faking it

it's just that every time i've seen you, 
you're alone smoking a cigarette and you look so sad, that's all. 
i just wanted to know why. christ you're lovely. god damn. it sounds crazy, i know.i can take care of you. i make money. lots of money.

he laughs loud, loud like a lion would laugh.
are you happy? god you're so beautiful. who are you?
how am i supposed to live the rest of my life now, after i've seen a thing like you? what do you want? anything. look at you. anything, i'll give it to you.
he moved a lot, backward and forward, manically on the plushy cushioned chair. a lion would never do this. i sat near him on the bench of a piano in the lobby. he tried & tried to get me to sit in the more comfortable chair before he went to his room to get us beers but i didn't want the comfortable chair. i pressed the piano keys slowly one at a time while he was gone. he came back with two warm coors lights. i'm usually of the opinion that coors light tastes just like cat piss but i'll tell you, that one went down like water. 

'i can't believe you're still sitting here'
in between his sentences i'd press a piano key down until it's note was finished. you have no idea what this does to a room. it was so fucking perfect in that lobby in my life, it hurt my feelings. he didn't mention the single notes i kept playing, ringing dark and singular in their place, in the midst of our conversation. 
i liked him for this.
his friend came down with whiskey in some paper cups and i laughed,
 'what do you think you're doing?' i asked him as i took the cup.
'i have no idea but i'm trying to make it last as long as i can.'
'this doesn't look right,' i said. i pressed another key.
it's note vibrated. 'to who?!'
there's something outstanding about the way the keys of a piano resist slightly at first and then give in completely. it is definitely something.

'pianos,' i said.
 'yes. well if there was an audience here 
they'd applaud you just because. do you love him?'
'i do', i said. i do. the lion laughed.

'by the way', between chuckles, 'i'm brian - this asshole here is jake.' jake tipped his hat. the irony of all of this was making the room too hot and no one was there to see it but me. sometimes ironies get so big they can make even love look small. i pressed a key. a very low one. no one should know this much. not like this. not ever.

the lion looked at his hands. 'god damn, if you were mine' he shook his head, 
'you wouldn't be here. you'd never look that lonely.'

'i'm sure it wouldn't be the picnic you're imagining.'
 'oh but it would. like, see just your face is the picnic, fuck.'

piano note.
'i'm difficult' i told the lion.

'how? what's wrong?' he said.
 'what isn't?'

jake coughed and excused himself and i didn't care. the lion moved in closer.'i'm sick.' i said and his face got light like recognition, like in dreams. he nodded and said 'me too. is it your blood?' this four-word question was so beautiful and strange and he asked it so solemnly it resounded. it's not exactly the way most people would respond. it sounded like my brain shaking. the room moved, shuttered. a hotel employee walked by, interrupting the cloud of everything. 'who takes care of you?'

piano note.
i don't say anything.
'when where you born? where are you from?'
 i couldn't remember anything from before or anything from right then, for that matter. or maybe just the idea of telling that 'it's a long story' story felt impossible to tell. there comes a point in every persons life where how could it ever not be a long story anymore? why did mine matter to this lion? to anyone?
i should start lying, maybe.
 
the sound of each long piano key i pressed felt just like the inside of my heart outside, everyday. it was tailored for every moment i saw or sat in or overheard, it suited everything, it fit everything inside it.

i answered all his questions with questions. i strung all his stories carefully out of him without even really trying. they were good stories. they were. if he was the lion what was i? 'where do you want to go?' he asked me.

'what are you gonna carry me there?'
i just wanted to be inside the piano. 
he looked at me.
'yes.'

you came in then and the room swapped places with some other room from some other warped dimension. the three of us had a cigarette outside. when we parted you walked ahead first. the lion whispered to me and gestured towards himself, 'come back' he said, 'come here. i'll take you anywhere, i promise.'
he whispered it right there with you right in front of me. i smiled and waved and followed your back inside. neither of us said a word in the elevator.  i already missed the piano.

4 comments:

Colm said...

The conversational tone with the piano; gold.

Kerry Giangrande said...

thank you thank you thank you

Alexandra said...

This is so goddamn good.

Benzy said...

'i have no idea but i'm trying to make it last as long as i can.'

I have no words.
Seriously good writing.