Stage fright at dress rehearsal

‘Dancing is something intensely personal,’ she says flicking an amber ash of her third Lucky Strike onto the unfinished floor; exposed foundation. Grey like a December sky in New York City. Dark enough that the burgundy walls seem swallowed in its shadows. Her eyes are spiralling glow-worms, warmed by deep brown locks that fall two-hands past her shoulders and hide the left side of her face… just… (enough.)

‘I wish you wouldn’t ash that on the floor.’

She comes back here because she loves him. There are remnants of cigarettes all over the ground of his soon-to-be office because she can’t have him. And she can’t light candles during full moons wearing anklets from India, spinning with the Akomeogi he bought for her in China Town. He isn’t allowed to play her Spanish guitar and say how it makes him think of Francisco de Goya; someone whose colors he was admiring earlier that afternoon, flipping through Art books at the library.

‘Isn’t this odd for you?’

Why would this be odd for him? Stranger things had happened.

Counting tiles on the ceiling she inhales one final pull with a secret hope that her heart might… (stop.) Grow.

‘So we’re going through with this?’ she says releasing one of those breathy laughs out of her nose, the ones that happen when you aren’t really laughing but it seems like you’re supposed to.

They met on Fifth. He didn’t realize she was aiming when she hit his Versace shoe with her capped pen.

‘Thanks very much.’

When she followed him home she knew she didn’t want to know his name. She never suspected he would slip a phone number in the outside pocket of her orange handbag. She’s still astonished over phoning it.

She called his number for the following twelve days. And each time after, went back to his apartment on Ninth Avenue. It was usually during that time when you forget if it’s morning or night. Two, sometimes three a.m. When people are just going to sleep and just waking up, watching a moonset or sunrise, and always making plans.

‘I can’t believe it’s you,’ she says recalling a glimpse of a binding that read Jung when he propped her floating body against an exposed brick wall. She was paying attention to something else.

She fights to contain each controlled breath in a way that contorts her body in ways that make black waves lull across her extended torso. He silently reacts with rolling trembles of the same rhythm.

‘Psychological assessments are commonly requested by employers today.’

In disbelief that the stranger she had confidently lost at least six months ago was sitting beside her (with hazel eyes that seemed a little swampier…)

She longed to explain how the sadness of his eyes magnetized her body (…again.)

All the way from the other side of town.

‘For a magazine job though?’

‘It’s a Psychology magazine.’

‘This is bullshit,’ she says with a laugh and she tries to leave, but he asks her to stay, and she says, ‘Only if (she) can have a another cigarette.’

He doesn’t bother telling her that he keeps an ash tray in the bottom drawer of his black file cabinet because he sees clients that are actually seeking advice about addiction. She didn’t strike him as someone that asked for opinions. She never asked him for his.

‘Now what were you saying about dancing?