This is the piece that drove me crazy a couple of weeks back - trying to get it right - not sure if I achieved it, but at least, it's now done.
They say there is a poem for every stage of love, even love lost and love remembered. Some say words can trick, obscure, but what we had seemed real, crushing; like sharp breath somehow.
When you think of me now, how have I been written into memory? If we passed each other on the street, or heard one another speak, touched; would what we had rekindle? ‘Love me,’ you said, like it was something you could request, though when you did, in the small cocoon that was Paris, I said ‘yes’, both of us playing with dreams, wanting place and time to capture them.
Looking back, I can see us walking ghostlike through the long corridors of the Louvre, your hand holding mine; I can smell the aroma of coffee from the cafe-lined streets of Montmartre, a city alive, vibrant, filled with the joy of new love. We admired different artists you and I. I conjured an interest in Picasso, wanting to please. You didn’t know that about me then, my eagerness to impress. You only ever saw what I put on show, but what I put on show, you liked a lot. I could tell this, by how your eyes came to life over some slight remark I’d make, or occasions when I’d catch you looking, as if I’d taken you by surprise; a special gift to delight in.
The nights wrapped our secrets, our love-making intense, heightened, two people at their closest in the dark. By day we became regular tourists, enjoying the sights, gothic Notre Dame with its light and shadows, the moving quiet of crowds, our walk along the Seine, the brisk wind howling as we devoured fresh bread rolls from the boulangerie. The smells, sights and sounds of an old place new to us. You teased, whispered in my ear; if it was up to you, we'd be still in our hotel bedroom.
At the restaurant that last night, even our words began to fade, spoil; lose themselves as smoke disperses into air. When I spoke, you were no longer excited by my words; I found your humour less enchanting. There was impatience in your voice, as if reality was my fault somehow. I was snappy too, but shifted blame for change of mood your way. I even said something harsh about your wife, although I had no right to. You looked back at me, angry, disapproval in your eyes, as if I’d settled into the expected form, and in your change of look, I wondered, which number I’d become?
On our walk back to the hotel, I stopped you; held your arm, put my hands to your darkened face, felt the stubble of new growth, captured your breath. You smiled your smile, the one that caught me unawares from the very first day. We kissed long and hard. I took what I could from it, our final verse, sensing the end, just like day senses night.