Like the Chorus Repeating
“Midnight mass doesn’t start at midnight,” you say, and I look at my wrist where my watch should be but isn’t. Staring at the white outline where the sun has not tanned my skin, the place an overpriced timepiece you gave me for turning 40 should be resting, ticking, passing precision seconds, clicking, clicking, comforting, I am out of sorts, confused and unable to speak. “I even gave you the paper, slipped the note into your wallet, reminding you. Ten o’clock.”
I see the words come out of your mouth like speech bubbles in comic strips, words that fit the shape, that hyphenate themselves in all the right places. “It’s like you don’t ever listen (first bubble, move to the second panel), like I can’t ever trust you to do any-thing (a third). I needed you to be here, need-ed you by me.”
In another reality I stealthily step forward and press my lips to yours. The suddenness, unexpected from a usually predictable me takes you off guard and for a moment you struggle, almost pull back, but like in all good movie kissing scenes, you want this and your mouth and mine find our rhythm. Rain falls from a December sky, soaking our hair, running your make-up. Your breathing comes in loud forceful pushes and as this moment slips from anger, frustration, to pleasure and passion. Music pours from a passing car, then lingers, getting louder. The song, which instantly becomes our song, speaks to our blended hearts, we are one. Days later you play it for me, downloaded from the website of the artist herself. The best .99¢ you ever spent. Her voice the same pitch as yours, near the same range. I tell you that you sing it better and you press your lips close to my ears, whisper-singing. We melt.
Back on the steps leading up to the church, stained glass dingy with coal soot, diesel fuel residue, shells and dried yolks, you are still talking, still berating me, which I deserve, which I allow.
“What I want to know is this,” and the crowd pours out of the now open double doors, your voice muted by the out-pour of music and mumbling, the choir singing the final verses of some worship song or other, the birth of Christ, the need to constantly offer tribute, constantly feel less than, I am grateful for the bubbles that again form over your head.
“Why does my love mean so little to you?”
No hyphen needed.