The Secret Rapport
“Have I ever really wanted to know the depths of him,” Marta thought as she finished packing her suitcase, filling it with a random assortment of clothes and colored scarves. Marta had loved him for a year now and in her view that was a long time. It was now time to leave.
A month ago at a dinner party, he sat next to her, his hand pulling at her thigh. While the attention of the group had been directed toward someone’s travel pictures, he asked her in a concentrated whisper if she had something to tell him. She didn’t think so but his question made her wonder if perhaps she did.
“You can be honest with me,” he continued, looking her directly in the eyes, his gaze a piercing arrow of worry. Honesty. Marta sat back in her chair feeling the hard wooden frame press into her spine. Her eyes darted around the room uncomfortably searching for something to draw her attention away. A bright red designer coffee pot smooth and efficient sat proudly on the kitchen counter to her left. On the sofa’s arm, a cat rested to her right. A gilded-framed mirror directly in front of her. Above her, a slowly turning fan.
She closed her eyes and let her awareness fall on the slight movement of air touching her face. She still felt his hand on her thigh, that oddly shaped hand that had been inside her, had followed the flesh of her body, had shaken her parents hand with the vigor of a life-long mate. Where had he come from and how had they met? The memory of their first meeting was blurred in the rumble of music and conversation, the words floating up to the ceiling, curving through the fan and falling softly over Marta’s shoulders like a threadbare blanket. She angled her left shoe towards the other, pushing the balls of her feet deep into the fluffy carpet.
His breath quickened and she began to sense his impatience. “Marta,” he stated. She nodded in recognition but kept her eyes closed listening for the interrogation to soften its need for answers. The room was filled with the smell of rosemary and thyme mixing with his earthy cologne. His scent was wide and pungent, registering in the deepest parts of her, inciting a wild uncontrollable urge to grab him, to pull him close, to thrash at his chest, digging her lips into his neck. She had found a safe space in his bed, the cold cotton sheets shocking life into her limbs.
“Marta” was her name to be sure, but now it felt foreign entangled in his desires and questions. Marta, no longer the Marta she knew. Marta the ghost, Marta the witness, Marta, the suspect.
She moved her hand along the string of pearls she wore around her kneck. The smooth rounded forms offered no resistance to her finger pads. As she explored the gallery of surfaces, each the same but minutely different, the string of spheres tugged at the back of her neck softly stating their presence. Her nails, longer than usual, and freshly painted a subdued purple, made clicking noises against the their silvery whiteness. Click, click, the pointer nail falling upon the dusty orb, the sound disappearing quickly into the surrounding noise. Then she heard a series of sounds as if they were all happening at once; a faucet turning on, a chair leg scrapping at the wooden floor, a laugh launched into the air, spiraling to the other guests.
Marta felt his hand release her thigh, the sensation of empty space rushing in to take its place. Tiny beads of sweat gathered previously under his hand, gave flight to the onslaught of air. Coolness. Muscles relaxing. She shifted her leg back and forth, reveling in the newfound freedom of movement.
And then it happened again. His words forming into hardened shapes, moving passed his parted lips, fighting through the din of delight wafting from the party. Each syllable condensed into a train of meaning barreling towards its goal, the goal of recognition, of response, neither of which, in her mind, could be as direct as the question itself. The distance between the hissing train of interrogation and Marta’s ear lessened and lessened until the word-creatures climbed into Marta’s unwilling mind. She quickly registered the rise in energy that the statement demanded, diffusing it with a swallowing of excess sylivia in her mouth. The dryness of her tongue called out for liquid. His words hung on her like a veil, “Marta, answer me.”
All at once, she felt the desire to move. To get away from his call for honesty, for sharing. The underlying falsity that existed in her relationship, the means through which the relationship was kept together, was both satisfying and depressing. “Yes I want to know him,” she thought, and then almost at the same moment thought against it.
The words left her mouth like liquid flowing towards the lowest point, without need or effort, just the release of itself towards its fate.
“The secret of our rapport is that you cannot fulfill me and I cannot fulfill you,” Marta said, her eyes still closed. “If you can accept that, then we can continue. If not, then let this be one last kiss to remember.” She knew it was dramatic and she liked it.
All in a moment the past and future collided together into a point that vanished into itself. He asked, she responded and he seemed to disappear; the causal symmetry and efficient beauty could not be overlooked, one moment feeding effortlessly into the next, a sonata without an extraneous note, a song that refused to repeat itself. She felt like she was in the youth choir, a choir continuing its stark drone in a cold church where the heights of the ceiling reflected the void inside.
A moment of silence.
All objects and sensations hung in midair waiting for his response. The chair creeked, was pushed back, and then silence again. He stood up and left, slamming the door and rattling its frame. Silence again.
Clear and open, Marta had the sensation to weep, but found the bubbling over of her chest to be enough. She could weep later, as we all could, weeping for the piercing blue of the present that throws to the depths the power of clinging. Marta clings and then releases back, a fish caught that refuses to remain with the fishermen, a love that continues until it reminds itself that the cold is where it belongs, along the windy roads that point to the moment when the heart finds itself overflowing.
The secret of our rapport is that you cannot fulfill me and I cannot fulfill you. If you can accept that, then we should continue, if not, then let this be a kiss to remember.
Marta opened her eyes, the seat beside her now empty.