Out of the Garden: I Love You Nights

A brief glimpse at new work, Out of the Garden. Hope you enjoy.

Sometimes I worry that I will never say “I love you” again and truly mean it.

I look at Freddie and feel a sense of loyalty, yes – gratitude, maybe – but mostly just a dull reminder of obligation. When he, on the very rare occasion he should, look at me, I don’t feel the fire and excitement of attraction, the deep longing of desire, not even an ache to be held.

I had felt all of those things once, in the arms of a colored jazz singer. There was a knowledge in our skins, a roaring awareness of the other’s life. A shift of his weight and I instinctively adjusted to respond. Our bodies moved solely as a call and response to the other; our souls in constant communication.

Even now, though my skin has aged two decades from William’s last embrace, I could feel the flush generating out from the core of my stomach, rising in red heat up my breasts and neck and down towards my soft, swollen womanhood.

I sometimes thought that if I tried hard enough, I would be able to send thoughts to him from across our distance. On rare nights that I allowed myself to think of him, I would close my eyes, conjuring the honey-colored irises that so resembled my own, the full lips spread wide over straight, white teeth, the neatly groomed mustache and eyebrows, and the thick, wavy hair slicked back over his cafe au lait skin. Silently, I would scream his name over and over again, hoping hopelessly that he would hear my yearning and appear before me or that, upon feeling me, he would reply back, assuring me that our love had been true and real and that he still felt it.

The paper said he was to be married again. His third.

On every other night, I pretended that I had never known him, never said “I love you” and had meant it.

I don’t know which nights are worse.

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