Tag Archives: scotch

Harsh Landscape

14 Jan

harsh_landscapeAn edge. They say she has an edge to her, and it means that jagged lines set her apart from an otherwise smooth encounter.

There in the dark, his jaw was set in attendant pause. She’s five-foot-five, she told him. Then, polite, he reassured her. She needs smaller wheels attached to her frame. Her height was not the problem.

So what was it then? The compliment composite seemed to sketch out an ideal figure. She’s got such a cool job, she’s so good at it, she knows her stuff, she’s hilarious, she looks young for her age, she has a great duvet cover, she eats organic, she has clever friends, she knows about art and music and architecture, she reads fine literature, she travels the world, she wears an interesting digital watch, she does yoga, she sleeps with a small fuzzy bunny every night, she loves scotch and appreciates cynicism. But the wheels don’t fit.

Go away and don’t you ever come back.

His glance lowered at a slight angle to find her eyes. Sodium street lights tinted sepia the parking lot backdrop, shading his glance darker than its daylight blue. Colors once distinctive were made mush. The words were jumbled together in a little crumpled paper she had to untangle before hearing, “I’m glad you’re in town.”

By the time she deciphered the missive, plaid-shirt shoulders carried him away and she was talking to a departing back. “Oh yeah. Yeah.” But this triggered more confusion as she spoke over what she thought was a “Let’s hang out again soon.” And she had to say to the back, “We’ll hang out again soon. We’ll find an excuse.” She actually had to raise her voice for this last part, as his long stride already had him across a prairie and indecipherable.

Jaw line square and jackrabbit pace. Her favorite kind.

Diplomatic Thread

14 Oct

Something fine in his countenance is described more tenderly by strings of patio lights. Our roofdeck view of the Fort Worth skyline is buffeted repeatedly by flashes of dry lightning all along the horizon. Unceasing as he talks of his work on the Burmese border, the brief flickers of illumination are clearly trying to make a cinematic moment of the conversation.

It’s said that an excess of negative ions present in the atmosphere before and during a rainstorm can enhance the sense of touch. So I guess that’s why his shoulder rose up as if automatically shifting sleepily beneath sheets when he made room for me on a full bench. He was my assigned date, it seemed, in a group of couples. We were both immensely relieved to find one another interesting.

He lives in Thailand, but he’s from west Texas. All these TCU graduates have an air of refinement unseen in any mid-twenties characters I’ve ever known. They’re so well spoken, and so kind. It’s easy to relax into a gallop on topics of race cars, audio engineers, global geopolitical scenarios, and esoteric brands of beer.

Weariness crumples his shoulders a bit, but his blue oxford shirt is absurdly crisp under dropping atmospheric pressure, his collar mounting firmly to his chin (Prufrock). Beneath the shelter of his calm assertiveness, we weave a certain temporary intimacy, alternately grasping a glass of IPA donated to us by the house beer manager and replacing it on the table between sips. The mutual beverage is far better than either of our individual choices. We are soon strategically ordering bottles to share.

This is the only evening on which I’ll know him, but I realize he was sent as a reminder of the degree to which I really should be aspiring in romance. Guessing which university I attended in Boston and asking about it by acronym, his instant familiarity reminded me of the ease of privilege offered by these connections.

So when it began to rain and everyone else went inside, we agreed that this was a nice rain, with space between drops. We walked between molecules after we relented and began our descent to join the others. I offered him a sip of scotch diluted a bit by rain. “I only drink bourbon,” he said. “I don’t like the peaty smokiness of scotch.”

I stopped our progress on the wooden landing between flights and faced him, handing him my glass wordlessly in the gestures of our evening. He sipped. Negative ions made it possible for me to sense his regret and see the trauma he deals with every day at work. Felt his youth vaporized by activism. He was older than me, and younger, and his voice now rumbled just a bit lower in the dark next to me.

“But that does taste good.”

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