Expected and Meant but Not Wanted

March 13, 2008
By Irene Ripley, Richland, MI

The sky is grey. I sit on the edge of the white white white dock. In the sunniest days of summer, the color burns my retinas, causing an instinctive squint of the eyes. But today, the overcast weather allows for my eyelids to remain completely open, aware of the world and its surroundings.

The snowflakes fall down in slow torrents. Thick, white, fluffy, glittery flakes fall all around me, wetting my hair and skin, forming minute ripples in the lake that is the color of the sky. I wonder why the dock has remained in for so long. Soon, the ice will form and little cracks will appear around the edges of where the wood of the dock meets the cold of the lake. The ice will form in spindles around the edges of the structure, leaving small holes to let air pass through to the fish.

Oh how I wish the days could be warm and I could be with you.

I don’t quite understand myself. Perhaps that is why relationships like this always fail. If I cannot make tangible sense of my own mind, who is to say that I could make sense of another human being?

I suppose this is what’s meant to happen. Not expected, not wanted, but meant. There is an oak tree across the lake and on its branches remains one lone orange leaf. The wind has not yet picked it up and carried it softly to the ground. Instead, the crinkled vibrant leaf remains steadfast to the brown flaky branch. The surrounding trees are completely bare and leafless. The lone orange leaf is not expected. It is not wanted. Already into the second week of December, no one wants to see a reminder of a fall that has already passed. At least I don’t. I don’t want to be reminded of September, October, November and the first week of December. Somehow, someway, I want to only remember your face in the warm light of June, July, and August. I want to carefully select my memories so as to only remember the good ones, the happy ones, the ones wanted and meant and expected. Because between September and the second week of December, something changed. Not expected, certainly not wanted, but I know you meant it.

You said let’s talk. I knew it was coming. I knew it was coming. I prepared myself for the fall only to have my feet taken out from under my body, causing my frame to crash to the ground. At least my tears broke my fall.

We now live too many hours apart. We have grown too far apart. It is the second week of December and I still do not understand why our dock is still in. This is not home anymore. The feeling is different and I know it and you know it.

In two weeks, you will be home for break. It is expected that we will see each other at an acquaintance’s house. We will smile cordially and I know that I will act as if nothing has happened. I will paint this perfect white smile while my insides scream for your lips to touch mine, for your fingers to be entwined with mine, for your arms to hold mine. It is expected that we will pass by and smile and nod and say a quick “Hello.” Maybe we will embrace. A cold hug that lacks feeling, done mostly for show and nothing else. And my emotions will continue on this rollercoaster as my stomach throws up inside my abdominal cavity, rotting away at the bones until there is nothing left but emptiness.

Void of all passion, it is expected and meant but certainly not wanted.

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