She sat on the corner of her bed, anxiously holding her mobile phone, clutching it with the desperation and hope of a heavy breath and window panes painted with raindrops. She had waited all through breakfast for this moment, and now the phone was heavy with unspoken words, and half smiles glimmering like the sliver of a new moon. He had been added as a contact on her phone almost immediately, but that was prior to this gut grinding, hear wrenching anxiety that snickered, ever watchful, hovering on the outskirts of her mind. It was this beast, this monster of the night, washed grey like the sky, heavy with rain soaked clouds, hanging low that questioned and doubted all her possible introductions. Countless times her trembling fingers had typed a phrase in, attempting to sound cheerful and bubbly (a lie, naturally), but the creature had ate the words, gorging on the pixelated letters and preventing her from pressing 'send'.
She sighed and fell back on her bed leaving her phone to rest, dormant, by her side. She forced herself to ponder all the questions that she ached to ask him,
"What was the tattoo inked on his back?"
"Did he have any siblings?"
But all of them were obvious questions, and she didn't want to be obvious with him, she wanted to be different and exhilarating, and exciting. She wanted to light up his eyes with a light of birthday cake candles , she wanted him to call her 'mysterious' again (she knew it wasn't true, or at least she was half certain, but she'd let him think whatever he wanted, as long as she was different), but still she yearned to ask such simple questions, plain, lacking imagination, yet they were all she wanted to know. Well, not all; she wanted to know what nebula made his eyes such a lush green, and who or what had caused the scar above his lip, she wanted to know if he realised the affect his voice, deep and rich like roasted coffee, had on the golden hairs, so unassuming, that graced the nape of her neck and arms. But really she wanted to know everything about him, she wouldn't care if he sat in front of her for the rest of what remained of her life and told her of the totally true and unadulterated occurrences that made up his life. She wouldn't call it love, or infatuation (it was far too early for that) not even a crush, more a fascination, a curiousness, about him. Not don't get it wrong, Lola cared about him, liked him even, especially the way he couldn't sit still, or the way his entire face changed when he smiled, and how when he laughed and threw his head back she could see a hidden mole that resided on his neck. She liked the way he used long words to describe ordinary things, or even the way he described bad things so beautifully. She just wanted to know more about him, understand such a curious creature better, of course she wanted him to like her but she didn't yet understand how much, or why she noticed such little things (things that others didn't), she just didn't know and wouldn't know (just yet) what it all meant.
So she kept the blizzard of questions inside her, leaving them to rattle her insides like marbles in a teacup, and closing her eyes; texted.
Before she could change her mind, before the creature could snatch the words out from under her, she pressed send, and breathed out long and deep, her breath curling in invisible waves like a dragons maw. She had barely waited an impatient minute before her phone buzzed against her leg. She waited for a second, but the buzzing continued, and she realised that it wasn't a text (the tone was far too long, infinitely so) a bright grin lit up her face, painting it radiant as she answered, a tremulous
She lingered on the word, her breath pushing it out of her parted lips, hinting on a laugh.
God he sounded sleepy, sleepy of all things, and somehow it triggered her smile to light up in a more radiant light.
"I thought you'd never call."
He continued, God, she loved his honesty.
"Well. Here I am!"
She giggled slightly, and although she mentally kicked herself for her idiocy, she could feel him smirking from the other end.
"Here you are indeed. Lying on your bed "like a patient, etherised upon a table." "
There was a pause, and she wished hard on the stars, hidden by the sky so bright, shining blue with possibilities, that she knew where he was quoting from.
He seemed able to read her mind, and answered her unspoken question,
"It's from my favourite my poem, 'The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock.'
"Can you recite some, just a little bit? "
She didn't use to like poetry, but of recent (all because of him) she was open to the possibility.
"Only if you sing for me."
She laughed, and it trickled off into a quite, hiccupping, snigger.
"I have no idea why your laughing, I am utterly serious."
She shook her head, and turned her face into her pillow.
"Please? I'll sing for you another time."
"Only because you asked so nicely, but, you have you to promise me that you'll sing for me before my birthday."
"When's your birthday?"
God she was going to have to think so hard about what she would sing. She could hardly believe that she was considering agreeing to his terms. Nobody heard her sing, nobody, excepting her Mother and Adelle, and Adelle had been an accident.
God that was just over a month away.
"Ok, if you really want."
"Jesus, am I actually agreeing to this?" She wondered to herself. "Yes. Yes you are." she continued, her thoughts a jumble.
"Brilliant! I won't forget it."
He sounded sincere, somehow it made her smile grow bigger, although it was smothered by her pillow.
"Alright then, hit me with it." She turned onto her back again, and closed her eyes, awaiting the poem.
"It's long, so I'll recite as much as I can remember."
He sounded nervous, and was definitely stalling.
"Uh huh, get on with it." she murmured.
He cleared his throat, and she became aware of him ruffling his hair, and rubbing the back of his neck.
"Let us go then, you and I,
When the evening is spread out against the sky
Like a patient etherised upon a table;
Let us go, through certain half-deserted streets,
The muttering retreats
Of restless nights in one- night cheap hotels
And sawdust restaurants with oyster shells:
Streets that follow like a tedious argument
Of insidious intent
To lead you to an overwhelming question…
Oh, do not ask, "What is it?"
Let us go and make our visit.
In the room the women come and go
Talking of Michelango.
The yellow fog that that rubs its back against the window-panes,
The yellow smoke that that rubs its muzzle on the window panes
Licked it's tongue into the corners of the evening
Lingered upon the pools that stand in drains,
Let fall upon its back the soot that falls from chimneys
Slipped by the terrace, made a sudden leap,
And seeing that it was a soft October night,
Curled once about the house, and fell asleep.
And indeed there will be time…
For the yellow smoke that slithers…wait not, slides, no slips… um I can't remember anymore.
He sounded genuinely sorry and there was a silence as Lola reflected, floating on the remaining shadowy whispers of the ghosts of words that he'd only uttered a moment ago.
"I can remember the end line though."
He didn't wait for her to ask him to continue, something she was glad for, as she was certain she would never speak again.
"We have lingered in the chambers of the sea
By sea-girls wreathed with seaweed red and brown
Till human voices wake us, and we drown."
There was silence, and Lola breathed out.
"That was… indescribably beautiful."
"I'm so glad you appreciate it."
She wondered momentarily, briefly if she was right in thinking that her opinion mattered to him, at least in this one aspect. But she stopped pondering this swiftly, as they spoke into noontime, the world passing them by unnoticed to them, as though they existed in a separate dimension, exclusive to each other.
And it was only on the phone that she mustered the courage to tell him that he had a poetic way of speaking, that even his texts were written with a beautiful elegance, possessed by no other but himself. She wondered where she'd discovered this courage, contemplating it's source, maybe it was the way he laughed unabashedly, unapologetically at her feeble jokes and asked seemingly pointless questions like, "what flavour was the birthday cake for her 12th birthday?"
Just so he could know the little things about her, but wherever it came from it spurred her on further to ask,
"You should be a writer, have you ever thought about it?"
There was a pause, and for a moment, Lola thought he'd gone, leaving her question unanswered and the crackle of the line snapping in her ear.
"How is it that you can read me so easily when you are an enigma, impossible to decode to me."
He paused, breathing out and Lola wandered if the vulnerable waver in his breath was of her imagination.
"Yes. You could say it's my dream, though most people don't know it. That's why your so extraordinary Lola, you can see straight through everyone else's walls like they don't even exist, but yours are so palpable, so tangible and so solid that not a soul can glimpse the garden that flourishes behind those cold walls of concrete."