"From this hour I ordain myself loos'd of limits and imaginary lines, going where I list, my own master total and absolute, Listening to others, considering well what they say, Pausing, searching, receiving, contemplating, Gently, but with undeniable will, divesting myself of the holds that would hold me."
Walt Whitman (1819-92)
"When I look back now over my life and call to mind what I might have had simply for taking and did not take, my heart is like to break."
Akhenaton (d. c.1354 BC)
And now, the current weather, from some random person we pulled off the street:
Friday, January 28, 2005
mo-ment Function: noun
Etymology: Middle English, from Middle French, from Latin momentum movement, particle sufficient to turn the scales, moment, from movEre to move
1 a : a minute portion or point of time : INSTANT b : a comparatively brief period of time
2 a : present time b : a time of excellence or conspicuousness
3 : importance in influence or effect
4 : places in your memory where you can make an X mark, saying "You were here."
I wonder how long it really takes a person to make a lasting change in themselves.
Of course, events outside of us can change us as rapidly as a hammer does a piece of glass, and that isn't what I'm talking about here. No, I'm thinking of those instants we can call to mind where our stream of thought changed, and we came out the other side of that instant forever different.
Is it really that sudden? Or is it just the breaking out of the chrysalis, a freeing of something that has been in our subconscious for a long time?
And once turned, once our direction has changed, it can take a while for the rest of us to follow, just like a dog on a slippery floor.
The floors in Dino's that night were sticky, not slippery. They were always sticky, with the cloying layer of spilled and evaporated beer piled up for years. That didn't stop anyone from dancing though.
And there was this one girl, just awesome. Hot with a capital "H". Blonde, killer body that could just make men weep, and she was wearing a way-too-tight silk shirt and boot leg jeans that looked like they were painted on her.
She had been on the dance floor for some time, trying to clog but mostly just careening back and forth. Her drunk level was maybe an eight out of ten; another beer or two and she wouldn't even be careening any more.
Her date finally got completely fed up with her and left. I saw my chance and moved in like a car grabbing the last parking space in the whole world.
Her name was Susan. She was, I believe, a secretary. She was a couple of years older than me...like that mattered at all, especially right then. I was in full predator mode.
It felt good, it had been a while.
Eventually, like all nightclubs in Southern towns on a Saturday night, Dino's closed. Last call was announced, we all drank our last beers, and people started heading for the door.
"Can you give me a ride home?" Susan said.
"Of course. Do you live alone?"
"No, I live with my parents."
I hadn't considered that. My dorm room wasn't going to work either. We got into my car and in about two seconds we were making out.
Five minutes or so later, we came up for air. "I have a friend," she said. "She's having a party tonight. Let's go there."
"Just tell me where," I said.
We headed into a part of Greenville that I had never been to before, a part that seemed filled with apartment buildings. She gave me directions as we went.
"OK, stop here, park right there," she said. I went around quickly and opened her door for her. She really liked that. You could tell that the guys she normally went out with didn't do that.
It's the little things. I always paid attention to them, they made the game so much better if it was done right.
She dragged my hand firmly and pretty much dragged me down the sidewalk to her friends apartment, smiling the whole way like a kid that was about to get some candy.
I began to wonder if I wasn't the only predator out that night. Then, one look at her, and I didn't care. Catch me, eat me, I'm the best there is.
The door to the apartment opened, and it was filled from wall to wall with people all talking at the top of their lungs, like people do at parties like that one. Everybody had a drink, and I wanted one too, but Susan never lost her momentum and we plunged into the crowd.
She stopped and said something to a girl, who pointed to a door on the far side of the room.
"Come on," Susan said. I followed.
The door led to a bedroom with a big king size bed in the middle of it. Susan closed the door and locked it.
We were on the bed in a heartbeat.
'Yes!' I was thinking.
She started peeling off her clothes as quick as she could grab them, almost in a frenzy. Not wanting her to feel out of place, I did the same.
Then, and this is where the Moment comes in, she lay there, blonde hair spilling over the pillow, legs from here to next year, wondrous, an incredible creature, everything a man could have dreamed of, and said something I will never forget until I die.
"Is...is this what you really want?"
No one had ever, ever asked me that before. Especially at that moment.
And, since when did what I wanted make a hill of beans of difference?
What did I want? I mean, really?
I looked her right in the eyes, and as God is my witness, I said "No, it isn't."
She smiled, and it seemed like she teared up a bit.
I helped her get dressed, and dressed myself too. We headed out to my car and sat and talked until the sun came up. I couldn't tell you what we talked about, but somehow it was more intimate than any physical contact I had ever experienced.
She was somehow vindicated, I think, by the fact that at least one person did not see her as just a piece of meat in a market. And I was amazed at myself that I had the reaction I did.
At that moment I realized that I needed something deeper than just the fly by night encounters I had for so long. That there was more to life than just taking advantage of people, than tricking people, than preying on people.
And, what I really, really wanted was to find that something.
Susan and I went out a couple of times, then she met a local guy that seemed really nice and treated her well. I was glad for her.
But, inside I had this hole that I hadn't realized I had before. Or, maybe, it was an old wound re-opened.
Yes, that was it.
I was lonely. Plain and simple.
And casing the bars wasn't going to fix it either. No, I needed something more permanent than I could find there. Some one more permanent.
Just a couple of weeks later, I suddenly thought I had found her. And I am sure that she curses that day as the most ill fated day of her life, and she would be right.
How helpless we are, like netted birds, when we are caught by desire!