11.03.2008

A Tale of Two Couples (pt 2)

The exact details of the next day are confused in my mind. But I do know that much later that morning I found myself hugging B's tearful wife on her front porch as he got in the car to drive away from her for the last time. B, me, and two other friends were going to a Fall Festival. To say I felt conflicted would be an understatement. Here I was consoling someone who was the reason I was no longer dating the man I thought I was going to marry and who had caused a grown man to weep in my lap just a few hours earlier. Not to mention the fact that I had wanted to kiss that very man.

At the festival, while trying to concentrate on apple cider and pumpkin-headed scarecrows, I was distracted by the little flutter inside me each time B and I walked together. We didn't talk, we didn't touch, but I felt - rightly or wrongly - that he was already mine.

But he wasn't. He was a married man. A brand, spanking-newly separated man. I was just the shoulder he had leaned on. I'm guessing that he saw nothing at that festival other than the thoughts crashing through his head.

Later that evening my phone rang. It was B asking if he could stay in my attic; the unheated, dirty, furniture and audio-cassette graveyard. No other friends had any space to spare (did he ask anyone else? I've never questioned that), and so of course, after passing it by my room-mates, I said yes.

In what was most likely a servant's room in the early 1900s, we set up a futon, a flash light, a battery-operated clock radio and some of his prize-possession books. As the late September wind blew in the broken window, B curled up shivering and alone in his new bachelor pad.

Over the next week, after B came downstairs each day to thaw out in a hot shower, he and I would talk and talk. We got angry all over again and more tears were wasted on our former loves. A carry-out sandwich at the kitchen table was our first "date," and when he was working the evening shift he would sometimes meet me at my office to go to lunch. One night he picked me up at my bedroom door for our first formal date and later we said goodnight at the base of the attic stairs. We were trying very hard to be normal when we couldn't be further from it.

We were falling for each other. Whether in different time and situation we would have felt the same we will never know, but here we were sharing a heartache and a bathroom, and the wheel of fate shifted.

At some point I began to visit him in his attic icebox - to say good morning, good night, or just hello. Something drew me up those rickety old stairs, and it wasn't the ambiance. Then one evening it happened. Just once. And I was shaking like it was the first time I had ever been kissed. It was one of those kisses that movies are made about. I turned to liquid.

And then I ran.

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2 comments:

Amity said...

Ah! I'm so hooked on this story! Can't wait for the next installment.

Angie said...

wow great story! I am hooked as well.