Tuesday, May 03, 2005

The Third Date

Published in Serenelight

Shiv is fond of saying that he is left where magic realism meets Haiku and remembers having mentioned this to Joie. Consider, "My wife drives to the pharmacy for Advil. Dark is the night and in it she melts. Her side of the bed turns cold like death."

He was meeting her for the third time, sitting in a shaded corner of Tia's Tapas Bar on Lover's Lane. The sky is brilliantly blue and the heat unforgiving.

Her eyes follow the movement of his fingers as he spoons some of his Jalapeno Souffle on to her plate. If he has signaled intimacy she has noticed.

"So did she never come back again ?" she asks twirling her straw in the drink.

"No, never. It's like I said - she seemed to have melted in the night. Almost like those stories about alien abductions. Maybe she was one of them " He looks up and laughs heartily. "I could hold forth on the endlessly fascinating topic of what is to get it from an alien. Talking of which - she was wildly adventurous in bed."

"Is that why you miss her ?" Joie asks matter of factly.

"Part of why not wholly why. We're not here to talk about her are we ?" Shiv says

"Maybe and maybe not. Sometimes the past provides context for the present relationship" she says " I would not declare this date a complete disaster just because we talked about her" she adds with a laugh.

"I have to admit that I am more curious about her since she left than I was ever before. Disappearing like she did turned her rather mysterious - even tantalizing" Shiv says.

"Is that a good thing ?" Joie asks

"Not particularly if I wish to move on. Don't you agree ?" Shiv replies.

"Maybe she wanted to have your attention" Joie says thoughtfully.

"You think so ? Goes to prove how little you know about the person you have been married to ten years until they leave" Shiv says with a sad smile "And we dated three years prior. To your point, I don't think I was inattentive enough to drive her to such desperation. But who knows"

"So what is it about me that interests you ?" she asks breaking away from a train of thought.

"Hey, that almost sounds accusatory" he laughs

"Do you want an honest answer ?" Shiva asks.

"Yes, why not ?" Joie says as she sips her Sangria.

"You are intriguing. I needed something more puzzling to unravel, a character that would draw me in, challenge me more that my wife - post disappearance that is. Somewhat like solving a cryptic cross word puzzle to take a break from a bout of intensely inconclusive thinking. The energy flows in a different path providing relaxation. Does that kind of make sense ?" Shiv asks

"Perfectly. I'm not sure how I should feel about that" she says

"Try enchanted maybe." He smiles.

"I would except that I think you are an escapist. Instead of trying to detach yourself from her allure and mystique you are looking for a sensory overload that will numb your senses." Joie says.

"That's one way of looking at it. I don't think I am trying to escape. When someone leaves after thirteen years like she did they leave a void behind. All memories are depleted from the shock of it. I can't escape emptiness, I can only hope to fill it." Shiv says "Would you like to go somewhere after lunch?" he asks

"Where would you like to go ?" Joie asks.

"You have a crumb on your lip" Shiv says "Where ever you like. Some place quiet where we could talk would be nice" he adds

Joie wipes her mouth with the napkin "Gone ?" she asks

"Not yet. Just displaced" Shiv laughs

"Now ?" she tries again

"No. May I ?" he offers. She shrugs ambivalently as she checks her bag to see if she is carrying the powder compact with a mirror. She is not.

The firm touch of his finger on her lower lip is too short to leave a sensory after taste. She finds herself looking at the coppery brown stain of her lipstick that his finger leaves on glass. He notices. "Nice shade. Works great with the color of your eyes" he observes.

"Thank you" she smiles. "Would you like to go to a park ? I have a favorite spot by the lake that's really peaceful" she asks. Shiv picks up at the tab completely ignoring her protests. "I am trying to guilt-trip you into asking me over to your place for dinner" he jokes.

"Do you come her often ?" he asks Joie as they sit down on a wooden bench.

"Yes. I love to watch the teals come home at dusk. Anything I read sitting here remains with me for a long time. Strange because my memory is like a sieve and I struggle to remember" Joie says

"Can I ask you something ?" he asks

"Sure" she replies

"Do you think it is possible to overcome fear of loss ?"he asks

"Yes. Maybe you would have to loose a second time and be aware of that fact that you are loosing. The big part of fear comes from having being unprepared to loose. Haiku meeting magic realism cannot be very life-like" Joie says.

"Joie, I feel like I have found a real friend in you. If I overcame my fear I would fall in love I know" Shiv says reaching out to hold her hand.

"Shiv I am not at the right time in your life for love. You need a conscious loss before you can love again. Having overcome many losses already I am now ready for love. You and I don't intersect. We are the right people for each other but at the wrong time" Joie says sadly. "I need to get back now. I didn't realize it was so late" she says glancing at her watch

"Does that mean I won't see you again ?" Shiv asks as she gently frees her hand from his.

"No, it means I will see you many more times. We will be in love, you will be ready for loss because you relate love to loss. In the end you will choose loss. It will set you free." Joie says with a smile.

"Wouldn't you be hurt ?" he asks.

"I think I will leave with beautiful memories. Like my lipstick on your finger and on a glass of wine that's not mine - memories that will be borne over to their resting place through love and loss" she replies.

"No good night kiss, Joie ?" Shiv asks as he draws her close to him.

"Don't you want my allure to persist longer ?" she teases as she frees herself " Good night, Shiv."

Joie melts into the night
Departed Love seeking
To intersect with Loss.


Sumita said...


That was a beautiful story......I know someone I should send this to.. but on second thoughts... dont want to offend.

Wow!! You do write beautifully......

Heartcrossings said...

