© 2016 City of Broken Dreams
I don’t remember closing them, but when I open my eyes, she is standing on the edge of a deep golden sea. I don’t hear the sound of waves crashing on the shore around me, or the forlorn cry of distant seagulls flying in the sky high above. For this is not a sea made of water, but rather, is an endless ocean filled with wheat braided from the finest of gold.
She stands with her back to me, head turned slightly to the east, as if tracking some far-away, terrestrial sailing land vessel. Her long crimson hair blows like a blood-flag in the wind, partially revealing the profile of her fragile face and the pale white skin of her long, lingering neck.
I stand behind her, a few feet back, and it is as if I’m gazing into a beautiful painting of some pastoral landscape, hanging on the wall of the Musée du Louvre in Paris. If this were a painting, then I would want to reach inside it; I would want to thrust my arm past the threshold of the frame, beyond the protective membrane of the canvas, so that I could touch her—the woman standing inside the painting. But the scene depicted before me is not a painting, it is real life—or perhaps a dream that I’m dreaming that I’m just not quite aware of yet.
But if this is real life, then there is nothing stopping me from touching her. I can simply step closer to her, walk up behind her, and press the front of my body against the back of hers. I can slip my hand around her slender throat and tighten my grip until I feel her tense and tighten. I can grab a handful of thick, silken hair, and pull—jerking her head to one side. I can softly kiss the nape of her neck, slowly making my way across tender flesh until I feel her pulse throbbing beneath my lips. I can open my mouth, revealing sharp teeth, and sink them into—
“No, you can’t,” she says, her back still to me.
The sound of her voice suddenly disrupting the heavy silence of the moment startles me; the fact that she has seemingly responded to my innermost thoughts, even though I’m quite sure that I didn’t speak them aloud, surprises me even more.
“What?” I ask her.
“Touch me,” she says, “to do the perverse and violent things that you so desire to do.”
“Why not?” I ask.
“Because you are not entitled to,” she answers. “Because you are not him.”
“I’m confused,” I say, not knowing who the him is that she is referring to. “I don’t understand what you mean.”
She has yet to turn around to face me. She continues to gaze across the gently swaying sea of gold—at something so far off in the distance (or so far removed from the constraints of this reality) that I cannot see it (or comprehend it) with my own nearsighted eyes. Where her silent surveillance of the surrounding landscape once struck me as tranquil and utterly bewitching, it now unnerves me, eliciting a slow-burning anxiety response within my now tense body. “I suppose your confusion is to be expected,” she finally answers. “It has just occurred to me that your understanding of what was, what is, and what shall be is greatly lacking. But unfortunately for you, my presence here isn’t to enlighten you about the things that you don’t understand.”
“Then why are you here?” I ask her.
“It’s quite simple, really,” she replies. “I’m here to tell you who you are not, and to show you what you can never have.”
“Then tell me,” I plead. “Who am I not? And what can I never have?”
“I’ve already told you once before,” she tells me. “You are not him. And you already know what you can never have. In fact, you’re looking at it, right now—you can never have this.” As with before, as with the earlier mentioned him, I’m not entirely sure what she means by this—does she mean herself or is she speaking of the place that we currently occupy?
“I still don’t understand what you mean.”
“Oh, I know,” she says, and this time I detect the slightest hint of sardonic amusement in her voice. “But this is all I’m permitted to say.”
“I see,” I say, defeated.
There is a distant rumble of thunder from the heavens above, and when I turn my head to face the west, I can see that there is a storm on the horizon. A storm that I’ve been waiting my entire life to get caught in.
“There’s a storm coming,” the scarlet temptress says to me. “And I really must get going. But there is just one last thing that I have to tell you.”
“Then tell me,” I say.
And so she says to me, “I miss the kiss of treachery. The shameless kiss of vanity. The soft and the black and the velvety. Up tight against the side of me.”
“Isn’t that a song by the Cure?” I say.
“It sure is, cowboy,” she replies. “It’s called, Disintegration.”
“Disintegration” (1989), Written by Williams, Tolhurst, Thompson, O’Donnell, Smith, Performed by The Cure.