April 22nd, 2004

Mask

The Lawyer

When I heard the knock I knew who it was. Anyone who comes to my office needs to be buzzed in by the front desk, and they have to call me to let them up. He must have slipped in like mist though a crack in the windows and coalesced outside my office. I had chucked off my heels and was running my bare feet over the tightly stitched carpet. My desk was arranged into stacks, case files, summons and client profiles piled like a half played jenga game. He walked in as I was yawning, and I thought the words come in before I said them so that when I actually spoke, he was standing in front of my desk.

I scrambled to put my heels, feeling as if I had been caught naked. I knew though, that no matter what I wore, I was always naked in front of him.

Hi – I wasn’t expecting you. I said, and giggled like a four year old. New case? I asked, leaning behind my desk to pick up a fresh file.

Karen. He put his hand on top of mine; making my insides jump, jostle into each other. His hand was cooler than I expected. I didn’t come to talk about the cases. I swallowed. He walked around my desk and knelt on the floor next to my chair, his back to my window. I tried to smile, but I felt like my face was crooked, slapped on wrong.

What can I help you with? I asked, feeling my voice shake though my frozen body.

Karen, I know. He said softly. And I can’t. Tears caught in my eyelashes.

I never asked you to do anything. I said. He changed then, kneeling at my feet, into his original shape, tall and strange, like a soul that’s stretched between heaven and earth. He stroked my hand and I could see my mascara running in the reflection of his ruby eyes.

Karen, I am not of your species, there is too much that you cannot understand about me, and that I will never know about you. His voice was like air in a deep cavern.

I know. I said quietly.

You are attractive, for your people, and very successful. You can have any number of men as mates.

I know.

Please Karen, give up on me. I am hopeless. I put my hand on his head, and felt the strange silken skin under my fingers.

You can see so much, right through, from one side of me to the other, and its not fair, because I have no powers. . . my throat was closing and so I took a moment to breathe, and looked past him to the sunshine out the window. I can’t tell how you feel, but I also know that you’re surrounded by people that care for you, and that even so, you’re still alone. I ran a hand along the strange musculature of his shoulder and looked into his soulful face. What I wonder is why you came here to talk to me if you knew- I closed my eyes. -if you knew I would have never have acted on my feelings. I felt his hands touch my face, and he drew me toward him, rubbed his snakeskin forehead against my brow.

I don’t know Karen, I was hoping you could tell me. I swallowed.

I- My tears had run to meet below my chin. I’m a widow too. The sunlight warmed us both and he laid his strange, wonderful head on my lap.


Collapse )