A walk around the lake

As I walk around the lake, crunching autumn leaves underfoot, I remember this feeling I have for her. It was a long time ago we were together. It was a different time, in a different place.

I miss this feeling when I think of her. But I don’t know who she is. We rarely say a word. The longing has tortured me, entertained me and deflated me. I thought I knew her.  How wrong I was. It is strange to feel so right and be so wrong.

I could sit and think about her for hours.  Or feel her. It is not a feeling I have felt before. It is the same feeling, regardless of where I am or where I go that sweeps across me when I think of her.

Who or what are you to me – my desired lover, my muse or my very soul reflected in this world. She haunts me like a ghost in the night – hovering above my bed or sometimes, she seems to slide under my sheets and lie beside me.

Passers by grin at me on their journey around the lake. I see kids on a school rowing trip eating sandwiches under trees in the park. City workers jog past, happy to be outside feeling fresh air against their stiff office chair backs. I want to cup this feeling in my hands and throw it out to the wind for everyone to feel how wonderful I feel when I think about her.

Minutes, hours and days have gone by, soaking up this feeling. It is an indulgence I keep to myself. My own secret garden, where I don’t need to touch or speak but I can feel her with me. Like an addiction, I succumb in private. When no-one is watching, not even me, I inhale it. I want it and I want more. I know I should resist. Can’t resist it anymore. No one is around so I open up to it and immerse myself in it. I drown myself in this feeling of her. She is part of me.

Time passes quickly thinking and feeling how she makes me feel. Is it wishful thinking or my own desire. It scares me and excites me. I feel safe and content with this feeling. It’s like a presence within and around me.

I don’t know what to do when I feel her.  I want to climb the highest mountain in the world. I could jump on bike and cycle anywhere I please. This boundless energy is wrapped in a rotunda of softness and warmth that makes me feel calm and safe.

It was short and sweet as they say, the happiest days of my life when we were together. It excited me knowing I would see her again. I dressed to impress her. Her eyes were closed.

One day when we met, my heart had arrived well before the rest of me. Not able to keep up with the speed of my desire an empty body sat slouched on the train. I could barely contain the nervousness and desire and fear in me.

I wanted to talk to her, know her and feel her. She pushed me away, said tell me later. I was too naive to know she did not want me. The reality is I never had her full attention. I should have kept on walking, but I didn’t.

My pace picks up as I dodge a puddle of water. I never imagined I would be in here today, thinking about this feeling of her.I don’t know which way to turn, too much energy to burn. And sometimes hate and anger.

I have talked and cried and whispered for hours and it still re-appears. Pages and notebooks of words, and thoughts and understanding I have written and here I am again. I have filled buckets of tears missing her.  Soaked sheets with sweat of desire imagining her body against mine. How delicate and sweet it was. I glance across the water and wonder how strange it is to again be thinking of her.

I cannot see her anywhere. I don’t know what she looks like anymore.  I never want to see her again yet I wonder when I will. If I did see her again, I would run away.

It is odd, this feeling I have about her. Sometimes a knowing smile dances across my face. Blood pulsates through all the arteries of my heart. Yet, we do not speak. Fragments of images are all I see. Can’t bring myself to look her way. Scared and nervous, I turn away. It is not how it once was between us. Perhaps it was all a dream.

Looking out across the water, at the misty city skyline, I feel her through the beat in the music. Cold air presses against my face, I continue walking around the lake.  It makes me want to dance and sing and I know not a thing about melody.

I wonder if she thinks about me too.  I turn the corner on the path, wishing to find her sitting there waiting for me with a shy grin. Her syrupy considered voice greets me with surprise and delight.

My heart races remembering the sound of her words in my ear. Syllables alone made me smile and laugh and my heart pulse. Like she was the only voice in the world, my attention was never as focused than when I listened to her.

Slowing down my pace, I kick stones into the water like a child throwing a tantrum when I don’t see her sitting on the bench. I am dreaming. She does not see me. I do not exist. d

I have cried out loud to get her out of my mind. Fallen to my knees, screaming to the black stormy clouds above to rip this feeling out of me. No response. I wait and the sobs rise up from my stomach to my chest. Waiting for an answer, for a sign.

Torrential rain soaks my shirt. Smearing mud across my face, I plead to the sky, to anyone who will listen.

‘I will do anything you ask, anything. Please get this out of me’.

But no-one comes. And no-one answers. It is still. It is silent. The once busy road is empty of cars. Tram sounds have stopped. The families and school groups have disappeared. I am alone in the rain, with a dark cloud hanging over my head and a cold chill crawling up my spine.

Opening my eyes, I am the same as I was before. And still I feel this fucking feeling of her pulsing through me – same as it ever was. The same as it first was.

The splash of ducks hitting the water brings me back to where I am. I stare at the mud on my hands and knees and see strangers staring at me. I do not care what they think.

Standing up, I fold my arms across my chest and jump a puddle on the path. Relieved and drained, I slowly continue on my way.

I come back to the sound of the beat in my ears and click my fingers to the rhythm. I wonder where she might be and if she thinks of me.

Perhaps its better like this, feeling her in my own private way. Resting here in my imagination, I am safe and pure away from harm. As I approach home, the beat fading in my ears and the sun dipping behind the houses, I feel content.

