We Cannot Touch

It is that part of the day when the electric lights are yet unlighted and the sky has already dimmed. She is standing by the window, smoking and staring, fading into the gloaming, like her smoke, to near invisibility. He is seated at the small dining table in the center of the room, watching her watch nothing.

He asks her, “Why do you come here?”

“I miss you when I’m away.”

“I miss you when you’re here.”

“Still, you ask me to come back.”

He rises from his seat at the table and walks toward the window, stops beside her, looks out at the city. He turns to face her and says, “How could I not?” He reaches for her shoulder, pauses, withdraws his hand, reaches again and lets his fingers pass through her ephemeral body, which shimmers in the wake of his movement.

“Why do you do that? You know we can’t touch...”

“I know it, but I don’t — still can’t — believe it.”

She turns from the window, looking at him, and says, “I’m sorry, I don’t mean for this to hurt you. I didn’t choose this for myself. It...” As the moonlight spills in through the open window she grows silent, walks through the wall, and disappears into the night.

This entry is part of my journal, published September 1, 2004, in New York.