you were all I wanted

he nearly called you last night. can you image that, after all this time? he can. he imagines calling you or running into by chance. depending on the weather, he imagines you in one of those cotton dresses of yours with flowers on it or in faded blue jeans and a thick woolen button-up cardigan over a checked shirt, drinking coffee from a mug, looking through your tortoiseshell glasses at a book of poetry while it rains. he thinks of you with your hair tied back and characteristic sweet scent on your neck. he imagines you this way when he is on the train, in the supermarket, at his parents’ house, at night, alone, and when he is with a woman.

he is wrong though. you didn’t read poetry at all. he had wanted you to read poetry, but you didn’t. if pressed, he confesses to an imprecise recollection of what it was you read, anyway, it wasn’t your reading that started this. it was the laughter, the carefree laughter, the three-dimensional coca-cola advertisement that you were, the chain telephone calls, the in-jokes, the instant music, the sunlight you carried with you, the way he felt when you spoke to his parents, the introductory undergraduate courses, the inevitability of your success, the beach houses, the white lace underwear, the private dancing, the good-graced acceptance of part-time shift work, the apparent absence of expectations, the classical, the modern, the post-modern, the impoverished, the sleekly deregulated, the orgasm, the feminine, and then the way you canceled with the air of one making a salad.

(c) elliot perlman, seven types of ambiguity (2003)