Saturday, July 05, 2008

regrets only

She wishes she'd loved the boy who looked like a wet lamb in the morning. His pale blond curls would take a day of drying to stretch into their regular feathery whorls. He had a way of looking at her and seeing a photograph, and she would not have gotten tired of being a perfect, crystalline moment every time he kissed her hello. With an empty notebook, he was a magician. He carried a satchel full of borrowed poetry, too large for his spindly lamb legs.

Then there was the Greek statue, the tall, lean muscled man-boy who looked as though he rubbed his skin with olives every day. Her wildest fantasies were his memories, cliff-dives and ouzo and making love for the first time on a black sand beach, speeding through all the necessary touches because he was afraid that the girl's father might discover them. He had a particular knack for admiring her from afar, and he took care to make sure that she noticed it. She would not have gotten tired of the furtive glances, the words of his favorite love poems recited cautiously in her presence.

And then the scholar, the philosopher king with the unusual crown. He was the one who made her wish she had the courage to be reckless. His erudition thrilled her into feeling young and foolish, so she looked up their zodiac signs and laughed to see that each of their flames would feed the other's fires. Her mind swam the butterfly stroke when he spoke to her, and floated when he sang. He was also a music-maker, and she would not have gotten tired of his fingers, traipsing over the piano keys, down her spine. He was a gentleman's gentleman.

The traveler smelled like yuzu and woodsmoke, and liked the feel of light rain on his skin, soaking through his shirts. He lived cyclically, with the turn of the Earth and the change of the seasons. She would not have gotten tired of the tales he had to tell, of guessing which ones were fabricated. Humor would elicit his gravelly voice from the depths of his unevenly shaven throat.

She wished she would have let herself be angry enough to smash the furniture, to love without analytics, to scream at the world when she thought it deserved a good wake-up call. If she'd let herself sleep more, if she'd loved how she ought, if she'd kissed with the courage of a conquistador, things might have been different. Or perhaps they wouldn't. Regrets only mean something if there are guarantees.

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