Thanks, Jiva. Glad to know you enjoyed reading.

Anonymous said...

You write so much that i hardly have read any of your peices with interest, but this one somehow tasted good.

Before i begin, outta sheer curiousity, i've seen ppl sip coffee outta cups with straws for stainless teeth, but wine? :)

Totally admire the dynamics both characters bring to the table. While Shiv's witty and outgoing, Joie is thoughtful(very) and practical.

>>>>Instead of trying to detach yourself from her allure and mystique you are looking for a sensory overload that will numb your senses." Joie says

Loved this comment from her. So true, sometimes with both men and women. Sensory overload i'll remem. that...

A very smart woman and must love her for the decision she made.
Made a good read, nicely written.
will pay attention to ur future peices :)

Heartcrossings said...

Maltova - sensory overload from me writing too much perhaps :-) I'm just making up for many years that I did not write at all though it has always been a passion.

Sumita said...

" I'm just making up for many years that I did not write at all though it has always been a passion."

LOL!! I can see that....

( coz I am in the same boat)

buckwaasur said...

i'm trying to admire the tale u spun...but i can't seem to get beyond the feeling that there's been a deliberate attempt to sound deep that doesn't ring true for me...it's like watching the more recent star wars installments or the second and third parts of the matrix...:-)

Heartcrossings said...

Buck - Very interesting observation :-) Though, honestly depth was the last thing attempted. Just a story of people not coming together at the right time in their lives. Time makes all the difference. That said, very interesting you thought what you did.

bleu said...

I honestly thought this was extremely well written. But it also made me aware of why I hate to read philosophical drawl in any narration that happens explicitly - they have long sentences.

loves the bit about melting in the night.

yet another1 said...

That was a lovely piece - had a very languid feel to it.

and count me in on the same catching-up-with-writing boat :)

buckwaasur said...

hi hc...it must just be my imagination then...i don't have anything against the premise of the story...but it was the actual content of the conversations that felt weird to me for some reason...

Priyamvada_K said...

Liked the ending.


Heartcrossings said...

Buck- believe me when I say that , real people do talk that way sometimes. I've known a few in my time :-)Feels wierd at first and then you get used to that pattern.

Priya/YA1 -Thanks !

SeaSwallowMe said...

hey crossings, nice !

felt like this meeting was going to turn out to be nothing more than of the passing-ships variety. nice touches here & there. easy to be a bystander, but you feel like being one of those cell-phone buddies - you know ?? .. the kind who's recruited to call the dater/datee about an hour into the dinner, and offer an escape hatch. the guy needed that, sorely. the only thing missing was a big road sign in front of him that said .. "SLIPPERY WHEN WET".

Heartcrossings said...

:-) SSM. So that's the man's perspective on the situation ? Gives me food for thougt for sure. Talking of the cell-phone buddy , I sure needed one when I was suffering K2 of the 3K blog-post fame in stoic silence.

SeaSwallowMe said...

LOL, crossings !!

surely, not "the man's perspective". just "a man's perspective" ... i don't believe in convenient buckets, you see ? :-P

and ROTFL - i'm glad to have given you some ammunition for your dating adventures in the future. keep them powder dry, i say :)

Heartcrossings said...

SSM - as Plan B I might set an alarm to go off in 30 minutes from start of date and pretend that it's an emergency at work. Rule of thumb being if 30 minutes is long enough to conclude if date is a "complete disaster"

SeaSwallowMe said...

LOL, crossings - yeah, that's an option too :))

keep us updated though. i'm far removed from the dating game, but it makes for a lot of entertainment from the sidelines :)

FunnyCide said...

the story has a real nice moments in it.. some witty lines too..
"my memory is like a sieve" - I feel this way.. esp with books.. I read a whole lot and I remember some scenes from some book somewhere.. but cannot remember the name/place/author or anything else. That makes it easier cos I can read the same book over and over again.. and wonder on why certain lines are so cliched!!

but, I am going on a tangent!! I liked the story. Very different from your other ones. The other ones are pure blogs, a mishmash of this and that, but this ones got a start, a body and an end. no open endings!! :D

coming back to the content of the story, there is something that I cannot put my finger on.. the characters appear intimate and distant throughout the story.. they are specific and vague.. there is something about it that I dont get.

but the conversation is very alive.. easy to read and follow.. all in all, pleasant read.


Heartcrossings said...

FC - I don't know if I was trying to create a specific mood. I see the confusing mix of intimacy and distance you mention. Maybe it's the interplay of the characters who are not sure whether to forge ahead or retreat. There is a sense of tentative about the whole thing despite obvious mutual attraction. Thanks for reading and the comments!

Beach Bum said...

Hey, this is quite some bit of writing. Very stylish, that languidity with that touch of anything could happen...


cheti said...

HC ... thats a wonderful read !

But, considering a real life situation, it would be so tiring to come up with one loaded answer after another to one loaded question after another ! Wonder how people manage to do that in real life and in real time !!!!!!

Chay said...

this was very nice!!
You should write more creative pieces. :-))

It has a lazy languid feel thru' out. I somehow feel there is a deliberate nonchalance for true emotion. A sort of pronounced nonchalance (do i make sense?)
Perhaps it is an attempt at self preservation...this superficiality. Or am i looking too deep...

loved the 'where haiku meets magic realism' bit...the ending is fitting as well.

write more!!

Heartcrossings said...

BB, Cheti, Chay - thanks for the comments. Nonchalance as a means of self preservation .. it's very well possible though I won't say I had exactly tried to do that. If that effect was produced I guess it worked well with the mood and theme of the story.