A spot of fiction
She runs her hand across the counter to the place where she drops her keys as soon as she comes home. There's a little Pyrex cup, like the ones you might get condiments in at a decent restaurant, where she puts her rings. He doesn't live with her, but he's visiting. He comes over all the time. She seldom likes his place. She says she'll get over it someday. He plays acoustic guitar. But he can't play for her.
She told him all about it, about the other man, the one she swore she wouldn't fall for because he was a musician. She can still listen to acoustic guitar, but not when someone plays for her. That's all he wants to do, because he knows how much she likes folk music. That's what got them talking to begin with, some show. Even then, when he was standing next to her and she was smiling with her eyes closed, he knew she was also thankful at how safe the music was, because it was never going to be about her. Even though she's told him how long it's been since the other man and he keeps forgetting, he knows it's already been too long, that she hasn't let go of it, that something must have really gone wrong in that song, whatever song he made for her.
Tonight they do what she calls "New York at home," some montage of stereotypes she's seen from too many movies made in that city. They eat Chinese food and pore over magazines on her floor, all different kinds: sports, fashion, home decorating, architecture, even a Penthouse Letters that got mixed in when they went out to Tower that afternoon to buy them. They chew and hold the little waxed cardboard boxes under their chins, pointing and laughing at the glossy pictures. Her carpet is creamy white and thick, their bare feet flexing.
Later he will hold her, but she won't know he's holding her like a guitar, since she doesn't play and wouldn't know what it feels like to be a guitar anyway. It's his compromise, so he can show her something without showing her. So her breathing becomes the chords, the lines in her face the strings, the hourglass of her body against him.
This is sometimes how easily we can forgive.