For so long, it barely crossed my mind. In fact, the feeling I subconsciously nurtured was one of non-attachment. Live and love by your heart but do so moment to moment. Do not expect anything. I had persuaded myself of this much. But tonight that brave and sensual Katey came back (she lives eternally at the bottom of two glasses of wine and on the fringe of ovulation, never too far away).
I’d been holed up all day doing homework but it could have been all month. I showered, played Norah Jones, dressed my sexiest/casual for a local opening at the gallery in Tinyville featuring work by students at the craft school. “Yes!” my outfit seemed to say, your barista can be sexy, the girl who makes your coffee is more than the apron behind the counter, that smiling face who rings you up lives locally, has work of her own, dresses well when prompted, and looks damn good in a coral and turquoise necklace.
I could have skipped the shower. I could have played Metallica, something, anything other than Norah Jones, to roughen rather than prime the senses. I could have worn Carhartt’s. I could have smelled badly. I could have fussed. I could have skipped the whole gig alltogether.
But all the voices of lonely and woman and mountain pushed forward to propel me into the gallery in my Dansko heels and damn if I didn’t walk out of there two hours later with a genuine, handsome, five o’clock shadow, dark haired potter at my side. Yes, a student at the school. Yes, leaving in one week. Yes, lives far, far away (abroad, in fact). Yes, impossibly smart, honest, and sweet with an accent to boot. And yes, above all else, I know his drink (double shot of espresso, customarily consumed around 3pm, no cream, no sugar).
“Would you join me outside,” he said and that’s when I knew it was on.
“Yes,” I replied. Followed.
And it’s not necessarily that what we had to say to each other was spectacular, but it was real and not for anybody other than ourselves, by which I mean he did not simply ask me what my favorite, books were but, “Which authors are you currently obsessed with?” Artist to artist, we understand the notion of obsession. “Steve Almond,” I say, “and Thom Jones, Aimee Bender, and always, Didion.” By which I mean also that I did not simply ask him what he was doing after the class ended but, “Can you make room for clay in your life after this?”
It’s a simple moment of connection, but the fact that we’ve been nearly anonymous to each other for two months somehow magnifies its significance and there, right there on the back steps of the gallery, I want nothing more than for him to lean in, kiss me because he knows of nothing else, and then I want the sun to set and for life to be simple and for tomorrow to be another day.
Of course, it works out differently. When it is time for me to go he walks me to my car and there is that moment (he’s blushing), and we both lean in and click-click-click the heels of his teacher walking by us in the parking lot. We both pull back, un-satiated, embarrassed and I am feeling oh so school girl. I believe I actually leaned my back against my car and groaned in frustration, which made him laugh, lean in again, and we settled for the sweetest kiss on the cheek. I rushed away—did I leave a Dansko heel behind? All the way home I could smell him, smiled at the thought of how silly our flirting, and churned inside for what might have been.
Too riled up to do homework, I put The Waking Life (dvd) on and made it only thirteen minutes into the film when one of the female characters said this: “So much of what we perceive cannot be expressed; it’s unspeakable, and yet, when we communicate with one another and we feel that we have connected and we think that we’re understood, I think that we have a feeling of almost spiritual communion and that feeling might be transient but I think it’s what we live for.”
I stop the movie. Return to the desk. And try once again to find myself on the page.