The rain soaked sky berates, belittles, and in the end mocks me. Why? Because of Amy, beautiful, smart, funny, and married Amy. For months I've watched her, her little smile, the way her eyes squint as she becomes fully engrossed in her latest novel, snug in a world not of her creation. She needs the escape, the poor soul, it's obvious she is stuck in a world she never wanted, never dreamed of, the mundane dreaming of the sublime.
I know she wants me as I her. I can see it when we speak, the passion in her eyes, the fire that stirs as we discuss the latest works of some author whose contribution to me is only so that I may speak with this beauty, this queen. God, I want to free her from all of this, to show her a life beyond these dreary streets, beyond the static boredom of this suburban life. In return, I want her to free me, to let my soul soar, to be my inspiration.
How cruel is this life? That we may meet in such a way, forbidden to each other by social mores, yet bound to one another in way deeper than most will ever know. The gods jest once again, and I hear you Zeus... your passion for mocking the human condition is well known. What tragedy do you hide that you must glean amusement from us mere mortals? It must have been some great slight, some rent in your heart that you have kept hidden for all this time. Ah, such cruelty, such hopelessness…
I turn into my apartment, where I have spent the last year of my life, an old brownstone with crumbling brick, worn by years of neglect. I see the neighbor kids, huddled under their eave, laughing with each other, still unaware of how very unfair life can be. Walking up the steps, with the soft sound of water running down the rusted drainage pipes, I can't help but hope she'll change her mind, that before I leave for another city, another life, she'll be here with her heart on her sleeve. But what right do I have to ask this of her? She has a family, a husband, children…
With hinges that squeal in protest, I open my door. The light casts a shadow through the doorway, it seems almost ethereal, as if it's but an image of what was, a black and white photo curled at the edges. The little lamp, with its flaking gold paint, sits on my nightstand next to my well worn copy of the Travelers Guide to South America. I've looked forward to this adventure for so long, but now it seems false, devoid of color. That such a little thing can so vastly change my perspective gives testament to its import.
My clothes lay in neat little stacks, waiting for me to secret them away to better climes. My luggage, well worn, lay spread before me, asking that I fill them up, that I entrust unto them my humble possessions. The camera, the journal, the tools of my aspiring trade, they wait patiently. But what will fill my soul? Not the green continent, and certainly not another meaningless love affair with a beauty that is only that. Ah, Amy why did you choose the life you did? Did it seem that much easier?
I turn on the TV, some modern day sitcom with characters straight out of a Dickens novel, but it only serves as background noise. I gather together my things, package them away, and I am ready, not willing, but ready. I open my organizer and look at the ticket I bought for her, gently I caress her name printed on the ticket. What was I thinking? Of course she wouldn't drop everything and disappear with me. Who am I? Not much more than a stranger really, but I can't really bring myself to believe that. I know she felt the same as me, I could see it in her eyes, her beautiful deep blue eyes.
With a sigh, I go to cupboard and pull out a bottle of Belvedere. Grabbing an old chipped coffee cup with a logo of some long defunct plastic manufacturer I pour it straight as I'm in no mood for fillers. Just let me feel the fire as spreads down my throat. Maybe I can drown away these thoughts, these feelings, deep inside.
With the heat of the liquor spreading through my body I lay back on my bed, hands behind my head, and, once again, I think of her. The silk of her cheek, the way her hair falls in her eyes. I can't seem to think of anything else. Through the haze of my memories I hear a soft knock at the door. Dare I hope? Or is it just the landlord here to collect his final check? With my stomach in my throat I get up, it seems like a million miles that short distance between the bed and the door. Like a man on his way to an execution I drag my feet, slowly, inexorably drawn towards that door. With a deep breath I undo the lock.