Movement comes in from the water like smoke. Life wades out into the lake like fog and is forgotten.
"Have you ever watched water ripple near the edge of a lake?" she said this to me as if we had been talking for hours. In actuality we hadn't spoken in months. I had not heard one word out of her mouth or read one letter from her pen. It was as if she had never existed and as if I had wronged or erred.
"Excuse me?" I looked straight ahead into my periodical without turning to the seat next to me.
"Water, when it ripples close to the shore, looks like smoke. It looks like smoke if you can't see the rest of the lake. Take your hand and put it over your right eye and look at the ripples without seeing the rest of the lake. It will look like early morning for lifting off the surface."
"There's no lake here. Where do you see a lake?"
"I never saw a lake. I never had to."
At that moment I lifted my head and turned next to me. Obviously, there was no one there. I was speaking out loud. On a napkin on the pull out tray that are so neatly kept in the back of train seats, there was writing.
I LOVED YOU. YOU NEED TO LET ME GO.
I crumpled up the napkin and threw it on the ground. I assumed it was about as real as my conversation.
I held the ladder as you tried to paint the corners of the room. You had your hair in a ponytail and the woman glow about you. Women will love you if you buy them a home. All women want is a place secure enough to produce life. The man they love is inconsequential next to the atmosphere he can provide for her.
Make her laugh. Making a woman laugh is as easy as playing pinball. The rules are simple. Find a common ground. Show some flattery and possibly some dominance as you strike with your first words. A woman finds you lovelier if you are frail to only her.
You kept dropping paint on the blanket used to cover the floor. You were stretching so I could see your ribs extend in order to brush the hardest places to reach in the room. You dabbed and covered and wiped the sweat off of your brow. The smiles you had were masked in a diligent workmanlike face. You loved. You had your life. I merely held the ladder.