The Last Dance

 

“Can you drive?” she asked as we stepped out of the night club.

“Oh yes. Not a problem.” There was laughter in my voice.

The cool night breeze slapped against my face and I took in a deep breathe. She put a
hand around my waist and helped me to the car.

          “Maybe I drank too much,” I said hesitantly. “Let’s enjoy the breeze a little.”

          We climbed on the hood of the red maxima and lay side by side facing the heavens. Millions of stars danced in the sky but the ones in my head swam faster.

          “Did you have fun Carrie?” I asked.

          “Yes Ryan.” Her voice carried a hint of happiness. “I like hanging out with you. You
are always fun and easy to be with.”

         I planted a gentle kiss on her cheek and someone yelled, ‘find a room!’ from across the street. We giggled happily.

 

          We arrived home a little after midnight and
staggered into the bedroom laughing. My pants hit the floor while she used the bathroom. I slipped between the linen sheets and a minute later she joined me. I pulled her closer and together we cuddled like a happy couple. “Happy new year Ryan,” she whispered.

          “Happy new year Carrie.”

          A moment elapsed as we thought about our resolutions. I realized that I had one and one only: to be happy. I would have given anything to know what she was thinking. My hand slipped down and caressed her belly, slowly at first and then faster. Aroused, I started moving towards her other sensitive areas. She caught my hand in a vice grip and said in a soft voice, “we shouldn’t Ryan. It’s not a good idea.”

          I waited until she released my hand and when she did, lay on my back facing the dark ceiling. The anger of being rejected came but was quickly replaced by a voice of reason. She was right; I had no right whatsoever to demand anything from her. Shortly after, the liquor pulled me under and I fell into an unsettling sleep.

          Two hours later I was up wondering where I was. The room looked familiar in a strange way. It had once been mine… a long time ago. A warm body stirred beside me and I saw Carrie, lying there, her back facing me, her breathing soft in the pillow. Without thought or caution my hands started rubbing her back softly. She moaned my name and I kissed the nape of her neck.

          “Ryaaan….”

  “Shhsss,” I cooed. “It’s okay honey.”

          I alternated between kisses and back rubs until finally she turned and looked at me. “Ryan…” she whispered, but I did not let her finish the sentence. My lips crushed on hers and I felt my breathe sucked away. Her eyes widened in surprise and then slowly, I saw the wall break as she succumbed to her innermost body desires. She kissed me back… and then some.

          Our hands moved over each other’s body: the tightness and softness of the muscles
familiar, the noises from our lips arousing and yet expected. We knew each other’s moves and the passion wasn’t that of teenagers on the back seat of a beat-up Chevy. No. Ours was a more mature and yet somehow satisfying kind of love making. And when we were done and spent, I held her and listened to her heart beat against mine, until finally I couldn’t, and I knew then that she was
fast asleep.

          “I love you Carrie,” I whispered. Her ears would not hear me, but somehow her heart would.

It felt good lying in each others arms but after a while my restless brain forced me to my feet. Moonlight was bright through the bedroom window and I was able to find my way without tripping. I turned on the table light and slipped into my boxers. The night was quiet and peaceful.

A portrait on the wall caught my attention and I walked over. The Starry Night by Vincent Van Gogh, I read: a village of Saint-Remy under a
swirling sky, cypress trees and a small range of mountains far to the right. The portrait was characterized by smooth, meticulous brushwork and fine shading of colours.

I walked to the window and sat on a stool overlooking the country. What was it that Van
Gogh said about the countryside?
Oh, I remember … that these canvases will tell you what I cannot say in words, that is, how healthy and invigorating
I find the countryside.

Born in a small village in Netherlands, Vincent Van Gogh’s work of art, notably for its rough beauty, emotional honesty and bold colours, had turned out to be one of the most influential in the 20th Century. And yet at the time of his death his work was only known to a handful of people and appreciated by fewer still.

          I pondered about this for a moment and realized that Van Gogh’s life was no different from mine or the folks around me. We spend our whole lives jostling to find ourselves and our purpose in life: we shift from job to job, and one relationship to another. We devote ourselves to our careers and the loneliness that follows drives us into despair. In the end, I wondered, had Van Gogh
finally found himself? How could a man who was born 123 years ago speak to me so clearly?