Embracing the feeling one last time, I wrap it up inside my heart and bury it away. I will not let myself feel her anymore. This is the way it is. I wonder if I will ever have this depth of feeling again and with anyone else but her. Perhaps it is all simply within me.

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Once upon a time…

Once upon a time she was lying in the park across the road from her house looking at the city skyline being thankful for what she has in life which is not as much as she would like but she is certainly aware that it is more than others and she lied back on the cool grass which would start to form moisture from the night within an hour or so and she thought she would be more comfortable if she had  jacket with her and a sweet girl lying beside her who had lovely hair that she would run her fingers through and then they would sit up and look at the sky and notice how clear it was and how many stars they can see protruding from the black void of the earth’s ceiling and they are thankful for having a moment of stillness to appreciate the beauty of the night sky – the southern cross, there’s the big dipper they pointed out, bright stars close to earth, dull stars barely visible which they said  must be planets millions and trillions of light years away from them and then they saw the flashing lights of aeroplanes and they talked about seeing a shooting star and she said to the other if you watch the night sky for 15 minutes you are bound to see a shooting star and so they sat in silence for a while and could hear each other breathe and waited to see a falling star and one of them did and she made a wish and the other wanted to know what her wish was and was it about me she said and the other laughed and they fell quiet and she felt still, really still and quiet and peaceful and she remembers looking at the night sky when she was a young girl living in the country and she had to stop thinking about the country or she might start crying and what would she think if she saw me with a teardrop and why would i be crying about that anyway so she said isn’t its just amazing the universe that is, and they said they were lucky yet oh so insignificant and small compared to the vastness of earth, the planet stars and who does really know what is out there and one of them sat up and took in a deep breath looking at the shimmery reflection of city lights on the water of the lake and the other lying down looked at her and noticed she was really really  happy being right by her side, looking at the side of her face and one minute you’re on your own and the next you’re with a new friend and she was  feeling excited and wanted to push her over to kiss her and she also couldn’t move she was in a trance of just feeling the feeling of being by her side and she knew she was different she knew they would had challenges but she was curious to know more about her and she thought she was beautiful she wanted to tell her, she wanted to tell her a lot of things but didn’t that night there was no need she will save it for another time when they are together then it will be a surprise so instead she sat up and looking at her face she thought she could look at her face forever, she slide closer to her and slid her arm around her waist and gently dropped her head to touch hers and she looked straight ahead not really looking at anything both of them saying nothing words were very unnecessary she loved her arm around her waist and they sat together in silence looking at the water and feeling each other quiet in their skin just being together doing nothing for who knows how long and none of us do know so they soaked it up because you never know when you open your eyes they won’t be there and you will miss them and want to be back there beside the lake with them and you would do anything to re-live the moment but you know you can’t so you look at the stars and wonder who you might meet next and you hope you meet them soon

7th May 2012 Helen Stevens

X and Y..a dialogue exercise

“How are you?’ X asks.

‘Oh, hello, um I was just writing a few ideas for my next story.  Nice to see you’, Y says gathering her books and pen and putting them in her backpack.

‘Oh ok. You too. I like your floral top’.

“Thank you. It’s a dress actually’.

‘Oh, a dress’.

‘But now you are here, I’ll put it away and I can get a drink’ Y says.

X asks, ‘What would you like?’

‘Are you sure, I can get it,’ Y assures. ‘I guess we can’t both go up, we’ll lose our seat.

‘I’ll get it, what would you like’, says X.

‘A sav blanc from Marlborough please. Thank you’, Y smiles at X trying to identify if she is happy to see her.

Feeling nervous, Y fumbles with her sunglasses and looks around the bar. It’s busy for a Sunday night. This is not a conversation she is looking forward to but seeing her again for the first time in a week, Y is overwhelmed with X’s beauty.

Y sends X a text, ‘You look beautiful’ and feeling a pulse of adrenaline run through her to hide her phone before X get back, her phone lands loudly in her black handbag just as when Y walks around the corner. Y suddenly crosses her arms against her chest as a sign of complete stillness.

‘Hello, a wine’.

‘Thank you,’  Y says staring at X’s glass which looks like water.

‘Aren’t you drinking,’ Y asks X wanting her to say yes so she feels they are having a shared occasion.

‘Yes, it’s vodka and lemonade. I had a few at lunch time, so I’ll probably be drunk soon,’ X laughs, half-heartedly.

Y considers X’s innocent and conservative lifestyle.

‘Oh ok, of course it is. I see bubbles. How are you?’ Y asks.

‘I’m good, I feel a bit lost all the parents celebration is are over. Yeah. It’s like I was with them Friday night and now its all finished. It’s a bit sad’, shares X.

Y never attends family events and struggles to understand her feelings. She also wanted to hear X say she was excited to see her.

‘Ok, I guess that is fair enough. But didn’t you feel excited today that you would be seeing me?’

‘Well um yes. but I have been with my family since Friday. Of course, I am excited to see you.’

Y’s eyes lift from staring at the wood grain of the table and brighten. She wonders if she has read the the text she sent.

X looks at Y’s face and holds her stare. Y looks back at her and taking a sip of her drink to break the silence, but not breaking her stare, Y smiles shyly at X over her wine glass.

Y smiles,’ I am glad you are here’.

© Helen L Stevens

7th May 2012