The moments are melting away and I am trying to catch them between my fingers. But they slip into oblivion because my hands are like two colanders – great for draining pasta, not so great for trying to stop the passing of time.
And it’s passing, and my attempts to hold these seconds and minutes are futile.
So, I turn back to you and inhale, knowing that all I can do is relish this while it is still here.
And we are still here, and the surreal sparkle between us is still here, too; the only welcomed third wheel I’ve ever known.
My hand is upon your chest, simultaneously growing accustomed to the rhythmic rise and fall, whilst reminding myself that this will not last. Why is there so little middle ground?
It’s somewhat like a fine wine: as soon as it is opened it begins to deteriorate. You cannot save it – all you can do is drink and enjoy it before oxidisation reduces it to a stale red liquid.
But what is better? To leave the wine there on the shelf – forever looking forward to it, forever longing to taste it – but never opening it? Or uncorking the wine and, for one short night, enjoying its taste, body and warmth – a truly remarkable vintage – but never tasting it again?
Tasting is the better option, I guess. But then there is the undeniable pain of knowing that you’ll never taste the same vintage again, for that year only yielded one bottle of wine.
I lift the glass to my lips and savour the intoxicating flavour on my tongue – willing it to linger a little longer.
Breathe, Alex. Breathe and enjoy it.
The minutes are passing.
Cymbals clash and roar, tearing through the silence beside us, but we remain unmoved.
Of course I understand it in theory when distance allows me to be rational. But theory and practice are two very different things…
They are the person whom you are under no circumstances allowed to be romantically involved with.
The teacher with the sardonic smile, the tutor with olive skin and more sass than Beyonce, the boss whom you find inexplicably attractive, your best friend’s ex, your brother’s ex, your best friend’s brother, your sister’s boyfriend’s brother, your best friend’s boyfriend’s ex, your best friend’s mum.
All off limits. There are principles and limits. Society says there is right and wrong and that this? This is simply impermissible.
It’s unfair. It is decidedly unfair. Why can’t this last? Why can’t you stay? Why won’t they let us?
Because there are principles to uphold.
But what if there is something there – something with the potential to become something real and brilliant?
There are principles and there is the collateral. What about all of the people who would get hurt in the process? How about all of the relationships you’d damage? Are they worth it? You know it is selfish to say “yes” when doing so will upset someone else.
But what about my own happiness? What if saying “no” means missing out on something rather wonderful?
Then reality comes hurtling in like a car roaring up to the front door.
And before I know it, this is over.
There are niceties to fill in the final seconds.
And then we turn back to our mundane days.
I can remember the contours of your face, but your scent has become blurred in my mind. I can only recall that I liked it – and that it wasn’t Lynx.
I can’t remember your voice. I didn’t have time to burn it into my memory.
And I’m still unsure whether I would have preferred to have ever uncorked that wine or not.
Either way, we made our choice and now we’ve finished the bottle.
And I’ll never taste it again.