Monday, February 21, 2005

02/21/05 Monday -- "Skin on Skin"

He held my hand. Oh -- he didn't HOLD my hand. We didn't go skipping happily - or steamily for that matter - together down lover's lane or anything like that. Actually, more than one "he" held my hand that night, and more than one are deserving of a bit of written remembrance... but for far different reasons, and She (the Muse) is firm in Her demands that this be done now.

We are Just Friends, out playing with other friends... having drinks, dancing, laughter, music, comradarie. Surrounded on all sides by stubble-faced young pups still wet behind the ears and eager young lasses wet elsewhere (I'm sure) but tossing their hair hither & yon in that intense and yet nonchalant mating dance the young do. And some of the "young" rubs off on us wee bit older folk -- the alcohol works it's devious magic, loosening inhibitions. I find myself giggling (of all things!), flirting shamelessly. Fleet of foot and effervescent with an artificial giddy happy high. Have you ever bother to notice that each flirt has its own flavour, it's own depth, it's own special sort of meeting of the souls... or not....

I was saying: He held my hand. Laughing, pulling man after man out onto the packed dance floor for a few stolen verses of vertical comradarie, I targeted them all. Tall... short... bald.. hair long and face grizzled with beard. Was even once rewarded with two light brief sweet pecks on the lips from an acquaintance I have long deemed "the most sensual man I've ever met & will never sleep with." (He can't quite decide whether to be flattered or frustrated. lol!) And toward the end of the evening, when the high is beginning to wear thin... drinks left melting on tall bar tables one dance too often to matter whether or not the waitress whisks them away, I asked him to dance. Barn dance -- other partners and potential partners already dancing, gone home or collapsing in various fashions -- and so I gather my hutzpah about me in a final glittering swirl of flirtatious twinkle, bat my eyelashes beguilingly and beg.

You see -- I know he is not attracted to me in a partner sort of fashion. I'm not guessing, not speculating... I've been told flat out. No, not by him! That would be both rude and unwarranted, and we're both far better caretakers of the human soul than to cause that sort of crude damage when it's unnecessary. And it wasn't necessary -- we have far too many well meaning, matchmaking friends that thought we'd make a nice match early on in our acquaintanceship! Bless them for their loving thoughts, I say. Unbeknownst -- as far as I know -- to either of us, our friends queried one, then the other, and then parcelled out bits of information judiciously to either side. I grin as I think of all the permutations of those conversations that may have composed reality, vs. the version that finally reached each heart & ears. I digress, truly, but it bears upon the point in question, so I will tell you true what happened to me, and what information came my direction....

The night we first met I was being "set up" -- yes, all ye who have been drug willing or unwilling to a blind date, feel free to shudder along with me -- "set up", I say, with a friend of a friend. I didn't know at the time that everyone invited to this costumed dinner party knew about it, and wasn't fully aware that I was entering innocently into a den of friends already well acquainted with one another, myself the only odd man out. Not that it mattered! I'm nothing if not bold when I can put on persona and costume and flounce about as someone else :-) I'd not met this date, not seen picture nor received description, although we had exchanged some few emails by way of introduction, and solely on the muster of pen and personal recommendation agreed to meet. 'Twas a good way to meet, truly! But alas for the future comradarie of me & my date, I was.. within mere minutes of entering the soiree.. greeted by gray-blue eyes that settled piercingly on my soul like a gentle hawk. In retrospect, that was all I saw. It was one of those tiny moments in time that has swirled round and round in my head, stealing away other experiences in its selfish insistence. I am peripherally aware that my date was oh, so very nice to me. My conscious memory reminds me faintly of his intelligence, his gentlemanly airs, his sweet nature and courtesy. I have vague memories of some other very powerful and interesting personalities -- titillating company, I can tell you! But try as I might -- I would hate to be rude! -- my attention was then and later seized, stolen, snared, enthralled by a single person sitting far and miles away across an expanse of dinner table a mere three persons deep. And indifferent. For all that the few times our eyes met and held, I think not that there was a flare of intrigue either but myself would be willing to act upon.

I reflected after that those eyes were just an anomaly of the soul. Away from their snare and without visible pursuit, I reasoned I truly did not find myself all that physically attracted to him, brushed it out of my mind and turned my concentration to other pursuits. But through these friends we were thrown in company time and again, and each time we are together there are these damn little tiny pockets of time appearing with a soft "pop" and refusing to go away. I was asked and asked again - subtly at first then more obviously - whether there was anything there, and for awhile I said only "no"... then one day discovered I was wrong: at least on my end, that was no longer a true statement. When considering an afternoon that included his company, I was excited. My heart beat fast, my palms dampened, my attitude vascillated beyond my control twixt haughty, giddy and various levels of contrived indifference. Finally I said "Yes, damn it! More so than I wanted! I am interested." And our mutual friends fed this newly acknowledged desire of mine, dangling in front of me numerous potential trysts and invitations to which we were both deliberately invited.

Some he attended, many he did not... meanwhile the reasonable, analytical portion of my brain clammored louder and louder to be heard, saying that the Hounds of Hell would not have kept him away if he were on his part interested in me. Then the chances of Fate stepped our way, changed the flow of shared friendships and brought to the fore a far different influence of personality as primary. This friend I trusted to search out Truth, and trusted well, I think: in very short order came back the information ferreted in ways I know nothing of -- "No, I'm so very sorry, I don't want to tell you this, but he doesn't feel that way about you."

