Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Object lessons

My husband gave me a book about writing song lyrics for Christmas. (If you're reading this, hon, I need a book about writing music next time.) I decided to read a little bit of it today because we're barricaded in by a wall of wind and snow. Again.

There are some writing exercises in the beginning of the book where they ask you to write about an object or a sensation or something, to mine the depths of your sense memories. I did two, and I always feel like I go off track with these things, because I end up following a story. Here they are, for your snowtime enjoyment. The first was an object of my choosing, the second was a sensation prompt in the book. See if you can guess what they were.

The tastes of honey, of smoked meats and dried autumn leaves mix in the air while you breathe, more deeply than usual, and I drink from your glass of port, red and sweet. It's dark, but the light is coming from somewhere, and the wine is flowing, and my dress is flowing, and my arms are warm in your tuxedo jacket. You in your shirtsleeves, hair rumpled, bow tie sticking out of the pocket at my breast, I feel the glamour of the day in my heels and toes, cramped for so long in shining gold straps. This is the party of the year, and I'm not sure whether I'll remember it in the morning, except for that smell--which will last for two days, at least.

This is not the way I intended for it to happen, me, submerged and soaked, air trapped in my lungs by closed mouth, puffed cheeks, stubborn nostrils. You threw me in the pool and I stayed down as long as I could out of spite, letting out a bubble when the old air started burning my throat and I started to get dizzy. I was spiteful, but only because I didn't know how to tell you I loved the attention. A part of me--the oxygen-starved, lightheaded part, no doubt--wished that I would pass out so you'd have to jump in after me, warm arms around my unconscious, clammy flesh. You'd have to breathe for me, then, salty mouth on my chlorinated one, lips, pressure, hot breath, you, me, a long moment before I breathe again. I can't hold my breath anymore, so I surface, air foreign to me, sunshine, your gaze, which I can feel prickling at my skin like the boundary between pool water and hot July air.

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