She was a prisoner like me, wrapped in invisible chains wrought out of bills, greed and indecision: both the writer and victim of her life history, for none of which she accepted any responsibility. She had a beauty which cuts through complacency, and a smile which unlocks the heart of almost any man. I was “almost any man” I found out later as she walked into my life bringing no answers with her.
I knew that when I first met her, but then I was much the same as her, trapped in a world of my own making but marked by shrinking opportunity. She drank a bit and smoked with rare defiance so even though I did not smoke myself I took to carrying a lighter so our eyes could meet over its flame. I think she knew I liked her and I think she knew we were the same, but I had little to offer her then, and was added to her list of tame admirers.
I met her in the company of friends, and she saw in me a quality of perception cloaked in a lack of social standing. On a whim she conferred her intimacies on me for one night only, though I dreamed she would love me always. She briefly thought I was her bus ride out of hell which I was not but, regardless, she has now left this earth forever.
How do I remain here now without the hope of seeing her? I’ve been “aware” for far too long already, walking among the civilised half-dead, living their customs and showing courtesy to all, but I am tired of that now. The powers of womanhood or manhood are extraordinary but we have sought to make everything ordinary and safe and harnessed, starting with ourselves, so that primitive magic I saw in her eyes is seldom visible elsewhere.
She is gone and the world I walk through is floundering without her: hiding behind its timetables and furniture and dreams of cultured conduct and looking for answers everywhere but in its heart. She is gone yet I am here with nothing to contemplate but my ongoing chaos, and man’s unfounded dreams of order.