I wrote this to process some big feelings and ended up memorizing it and using it as my audition monologue for a play. (I got that part.)
What seas what shores what grey rocks […]
What images return
O my daughter?”
– T.S. Eliot, “Marina”
Marina’s hands on my hipbones, my boots wide apart on the dancefloor, everywhere women, and finally she is my woman, I figure, moving with her.
“Looked like you had fun Friday night,” Jo says to me on the bus Monday morning.
Josée grins. I’ve never seen her smile on the bus before.
“Did you meet her that night?” she asks, wrapping another grin around that sweet little voice of hers.
“No, I’ve known her for awhile.”
It was a gradual climb into Marina’s arms. A supper. A play. Her fingertips sliding down my arm to take my empty coffee cup and throw it away. Then in one hour on Friday night, a whole bottle of expensive wine and my confession, laughing through the Village, that I had a crush on her. She pretended not to hear.
“Hey, isn’t that your one-night-stand?” Marina asked me, spotting Jo at the bar, as we got our wrists stamped at the door of the Lookout.
“That’s her. Bus woman.”
Marina took my hand, led me past Jo, “Come on, let’s dance.”
I didn’t even care if Jo was jealous (she wasn’t). Oh Marina, I just wanted you, my hands on your hipbones, these women, this ecstasy swelling up and through and all around me. The opposite of isolation.
“I like you,” I told her.
“I…” she hesitated, and I braced for losing what I never actually had.
The Gatineaus stretch out behind the Ottawa River, a lazy couple, as the 96 takes Jo to her law firm, me to my not-for-profit.
“She’s just a friend,” I tell Jo.
Quick as the cat she is, she comes back, “See anyone else you liked Friday night?”
I recall her coterie.
“No, I was pretty focused.”
Marina was my rainbow pride passion back alley spraypaint statement till she whitewashed our story. In front of our friends at a barbecue on Sunday, she complained, “I was out of my comfort zone on Friday at the club. I didn’t enjoy it.”
Facing her, I put my hands on the edge of the table, pushed my chair back, remembering how I’d felt on the dancefloor as her sweat ran between her breasts onto my back, speeding towards this crash. I should have kept my eyes focused on hers instead, checked in to see if she felt it too. Too late.
I roll my shoulders back and down like I’m gripping a barbell, squeeze the muscle as I lift my heart from the chair. Breathe in through my nose, out through my mouth.
This is how it feels to go, to come, to get