Photo © Quick Candles
I saw him some distance away, walking toward me, lanky legs striding long in worn jeans, silver-buckled black boots on his feet. His head was down, his shaggy black hair hanging forward, shadowing his face. A black tank top was stretched over his torso and his muscled arms were covered with tattoos, all bluish-black, no other colors. His fingers were silver-ringed and tattooed, and in one hand he held a black fedora.
My instincts rose up urgently, warned me, “Look away from him! Run away!” But my body felt leaden and my eyes wouldn’t or couldn’t obey. They stared on, big and wide, and watched him lift his head to throw back his hair, watched him set the fedora down on his head in one deft sweep of arm and stride of leg. His lips were full, encircled by a goatee and mustache and from rims of black liner, his dark eyes shone and shifted side to side until they found my big, wide eyes and locked on them.
He strode directly to me. Still, I wouldn’t or couldn’t move and I felt my eyes begin to flicker with fear and to fight to retreat as if to faint, and on seeing this he stopped just short of me. He spoke my name softly, “Elena,” and the surprise of that familiar word from a stranger’s mouth brought him quickly, sharply back into focus. “There,” he said, smiling, his eyes shining more softly, muted as candle flames low in frosted votives. His voice was deep and pleasing, mesmerizing. “I only want to kiss you,” he said, stepping closer. “May I?”
My eyes screamed, “No!” I was not ready. And he stepped back abruptly, as if pushed back. Hurt leapt from his eyes briefly before fierce, high flames consumed it, and he turned, seeming indifferent, and ambled away like to a long, slow song. Immediately, a roiling cloud of emotion—regret, sorrow, desperation, longing—let loose and flooded my mind. I tried to call out to him to come back, but I had no voice. I was reduced to tears of frustration, left gasping for meaning.
I felt a yearning to participate in the part of living that has to do with loving, and at the same time my recoiling felt far more real, more convincing. Yet the more I revisited the dark stranger’s approaching, the more hazy it all became, and soon I was imagining choreographed scenes of his approaching, as in a movie, with music as we two rushed together. And even having no reason to assume I’d ever see him again, I prepared myself to act out my movie scene, hoping I would.
Time became as water flowing under an endless bridge and I became colder, feeling nearly in the grip of winter when I saw him again at last. He was dressed still in jeans and black tank top and I thought it strange that he had no coat. He was standing amidst a group of people, staring at me, waiting for me to notice him. My eyes sparkled, beckoned, and he moved quickly toward me. I tried to throw open my arms as I’d rehearsed in my movie, but they wouldn’t, couldn’t move. Still, he felt my joy on seeing him and he embraced me and kissed my mouth slowly, tenderly, once. He pulled back to regard me, his strong arms still around me. I smiled.
His full, soft lips had left me swooning, desiring more, yet feeling too weak to request it. I felt my joy and desire draining fast away like blood rushing from my body. And the bizarreness of that thought was as an intense jolt of electricity that stopped my heart and opened my eyes to further bizarreness, to bent and overturned cars and a buzz of voices and radio noises and me on the side of a highway, my blood draining away despite the best efforts of two uniformed souls. I opened my mouth to thank them for trying, but no sound came out, and anyway, I could see it was too late, that my dark stranger was the angel of death and he had on me a firm grip. I closed my eyes and relaxed into his arms, and as he bore me away from this life, I thought it strange how this last kiss was as sweet as my first, when I was just a young girl beginning a new phase of life.
Click here for more on prompt #183 – First Kiss from other Sunday Scribblings participants.