Friday, 22 January 2010

everything...

So, you find a man on the internet. You think, he's cute. And not just cute, he's interesting in a way that most men aren't. Like, as if there are all kinds of weather inside him and a city library with a domed roof and the biggest flock of starlings forming all the words and shapes in the sky you can imagine. He is that kind of man, a man you want to walk with along a beach, and share a tub of your favourite icecream and talk total nonsense.

You're shy with him to start with, send messages and emails, and sometimes you talk for hours on the phone and he makes you laugh so your belly hurts. Before you know it, the sky is dark, and everyone else is in bed, and you've talked entire countries of conversation, but you still have more things to say, and you don't want to put the phone down, even though it's the early hours, because you're talking to a man who makes you feel as if you might be everything.

On your first date, you sit and sip orange juice, while he sits opposite you across the table, and the table is wider than the road distance you travelled to get here. You fidget a little and feel as if your face is pink, and worry that he might not like your eyes, or your hair, or the clothes you're wearing, and maybe you might say something silly that he laughs at or doesn't laugh, and you wonder which might be worse being laughed at or the deadly silence of someone not knowing what to say.

But he feels like this too, so it works out, because you talk about books, and books are everything to both of you, books are like love, and you share books so possibly you might be right for each other, or at least friends, and if not friends then maybe lovers for a while. Who knows. You take a walk in the snow, walking side by side but not touching, and maybe you might touch later, but for now walking together is enough.

He tells you about what he wants from life, really wants, deep inside, and you listen and say silly frivolous things inbetween his conversation about the depth of life, but he seems to like you anyway, and smiles when you smile, and looks down at you from under his dark fringe and you glance at him and he glances away, and then later he walks you to your car, and says what a lovely time he had, which is just what you wanted to say, so you give him a hug, and his big-coat-arms wrap around you so you are gathered up into the warm of his chest and you stay there a while, because he lets you.

It's as if you don't want to let go, but of course you have to at some point, because it's getting late, and you've already said you're leaving, and you wonder how long can you hold another person for the first time?

He kisses you, warm burn of lips against yours, and his hands in your hair. Oh..... and on the drive home, you decide you know. This man, that kiss, those hands, and you in the car park and everything, the talking, the way he seemed nervous same as you, those starlings inside him, and the way if felt as if old worries and past hurts might disappear.

But, he keeps you waiting. It seems as though wars happen while you wait for a second date. He seems unsure and that makes you unsure and you worry that maybe you were wrong, that those starlings were giving you the wrong messages. Or that you were mistaken. It was only a kiss in a car park, so perhaps a kiss means something different to a man like him, or maybe you were the wrong kind of kiss in the wrong car park, and he wants a different woman, one who also has starlings and a library, because even though you have every kind of weather, just like him, weather might not be enough, and maybe he's looking for a girl who will live closer to him, or who can write poems about starlings or talks about life in a way that makes him say, yes, that's it, yes.

You lie in bed at nights, wondering if he will say yes, if he will call you one day without you thinking about it first, and he might say, come with me to the beach, there is something I want to show you. It will be warm outside and you will wear a vest and long beads that dangle down to your waist, and he will put his hands on your hips and say, when I walked home after our first date, I knew. I knew you were everything.

12 comments:

emma said...

Annie, this is breathtaking. I love it. xx

SueG said...

beautiful and heartbreaking. Thanks.

Megan said...

Oh! Lovely, Annie. Really very lovely,
Thank you x

Sara Crowley said...

Crikey, I hope he does.

emily josephine mcphillips said...

oh my gosh. it's the belly ache feeling. i love this, it feels exciting, just as it should :)

Jonathan said...

I'm wanting to leave a comment, because this was just so beautiful, but I am utterly lost for words.

annie clarkson said...

Gosh, thanks for comments, I don't know what to say...x

Sarah Hymas said...

write the sequel!

Jenn said...

I'm looking forward to part 2, too :)

Michelle said...

This is so richly textured and engaging, Annie. I love it x

annie clarkson said...

Thank you!

Rachel Fox said...

It is gorgeous. I like the library detail especially. I'm not quie clear whether it's fiction...it certainly feels very true!

If I were you I would send this to a non-lit mag...something with a big circulation. There's no reason this should be kept to a small lit audience...everybody knows about love.

x