My response? Hmm.. not heartbreak. Not anger. Not irredeemable sadness. Simply acceptance, and an immediate resolution to turn my tide of thought toward some other end. A firm resolution: "Well then, he'll make a wonderful friend."

He seems to me to be a simple man, yet so filled with complexity there will never be an end to discovering something new and exciting within him. He is strong, yet I see a softness in him that begs silently for surcease... for comfort. He is eternally considerate, and yet Loki himself parks in the corner of his soul and laughs at his occasional antics. He is quiet, and yet his very presence dominates the spirit of every gathering of these kindred souls. He is unpredictable, yet still one knows most dependable to the very core of self -- word is bond, and a true calling for assistance of any kind would never for a moment be denied.

I work consciously & determinedly to keep my tide of thought directed towards a deep & lasting friendship... and slowly, ever so slowly. His is not a soul you can simply punch into uninvited and grab a piece to meld with your own. Tiny brave forrays of "trust me?" combined with long hours of simple waiting... living... breathing the same air, laughing the same life where it overlaps. I gather tiny bits of information about him as they drop like golden pearls, and reciprocate when asked with deeply faceted jewels of my own. If I'm very lucky, in many years I will suddenly realize that this person has become a soul-friend that will not fade away into the vagaries of the changes that living life often brings, but who will still be in my world when we are both old and grey, and then needing naught but friends about you who have lived some of the same life you've lived.

Of course.. my body still from time to time betrays my conscious efforts, as does my vivid imagination and a heart ready to love but with noone warm & breathing in proximity to reciprocate. Naught can I do about that but keep it inside -- I would NOT on purpose for any cost foolishly jepardize this slow delicate building of a different sort of bridge! But behind a locked away door in my heart, the occasional simple fantasy will gambol unrestrained for a few moments.. a happy child unhindered by adulthood's knowledge.

And there... there he held my hand. (yeah, back where we started ;-) I asked him to dance these steps he'd never danced, he declined. I asked again, still begging in flirtatious childlike fashion, he made excuses. Then the tone in my heart changed for just a moment in time, the silly woman-child dropped away and Gea herself looked out from the depth of my soul and asked a third time. "Please will you dance with me?" She asked for more than a simple surcease from dancefloor sideline angst, she asked most humbly for a few moments in the dance of the living. In a celebration of humanness -- to touch, to move together, to see if hearts beat in unison so close together. She asked him to lead, and allow us to follow. He saw the change - he felt it happen, I saw it in his eyes. I felt it in the air between us as the connection changed, the current altered. Oh, it didn't go THERE, silly reader -- you ought to know by now this isn't that sort of story! But it deepened, gained breadth, dove into a place where the waters run deeper, not burbling quickly over rocks with much noise and little effect... but a place where the current runs strong and silent and eternal. His mouth said again no, but I knew it simply had not yet caught up with current events. I knew the true answer to this plea was now yes, and that when he returned we would dance.

I reached for his hand, grasped it, & as his fingers curled around mind in reciprocation I turned to lead him to the dance floor. As I turned, my arm extended behind me, simple physics forced our palms to twist one against the other, our fingers to change position... and smoothly, silently, with the inevitability of something set in motion that cannot be stopped, as time around me slowed, the bubble of memory formed itself, and that simple twist of direction changed further... palm slid against palm, fingers opened & moved, spread, closed again, met, merged, passed one another, and he was Holding my Hand. Truly holding it, not simply being led from point A to point B. Palm against smooth, cool palm, heartbeats scant milimeters from one another, fingers truly entwined in an intimate dance of their own. And as is the way with slow deep currents, again something altered. No longer was I leading him to the dancefloor, no longer was I the aggressor. Conquered in the span of milliseconds, something inside me acquiesced to a silent order old as time, bowed proud head and while remaining simultaneously both fierce and meek, acknowledged leadership.

I tend to lead on the dancefloor... have to make a conscious effort not to do so, it's a failing of mine that over the years has subconsciously sent many a potential dance partner in search of other options. Of course, most men don't truly lead -- either on the dance floor or elsewhere! If you're not a dancer, or have never had a truly good lead or good partner, I don't think I can explain to you wherein lies the difference. But if you have.. you know. It's the essence of Dance itself.. the mergence of selves. Well... He leads. Well. He says he's never learned to dance, but ye gods... he can lead, and that's far more important that a million fancy steps. Does he truly not know that?

I pause in my scribblings & reread what I've already done to see where I should go next in this story... and I find I've written out my insistent Muse's proddings: that split moment of infinity where he held my hand, where something older than time altered current and Fate spared an approving nod in our direction. But while there may be layers and layers of existence, the one we live in.. the plane where the dishes need to get done & work looms low on tomorrow's horizon.. that's the one that rules action if not heart. Loki's still on the sidelines laughing his fairy little ass at me, and in the real world I'm back in firm control of my determination not to press untoward advances to one not welcoming them. But I will toss this fey bubble of memory and desire behind the door with all the others for the happy innocent child to play with, and hope her mirth continues to filter through in bits & pieces to keep a twinkle in my eyes and my sometimes solemn soul.


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