SNAKEBITTEN

“You probably won’t believe me, but I loved a man once,” she said, taking a delicate sip of coffee.  She held the cup thoughtfully for a moment before replacing it on the table.  “A ne’er-do-well with hypnotic eyes and a poetic soul.”

“Aren’t they all?”  Disinterest was harder to affect than I thought.

“Poetic?  No.  It’s a rare man who gives himself to art,” she said with a sad smile.  “The price is too high.”

I listened, trying to appear nonchalant.  The truth was she talked so infrequently about her personal life that curiosity was getting the best of me.  I felt like a gaper. 

“Uh… price?”  What could be more glorious than sacrificing one’s self on the altar of creative expression?

“It’s a jealous mistress, you know,” she said with a nod.  “Doesn’t leave much for a real one.”

“I guess you’re speaking from experience,” I said, stating the obvious.  Suddenly I felt a stab of panic.  Would she take offense and clam up? 

“Yes,” she said, looking me straight in the eye. “It was hard-won.”

Green eyes.  I had assumed they were blue.  But then again, they were usually shaded by dark lenses.  “What happened to him?” I asked, hoping she’d turn down the high beams and stare off into the distance again.

She didn’t.  “He pursued me relentlessly,” she answered, boring two holes into my brain.   “And then one day, quite abruptly, he disappeared forever.”

I slid to the edge of my chair, half-expecting the story to take a mysterious turn.  There were so many odd rumors circulating about her that if he had actually dematerialized, I wouldn’t have been surprised.   “He left town?”

The question seemed to surprise her.  “No, he’s still here,” she said quietly, ” in the same house he’s lived in for years.”

I felt a little disappointed.  Maybe this was no strange abduction tale after all.  “But you said he was gone.”

She smiled serenely.  “He is gone.”

I wasn’t accustomed to being stymied.  “But that doesn’t make any sense.”

“Love seldom makes sense,” she laughed.  “It will take you beyond yourself.  Whether you can maintain the expansion is the challenge.”

“I’m guessing he didn’t.”

She shook her head.  “No, he didn’t, but I’m content to have it so.”

I thought perhaps she really did merit those odd rumors.  “Most people might grieve instead.”

“Most would rather mourn all experience than celebrate it,” she said, leaning forward.

“Loss of love doesn’t inspire celebration,” I said, thinking about my own brushes with it.

“Then you’ve missed the whole point,” she said slowly.  “Love isn’t ours to possess, but only to give away.  Be happy that it bit you at all.”

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2 Responses to “SNAKEBITTEN”

  1. I truely love this
    You’re great

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