thunder thunder lightning ahead
kiss you kiss you dark and long

Yeah. It's cold and dark. So'm I. The tequila's worn off by now, and I'm reminded why I never drink that shit. I've lost the edge it gives, the speed and quickness and the arrogant certainty of myself: a power never used, always held in reserve. It's not false confidence: it's just what I would have if I had all the self-esteem I truly deserve, with no inhibitions to go with it.

I've still got enough of it in my system to notice that I look good: high black boots and black jeans and black leather jacket over a futuristic-looking tabshirt of raw silk, gold-brown hair splayed out just so around blue-green eyes. I only notice that when I've had a few, though I get a lot of attention all the time.

But it's never the attention you want, is it?

No, of course not. There's only one. Of all the women I care about, am friends with, am attracted to; of all the women who hit on me, who slide up to me and nip at my neck at the club, who whisper breathy fire into my ears, my thoughts are never far from her sweet ways and quiet proud beauty.

"...Besides, I'm not exactly looking for a wife right now. A muse. I want a muse," I said last night, over dinner with my roommates, who are a married pair.

"Well, I don't think I've ever met a woman who more perfectly resembles a muse than Jessica," replied Kate.

"Yeah. Yeah, I know..."

She's been a little distant, the last few weeks, since the five gorgeous days we spent truly together. She's been busy with two jobs, her own quiet life and her books. We've spoken a little, and what we have said has been good. But not enough time. It takes me a while to get comfortable being around her. Time, and a few shots of vodka, and I'm calm enough to actually talk to her. I wish I could get over that. Dating a model still wasn't enough to let me entirely conquer my irrational shyness around beautiful women.

Scratch that: I'm fine with beautiful women. It's the beautiful, intelligent, kind, creative ones who send my mind careening into "So, uh, do you live here often?" territory.

"Some people started calling me an angel, once. I was afraid they'd started to believe it," she said, on our first night of drunken honesty. She leaned forward and sucked on one of those odd cigarettes she smokes, long and thin and pale like her.

She's a priestess, not an angel. But I could believe it.

I'm not sure what to say to her now. Life has been too stressful to be interesting; full of the mundane sort of stress that prevents the thinking of deep thoughts, of writing things like this. Too boring to be epic. Lacking the depth that conversation with her requires.

I hold with the oldest words of advice: just be yourself. I'm trying. But I don't particularly want to be me right now; it's not a very good place to be. Rent and unemployment and moving and exhaustion and stress. And she's been busy herself, and stressed herself, but since those five gorgeous days when it seemed like we were really together, since those nights with her midnight hair spilling across the pillow, looking into one another's eyes a few inches apart, the tiny elfin smile on her face, just before she kissed me again -- it's been different, less, quieter, like we've suddenly remembered to be cautious, not to let anyone too close. Something I knew well, till she came along and opened me back up again.

I see her again on Sunday, for a few hours, before she goes off to her second job. Just she and I, alone for the first time in two weeks, a chance to talk. Perhaps we'll discuss this. Perhaps we'll find our way back to what we had. Or maybe it'll just be uncertainty and silence as we sip our coffee and stare out the window.

And maybe I'll show this to her, as I showed her what I wrote about the prophet in the road after our second night together.

She matters to me. I want her to be happy. I consider her a dear friend, and that, of course, must come first.

But along with all that good noble kind nice-guy-ness, and the valid and true and pure emotion, there's the raw animal hindbrain emotion that I can't deny --

gods, I want to be with her so fucking badly. Heart and mind and body and soul.

Can I hold you in pages, adore you
Your words they have power over me
Let me hold you in pages, enthrall you
I have dreamed of your majesty...