Faceless (Part IV)
The rows of my eyelashes begin to ascend, leading the way of thick red theatre curtains that begin to open to reveal my view.
The type of dusty vintage stage curtains you’d imagine persisting upon a forgotten cinema in a part of town you’d never admit to having been to.
The type that, if they could speak, would have enough stories to fill a scroll from here to the moon.
The things the actors did backstage those long lost nights of rehearsals. Things the audience was completely oblivious to happening just moments before they took the stage to put on their best act. To date.
Curtains so heavy that it took two people on either side, pulling on thick rope to open them.
Or close them.
It happens slowly enough for me to notice the tiny bokeh bulbs that adorn the lashes’ edges.
I’m surrounded by a hazy, disintegrating myst responsible for landing me in the place I’m in: The leftovers from that potion I inhaled when we found ourselves in an embrace.
I notice that I’m alone.
The myst is thick, cold and damp at first. I look around and, to my surprise, I see nothing distinct. Only vague suggestions of objects around me I can only guess based on slight variations of light and dark. Like Christmas presents someone else wrapped for me that sit waiting for their time to be opened, I’m unsure whether I’ll end up loving them or hating them.
I wonder where I am.
I wonder if that potion I inhaled was a poison that robbed me of some part of my soul I’ll never get back. It’s bright all around me, but the purgatorical nature of the void I find myself in isn’t exactly comforting.
I wonder where she might be.
Just moments before, we were there in that tunnel. Her and I surrounded by the warm, cozy comfort of an invisible campfire, its orange light only showing, glistening off the wonderful alien gemstones from another universe. So unique it was that it occurred to me that no two people in the history of mankind had experienced such a spectacle.
Not like we had.
Like a crazy sentence bridging two disparate objects together that I realize just couldn’t possibly have ever been uttered before.
And here I am, somehow alone on this other side where I thought we’d be together. The sound equivalent of an old pedal steel softly shrilling the last cords of the night to a tear drop of a lone whiskey shot in the neon cigarette haze of a dimly lit hole in the wall on some backstreet in Nashville you’ve never heard of. Wondering what it would’ve been like to just stay in that tunnel. It goes down easy but the feeling comes hard.
And realizing that now, somehow that I’ve landed here, there’s no way back.
Just then, I get a familiar tap on my shoulder.
I know it’s her.
And in the moment of pure mystification, I’m immediately flooded with the type of feeling that, if it could be broken down into contents and put into a box, would contain:
- Wool socks for a Saturday Winter morning by a living room fireplace with Wes Montgomery’s ‘Live in Belgium 1965’ playing in the background to a warm cup of tea
- A bundle of freshly sharpened yellow pencils with only the word “CRISP” engraved in shimmering gold on each side
- A crackling campfire on a late Fall evening deep in the forest, deep in the evening with a Full Moon overhead, the branches above scratching lines across its surface
- A mason jar lit by fireflies in the darkest part of a late Spring evening in the grass of a front yard I once knew
- A Mead trapper-keeper filled with every love letter I ever wrote that never met their intended recipient
- A snowglobe with a smiling boy and a girl from the 80’s: the only ones in the entire neighborhood out making a snowman, complementary hued matching scarves and knitted beanies (marked with pom poms as the cherries on top)
It has to be her.
We’re the only ones that could be here in this place, after all.
I turn around to see that familiar glisten of her deep brown eyes and those subtle gleams in the bottom corners of her windows into the world. It’s looking into these that I instantly know I’m dreaming. It’s those gleams that carry me away. It’s the glistening I’ll never get over.
The eyes are always my signs. My wonderful reminders from the heavens that I’m seeing the other side so few lucky blessed souls ever truly see in this way.
There’s no way reality could be this beautiful.
We both stand there, looking right into each other.
“Are you ready?” She asks, as she tilts her head sideways looking down, reaching up to momentarily grip her left ear like she always seemed to do, darting her eyes up with a smile distinctly in only the patented way she knows how.
It’d be a crime for anyone else to even try to replicate it.
The curtain slowly begins to open.
In a single shift of the wind, a quick fastforward of the magnetism of our glances catch and pull us together as she gasps a single gasp to catch her breath by the force, her hand again on the back of my neck, and mine caressing her jawbone, my thumb running the soft edges of her cheek, thumbing through all of the marvelous, bittersweet, mischievous, enchanted pages of our history together that brought us to the moment we’re in.
We’re just a few inches apart. “Looking into each others eyes” is what we’re doing, but the phrase in itself tragically pales in comparison to the underlying beauty of the reality of what actually happens when two people dare to stare destiny in the face.
It just can’t be explained in words. But it’s kind of like peeking through a keyhole to a heaven you’re not allowed to see.
Or not supposed to, anyhow.
“I think so. But I’m afraid if we take off from this myst into the dream, I’ll soon wake up and this will all be-,” I reply with a lowercase ‘q’ curl of a frowning smile.
I look up to notice the myst is almost completely disintegrated. The curtain almost completely opened.
“Over? I’ll take my chances,” as our quickly growing smiles are sliced in two with a quick rush of her lips against mine, a kiss met by our peering glances not out of discourtesy, or oddity, but simply because our eyes just won’t stop.
And in this instance, its a rare kiss where the eyes opened and the feeling of our lips together are wrapped in a festive seasoned package that makes my heart sink with the darting hawk of a butterfly swoop into the deepest stretches of my soul.
It’s too good to last for long.
And suddenly, she takes my hand and we’re off like the wind, the last remaining bit of myst whisping down dancing a pretzeled descent through the intertwined braid of her Fall locks before disappearing forever, trapping us in the scene that reveals itself to us in all its foreign color:
We’re walking through a town of European descent. She looks back to me and I notice she has on circular mirrored sunglasses that fit her face perfectly, a yin-yang necklace she bought from a booth at a mall in 1996 that falls delicately upon the fabric of a worn, knitted off-white sweater. She’s not wearing a bra underneath and if the light hits it just right, the tiny gaps of fabric work together to reveal her nipples.
She knows this but doesn’t care. Not today, she doesn’t.
We dart down a cobblestone side street too small for a vehicle and see a wooden sign ahead: “Librairie de Raphaël”.
Filled with childlike wonder and excitement, we make swiftly for the door.
Before we go in, her just ahead of me, she stops, holding her index finger in a “1”, and, looking both ways, leans up to give me one last kiss before she turns to swing the door open.
As she does, we enter to the ringing bell of the door, the elderly yet refined sitting storeowner startled and throwing down his daily La Voix du Nord onto the counter in front of him, revealing the tiny glass frames that barely hold to the end of his nose, mouth agape with his tobacco pipe barely holding to the inside of the corner of his mouth as he turns to watch her run towards the neverending rows of books that tower towards the ceiling.
I turn to look at who I believe to be Raphaël, and I hear her call to me from afar, “Viens avec nous!”
And as Raphaël turns to look back at me, still trying to comprehend the two rascals that just entered his bookstore, I smile and make my dash towards endless rows of dusted tales and the beauty that’s just ahead on the helm of a day I get a sneaking suspicion just might be the best day of my life…