When the love landed a week later, it caught him off guard. The guilt he had expected—it met him every morning, severe and weighty on his chest, exhorting him to once again embody piteous Tommy, who he was estranged from by all this social life and summer storms and humid grasses, rustling trees, barefoot walking everywhere (except to and from and while at work). Every morning waking to guilt rapping on his sternum, reminding him of who he’d been last winter—who he found contemptable now, in the light of his current self, and especially in the light of that decussating nocturn with Natalia what fused into the world an ecstasy eclectic and exceptionally new—which wasn’t even sex! Just touch and motion and improvised invention! And so what was there to feel guilt for? It was irrelevant to his summer self, and so he shooed it off and went on with his day unphased until, halfway through his shift on an insanely busy Saturday, Natalia walked onto the floor, relieving Zack from the bean counter register, and started shouting orders across the sea of commerce to Tommy, at the bar.
Tommy had been fomenting a fantasy of playing Tom Cruise from the peak 1980’s motion picture Cocktail, manning the long machine spurting steam with paper cups flipped off tall stacks and filled with fluids freshly foamed, pumping long streams of flavored syrup into virgin chalice with eye cocked at customer neither confirming nor denying what everything was suddenly always all about—dunking in the icebox clear plastic “ventes” with recycle me stamps on the base but nowhere to recycle them—sickly caramel condensed milk mixture of the newly debuted & all-the-rage frappuccino soaking into pores and lodged there til the day he quit in a frantic schizophrenic panic thirteen months in the offing—but this, his 8’ by 8’ stage where no words were plied but those transcribed in black wax sigils filling squares running down the sides of cups encasing drinks priced two to seven bucks a pop—spinning wet white brown ground stained bar towels with random flicks of wrist to space out on the cloth’s warp and flap and spin—and on that ide of July with Natalia sending orders sweetly across the crowd he found in her inflection an invitation to return to the tingling bright sparkle play of weekend past—
But before accepting her invitation he paused, and held her on the stage of his attention—the track lighting growing luminous over her softly skin—he hearing new notes from the Recorder’s Subtextual Libretto—and feeling her pulling those new notes from that hidden source of invention in him—and then a switch occurred, in the invitation she offered, a switch that turned what appeared as “brilliance” from where she stood into a fountain from him of wanting to be ever in her sight, to attain and remain in her attent for an expanse of days uncounted…
And as some part of him fished for words to lay over the tune in his ear, and as his obvious parts were employed in a flurry of pulled shots and steamed milk, another segment of his self merged with the feeling coming from him, to her—warmer than longing and longer than want—which became a current of loving her, of loving through her, of throwing his love into her and through her into the world.
And he was not prepared for that. He felt his passions and ambitions dovetailing with her as their focus, she standing like a gateway to an Always, to what is called an Ever-After in the tales you think yourselves clever for reading as simpleminded mimeses of fate—he felt that foreverly-after in its essential possibility—like a kitten discovering its love of small birds, feeling its whole being as destined to love them, face first—that’s what this woman felt like, before him, like what he was put together to be put together into—and crushing in this rush of feeling for her he reached for his language for this, the language developed through highschool by means of juvenile poetics, then forged over this last year and some months with her, his Lil—