“The air was crisp
with the hint of autumn dancing at the edges of the night.
There was the promise of golden red leaves
and ripe apples on the breeze
that lifted his hair and blew it back from his forehead.
His hand grasped my elbow,
his voice a deep timber that flowed with the mood of the evening,
seductive and non-threatening.
But beneath the surface
was the whisper of something slightly dangerous,
like the slow ascent of a roller coaster before it reaches its zenith.
He captured that split second when you look down into the abyss
and your breath holds for a moment
before escaping in a long thrill filled scream.
Orgasmic and death like.
La petit morte the French call it.
I read that in a dreadful sixties romance novel
my mother kept hidden on a shelf in the closet.
I remember only snippets of our conversation,
scenes set in tableau
that seemed to hang forever in my memory
like old sepia-toned photographs in a yard sale photo album.
I was detached and involved simultaneously.
Drawn to the flame of his strangeness;
I really did not want to investigate
but knew I must.
Like an explorer on a journey
to a land I both feared and was tempted by.
The evening dragged as it sped by.
I remember leaving the play early though I did not want to.
I remember the long walk I did not want to take.
I couldn’t refuse
although there was no pressure on his part
to follow down that yellow brick road.
And in the end
I suppose it was my own indifference that trapped me.
I had never chosen the road yet
I traveled it with an urgency that left me breathless.”