Margot, the elusive (part 4)
Margot’s words of rejection following breakfast sank beneath my skin like a hot cattle brand, but I still tried to play them off all cool and calm.
“I admire your candor, Margot, but you didn’t quite answer my question. I didn’t ask if you wanted me. I asked what you wanted to do with the rest of the afternoon.”
“I’m sorry?” Her brow furrowed, a puzzled look set in across her face. I had clearly confused her, which had been my intention. By doing so I was able to buy myself some more time.
“No, please don’t be sorry it’s quite alright.”
“That’s not what I –“
“This weather,” I grabbed Margot by both her hands, “It’s fucking glorious! Look!”
Together we both turned our heads, and her hands began to relax in mine. They were warm and soft, slightly damp.
There was a moment where neither of us spoke, just simply stared. Out of the corner of my eye I could see a breeze picking up the ends of Margot’s hair.
“What does this weather remind you of, Knox? Don’t think about it. Just answer.”
“It reminds me of a lot of things. Wet sloppy kisses on unsuspecting strangers. Standing beneath the bleachers at baseball games in elementary school and looking up girls’ skirts. Tall boys of Olympia. Cheap wine on the beach. Drifting down the river in an inner tube for weeks on end. Getting stoned and taking a nap with a beautiful girl beneath a towering Doug-fir on top of Mt. Tabor and not waking up until The Fall. Barbequing on the back porch I used to have – potato salad, carne asada, chilled oysters. Proseco. Bottles of it. At least enough to fill a kiddy pool and soak in.”
“Knox, you’re friggin’ bonkers,” Margot said, her mouth slightly agape, head still turned toward the sky above us. She hadn’t noticed that while talking I had moved my hands down onto her hips and was now facing her directly.
“I’m friggin’ bonkers about you.”
“I find that hard to believe,” she murmured.
“Quite frankly, I find it hard not to believe.”
“You hardly even know me.” She winced, her voice practically a whisper.
“That’s irrelevant. It’s also a poor excuse to use against someone with whom you’ve recently gone to bed.”
“That was a mistake.”
“And that’s fine, trust me. I make mistakes all the time. You get over them after a while.”
“This isn’t funny.”
“I’m not trying to be funny, Margot.”
“Then what the fuck are you trying to do?”
“I’m trying to get you to spend the rest of the afternoon with me.”
“Knox, I can’t.” Though she was now looking directly at me, Margot’s gaze was distinctly distant. Her expression was consumed by a cold vacancy. Her mind was somewhere else entirely.
“Yes, you can.”
“No, I really can’t.”
“It’s really not that hard.”
“I need to leave to the airport now.”
“That’s fine. Let me give you a ride.”
“I don’t think my boyfriend would like that.”
“No, I guess he wouldn’t.”
And with that I shook Margot’s hand and turned to walk away. I didn’t know what else to do. Later that I day I woke up on Mt. Tabor with a terrible sunburn and about a dozen crushed cans of Olympia littered around me. I was alone and about 20 feet away from the cool retreat of a shady tree. It was still the middle of summer. My head was spinning, my heart racing. As I looked down at Portland twinkling in the twilight below I was overcome with a terrifying sense of vertigo. On a nearby bench a bum was masturbating and laughing hysterically.
These days, when the weather’s nice, I am reminded of this moment.
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