First Times

Arthur Meiselman

Scene4 Magazine — inSight - perspectives on arts and media
writings: dialogues

June 2012

Listen...when I first saw her, I closed my eyes so fast that my teeth clamped shut and I bit my tongue. Then I opened them wide and she wasn't there. But I could hear her, moving somewhere behind me. I could hear the whisper of her dress and the sun was so warm. Look at me...I sat there with my eyes like little white balloons and my mouth open with a little sticky dribble on my lower lip...a Venus Fly Trap and that butterfly just floated around my leaves. Then I said to myself: Wait a minute! What the hell's wrong with you? It's 7 a.m.... 7 a.m. in the morning. Here I am out in the park at 7 a.m.! Me...breathing clean Spring air. Me...a New York Night-Owl finally going bananas with all the little hustly-bustly going-to-work people, the cleaning ladies and the bank guards. I haven't been out in this bright-simple-just-keep-moving-along time of day in...months, years, decades. Why shouldn't I be crazy? Why shouldn't I go bananas? I'm telling you I didn't know what to say. What do you say to...? How do you do? Do I know you? I bet you're...! I just sat down and scratched my neck and mumbled into my other hand: I'll just ignore her. Some kind of kook, high on something. No, no, you see, it wasn't like that. It wasn't like that at all. Because I could feel her...around me and on know? So I just got up and walked away. I mean, what would you do? And she followed me. And I, uh...stopped and looked at her. And she looked at me and smiled. And I took off. I just sort of jogged off, over a little hill. And down there by the trees...there she was. I almost ran right up to her and...but I didn't. Because I haven't jogged like that in years. I just stood there, puffing, holding my pants up. That was pretty strange. I'm glad there weren't any cops around. So I closed my eyes again, got my wind back. Now my head was clear, I knew I could open my eyes. But when I did, she was standing right in front of me, looking at my face. And...and I was so shocked, I staggered off backwards and fell down. I said to her: Hey, no, no...I'm okay. Now, just...why don't you just go on your way. Come on, let me... What are you doing that for? Hey, stop that! Now look... do you know what she just did with her hand? Right up my back like a warm piece of fur. I had to sit down. I thought to myself: I'm having some kind of seizure. Cold sweat, can't breathe. I wish I could stand up and walk away. But I couldn't. I was shaking, my hands were wet. I thought: I'll talk to her. There's nothing wrong. I won't do anything. What'll I say? I can't get into trouble. I mean, it's a little strange but...Hello! What's your name? Why are you doing all...all of this? I mean, I don't mind, but isn't it a little strange, dangerous to come up to someone and just...take up with him? You haven't told me your name. Can't you talk? Is there something wrong? Can I help? Where do you live? I'm sorry. I didn't mean to...uh, jump like that. You're very lovely. I don't know why I said that. I didn't know what was happening. Look at me! I'm as particular and precise and pragmatic as any of you. And my eyes, my eyes blink...because I hear her and feel her and watch her move through me like air into my mouth. I didn't know what was happening, so I said goodbye. Goodbye! And listen... she followed me. All the way to my place. We walked 72 blocks. Can you believe it? That's 7 a.m. in the morning for you. Only a few people noticed us, but I didn't care. I don't really care. Do you? Aren't you tired? I wish you'd say something. I wish I could hear how sweet your voice sounds. I wish you'd stop following me. I wish you'd go away! No, wait a minute. I'm sorry. I don't know why I said that. She's doing it again. I do know why I said it. You see, I'm a man of the world, an entrepreneur of life. I know why I do everything. I'm a thinker and a man of action. Look! See, I'm home. I--have--to--go--in--now. Understand? Ho-ome. This is where I live. You--have--to--go--home--now--too. Okay? It was as if she were holding on to my coat and I was just floating into my apartment. So I closed my eyes again, unlocked the door, shot inside and slammed the door shut. Then I opened my eyes and looked around. Now wait a minute, don't laugh. You have to understand the mood. I really expected her to appear, to be right in my living room. She wasn't. But I could still feel her warmth trailing across my lips as she danced around me. I could still hear her and smell her skin...her skin! So just for the hell of it I went back and opened the door. I almost fell over. You're really still there. You really don't want to go home. You are very beautiful! There, see, I said it again. I couldn't help myself. Just think about what's happened and you'll understand the state of my mind. If you knew me well, you'd be amazed. Me...of the always-in-control-always-calculating-breed-of-successful-New-Yorkers...with fingernails of steel and a tongue of ice. Help me, try to understand. It's clear isn't it? I was walking in a mist and the shadows were friendly and loving. I was standing naked in Central Park and only she could see me. I was a reflection in a mirror looking out at myself.  I thought-- so what? I thought--what the hell! I said--would you like something? Coffee, or maybe tea, a nice, organic, herbal tea? She just smiles at me, and touches me, and I want to kiss her. Let's sit down. How about a drink?! A nice, easy, rosé wine. It became delirious as if we were sipping wine from the moment we met. I know what's happening. I know what I feel. I know that you're taking me and I'm taking you. We're flying toward that bedroom...and soon that bedroom will be full of... Mygod! The bedroom is already full! Now listen, must understand! I've got to make it clear! What was filling up my bedroom was the grandest, fullest, lustiest, most satisfying woman and reflection of myself that I could imagine I ever wanted. But it didn't matter any more. That was all in the past. I was standing in the present holding a dream, a First-Time dream… again. I think it's the music I hear from her fingertips and the slight fragrance of her hair just at the back of her neck. I think that's what tells me who she is and why she loves me. I think it's the soft wetness of her lips and the eyes; it's her eyes that tell me how we both fill the room, fill it up together. It was hard to see anything else. I said to her: You're very beautiful. And your voice… there's so little to talk about, so few words. It happened because it was 7 a.m. in the morning and by the time it was Noon and the sun glowed like a shadowless white that midday light, I was free… again.

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©2012 Arthur Meiselman
©2012 Publication Scene4 Magazine

Arthur Meiselman is a playwright, writer and the Editor of Scene4.
He also directs the Talos Ensemble and produces for Aemagefilms

For more of his commentary and articles, check the Archives
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June 2012

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