I hadn't thought about it."

"No. I didn't think you had."

He watches as she climbs out of bed. Just like every time. And pulls up her hair. Just like every time. But, this time, she does not bathe.

She dresses.

She is ready to leave inside of five minutes.

He would have liked to make love to her. Before she left. One last time. To inject her with something she could extract from between her legs every time another man touched her there. To impregnate her with a memory she could retrieve and smile about, secretly, in her head, while she smiled with fake love at her new lover. Or while she smiled with true love at her two children from another man. The man she would marry. The man who would father Esmeralda and Sebastian for her. The man she would be waiting for to come home every evening so she could serve him the dinner she had so dedicatedly prepared. The man he knew would never be him.

31 comments:

  1. That was an incredible story. You are an incredible author, Nevine.

    Secretia

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  2. Nevine you;re a writer of great narrative power! What a story!
    lots of love
    hugshugs

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  3. I remember these two from part one, I was mesmerized by them, I am surprised that I am just as captured by part two, sequels so rarely deliver, but your writting always does....truly amazing

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  4. Incredible... and tragic... and I hope she leaves and never looks back.

    And I hope this is not autobiographical.

    I won't tell you what color my eyes are.

    A devastating story...

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  5. I had to go back and read #1...I'm hooked! But I liked #2 better...because she left without taking a shower. And I will not expound on that.

    What a good user of words you are, and fit that to an imagination-run-wild...your blog is a winner!

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  6. Nevine

    A powerful piece of writing, crafted with passion and not a little talent.

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  7. I had hope for him there. I thought he was really going to pull something together. But for all his superficial appearance of strength, he's anything but strong. At least she's honest with her understanding and needs for the present moment. Of course, constant insecurity isn't great either.

    So much stellar writing. Excellent! If I could note one small thing, it seems like the POV shifts from her to him midway. Maybe if the shift comes after she leaves, it wouldn't be unsettling to leave her viewpoint.

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  8. Secretia - Thank you; I'm happy you enjoyed it.

    Betty - Thank you much.

    Steven - Yes, I was worried about this Part 2 business, but it wanted out, so there it is. Glad you liked it.

    Owen - I hope she never looks back, too. I want those two to leave me alone... And no, this is not autobiographical in the least; if it was autobiographical it would've been sappy and teary. And now you've got me curious about the color of your eyes. Secrets, secrets...

    Steve - Because she left without taking a shower? Now that's going to haunt me, Steve. It might haunt me so much I'll go so far as to do a Part 3 (just kidding!). But thanks for reading both parts, and I'm happy you enjoyed!

    Martin - You know I admire your ability to craft with words, so coming from you, I entirely appreciate that.

    Jason - I was actually hoping I was shuffling with the POV, between him and her throughout. But I went back and reread and see where it seems like it goes from her to him. I know you have a keen sense for detail, so thank you for sharing that observation.

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  9. Nevine, I hate this man and I want her to leave him forever.

    Was just doing some catchup. You've written some pretty fine poems there. Pumpkins and mice, I totally understand the fairy tale thing. (She said said sitting alone on piles of broken glass, well not alone, with a very awesome storybook cat.) And the beautiful face, OMG! What a tour de force in stream of consciousness writing.

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  10. this isn't life Nevine ...sh or nobody deserves not even a close thing like this .
    the first one ... as i knew it hd now a 2nd part , i got less .. lts say , concerned , but shouldn't . this is horrible .
    i love your writing Nevine . i don't know if i told you alread , i really don't like to read . so , few people have the power to make me really want to keep going .
    kisses , see you !!

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  11. ohh !1 if i don't made it clear , you are among this few people with power . haha!!

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  12. Nevine, i have read both the part 1 and 2 of your story, very keenly....you express very well the complexities of relationships, the underlying obscurities, the want to control,to possess in order to escape our own fears, the lack of self estime....which ends up in hurts,and destruction of something that could otherwise contain all that could makes us happy.....but then are we made for happiness ??

    But nevertheless, toxic or not....this is how we grow, till the humanity within alone rises to transfigure, and remodel us till the day we'll die!
    hmmm, maybe my reflections are a bit off track, however, i must say again that you are a fabublous writer! very captivating!
    And most of all, it gives me an excuse to hug you ;-))

    Thankyou!!

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  13. Is that really the last bit? You can't be serious. I've been fascinated by these two since you posted the first part. C'mon, he can't let her go just like that. He was crazy jealous of her ex. There's no way he's going to let her go.

    Jai

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  14. I remember this story and methink you should make a novella. Part I was good but II is even better. I guess she didn't learn her lesson from the last conversation. These two weren't ready to sleep in the archives, they wanted more life. And that last paragraph beautifully tragic in its masculine finality or is it another continuation...

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  15. ok, she SO needs to just leave and not look back - oh, and change her number and move with no forwarding address - he's a maniacal possessive obsessive jerk!

    oops, sorry, i digress from what i meant to say: beautifully and passionately written - mesmerizing, as per your usual, nevine!

    oh, and wait! DOES she really leave? she's "READY" to leave in five minutes - but i've not heard the door slam!!!
    :)

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  16. Nevine I am glad that they kept at you. They wanted to warn others of the green eyed monster.

    love Renee xoxoxo

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  17. Cat - Welcome back to the blogging world. And thanks for stopping in, and for going back and reading my older stuff. I always appreciate that. Hopefully, we'll be "seeing" more of each other...

