NICE, FRANCE

The bar wasn’t nearly dark enough for its stumbling patrons. From the rafters, peaked high in the middle strung a precarious disco ball that served as a beacon to my conversation. Atop the wooden bar stool, I scuffed my legacy with my feet, deciding to shout to the moon, but the moon was the disco ball and life was a series of coincidences.

And there on the couch, I saw him. And he was mine. Weaving my way in a samba of my own definition, I fed my feet with potential. In the surge of the music, heart beating in exquisite patterns, he was my realized inexorability. A few feet short, blocked by a rugged Samoan, I sidestepped to a lull in the music. And it hit me like an anti-climax of epic proportion, I idled softly: discouraged, disquieted and unfulfilled. Yet this was the moment where I knew I must swallow caution, and the first chords of some lost song struck against my limbs; I sucked in a deep breath and decided to fuck the world. Starting with him.

His jawline was exquisite and, in my youth, a devout anglophile, his words broke apart his full lips…and I could listen to him forever. Because I was young and conversation was my life-blood. And there we were, solipsistically engaged in words that have no root in my memory, but sounds that still raise my skin.

And when we parted, straggling feet from my door, outside of the converted church, the July air sat uncomfortably on unfinished sentences. The gravel served as intermittent ellipses to conversation in the awkward stretched small talk of stifled desires. We left, separated fingers to fingers in the rush of unwanted goodbye, he to a train and me unkissed – the unsaid festered at the pit of my stomach and followed me to my dreams and to the beach the next cruel morning.

I spent the restless day following arched over rocks in the discomfort of my own indecision – I was new to love; I will always be new to love – he darkened the waves and my empty steps, miming the acts of a day not spent clawing at the hypothetical could-have-beens that racked my brain. And at the climax of day, the sun a blazing beacon to shadow my misery, I climbed the hill back to the church at the base of my hostel, panting and vacant, to dress and undress for the evening in front of me.

Wrapped in the toga, made from careful hands of a lost but not forgotten Chinese fashion designer, I exited my room with my head squarely set on the next bottle of sangria. But there he was. In the few shades of blue that string together day and night, projecting a shadow stretched up on the white wall from which dangled vines dotted with purple flowers; he was a statue.

I was drunk with possibility, or maybe wine, gliding or stumbling, the trip I can’t remember, but my hand found his arm, his lovely sculpted arm, and all words lodged in my throat; I stuttered a smile.

I thought you were in Barcelona.

No, I stayed for you.

I found that bottle of sangria and he found me pressed against the white wall in a dip of the wet garden. Atop the hill, the city was threaded together by disparate lights and the Mediterranean basked in the distance.

Are you sure?

And I was. Never more so in my life. And there with the city spread between spread legs, I found the first man I never knew.

 

Written by Menina Que Passa

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