Love’s Past Pose
She was absolutely beautiful. Sometimes they would dress her up in summer wear. Shorts, a tank top, and sandals. On those days I would sit beside her feet, caressing her calves, and wondering how the love of my life ended up inside a mannequin.
Ours was a pleasant relationship. She seemed to agree with everything I said and never objected to my weekends away. I guess she was a perfect example of what we call the modern girl. Rigid but versatile, able to maintain both looks and career, a woman who could stand on her own two feet.
I know I idealized her, but enchantment does have its purpose. Beauty is the romantic’s drug, numbing us to life’s baser aspects and providing an intoxication that clouds banality. Some men need power, possessions, and glory. I just needed a pretty face.
I can still remember the subtle tilt of her head, the inviting dip of her right shoulder, the tentative purse of her lips. It was as if she was always just about to say something. What could be on her mind I would wonder? What was going on behind those brilliant blue eyes? They seemed almost unreal.
She wasn’t one to travel. In fact, her stillness was remarkable and probably cultivated by years of meditation. Even her breathing was barely perceptible. I can only imagine the discipline and control necessary to subjugate such a basic function. In a show of solidarity, I tried to learn Zen, but my mind wandered too frequently and too far. I told myself that she possessed enough nirvana for the both of us, that ours was a relationship built upon complementary energies, and that the fusion of yin and yang would keep us together forever.
It didn’t of course. I would find her with other men all the time. And completely nonchalant about it all. Perhaps nirvana dulls one’s compassion. Perhaps it inhibits empathy. A life of detachment might be noble, but it is far from complete.
My new girlfriend is much more engaging. We walk along the city’s avenues holding hands and sharing thoughts. I am continually amazed by the breadth of her emotions and the various shades of her personality. Our discussions run deep and shallow, sometimes frivolous, sometimes profound. She’ll even break a sweat now and then, but it’s something I’ve learned to live with.
Sometimes on our walks, we’ll pass the old storefront and my previous passions will stir. That’s when I tighten my grip, listen for a breath, and taste the perspiration of a tender upper lip.
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