Random Feelings in A Conversation About The Weather

by jamesmerolla

Winter is long. Its nights are darker, the sun shines crooked, and the sky mocks us, bluer than the other seasons.

It is full of memories. They’re dancing on the heat pipes, whispering on the snow, and written on red, wind-swept cheeks.

Winter is purgatory, its rooms splashed with the stained glass glow of televisions, where hollow promises are muttered like prayers, and our broken hearts hang like cheap religious sculptures on the walls.

It is the long stare of uncertainty, the loneliness of memories, the place we are most guilty of being human.

I’m meeting Grace tonight. I haven’t seen her in ten years, and I don’t know why she decided to track me down. She’s probably bored, like me.

We met in a brief spat of blissful stupidity. We were two twenty-something kids, enamored with the world and hopeful the bright lights of the future were warm. We had our throes of lust in darkened rooms, secrets stained with cigarette smoke, and giggled promises that didn’t survive the winter.

I don’t remember her very well.

But, I’ll put on my best wrinkled shirt, and remember when my hair was thicker. I’ll be sure to remember my smile, the one I forget so often these days. It’s the one I hope she remembers.

Once more I’ll step into the winter, and give my hopes to the mercy of the wind. I’ll rummage through my broken gaze and find the last spark of my charm in the hopes of luring the want of someone else.

I want to feel another life around me. Just for a little while I want to be rattled with laughter and tickled by the mist of cloudy memories. I want to wonder what someone else is thinking again.

I’m meeting Dennis tonight, and I don’t know why.  I don’t know why I called him. I don’t know why I think about him. But, I can’t wait to see him.

I wonder how much he remembers me. I don’t remember his face very well, or his touch, his kiss, or any specific moment. But, I remember his room, and the knot holes of his wood paneled walls staring at me in the dark. I remember never understanding anything I felt back then, especially how I felt about him.

We were just passing through each other’s lives. Things like that make me angry now. I don’t like the idea of being forgotten, even by someone I barely remember.

I just want to remember something that doesn’t fit. I want a memory that sticks out like a sore thumb against the backdrop of my boredom. I want to make someone feel something again, and I don’t want to have to smile for it. I want to know I’m not done yet.

I suddenly remember her hair being very bright when I see how dull it is now.  It’s a whispery brown, full of frowning curls smudged with the fingerprints of long days.

She smiles when she sees me, and I’m suddenly warmed with a memory of her I had forgotten. The memory itself is smothered and blurred, but her smile rings like church bells through a grey morning.

(awkward greetings)

He’s shorter than I remember. He’s thin, and a little ragged around the edges, like an old fence post.

But his eyes stir memories that reach out like sparks from a fire. Those blue ghosts that once haunted me.

(conversation about time, where does it go, what has changed about us, what has changed about the world)

 

We’re both nervous, trimming the edges off the ends of our sentences.  The warm breath of coffee eases our smiles though.

I keep looking at her hands, thin, chipped, and elegant. What have they seen since me? Who do they love? What face do they touch?

(conversation about coffee)

I wish he’d look me in the eye a little more.

I rehearsed every conversation I wanted to have with him, and now I forget them all.

His smile is sad.

(comment about the cold weather)

I wonder if I’m disappointing her.

I can’t help but think of Holly.

What would she think of this?

I miss her terribly.

(recalling a random memory)

I hope I’m not confusing him with someone else.

I wonder how strange it is that I don’t know this man at all. Am I strange?

I know it would hurt Dale if he knew about this. He’s a good man. He loves me.  But he wouldn’t understand if I showed him how the years have weathered our love.

(conversation about having kids)

I’m a jerk. The smell of Holly’s hair is still on my pillows, and all I can do is distract myself with Grace.

If I wasn’t such a coward I’d pick up the phone and tell Holly I love her.

No, that wouldn’t work. If I wasn’t such a coward she would have never left in the first place.

When Grace and I broke up I was young enough to believe I was better off. But now the pain of losing someone makes the future seem smaller.

(comment about the cold weather)

‘If I knew then what I know now.’

I guess that’s one of the sentiments usually expressed in a moment like this.

I hate that expression, because I hate the idea of change. I want to believe that whatever we feel for someone still exists somewhere replaying itself, waiting to be felt again.

So yes, I do wish I knew then what I know now, because if I had I would have loved everyone in my life enough to feel its ripples through time.

(awkward laughter)

 

I wonder what Grace thinks of me.

I wish I wasn’t aware of how transparent I am.

I wish I still had that confidence from when she knew me best.

I wish I wasn’t so mediocre.

(comment about what could have been)

 

I wonder what secrets of mine Dennis still knows. Who has he shared them with? Or are they lost among all the other secrets, like old pennies at the bottom of a drawer?

I wish he’d repeat one of them to me, just so I knew for certain, someone I wonder about, has wondered about me.

It’s snowing again

(conversation about the snow)

I better go. Dale will be worried about me.

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