Saturday, June 05, 2004

The last time I saw Angel...

After we had eaten lunch (after my rabbit and rock-sitting adventure) we had gone over to Sky's apartment. We lounged for a bit, then we ran some errands.

Then, we decided to go swimming.

Angel still had a copy of her key to her old house, so we broke into the backyard to enjoy one final swim in the pool. Angel had had foresight to bring a swimsuit. I had the foresight to put on boxers that morning.

The water was cold. After we dove in, it wasn't so bad. But once we were used to the water, it became too cold to step back out into the overcast afternoon.

So it goes.

Angel had also brought a towel. Clearly, she had been studying up on her Hitchiker's Guide to the Galaxy. We dried ourselves. We sat in the now-abandoned patio chairs, smoked, talked, and watched her dog, Guinness, play in the grass.

There was a quiet moment. I said. "I'm torn." She looked at me. "I'm torn because I want to want you to stay. But I can't. That would be hypocritical. I mean, if you didn't do stuff like this, you wouldn't be you." She laughed.

"I'm terrified. I'm terrified because I know that if you asked me to come with you, I would." I had been looking away while I spoke, but now I turned and met her gaze.

She looked away. "Don't say things like that."

There was quiet again.

Guinness lolled about in the grass. She suddenly caught sight of her own tail and tried to lunge and bite it. Angel and I laughed.

Our friend Paul came over and met us in the backyard. Together we watched as the sunset transformed the white wisps of cloud into fiery banners of red, golds, and purples.

Wisps of smoke from our cigarettes climbed up the breeze, straining to mingle with the heavens.

It was time to go.

Angel locked up the house. We stood in front of it. Paul said goodbye and left. It was just the two of us. Now it was our turn.

As I held her, I tried to let her go. Three times I began to pull my arms away and each time I failed. I gave up, then, and just waited until she let go of me.

I wanted to whisper, "Thank you for having me," which is kind of our inside joke. Instead, I decided to try not being facetious for once in my life. I simply wished her a good journey.

I bade farewell to Guinness who happily ignored me as she frolicked in the front seat of the car. I walked to the my car on the opposite side of the street. I got in. I turned the key in the ignition. I released the emergency brake. I pressed down on the clutch. I finally took a breath.

I threw the car into first gear. I caught one last glimpse of Angel out of the corner of my eye as she was standing next to her full car in front of the empty house.

I turned out of the neighborhood. I pointed the nose of my car towards the last, dying rays of the sun and I headed for home.

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