late night

A woman, sitting alone in a room. Music is playing, folk? Blues? A thin strain of an acoustic guitar. It's hard to make it out.

The light is fairly dim, and a wind is blowing. A sharp crack sounds, as a cone from the tree hits the old copper roof.
She's lit only by the glow from a screen.

Suddenly, a look over the shoulder. A message: "Are you flirting with me?"

A flush slowly creeps up from her breast to her face, over her arms and shoulders. Her heartbeat starts to speed up, imperceptibly.

"Why do you ask?"

"I read your poems. I've read the other words you write, and I notice certain things: longing, among them."

She shivers, leaning back in her chair.

"Okay. So there's longing. So? "

The music has sped up, and without even realizing it, she flips it back to her favorite song, one she's trying to memorize, words and a certain lick on the guitar. Allison Krauss, The Lucky One, only she wants to change the words and sing it with a first person voice.

I'm the lucky one, I know that now
Don't ask me why, when, where or how
I look at the world through my smiling eye
Laugh at the devil as his train goes by
Give me a song, and a one night stand
And I'll be looking at a happy man
"Cause I'm the lucky one.... 1

He's sent her messages before. She's met him, once, and was struck by a number of things, a velvet voice, an accent, a certain presence. Beautiful eyes...

Another box pops up. "Hey, lady, can I talk to you?"


Another conversation begins.

She flirts back with the first, a little, sending along a node title, something a little suggestive, but not too erotic. A nodeshell, perhaps. Tell me a story about trees.

But the other person is sad. Suddenly she feels split into two, one, the counselor that she is during the day, helping to walk someone through a crisis. Another part of her mind on this flirtation, on the fierce exultation she felt when she got that message.

It had been so long since anyone had told her, in so many words, you're attractive, I want you, I desire you. The conversation wandered around, but her own physical reaction shocked her. That flush, creeping up over her face, color rising into her cheeks. Warmth of blood flowing into her thighs and belly, suddenly the jeans seem tighter. She sympathizes with the boys she went to high school with, understanding, a little, the sensation of an involuntary erection, and grins at the image. At the time, she used to wonder why they walked down the hallways, hunched over their books in that awkward way.

I don't hardly know you
But I'd be willing to show you
I know a way to make you smile
Let me touch you, for a while... 2

Finally, the conversation circles in. "I'd love to see you."

"You know I have a partner."

"Oh, I thought...."

Yes, I know what you thought. You thought I wanted you, and you were right. I wanted to feel my hands sliding through your hair, running down your back, pulling you towards me as our tongues touched. I thought about it, what it would be like to feel the heat of your body, pressed against me, your head bent down to kiss me, feeling my nipples rise to your touch. To take you home, feel all our clothes fall away like old rose petals falling from the vase on the table. To feel our skins, together, full of fire. To have someone want to make my body sing, and dance, vibrate like a guitar string. To have you play me like that guitar, your eyes studying me and watching the response your touch could bring about. To have you inside me, to lose myself in this passionate response I can feel, rising, flooding me, intoxicating. That pulse, that timbre, that voice....

"I'm sorry, I was only flirting. I'm sorry you misunderstood."

She's sorry she let it go this far, let herself get carried away, let herself say what she was thinking instead of editing the content, as she normally does. Letting herself hear what she wanted to hear, instead of listening to the alarms in the back of her head.

Finally, all these distractions over, she checks her e-mail. Her sometimes sweetheart has been out of town all week. She sent an anxious e-mail, asking many questions, this afternoon, trying to keep certain projects on track.

A fierce reply. He's frustrated by the reminder, he strongly requests to be left alone. "This can wait, can't it?" She jumps, sideways. Sad. Wanted so badly to move from the virtual world to her real life. The virtual world had subtly shifted from games to something with all too real consequences. A conversation about suicide. A broken heart. Someone asking her if she's flirting. A crush. These are real people, not games, and her voice has consequences, results, can help, can hurt - could heal or harm, possibly without even realizing it.

He knows she flirts. He does, as well. Sometimes they laugh about it, sometimes they get frustrated with each other, but the writing is also an outlet for creative energy that sometimes cannot be released any other way. It's complicated, but accepted. Sometimes, in an odd way, it brings an extra juice to their love life. She wanted a moment of reassurance, to be reminded she was loved, that she was also a real person, not just a ghost in the machine. But in the same moment, she saw that she could not have what she wanted. Could not have it without spilling all the things that the virtual world was asking her to be, and all the things that the virtual world was distracting her from. Not only a suicide, a broken heart, a flirtation, but also a phone call. Yes, the news was bad.... Doesn't want to talk about it, yet, or maybe ever.

Today, she had too many secrets.

Allison Krauss, 1 - The Lucky One, 2 - Let Me Touch You

This is how it works You're young until you're not You love until you don't You try until you can't You laugh until you cry You cry until you laugh

And everyone must breathe Until their dying breath

No, this is how it works You peer inside yourself You take the things you like And try to love the things you took And then you take that love you made And stick it into some Someone else's heart Pumping someone else's blood And walking arm in arm You hope it don't get harmed But even if it does You'll just do it all again

"On The Radio" Regina Spektor

I have secrets.

I want to write about them. Mostly because I can't forget about them. Things I've done, things I haven't, people I've known and kissed and loved, and dreams that have bounced around my brain that nobody has even seen.

I want to write about these things, but I can't. In some ways, I am always writing about them, in every last letter, because they are part of me, and I am in everything I put to print. But I can't bring myself to really set them on view, to let them exist in any form other than hidden meanings in twisted syllables.

But I want to.

I want to say, "I never lied to you, I just let you believe I did because it was easier for you to let go if you hated me" I want to say, "I regret giving up school for a marriage that never happened." I want to say, "I have a whirlwind of mixed feelings whenever I'm around people with children because of how close I came to having one." I want to tell the whole story of that child that wasn't, the night I took the test, how I finally had my moment of calm, quiet acceptance, and how I didn't tell anyone the truth, that I had a miscarriage, until years later. Not even my mother. I just let her believe it was only a scare, and went to the doctor to confirm it by myself, because it was easier for me to be alone than have to deal with someone else's feelings on the subject. I want to say, "I am still, in so many ways, so completely in love with you that it simultaneously destroys me and keeps me going."

I want to say these things. To write them in poetic prose, and have it be cathartic. I want to have new secrets, and write those too, so I can always feel as though I am coming closer to myself.

We'll see. We'll see. This is a start.

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