When I lifted my eyes to you, suddenly your heart showed me my wayPaul Neruda
The Sad Cafe III
A love story by Holly Hunter and Hyperion Sturm
The Letter By Holly Hunter I left a message for you in a book. It is like me to mark provocative phrases, to shake them out in ponderous verses. Do not read too much in the fallout, the notes in the border are for nostalgia’s sake. I dreamt of you again last night, my adversary, whose aura I barely recall. My suffering is not in knowing what was real but what was not.
Ten Years Earlier
The Library at the University of Paris, the Sorbonne, amplifies loneliness in ancient manuscripts along high walls. It’s islands of tables, worn sofa’s, and plush chairs remind Renate of her isolation in a place brimming with students. Her studies in Health Science away from her beloved beaches left an ache that felt like hunger, an emptiness David once filled.
She could see herself once again walking along the Rue de Seine to the Pont des Arts Bridge, called lover’s lock by those who pledged their love and sealed it with a clasp attached to the railing; just like she and David had done.
Basking in the warm sun, Renate waited for David. She would hear his silly teal Vespa clatter across the cobblestones and pretend not to see him. Renate preferred her red Ducati Pangale and black leathers she left at home in the States. She saw herself leaning over the railing gazing into the green water at her reflection.
As stealthy as a horse on gravel, David’s face appeared in the reflection. Piercing feral eyes, a mirage in the rippled surface, devoured her and sent a warm tide across her skin. The memory replayed her plan to test his heart. She turned to him, showing no surprise, and lifted her face in a subtle recognition. He kissed her deeply like he thought he could conjure up her soul from her heart’s depth.
Only a moment of his passion was allowed to whet his appetite, and she would give him a gentle push to force him away. Renate smiled to herself. She loved that boyish look of confusion on his face. “I’m not that kind of girl; you know that,” she would say. And then, before he could think his way out of his reckless move, “Come on, let’s go for a ride and see if we can find a place to watch the sunset from the shadows.”
David reached into his coat pocket and presented Renate with a gold-colored lock and two silver bracelets, each with half a heart attached. “Will you help me secure this to the rail?” He asked, apprehension easing into the edge of his confident tone.
“Where is the key?” Renate asked, feeling herself fall into a dream, the opium den of lovers struck down by a misty fog of emotion inhaled too long and too often.
“In my shirt pocket,” came a reply; soft, deep, and far away.
Renate’s slender fingers with nails manicured to give her delicate hands a raptor-like precision, descended into the pocket well and froze on the key in that millisecond where the dream warms to a glow with the rising fire of desire.
His hands slid over her shoulders and down to clasp the small of her back. Renate felt his body through her clothes as he hugged her to him. The Dream became a distant call of wild thoughts. It was subtle and she understood the message his hands intended. The sub rosa of love is a secret code that requires few words, exact words. There can be no misunderstanding or turning back.
“I love you, Renate. I want you to be my girl.”
“You are such a silly boy. You know you have to kiss me again and mean it this time before you ask such things of me.” Renate breathed the words with the last syllable muffled between their lips.
Never let a man get too comfortable with his expectations, or he’ll leave you as fast as he found you.
Tears fell onto the pages of her open book. Fresh ink gave witness to heartache in a smear of liquid words as the thought trailed away, leaving Renate to sort through the emotional wreckage left behind.