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I can feel her eyes staring daggers at me from across the room—sizing me up, eager to find fault in my movement, in my speech, so she can point it out to herself, because she’s too proud to point it out to you.  Secretly she wants my shoes.  Secretly she wants my dress.  Secretly she wants the places I had been before I came here.  Secretly she wants to be where I am just to see what I’m seeing.  She’s insecure, insecure. You’d think all her years and achievements would be enough to assure her of her place. You’ve chosen her, made it clear you’d always choose her, but she’s turned this dance floor into some Roman Empire coliseum where she has to face off with every female who comes near you and prove herself.  I’ve never shrunk from competition, but there are hopeless battles, and there are pointless battles, and there’s plenty of fish in the sea.  And the music keeps playing and the disco lights are as rhythmic as ever. So there’s a dent on your rock-solid relationship.  Yes, it’s flattering that the dent has my fingerprints on it.  But honey, a couple thousand years can fix that.  Sediments and cooling lava and sweet, capricious time can obliterate my initials on the wet cement laid over your heart. And it will be like this night, and the ones before it, did not exist.  I just don’t understand why you both are so scared, so scared to look up and find that you’re all alone with each other.  How you can act like her slender arms belong to a stranger.  Why your eyes can’t stay on her. And why she secretly craves to have your bond intruded upon, as if she gets a kick out of fantasizing there are women out to steal you from her.  And where she got the notion that fighting for you is more fun than being loved by you.  As if life weren’t full enough of drama.  As if this circus weren’t barbaric enough.  And the party is still going, and more guests are arriving, and they are pairing off and making out at the VIP with naughty tongues and poetry and they are leaving through the fire escape by twos, their skins touching.  And you don’t have to worry about me.  I am the night they are walking out into.  And it’s not the smug satisfaction I fantasized it would be to pick up from the grapevine that she’s jealous of me; all gossip leaves grains of artificial sweetener on my tongue, cancerous and insoluble. I’d rather not be listening to the same song as she. I’d rather not be in love with the same man as she. But I’m not leaving this place just because her scrutiny discomfits me.  I’m waiting for my turn to dance.  I’m saving the next dance for someone worthy. I’m waiting for them to turn on the lights to show everybody I have nothing to hide.

But I don’t know what you are waiting for.

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