I come back from a walk under the flicker of stars, and there she is, Lucy, in the pool of soft light - a candle's glow - sitting in the tub, before her novel, an Austen, I believe, though I don't know anymore, for our lives have grown distant in a quiet way. She turns when I kiss her. It's been five and a half years. Five years; all I get is cheek. She spends her nights in yellow-paged books, and I sit on the porch, watching the night sky, blowing smoke-ghosts like clouds.
But on this night, I try something different. "I want you," I say, tilting my beer bottle to her. "I want to make love, Lucy, to you," I say.
She turns, frowns, and again, the cheek.
But something about her seems different this time: she appears still, like a wax statue; her face glistens, wet, and it is in these things - the bone-white lifelessness of her empty eyes, for example - that I realize there are things I'll never know about her, and I think of all those scientists, astronomers, who spend years, birth to death, staring into the black, infinite and universal, hoping to finally, someday - one day, any day - find life, find it peering back, waiting.
31 July 2014