Fish & Chips and a Soul Searching
This has to end although it never started! To finish a chapter in his life that is on a nowhere road. Or is it?
It's chilly, the sometimes stiff breeze casting the leaves into a muffled crackling, the dust blowing across the park.
He's wearing his plaid shirt, a green jumper, leather jacket, and khaki trousers. Leather gloves cover the digits that can't be restrained from moving. Twisting and wrapping about each other.
A baseball cap is carelessly plunked on his short hair. How silly! He never wears hats.
This morning he took his plaid shirt off the hanger and fumbled. It fell to the floor where he found the hat, uselessly lying at the bottom of his closet. He threw it on.
He needs to hold his thoughts in his head, not wandering away with the wind.
On the way into the park, he stops at a vendor selling fish and chips and purchases a portion.
He holds the cardboard wrap with the food balanced in the crook of his arm while he seats himself on what once was a black metal bench, but is riddled with rust.
The path in front of him is littered with people, moving, jumping, skipping. Bikes, carriages, feet, milling left or right. He sees them but doesn't pay them any mind.
Stripping one glove off, his hand closes on the snack, dipping it into the plastic cup of malt vinegar and brings it to his mouth. A chip follows.
Why he bought this fast food is beyond him. Greasy, unappetizing, it is the excuse to pull something into his mouth. To deter stray, unwanted words from popping out aloud.
It started from the first day, the exact hour, no, the second of that meeting. Elation, excitement, passion.
Right now, he dwells on an explicit emotion. Passion. The beginnings of it came to bloom in that time; it's the earliest recollection.
It has lingered, festered, developed into a full-blown obsession.
Another bite of the barely edible fry, raising it to his lips. Sweeping up a bunch of chips he tips his head up and releases them into his open mouth.
Still, he denies that passion to himself and the outside world. He could never admit it out loud in the solitude of his room. Those dreams, those are where it blooms, raining words, emotions, sensations, ecstasies. Those disturbances in the night are hitting him full force. Tearing it from his lips, to voice it, to give a name to it.
Survival has become a series of fantasies, peeking out from his eyes, not giving it a distinct name. Denying it out loud, dismissing it in his quiet moments to himself. A scrupulous demeanor, an elaborate dance to the world outside. Hiding it, letting it rot in him.
How can he continue this way? He has to run, to hide, to find someplace else! In town, out of town, out of the country. Anyplace but where his heart lies.
Wiping his hands on a napkin he stabs a piece of food with the plastic fork and folds two chips to dip into the dark liquid and his mouth.
No, he can't go away. His hands tear into a piece of fish, ripping at it savagely.
Yes, he'd break into pieces the same as the mangled pieces of fish lying on the ground.
Wiping off the grease he becomes aware, disgusted, that he forgot to take the glove off. The fat rubbed off as best as possible, he leaves the glove on, protecting the one hand from the cold.
Descending into a sadness, a sorrow, a melancholy. A missing, a fragment of himself gone, a tearing of the heart.
But run he must. Before he shatters into tiny fragments and before his soul falls to waste. He must find his destiny someplace, somewhere, sometime different than this.
A chunk of fish, drenched in the malt vinegar, and three of the chips chase the fish into and onto his tongue.
Gone he'll be, like the disgusting food on his lap, disappearing, into the night, the void, the abyss that will become his life once he takes off, runs off.
Oh no! It can't be! Can't be him!
Up the path he walks, his stride assured, forceful. He dominates the breeze that whips about him. Closer to him he steps, his towering body obscures all vision, all sight of whatever.
His heart and his limbs frozen in this specific moment, point in time, staring up at the living being before him.
This personage, the object of his thoughts, folds himself on the metal bench, close, abutting, compacted against his left side. The smell overriding all the other perfumes that prevail over the scented air.
Rise, rise, and run! Leave this moment. Take a cab, a train, a plane but go away, away before—! But his essence, his actual existence is occupying the space next to him. That life force is the very energy he thrives on.
A gloved hand enfolds his gloved limb that sits, fisted on his lap. Unfolding, squeezing, fingers coiled around fingers.
He's too close to him, the body touching his side, shivering not from the cold, but the desire tingling through him.
Turning, seeing his face, he feels lips brush his, touch his, stroke his. Deep breaths, deep emotions, long held in, long wanted, longed for.
His deep-toned voice, his baritone inflection that vibrates through his body that was kissed only seconds ago.
What was said? Did a sudden gust of air change the intonation, the very words he thought he heard ringing in his ears from the apparition warming the bench?
It's echoed again. Genuine, blown as a melody, aloud, affirmed.
He asks to hear it once more.
"Doctor John Watson, I love you."