    Caio - You make me feel so powerful with that power I have over you to keep reading... but that thrills me no small amount. Just keep reading and reading, and eventually you'll fall in love with that written word. Thank you, Caio - you always make me smile.

    Craftsman - Are we made for happiness? If I knew how to answer that question I suppose I'd be a millionaire. It's unfortunate, though, to have to learn from such "toxic" experiences and relationships. But you're right; most of the time we don't learn by taking the easy way. And you are not in the least off track... ever! Gros bisous!!!

    Jai - Is that the last bit? I won't make any final statements like I did last time, when I said "This is it!" And now look where I am... I don't know if they'll want to come back and go at it again. We'll see what transpires...

    Sharla - A novella sounds like a capital idea, especially considering how these two people will just not let me go. So many conversations... If you see a Part 3 at any point, know that something bigger is in the works!

    Gypsywoman - Maniacal is just about right, isn't it? And I hate jerks. But poor him, he doesn't know how to be any other way. Hopefully he'll learn from her departure, although, like you said, that door didn't slam! Don't know where this is going yet, but I'll probably know soon. Thank you, Gypsywoman - I love the word "mesmerizing"!

    Renee - The green-eyed monster, indeed! You're so Shakespearian, Renee. ;-)

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  18. Nevine, my talent is in music (violinist), and more recently, choral singing. Certainly NOT in writing or poetry. But thank you for your visits to my blog and your flattering comments.

    You....YOU are the Master writer here.

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  19. I hate to admit it but I feel sorry for that guy and no, not on account of her, it's got nothing to do with her. He would probably feel the same if he was bedding a stone. I feel pity for him because he is so insecure, so minute, so small. And the big danger is that this type of man exists, he is real, very real. And he will take his revenge on any woman who he believes to have wronged him. And usually his revenge will be physical.

    Your story was superb. I'm grateful that these two characters came back to haunt you even if it sounds selfish. The suspense was unbearable. I though he was going to kill her.

    Many thanks.

    Greetings from London.

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  20. Steve - You're awesome and you're flattering me and thank you! But I still insist you're a great writer... so there.

    Cuban - In my heart of hearts, I feel sorry for him, too, not only because he's my character, but because like you mentioned, people like him exist and their lives are filled with misery and suffering. They also make those around them suffer, and there are no winners in those types of situations. Thank you, Cuban, for being a non-judgmental reader. As I mentioned to you before, I had the same feeling for Humbert Humbert in "Lolita". How can you pass judgment on a man like that?

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  21. Nevine: I have just been going through the comments. The men and women respond so very differently. Women take the whole episode so very personally.

    You have kindled so many emotions and thoughts. I must say its a fabulous piece of writing. Not once did my attention waver. I was glued throughout though I knew that the man would prove to be a jerk.

    Lovely one, Nevine. I must go back now and read Part I.

    Joy always. And more short stories for us!!!

    Susan.

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  22. just dropping by to see if she's SLAMMED THAT DOOR yet cause i've not HEARD IT SLAM SHUT!!!

    :)

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  23. Susan - You're so right about how men and women responded differently to this. But this is also how we can be so different in our responses to true life events. I'm happy you liked this, Susan.

    Gypsywoman - You just make me laugh! :-)

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  24. He is out there, multiplied by thousands. So many manipulative creatures in this world. We have to know to leave as she has and as Caio has said, no one deserves this kind of treatment.

    Wonderful, writing, Nevine~ you've done your job as we do not like this man. Though, I do feel sorry for any man who comes even close to being like this one. And, I have met some along the way.

    RUN, do not walk...:)

    have a great weekend~
    Calli

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  25. Calli - If you don't like him but you feel sorry for him then I'm happy. And trust me, I've met some as well, but I did RUN. And I kept running and running and running. I didn't even come as close as she did and I scrammed. Thanks, Calli. And you have a great weekend too!

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  26. I tried to comment on this post yesterday, but had trouble with my inet service. So I'm back today. This couple is one of my faves of your writings, Nevine. I was completely engrossed while reading this, captured by their conversation and wondering where it would lead to. The man reminds me of my husband, manipulative and quick tempered. I can sympathize with the woman. I'm also waiting to hear the door slam shut :) Thanks for sharing. Have a beautiful day, my friend!

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  27. Roxy, if this man is like your husband... well, I don't know what to say. Patience is a virtue, my dear. I don't know about that door slamming shut, though. I may just have to let these two have it out for good in a novella, because they're troubling me no small amount. I'll let you know who disposes of who first! Thanks for stopping in, Roxy, and for reading my work.

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  28. Well, everything has been said and I agree in saying that it is a nice piece of writing.In fact, it made my flesh creep. Maybe it's because I've got green and hazel eyes.

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  29. Cildemer, I know this sounds strange but I'm flattered this made your flesh creep, not because you were discomforted, but because it just tells me the writing affected you. And yes, you're right - maybe your green and hazel eyes do have something to do with that. Thank you for visiting and for leaving a comment. I very much appreciate that!

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  30. Thank you for sharing. I'm looking forward to reading more from you.
    Have a nice weekend.

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  31. And a nice weekend to you, as well, Cildemer. I will be looking forward to your visits.

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Your thoughts are deeply appreciated.