2:55 pm. Chicago.
“What is the truth of you and me?”
The question dangled dangerously in my now-dotted-with-thunderclouds-chat window. My tease had posed it to me rhetorically. As part of a larger point she was trying to make. Yet, I was hung up on the heavily weighted simplicity of the question. My mind flew back to a conversation I’d once had with a 90 year old gentleman. He said to me, “I was taught by poets”, by way of explanation. And now I felt like I was being taught and reprimanded by one myself.
The conversation began ominously enough…My computer dinged. Except this time I was wide awake. The chat window blinked insidiously…
“Have something I want to say to you”
“Sounds serious. Should I put my mufflers on?”, I asked in jest. Always in jest.
And so began the flurry of words strung together that did not bode well with me. They came fast. They came decided. And I was left as the slightly adamant and flummoxed recipient. The head-scratching and hair-tousling ensued. You see…I had been impertinent. In more ways than one. But in only one way out of the many, had it been deliberate. And in that particular instance, my tease had been deliberately impertinent right back.
But here we were. Suddenly the line we had been walking had risen up like an insurmountable wall. My tease felt strange with a stranger. And rightly so… but was I truly a stranger?
“The scales are so tipped!”… I disagreed
“We crossed that line. Together.”… I agreed.
”Till we are not on the same page” …I faltered.
”I can’t spend time censoring my thoughts” …I agreed
”Let me know how you want to play this” … I cringed.
”I am done otherwise” … I disagreed.
Apparently, I was a stranger. And an escape. And now the real world was calling. So was a 5 am wake up call. So off she went through the rabbit hole back again. For the last time.
I then wrote 610 words to her. Pressed Send. There will be an answer? I got up and walked up to my large window and pondered the view that was now deliciously romantic. I turned around, grabbed my jacket and keys, walked out of my apartment and ambled up to the river walk. Inhaling the nippy air. Staring at the reflection of Chicago’s lights on dark waters, I suddenly remembered the very first conversation with my tease when I told her where I live…She said to me, “I love that city. Don’t ask me why.”
And there hunched over a railing watching a passing boat, I did what I do best. Sigh, shake my head and let it be.
We never spoke again.