Tonight's fog has me writing about the past. Names have been omitted, you'll know who I have to get off my chest - I put that in there for you but the rest of this is for me. I hope you're ready for this because here comes everything. During my youth I was sure that love kept couples warm. Now I understand that you can go to bed with someone, share intimacies, worship their body with your own and come away from the encounter physically satiated yet spiritually empty. Deep inside of me is a person he doesn't know. The day we celebrated my graduation from college Michelle was looking on, watching me, keeping her eye on him and letting me know that she knew how sinful my thoughts were. After she made her oh so dramatic entrance I ran upstairs to cry for a couple minutes.

Leaving him was going to be difficult even though I knew that severing the invisible bond that linked me to him would be good for me. Later that evening I indulged my weaker side. Writing is reliving the past Dan. It's remembering him leaving my party without his girlfriend, his arm draped around my sister while he kissed the pout off of her lips. More than eight hours passed before I saw a light in his room. Thirty minutes later I opened the door that would take me to him. Seconds later I tripped over the jeans he had been wearing. Now my hand was damp and sticky although curiously his room didn't smell like vomit. Castles I had built in the midnight sky crumbled as I tried to straighten his jeans so they wouldn't stain the carpeting. Suddenly there were two of us standing in front of his dresser.

Knowing that he slept naked had me backing away from him. If he had pawed at me I would have shoved him away. I didn't know what to do when he leaned against the dresser to kiss the top of my head (update: he was wearing boxers so get your mind out of the gutter Danny boy). He mumbled something I didn't quite catch because my ear was against his warm bare chest. Our lips met at precisely the same time my inhibitions receded. Somehow we made it to his bed. I fell against it half listening to him murmuring. Arousal swept through my body yet my mind remained separate from the woman clutching his soft white sheets. Alcohol perfumed his unslurred words further intoxicating me. Beneath my shirt my heart embarrassed me.

Boldly I considered grabbing him. Everything I had read suggested that men liked agrressive women but I was too shy to try it. Those were the thoughts the real me was thinking while the naughty girl on the bed demanded more from the man covering her. His fingers thrust inside of me when he asked if I had ever done this before. I tried pulling him closer, loving the way his body was pressing into mine. At that moment I didn't care about anything other than the way he was reaching for me. In his arms I was safe, he had always loved me; sexual intercourse would be a mutual extension of the love we shared. It hurt when he went inside, more than I thought a pleasurable act could. Once I started crying he stopped what he had been doing. That coupled with him passing out ruined the rest of what I had imagined would be a magical night.

It wasn't until he invited me to be his platonic guest at a conference in Vancouver that the subject came up again. One of his hygienists was supposed to be there except Dave fired someone so she stayed at home to work. You wouldn't believe how much time I spent getting ready for a meal that I barely tasted. During our luncheon he treated me like we were on a date and not our first one either. On the way back to the hotel we saw a kissing couple ignoring the cross walk signals. His arms were wrapped around her, he was kissing her the way I've dreamed of being kissed: publicly, uncaring of what others might think. We were watching them embrace when I turned into that girl. Breathlessly we ran all the way back to his room laughing and smiling at each other. Afterwards he fell asleep, recriminations ran through me, they flooded my head and trickled down my icy spine when I realized that the words of love I wanted to hear had never been spoken.

I grabbed my bag, stuffed my clothes inside and ran to Seattle knowing that Brent and Fern wouldn't ask questions if I showed up needing a place to stay. Fern was home alone when I rang her doorbell. She hugged me as hard as she could, both of us had a good cry in Brent and Fern's bed after I told her what had happened. Brent wasn't there but his pillow still smelled a little like him which made me cry harder. Later on Fern told me she almost shut the door in Brad's face but he was her guest and unlike my unexpected arrival his was planned. After supper I told him I was sorry for running away. He shrugged off my apology by explaining that he understood my need for freedom. That wasn't why I ran but I didn't want to break our reunion while he was kissing me. Our eventful day ended with me getting tipsy while we stayed up talking to Fern. It was like the good old popcorn and movie nights down in Jim and Rita's basement only this time I was a part of the inner touching, loving, hugging circle.

