That day, as I recall, seemed so accursedly longer than most. All I can remember thinking, by mid-morning on an otherwise unremarkable day, was how uncomfortably far I was from the only place I wanted to be. Shaken by the green grip of covetously jealous jade, I grew increasingly, impatiently desperate to abandon even the most important calling for the sake of racing there. I remember work had been so much more than work that day: it had been the long-suffering, bloody-knuckled climb of dutiful drudgery unto my insatiably hungry heart. And now, so many lifetimes later, that same beating of uncomfortable truth still carefully constructs within my daydreams a ready framework and faculty for reminiscence. I reflect now, with a far more genuine admission, it was not the thought of escaping work that drove me distractedly through that day, but the enveloping, consuming, paralyzing phantom of her unforgivingly haunting and fiercely beautiful face.
After the clock rounded five, I swept by and through everyone, papers and common courtesies uplifted in the vortex of my swiftly passing contrail. That evening’s drive had been a haphazard flight through two worlds: my wispy, fog-enshrouded, jarringly tornadic musings and the hurriedly harried plane of a heavily trafficked highway as it stretched out into a chasm of carelessness separating her hand from mine. To close that distance, I gunned for even the narrowest opening between lanes, flying by unknown souls as a curse dripped from their lips, people who would never know the emboldened recklessness with which I sunk fingerprints into that steering wheel. Beyond my cause there seemed none comparable. There was absolutely nothing that could have forced my foot to find the brake pedal—on that tar-streaked roadway or in the rabidness of my fervor.
She had been perfectly awake in the dawn-light of that day, as a soft staccato rain gently drummed me up from an already shallowing slumber. Shifting awake, it was merely second nature and habitual for me to stealthily turn and whisperingly cup her face for just a moment—to gather in her sublimity so that I would have tinder enough to daily light the sunrise—and then reluctantly ghost away, leaving a prayer upon her pillow. This time, however, she met me there as if wholly expecting my heart to sneak by and peer through her most sacred window, eyes parted slightly yet every lash alive. Her pupils widened into a ravenous swallow, staring back all-knowingly, as if to convey, in such a seemingly awkward moment, that the very earth had halted about its axis. There were no words; abyssal silence. But rather than simply reflecting the frozen gape in my gaze, she fell forward into my neck and divingly quested to a depth at which I would have certainly drowned without her, a vast and teeming ocean floor that only my love for her could have touched and survived. With a handful of stolen time, we went somewhere else—we were the somewhere else—as if those few inches between our eyes were all that centuries of Nobel science would learn about the universe. And as deeply as I drank of that indescribable moment, for as long as I had begged it not to abandon me there, I knew unequivocally that I would cliff-dive over a canyon floor of upturned shafts of glass just to hang one more breath on the delicate barb of this young lady’s most casual whim. Love, as I repaint now that singular tryst upon the canvas of memory, becomes too petty and too foreign a word to describe it.
So, it was either return to her as soon as humanly possible or writhingly wither in an unfed addiction. That day, that morning, that one monolithically unforgettable look is an invigoration even now for the tourings of this aging soul. The road my heart would take, it seems, is made clearer by the occasional pause to refresh again the color in those images: that wild and feverish swipe of brush obsessed with the moment’s capture of so magnificent an impression of singularly picturesque experience.
Woundedly now, and obscuringly in front of my yellowing parchment of imagination, I set that frame before me. And I drive.