We were wedding guests, both feeling tortured and small. He had those blue eyes that blinded everything else, and I was drinking, saying weird things to strangers: seeming both invincible and dead. Sexy by default, but it didn’t matter, and couldn’t matter. The thought of my beauty slipped through me like a curious breeze. I wasn’t oblivious, but I couldn’t handle myself.
He touched my wrist almost imperceptibly, and for a moment I felt unlike a blank wasted thing. The presence of being wanted, and wanting itself, pulsed through me. I was a live wire, a mostly mindless electric being drifting through space. Part girl, part ghost. In his present warmth, I could conjure a whole world I knew I would wreck within the week. Except I didn’t, I carried it with me for decades, nursing it sometimes like a secret pet.
I was in my slapping phase then, turning hot and belligerent when I drank enough that the inward anger flipped out, and all was lost. I was burning down, and everyone I knew then was too caught up in their own fires to notice. I was caught in the spire of pity, wondering why it was my friends had never loved me. I was outraged that they did not try to save me. But, back then, who did I love? Who did I save? Who did I see in the endless mirrors but a bleeding self?
That’s the lonely place we mingled. Even drunk, I felt a deep attraction cutting through the booze and hate and it made me want to cry, like some secret message spread through fingertips and eye locks. To feel something good was usually something on the other side of a glass, and now it was here with me, strangling what was left of my heart.