The rest of the week passed so quickly I didn't have time to think or write. Fern filled our days with must see Seattle tourist attractions. At night we went to watch Brent play. He makes more money now but I miss seeing the old Brent up close from dusty bleachers. Sitting in box seats sequesters you from the players, the days of hanging out at a bar where I knew his friends and they knew me are long gone. I met Brent's friend Ricky, Ricky's wife Alicia and I got to hold his neighbor Christian's newborn baby girl while Brent made an awesome play that I almost missed. He looks really good, he's tan and his hair is bleached out in front. I was crying tears of joy when he hugged me after his game. Both Brent and Fern spoiled me rotten. They made meals that I liked and they made what I wanted a priority; contemplating that led to a new happiness revelation. 

I'm happier when I'm with people I love who love me back. Love spreads, it grows, I knew about the serious part of sex but I didn't know how much fun it could be to sneak off in the middle of the afternoon when no one else could lay claim to your time. I want to think that I did my part to spread love when I was out in Seattle. Being with Brent and Fern made me hungry for the closeness they have. For three splendid days I tasted what it was like to share the air that someone I love breathes. Thursday morning I woke up early. No one else was up so I decided I'd get some laundry done. Fern bought me some new clothes, she reminds me so much of the good side of Rita, the maternal nurturing side that knows her little boy needs a hug and crying girls who show up univited are fed, clothed and understood. When I got back from my walk Brad was gone. Hastily I gathered my things, dashed off a note to Brent and Fern thanking them for a lovely visit and left my cab driver a good tip for letting me cry my way to the airport.

By the time I was back in Scotland most of the tears were gone. Brent and Fern called me but I kept the conversation light. Their voices carried sweet and sour memories thousands of miles and I learned an important lesson, you can never hide from yourself or people who really, truly, honestly love you. Today was a sunny day, the plants in my window box are thriving. It rained most of the time I was out in Seattle but I was happier there than I am now. The last time Brent called I gave him my side of the story. He told me that Brad thought I had left for good on Thursday morning which wouldn't have happened had I forsaken my dirty laundry in favor of breakfast in bed with him. Now sunbeams strike my window but their light can't clear the rain inside my head.

The other day I called Brad thinking that if I explained what had happened I could make things right between us. I didn't want to call, you know how cowardly I've always been and how much he intimidates me. I ended up having an okay conversation with him. The people I stayed with in Germany are going to have dental and orthodontic work done while they're visiting America. I talked to him about that, he mentioned the trip to Ireland but since I spent most of what I had saved going to Seattle I can't afford any more vacations. Rita told me that Dave has a new girlfriend, she also mentioned that Brad and Gretchen walked around the zoo holding hands, if only he hadn't been pressed for time during our ninety minute conversation he could have told me about that himself.

My new plan is to completely avoid him unless it's absolutely necessary to speak with him in which case I will be poised, informative, nonchalant and brief. If I can do that then I'll have won only without him the victory seems hollow. Here every day is the same. Scotland has a wild beauty all its own. I'm looking forward to seeing Brent and Fern in October but if Brent brings Brad I'm going to cut my time here short. Friends of Brent and Fern's call Colombia home while they attend school in the Pacific Northwest. Her brother plays soccer with Fern's brother DJ. They said I'd be welcome to visit their native land even if they weren't there to show me around.

The night before I left Washington Brent and Fern invited them over. We had a great conversation about their lives and North American experiences. Both of them are young, strong, healthy and beautiful. Their eyes are warm, their smiles dazzling and they were very nice to me even though I speak their language poorly. This evening I took a long damp walk before I started writing. The other letters in my bag are addressed to people I met in Seattle, currently I'm wandering paper streets searching for your address. Others have moved on but I have not forgotten you. One must look for the bright spots in life Dan. Tomorrow is another day, the sun will go on rising in the east and setting in the west. It is true that I have wonderful things in my life and if I keep telling myself that life is good maybe someday it will be. Sending you my love even though I know you're no longer alive to read this.

Missing you terribly; wishing life was otherwise,

Lana Renee Schwartz

P.S. I wrote this for you because I knew you would understand.


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