Monday, October 26, 2009

A flighty fragment concerning Ralph and Jilly and Dr. J

Ralph had one eye on the digital clock that sat under the smudged mirror and the other on Jilly’s vintage Julius Erving poster, this one recording and preserving for all eternity a certain seemingly illogical yet perfectly controlled “tomahawk” style jam, and as he noticed the large red numbers abruptly change to display the numeral one followed by three zeros, the quartet halved by a colon, the time silently taunting him that he was now a full hour tardy for work, his gaze shifted from the clock on the cluttered dresser and the room’s choice of décor to his companion of the hours previous, his focus now fully on the owner and designer of this room, and as he watched Jilly drowsily pull up her socks so that they met the bottom of her kneecaps, he inquired over her possible even probable interest in the game of basketball and stood looking with hidden desire reignited as she cocked her head sideways, shrugged her shoulders laconically and while fumbling for her first morning cigarette and the accompanying primer grey ceramic ashtray she replied that basketball was okay, but the reason for the poster concerned cherished memories of her father, memories of sitting in the cheap seats at Seventy-Sixer’s games all through elementary school and well into her teenaged years, until their shared experience shifted to the sofa in front of the television and eventually culminated in her sitting in a hard backed chair holding his bony chilly hand as they watched from his hospital room, and as these words came tumbling out into the air and mingled with the first exhalations from the freshly lit tobacco, he leaned forward and first kissed her forehead, then kissed her lips, and last exhorted her to call him, reminding Jilly that his number was stored in her phone, and while slowly backing to the door that sat diagonal from Dr. J’s imposing physical presence and announcing with distaste that he was late for work, he said a last goodbye and demanded with what he felt was just the exact amount of urgent sincerity for her to call him, waiting for her to smile and nod, cigarette dangling, and then darted for her front door to engage in a jog that slowly developed into a full sprint down the sidewalks of his hometown to his unpleasant destination, his employment, his desk, the place where he could sit for just a bit and not be bothered while collecting his thoughts, thoughts that were already shifting away from the idea of an impulsive one-night stand and heading toward the possibility of something vague but certainly more substantial, and as he second-guessed himself and obsessed over just what was causing him to change his mind, he gave up looking for specifics and instead just settled on and slowly drank in the image of her socks stretched up to the knees.

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