Thursday, January 05, 2006

Shadow of an eclipse

I was running on the treadmill when a flashback crossed the room. I think it was Kelly. The girl I dated before Cindy.

It has been nearly fifteen years since I saw her. The height was right. The build was right (if you factor in more than a decade of accretion.) Straight, jet black hair. Alabaster skin. Our eyes caught for a half second as she strolled to the locker room. I looked down. To avoid further contact. And noticed the shoes. Slick like a drop of oil. A hint of a strap edging toward her calf. If I sometimes have a thing for odd footwear, I owe it to Kelly. She had hundreds of shoes.

Either she didn't recognize me, or didn't want to acknowledge me. She and her shoes kept walking. Would have been too odd to strike up a conversation with such an old ghost. A flimsy shell of a relationship. Never would have held if brought it into the light of day. She was too married. Still clinging to the mental trappings of an alcoholic ex-stripper. Too much of a pathological liar. And didn't posses the wits to form even remotely believable lies.

Our tango ended when I left for college.

She suggested we try a long distance dance.

I suggested I had no trust for a woman whose every second with me constituted a violation of her vows to her husband.

And a week later, I met Cindy.

But nobody sees a ghost without skipping a heartbeat. A sudden flush of blood to the neck and ears. Like a first kiss. A first sip of champagne. Yet the moment you try to grasp that distant souvenir, it is gone. Slips into the folds of your past. Dropping you back into the cold clutch of reality where your brain reminds your loins that you can't, and shouldn't, go back.

I watch the slow shadow of a mental eclipse creep across my sun and disappear into the locker room.

My vision returns.

I look up again. And silently finish my run.

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