Traffic Lights


A/N: One of my most favorite pieces I've ever written. I've been reading Faulkner; can you tell? And; ; ;
does it make sense to you?
Dedicated to Daren, Louise, and myself (hah. Why do authors never dedicate to themselves?), because we're all currently in this situation.
This is what the shrinks call unhealthy obsession, a flitting fancy hiding behind a passing glance.

The day is gone and I am passing, passing. The rush of cars streak blurry rainbows across my face, and my hair, oh my hair is being whipped away into the wind. The streetlights change, casting red, green, gold-amber-exquisite-ah-pain shadows in glowing temperament on the street corner. I have to squint against them, the stars are muted out in this vast hotel expanse.

And he is coming, coming; how did I know he was staying here? Not the Courtyard Marriott, not? But this hotel, this old Victorian frame nobody really cares about?

But they said yes, yes dear, yes darling dear, he is here, along with the team, for a week approximately. That's an estimate and did you hear about the new model Victorian—no? It's supposed to be quite the—that's when I hung up.

Me and my tweed coat in shades of blushing plum, enveloped with the red traffic light in the black of night. And there, there, his car, oh, let me just check my hair. I have to pull out my compact, wave it around my face, to make sure there are no stains or forgotten spinachbetweentheteeth, though all I can really see is a silhouette, with my glowing flyaway wispy hair edged in blonde.

He is dressed in black, oh what vagabonds we seem, etched in dark. And okay, I am standing, a farm girl in a nineteenth-century porch in cotton dress and pinafore, muddy legs, wispy hair, waiting for him. I want him to look at me, but he doesn't. He doesn't ever; I'm not actually sure he knows I exist, but I must exist. Because look, our hair, our hair matches, even if his is corn-rowed and mine is wispy, and our skin, negative glossy picture-prints of each other, and our—our eyes are the same shade, never mind that his is dark and foreboding and mine—

Are just hopeful.

We match so perfectly; doesn't he see?

His hand is unconsciously (yes, it must be unconscious, because I'm still invisible) reaching back towards mine. It closes over my pale fingers, and they're rough, warm, exactly what I pictured. The revolving doors at the front of the hotel swing towards us, and we fit in one, because otherwise our intertwined hands would have been crushedforsure.

The hotel is stuffy, my free hand traces the intricate soft-gold wallpapered ridges as he walks, walks, plush carpet metal box snippets of others' conversations—did you hear about that new restaurant down the street oh yes I hear their grilled salmon is just—please go to the Ferris wheel, the wheel I want to not now dear I'm—moody, well he's been that way ever since Maureen's mother died did you hear oh I didn't what a tragedy—and we're silent, still. I feel a bit unnerved, but he still won't meet my eyes, so I stare at his ring on the hand grasping mine. And then it's out into the orchid-lavender-vases third floor of an unknown planet.

Creak of a lightly oaked door, toasted to perfection, and he doesn't bother turning the lights on, and it's a black fog, all around me. I feel arms, his; they're cold, though his hands, running down my neck, stay warm. And it's about zero o'clock and we're moving, crashing, into a bed frame. All I can think about are stupid details, like: I hope they don't have a waterbed, how eighties would that be? And I wonder if the wallpaper is the same up here.

His face, pressed against mine, didn't I say we fit so perfect, didn't I say? I can't help but shiver, all the same. My tweed coat must be gone. I don't care. His eyelashes are brushing across my lips, my nose, and I almost want to giggle, sharp and cutting, gunshot-wound-in-the-silence. Does he know I'm ticklish? With his insistent lostlittleprince hands pushed at me like that? That I actually hate it when he—and any other guy for that matter—blows in my ear? That I'm self-conscious, five-foot-four, size 5, like watching old fraying movies by myself, sushi-lover?

Sure, there's so much I want to tell him, but no, he's concentrated on other things, I let him, let him, let him. And his lips are making my skin tingle, prickle and I must be getting burned from this white-hot, traffic-light exquisite-amber-gold-pain—

It's forever o'clock now, the mattress sinks under us and I roll over and watch him breathe. His eyes are closed, those devil-lashes sweeping cobwebs from the model-Victorian corners. A little silver ray of moonshine strays across us, illuminating my skin against him, pale, dark, what a contrast, fitting perfectly. I dare a touch across his brow, we melt together. Silvergold, that's what the wallpaper looks like, the sheets milky soft smooth, silky, silvergold and I never want to leave this sloppy, doe-eyed (not that I'd know) rough maple prince; he's, we're silver, gold,

And the silver melts into the gold, gold-amber-pain of the traffic light, and I am squinting, waiting for him, pacing on the brink of Victorian and some lost paradise of yesteryear.