 

         to try to understand the real significance of what great artists, the serious masters, tell us in their masterpieces, that leads to God; one man wrote or told in a book; another in a picture. Vincent Van Gogh.

 

          Carrie stirred in her sleep and I turned to look at her. Oh how young we had been when we first met. I still remembered the first day, at the age of 19, and her sparkling eyes.

          “I know you,” Carrie had said.

          “You do?” We were standing on the side of the road by the bus stop.

          “Your name is Ryan and you play soccer.”

          I laughed. It was the thing about being a soccer star. People who came to the stadium knew me and yet I didn’t know them. Afterwards, and after mild persuasion, Carrie and I had gone for ice-cream and the rest was history. She had been my first love… my only love ever since.

I woke up at six in the morning and tiptoed to the bathroom. Carrie’s deep breathing carried across the room and I knew that she was first asleep. The liquor and dancing from the previous night were partly to blame. I dressed up slowly, double checked to make sure that I had my keys, wallet and cell phone, and then crept out of the room.

          I was about to open the front door when I heard the soft padding on the carpet behind me.

          “Didn’t know that you had it in you to leave without saying goodbye Ryan?”  I turned and saw Carrie in a sky blue bathrobe, her eyes groggy with sleep. “Come into the kitchen Ryan,” she
added. “I will make you some breakfast before you leave.”

          Feeling guilty, I followed her and sat on the tiny kitchen table. I watched as she tossed two painkillers into her mouth and then gulped some water. Soon enough, the smell of fried eggs filled the room and I was glad that I stayed. She served the eggs with toasted bread and a hot cup of tea just the way I liked it. Breakfast as they say is the most important meal of the day especially for
growing bodies and developing brains. A meal as simple and yet significant.

          “This is really good,” I said as I shoved eggs into my mouth. “You are not joining me?”

          “No Ryan. It’s too early for me.” She sipped at her tea and appraised me like a patient on a surgery table. “Where will you go this time?” She asked.

          “I don’t know Carrie, maybe New York or California. I wonna try one of the big cities.” I avoided her eyes at every cost. The silence that
followed was deafening.

          “You know that grass is not always greener on the other side? You can’t spend your entire life looking around.”

          I knew exactly what she meant, but the possibility of better things out there was a driving adrenaline in my body. We humans are guided by hope and not fear. My wings are broken Carrie. I have lost my voice in this world.

          “Ryan,” Carrie continued in a soft voice. “What happened to us? I mean, at one point we
were so in love and then the next I was very confused.”

          I pushed the plate away and sipped at my tea. “Life Carrie. Life is what happened.”

          She shook her head in disbelief. “Life is so cruel Ryan.”

          I stood up and thanked her for the tea.

          “When will I see you again?” she asked in a desperate tone.

          I shrugged as I walked to the door. “I don’t know Carrie. But I will call you as soon as I settle down.” It was a lie and we both knew it. There would be no phone calls after I left. It was easier that way. We hugged and I opened the door. “Goodbye Carrie. Take care of yourself.”

          The soft glow of the morning sun blinded my vision as I walked down the steps; a strange feeling at the back of my mind. I could feel her eyes on me as I reached for the gate. What I felt inside I disguised well in movement.

          “Ryan!” she called. I turned very slowly and saw her running towards me. She stopped an inch away and looked up into my face with pleading eyes. “Ryan, don’t go! Stay here with me!”

          A look of confusion clouded my eyes. She sounded like she was 19 again. She sounded like the old Carrie I fell in love with.

          “Ryan,” she continued in a much softer voice. “I’m sorry that I broke your heart… but…
I miss you a lot. When… when am with you its like everything is okay and the world around me suddenly finds meaning. I’m whole around you Ryan. Please don’t go. Please Ryan!”

          I stared at her in utter disbelief and suddenly every molecule of my being felt out of rhythm. Her words rocked me in a way that I had not expected and I felt like my mind was doing back flips. And then something strange and unexpected happened, I begun to unravel and tears streamed down my face.

          She pulled me into her strong arms and coed into my ears. “Shhhhs… don’t cry Ryan. It’s okay. Don’t cry.”

News

Off to AFRICA

 

My book A Whisper in the Jungle has been picked by a publishing company and approved by the board. It has been scheduled for release soon.

 

The music is all around you, all you have to do is listen

 

Contact

 

mrobertto@yahoo.com

Without God, what are we? What do we have? What is life...