Friday, February 18, 2011

Stir Crazy

I promised myself to write you everyday. But I could not write the past few days. No, my dreams have not stopped; therefore I must continue to write. However, the memories I wanted to chronicle are fading fast. It is as if they realized that they were being held captive on prose and so have made a conscious effort to escape while they can.

Now I chase after them desperately.

The first one I catch is our first kiss.

It was, appropriately, as the memory itself, something I chased and caught. It was the eve of my birthday, and I invited you for drinks on the pretense of offering to collaborate on some work I was doing. I don’t even remember what it was. It was probably a fake job opportunity or an imaginary project I concocted up last minute.

I am at Stir Crazy. It was my watering hole for sometime when it was still open. I used to stage dramatic readings there, and other artsy-fartsy events with my artist friends. It’s an ordinary evening. No performances. No events. It’s a cold summer night and the place has only a few regulars hanging out.

You enter with a big smile. Your hair is dyed brown, or red, I can’t tell with the dim tungsten lights. I cannot see your face, not because of the dim lights but because my memory now fails me. You dissolve into thin air. The memory is struggling to escape. I fight back. I write furiously. You sit beside me. We order two Rhum cokes. Other details escape. Our conversation vanishes into thin air. Your smile is smudged out of your face like a dissolving photograph. I struggle to keep the memory vivid but the alcohol does not help. I am remembering. I am writing. I am talking to you. Your smile returns. The picture becomes clearer. But I still cannot see your face. The room starts to fade. It is just the two of us, seated by the bar, looking at each other. We are playing a game. Who will yield first? Stir Crazy disappears. We are on stools, hanging on to our drinks. I hang on to my rhum coke like the memory of this moment that is slowly disappearing.

It’s midnight. The place is about to close. I tell you that it's already my birthday. You tell me that you knew before you arrived. You asked me if I wanted to move to another place, where we can have wine. Your treat, you tell me, for my birthday.

Your driver brings us to the wine place, which would become the most significant restaurant in our relationship. I order wine, a Shiraz. I order another. And another. We are on our third bottle now. Everything in between refused to be captured. They escaped and I give up chasing after them. We flirt. We exchange meaningful looks. The meaning has gone with the memories of the rest of the story. We savor the wine. We take it slowly. We drink it like there’s no tomorrow. We contemplate in silence. We laugh out loud at silly jokes. You show me a glimpse of your soul. I hide mine. We finish the bottle. You offer to bring me home.

You car stops in front of our lobby. I am about to get off the car. I remind you of the fake collaboration we are to pursue. I say goodbye. We kiss on the cheeks. I open the car door. I say goodbye again. And just before I step out of the car, I turn back again. I grab your head. I kiss you passionately, like it is the last day of my life.

Happy birthday. You say to me.

Black. I do not know if I am drunk with wine or with the memory of that parting moment.

I stop running and stare at this recollection I have trapped in prose. I let the other memories run wild. It doesn’t matter now if I don’t catch any more of them. I caught the most important one.

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