has a funny way of blinding you. It shields your eyes but leaves
your heart open and vulnerable, bleeding, raw and bruised. And it
screams with an urgency: Grab him before he's too far gone!
And that's what I did. I grabbed hold of him so fast
that I forgot to let him breathe.
He played at the Twilight every weekend. I lived the next block
over, in apartment 4B on Main, and I always heard the haunting guitar
wafting in through my open windows. I had seen him once or twice
before, never up close, but always holding the ragged guitar. It
wasn't until I heard the music that the spell was cast.
In my mind, I could see his fingers plucking gently away. Many nights
I lay awake strangely comforted by those eerie sounds. They were
unlike anything I had ever heard, sent chills down my back and made
the hair curl at the nape of my neck. I wanted to know those hands.
Soon I became obsessed, though something held me back.
Maybe it was intuition or the nervous butterflied excitement growing
in my stomach at the thought of meeting him, touching him. Those
So I waited, months, until I could get up the courage. It was a
Friday night when I walked into the Twilight wearing a facade of
bravado and sauntered to the very front where I could see him so
clearly face, hands, all of him not meeting my expectations
but surpassing them by far. He sat center stage, jeans frayed at
the knees, a black fedora on his head and a silly grin across his
face because it seemed to me that he knew he looked so very out
We made eye contact; he plucked me out from the idle
crowd and melted me into a puddle. But I showed no sign of his impact
on me or on my body. I watched, mesmerized, as his fingers played
magic on that guitar.
I continued going to the Twilight every night that I knew he would
be there. I memorized his schedule. I had no excuses, I needed to
be there. And always, I was up front. Every time he managed to melt
inside me with those haunting tunes.
One day my loyalty to him and his music finally won.
I remember in perfect detail, standing by the window in the darkly
lit hallway, staring out at the pregnant moon. Suddenly, I sensed
him there. But it was more than just his presence; I smelled him.
I smelled the sultry scent of the wind after a harsh rainfall.
"I love a full moon," he said, nearly pressing up against
me. "Something so beautiful and haunting."
I turned to him then, saw him up close for the first time, without
that beautiful worn-out guitar in his hands. His hands seemed awkward,
limp at his sides and I wanted to cradle them, protect them from
"Yes," I said. "Nights like these, you can go out
and do something crazy, and blame it on the moon."
He came closer and maybe it was intuition or a sixth sense, but
warning signals rang in my head: back away, they said, get away
while you can. I'm still not sure who those signals were meant for.
But I didn't listen. And it was in those moments of uncertainty
and excitement that I had the courage to reach out. Grabbing his
hand and placing it in my own, I traced a finger down his knuckle,
over the hard ridge of skin and bone and looked deep into his eyes.
And that was when it happened. Something clicked and we found ourselves
upstairs, wild in my tangled bed sheets. I often ask myself now
if I regret that first evening with him, wonder if it set a precedent
for all the nights to come. Regret is a funny thing, though. It
burrows under your skin and eats you up inside if you allow it to,
so I refuse. I refuse to regret any of it.
The nights were warm as he began spending them in my bed. Nights
turned into weeks, weeks turned into months. Some parts were perfect.
Only with him was I free to be myself, free to be the woman who
allows him to undress her, the woman who dances naked as he strums
his fingers across the guitar strings. He wrote songs for me. I
became his muse, his instrument. He cast the guitar aside and it
was me he wanted, only me.
No one predicted a downfall but I guess you could say it was inevitable.
I was accustomed to change, used to people walking out of my life.
Only this is what made it seem all the more tragic: I could never
actually foresee that I would be the one to cause him to walk away.
I think I wanted to see how far I could go. I wanted to see how
far I could take him without him turning his back on me and walking
out on me in disgust. I guess in a way I also wanted to hurt him,
leave him broken and tattered on the floor as he had done to me
many times before.
I wanted him to regret all the phone numbers I would eventually
find lying crumpled by the telephone, all the strange women in the
club who so casually walked up to him and threw their arms around
his neck, the busy bees of the bars that looked at me with contempt
and disgust. I wanted to know what happened the night I threw a
plate against the wall as he walked out the door.
He said it was jealousy but I knew them to be more
than "just friends." I was tired of being lied to, tired
of screaming myself to sleep on the cold wooden floor every night.
I became tired of his music and the hordes of women whom he cast
his spell upon. I was tired of being one of those women. I wanted
to take away the one thing that I knew he loved so much. Those hands
that I wanted to protect in the beginning, I wanted to destroy in
But when my lips closed down around that fleshy part of his hand
and I bit down hard and I laughed as the blood trickled down my
chin, I knew I had gone too far. He screamed, recoiling and then
cradling his useless finger. After his panting subsided, he stared
at me wide-eyed, not with disgust or even anger, but with a kind
of sadness and regret that I had never seen in him before.
"This is it," he said, softly. "I can't do this anymore
... I love you, but you're sick and you need help and I can't be
the one to give it to you."
Oh, but before I had been cherub-like and innocent and I wouldn't
hurt a fly. And when I used to playfully bite, he would grunt and
chuckle later and say, "Oh, so you're just my little minx then,
I had never done this, not like this where I left
him bloody and torn, the abrasion to his skin already beginning
to swell. Because, you see, he had never seen that side of me before:
this blackened, rotten core of me. I had never grown ugly in his
presence, because up until that point, he had only wanted to see
the glow of our first night together and he was feeling the highs
of every nightly escapade after that.
But, after all he had put me through, it was fair.
I don't resent the fact that he couldn't bring himself to stay during
the lows. And as he gathered his clothes, a few belongings (like
that worn-out guitar he loved so much something I now know
that he loved more than he could ever possibly love me), I convinced
myself that I never really loved him. Pure physical release, that's
what he was. Smoky-gray eyes that blossomed into an electric blue
as the streetlights reflected off of them, or as he ran his fingers
through my hair, or when he was inside of me, as he grabbed my hips.
I can't forget the way he used to touch me, though, those fingers
running across my body, reading me as if I were composed of Braille.
He touched me the way he would play the guitar: tenderly, delicately,
knowing he had complete control. I miss his scent, too, like rain
on a Monday morning. I never wanted to leave the comfort of that
scent, the warm comfort like that of those tangled sheets we spent
so many days and nights and days curled up in.
Sometimes I catch myself humming one of his tunes and I grow sad.
I never hear his melodies wafting in through my open window anymore.
He doesn't play at the Twilight anymore.
The Twilight doesn't exist. It is nothing but a hollow
cavity, standing lonely, still darkened by the ash. Seven people
died that night, unable to break open the doors. Their screams were
heard as the fire engulfed them. Later that night, the firemen were
witness to a mass of charred limbs near the doorways.
Some said it was a random arson, or that the owner
did it for the insurance money. Some blame it on the full moon that
reigned over the city that night.