Sunday, October 18, 2009

Dappled Sunlight Reunion

The bus finally finished its drawn out meander of northern Sydney backstreets and came to a stop outside the Humanities faculty building. Its windows were already lit by office lights of early-rising professors. They were like eyes, their contemptuous fluorescent gaze boring through my manila folder-seeing the mediocre research essay I was about to submit.
I dropped it into the Philosophy 255 pidgeonhole. Two thousand words of poorly contstructed arguments, and quotes crudely ripped from Foucalt at 3 AM fall into the blackness, rustling as they hit the bottom. No longer would it plague my consciousness-for two weeks at least, when it would return to me in a tutorial with a large red “P” on it.
I checked my phone. 9:30. My history lecture was hours away. I went to the small park beside the library, a favourite relaxing spot of mine between classes. I lay down in the dappled canopy formed by two london plane trees, surrendering myself to a weariness borne of two successive all-nighters.
I drifted in and out for twenty minutes, opening my eyes at intervals to the warm september sun shining down through bright green leaves. My dozing is interrupted by a presence immediately beside me, and the sound of breathing. I opened my eyes and was startled by my discovery. Caitlin is lying beside me in the park, just like we used to. She was staring at me, with that quizzical pouty smile of hers.
I take the time to compose myself “Caitlin. What brings you here?”
“Linguistics essay. I was walking back from the Psychology department and saw you in your usual spot. It'd be rude of me not to say hi.”
“Okay. Thanks” I said neutrally.
She slid closer to me, putting her head under my chin. Her hair was warm and glossy from the sun, and I could feel her small breasts pressing against my arm. Almost automatically I drew my arms around her.
“That's odd, you never used to do that before. You would get really tense when I did this” she murmered into the hollow of my neck.
“I was worried that Simon would see us”
“Why? We were never seeing each other, it was just casual.”
I chuckled“All those bitter fights you had weren't exactly the hallmark of Friends With Benefits. Where is Simon these days, anyway”
“He's in Townsville. I don't know why. He never picks up his phone.” She sighed “I've done a lot of thinking lately. I hurt you, and I'm sorry. I liked you the whole know that. I just have a fucked up way of expressing my feelings.”
I say nothing
“Nick, I really think you've been the one thing missing from my life. We both had feelings for each other...maybe we should start exploring them more”
“How will it be different this time?”
“I'm a different person. I'll work really hard to change for you. I promise”
I had been happy in the three months that separated out last meeting in which we had a huge row over the phone. I hung up on her mid sentence, and yet afterward I felt positively liberated. But my psychological resolve was already crumbling, and old feelings were pushing through. I wanted to kiss her. I wanted her body. But most of all, I wanted to believe everything she just said.

1 comment:

WT said...

Simply fantastic...I can relate to it in every way.
Please write a book Mr Rice.