Friday, 10 May 2013

Paradise, unincorporated.

(I've decided my next career will be in making amends.)
I don't want a kiss goodnight
I just want to stay here forever
I don't want to close my eyes
I just want to stay here forever
He took me dancing.

The day wore on, the champagne wore off and Caleb burst in through the door near midevening in a mood I can't even describe to you. Change. We're going out tonight. Wear something....ridiculous. 


I picked a sequined, shimmery silver dress and stilettos with serious bondage-caliber ankle straps. He stepped back into the room ten minutes later almost matching me. Not in a silver dress and stilettos, in a casual grey shirt and darker grey pants. We're coordinated.

Don't worry, it was all a show. We're not coordinated and can't actually dance all that well but we gave it our best shot and then a slow song came on finally. At last. I suggested we pack it in. Dancing in stilettos is not a fun event. It's like never getting to the end of the wire. Always balancing.

One last dance and we'll leave, he says.

I should have realized his lies are so easily told by omission but I was drunk again and having a blast so I agreed. He held out his hands. There we go. Coordinated in arms, at least. We can't make fools of ourselves or each other moving this slowly, anyway.

He didn't say a word, he just held me and swayed with the music, a slow circle completely around three times. He smells like hotel soap and clean sweat and cotton. His hair is all messed up and the grin seems to be permanent and she sees all this and tells me I'm on my own, finding a door in my brain and opening it, walking through and closing it again. Twelve is gone, replaced by a worthy opponent. I can slay anyone in these shoes and this dress. They are weapons and I'm strong and brave and foolish and near-shitfaced.

I'm thinking all this and he's thinking about food.

So we leave and go for burgers. He doesn't even ask if I want another four hundred dollar meal, he just drives until he sees a brightly-lit sign and an ordering window and he asks me what I want.

Onion rings. And a sprite, please! He orders those and gets the same, plus a burger. Big men get hungry. I always forget and live like a bird. We find a parking spot that has a view of the strip. It's four in the morning and nothing is slowing down, though the lot is almost empty.

He holds out his burger, offering me the first bite. I take it. So good. I should have ordered one, I tell him. He tears it in two giving me half, and I'm finished before he's done chewing his first bite. I go slower with the rings. I see the door in my head open just a crack and her eyes peering through. She doesn't trust him. She doesn't know why I'm having fun. She doesn't like it and so she stuck around when I thought she was gone.

When I realize Caleb has been staring at me without moving or speaking or chewing for far too long I return his gaze.


We could do this all over the world, you know. 

I nod.

Just think about it. 

I nod again. That would be cool. (I thought he meant he has more meetings and I can tag along).

I feel a sudden tension as his breath catches. Bridget-

I wipe ketchup off my face with a napkin and burp really loud and laugh, clapping my hands over my mouth. What? Sorry. Yes? Oops! Haha! Geez.

Marry me. 

In my brain she flings the door wide, her small shadow casting darkness over my mood. She shakes her head. She makes the rules. She runs the show. I make myself wait though. I wait until I can speak properly and then I change the subject.

I'm tired. I think we should go back to the hotel now. 

He sits there staring at the steering wheel for such a long time I begin to wonder if I should have taken that time to get as far away as possible from him, just in case. Finally he picks up my hand, kisses my palm and smiles grimly. You're right. Busy day tomorrow. If we're lucky we can get a couple hours of sleep. 

He starts the car and we drive back to the hotel in silence.

Lobby. Silence. Elevator. Silence. Hallway? Silence. Room. He stops and opens his mouth as if he is going to say something but he changes his mind and instead he pulls me back into his arms. I go willingly. I always have.

I'm sorry, I tell him. He's told me he's sorry a million hundred thousand times and I feel bad for hurting his heart. Their hearts. My heart. 

He pulls back and brushes my bangs out of my eyes. Well, you didn't say no, right? He starts laughing and I see his eyes glassing over but just a little. He's pretty smooth like that.

Goodnight, Diabhal. 

Goodnight, Neamhchiontach.