He Knows Where I Am

He sings to me. His voice, I hear it in the aching grind of the earth’s steady turn. It calls to me from the radio, seeking me out like a cat in the shadows that never pounces. Strangely, this gives me hope.

I’m a cynical bitch most times. I believe in nothing but I play the game just the same. I commute, I consume, I wear out men like shoes. It looks tough but anyone who knows me understands it’s a way of keeping everything down.

My husband loved me before he got his band of gold on me. I loved him too, even after the unmasking. I loved him because I wanted to love rather than hate. I loved him because to admit otherwise would have made the comfortable hell of house and home intolerable. It was everything I ever wanted – and I was stuck with it.

But he’s different, I know it.

He’s never commented on my weight or questioned me about my drinking or tried to make me his handbag. He’s still the promise of the one. I know he’s out there. He has to be.

I surround myself with him sometimes, wrapping my arms around myself to have some semblance of his embrace. I kiss the back of my hand the way he will one day, just to know that lips can feel like that. His song fills my senses like sweetness in the veins, like the desire to pass out. So narcotic.

He hovers near, eyes flashing in the dark of the forest. He is the rustle heard off stage. Ominous but reassuring. He is on his way.

Most days I wonder how I can go on like this. I ponder therapy as a way to get perspective. This is such an unwarranted faith. Surely a sensible voice will yell down this delusion. There must be a pill for this malady, a cure for love.

My heart is like a dam cracking, fissures in the wall widening by fractions, each beat breaking another layer loose. I want it all to end in a flood, knowing that the waters of cataclysm will soon form a placid lake.

This is my world, my imaginary universe. I catch the train to work subsumed in the insane poetry of it. Yes, he sings to me – but why do I sing back? How is it that a jaded, somewhat faded career hack can hold onto the certainty of miracles? I am so clever, so switched on normally. I know this is not good for me … but still.

But still …

The sun wakes up the day, the tides rise and fall and earth returns to earth – and like a wheel I spin, in love with the idea of the one who will love me. All my logic, every ounce of my common sense overwhelmed.

Truly there are oceans to drown in.

Yet I will forget all this clamour when I wake in his arms. His kiss will wipe clean the world.

Detail is a liar dressed as understanding – and it will all mean nothing when I feel his weight next to me.

He’s there; I know it, just outside the perimeter. In the next carriage. At the café I walk past. Around the corner from the gym. He is as real and invisible as the chorus of my latest favourite love song. I find myself dancing in a swoon whenever he’s on the airwaves.

I don’t tell a lot of people this; for obvious reasons. It’s a little too crazy, too real. But when I cut it all down this is who I am.

I am the dream of love.

Yes, I read the advice, I chant the affirmations, I book myself into the meditation retreats; but thus I remain. Right here. Where he can see me.

Please don’t ask me to stop dancing to this song. Not now. Not when he’s so close.

I can touch him, feel the static buzz of his hand just a razor’s cut from mine. I am already hearing the muted circles of his breathing, so nearly tasting the skin on the back of his neck.

Is this him knocking? This his shadow on the doorframe? I am caught out, not quite ready for the smell of a man on my skin. But I cannot keep him out. The key to my room is his will.

I know he will … because he knows where I am.

[This letter is an excerpt from a series of related short stories called Longing.]

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