While Zelda Danced

as she danced

he
     hijacked
their lives
     pillaging
their history
for his inimitable
                             prose

oh
how that prose
                          must
have won
oh
how those words
                               must
have fallen
                    false
                    empty
                    hollow

as she danced

winging grace
                        less
                        ly
across the deliberate
                   delinquent
                   desperate
parquet story
                        of
their lives

                Gin had not her fire.  Who she had been, who  she was, burned through the yellow sheets and reckless words that refused to fall into place, despite his countless revisions, leaving him breathless, aching, and unfulfilled.

                He pushed away from the desk.

                Across the room, the other woman sat.  Curled.  Quiet.  Dull.  Another unsuccessful attempt at revision, oblivious to his deeper need.  Beautiful she was, all polish and shine.  A lacquer that held him in check, in tow, and that, too, he reminded himself, was a need.  Yes, now more than ever, a very real need.  She was the candy edging his hunger for more than sweetness.

                He stood up.

                Slowly, he walked to the window, trying to ignore the now persistent ache in his shoulder and arm.  Outside it was summer, though Tinseltown had attempted to airbrush Christmas overall.    Down the strand, palm trees and cabanas dripped with holly and pine and he found himself longing for snow.  Snow and wind and cold.  Snow of the too-much kind.  Cold that was ever-lasting.

                 He closed his eyes. 

                 She hated winter.  Born to loll drowsily in cool baths for hours against southern heat, winter had never been hers.  Even now she was in the South, though perhaps not as far as she would have liked.  No, he thought, not as far, and again he felt the prick of guilt for not having her here, not bringing her here, where it is always summer, where there is always sun.

                 He shook his head.

                 It’s alright, he reminded himself.  They were No Good together and she was alright where she was —  she liked it at Highland, where she was.

                He looked at his watch.

                At Highland, it was eight p.m.  The worst of them would be sleeping, but not she.  No, not she.  Drugs  would have only calmed her, leaving her awake, alert, sitting at the easel, her frigid blue eyes fixed upon the canvas, willing it to life as she had done for him so many times, so long ago.           

                He smiled.

                The pain rocked him backwards.  From somewhere above he heard laughter and for a moment he was back to a time, one of those long ago times, when he had been recording a segment of Keats for the radio.  She had laughed then – that rigid, crackling, plastic laugh –prelude to the Darkness.   

                “Hello — That’s the end — Nevermind, cut it off, “ he had snapped into the microphone.   Her laughter had stopped,  silence icy in its wake. 

                But, no, he thought.  Not her.  Not now.

                The laughter dissolved into a scream as he hit the floor, but he no longer cared.  The weight of his chest was immeasurable, immovable and he surrendered to it, a willing sacrifice to what had once been his life.  And the last thing he saw, from behind his closed eyes, was her white face rising, dancing down to meet his own.

©s rogers 10 january 2010

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