I don’t even remember how was it that we met, in which of the strange corners of the internet we came across. But she was fun and funny, she was interesting, and we started to “meet” on a regular basis. I would come home and open up my messenger, hoping for a message from her, some little something she would have left there, and she did not disappoint often. I would reciprocate, leaving a note here and there, a soft good morning or a very late good night.
It kept working like that, with the exchanges that youth believes are meaningful: a song that was favored by both, a quote from a film that took a meaning that was only a reflection of desire, a book once read and now gathering some significance simply because the other had read it too. Until one day I finally proposed to meet.
She hesitated, and explained that she really did not want to. These encounters in the unreal dimension of the web were good enough; why risk the disappointment, why risk confirming that reality could be not as good as fantasy? We agreed there, and continued our routine, but the longing became stronger. That which was so real was in reality a mirage, and it simply made it more desirable. I again pressed the idea, hoping not to be rough, hoping that she would finally succumb. But she did not.
-You know how sometimes you are not aware and you are talking to somebody and you have a piece of parsley in your mouth?- she explained. It made me laugh, and I asked why the metaphor.
-Well, I don’t want to find out too late that I have parsley wedged in my front teeth.-
The simple analogy made her simply more desirable, and after a few more days, I once again asked for a date. She refused, and then I, without knowing, found the key.
-C’mon, give me a date, let’s go to the park-
It was the entry to the chorus of a song that was a favorite of mine, a soft ballad of romance and love. It took her a bit longer than usual to reply, and then she said:
-Oh my god, that is my favorite song-.
Thinking I had achieved my goal, I pressed her further.
-Then let’s do it. Let’s meet-.
-No. I know you will be disappointed, and I don’t want to lose this. I know that you will not like me in person as you do here-.
-I am not good looking myself. I can run the same risk-.
-It is not the same for men. You know that-.
There was a pause in the conversation, and then I said what turned out to be the crux.
-I will find a hotel room. A nice one. I will wait for you there, and we will never turn on the lights or have the curtains open. We can meet and never see each other. We can touch and we can caress, but we will still be these two shadows. Let that be our date-.
The reply took longer than expected, and I thought that maybe I had pushed too hard. But her message was simple enough.
I made sure that room was indeed completely dark. I walked in and waited for a little time, waiting for my eyes to adjust to the darkness but, as hard as I tried, there was a limit; I was, for all practical purposes, blind. A thin rim of light framed the curtains, not enough to provide any references in the dark, not enough for even the most keen-eyed person to be able to discern details, but that was the extent of brightness in the room. I went on line and found her, and gave her the address and room number. She said she would be there, and I gave her the final instructions, to make sure she would be at ease.
-You knock on the door, and I will only unlock it. I will go to the bathroom, I will never turn on the lights and then you can come in. You can close the door and when you are sure that there are no lights or anything to break the darkness, you can tell me to come out-.
It really took very little for her to arrive, but it was an endless wait for me. And then, when she knocked on the door, and we did as planned, there was an idleness and a tranquility that was enjoyable in subtle ways. I went into the bathroom, not turning on the lights to allow my eyes to adjust to the darkness. When I came out, she was nothing more than a shadow that was slightly less dark than the surroundings. We approached each other, and found us.
She was taller than me, but not too much. In the dark, I found her hands and held them, quoting again that song: “come into my life/ without announcing yourself/open the doors/let’s close our eyes/ let’s see each other/ little by little/ hold onto my hands/as I hold to yours/ like two blind people/ Santa Lucia, Santa Lucia…”. My nose found hers, a bearing for her lips, and we did the only thing we should do. We slowly took off our clothes, we found the bed, and we made love the entire afternoon. We took turns, we stopped and talked, we resumed, we fell asleep in our arms, we woke up and continued. She was lovely and skillful, she was tender and soft, she was passionate and hungry, and I could only wish I reciprocated in the softness of her love. In the darkness, there were no clues for the passage of time and slowly the afternoon ended. Much later, when we woke up again, the thin slivers of light that were the sole reference of daylight had gone, letting us know it was night already.
In the darkness, she said “I think I have to go” and I nodded, then realizing how silly that was.
-You will never find your clothes in the darkness- I said.
She laughed a bit, and asked me to help her. I knew what she meant, so I went back into the bathroom, so she could turn on the lights and get dressed. Again, I waited briefly in the dark, until she gave me a small signal, and I again came out. I felt her, and held her in my arms, kissing her once more, pushing her against the wall as softly as possible.
-You know that little piece of parsley you were so worried about? – I asked.
-What about it? -.
-You don’t have any-.
She gave a small laugh, and replied: -You just didn’t see it-.
It was time for her to go, and I went to the bed. And, as she actioned the door knob, I said, from the bed:
-When will I NOT see you again? –
It was a line from a movie, a story about a poet and (at one moment in the script) a blind girl, who asks him that after one encounter. I could feel how she stopped by the door, hesitant for a moment, and then she only replied by saying the name of the film.
-The dark side of the heart- was all she said, and then left.
We never not saw each other again.