‘So, tell me about yourself.’ She said softly. The words barely sank into my disjointed thoughts as the pot caused my mind to wander. I rolled onto my side to face her. Her fair, almost linen white skin reflected the moonlight and appeared to make her glow slightly, illuminating her perfect form. ‘How did I score such a sweet distraction?’ I thought to myself. ‘Well…’ I said, ‘what do you want to know?’
She smiled and those full lips parted slightly to reveal teeth that were far too white to be natural. She passed me the joint again. ‘What’s your favorite thing to do?” she said after a long pause and a while spent looking into my eyes. ‘We just did it…” I replied with the cheekiest smile I could muster, then added ‘…twice.’
She made a fist and playfully punched me on the shoulder as I took a deep draw of the roll and passed it back. ‘Besides “that”.’ She said. I thought for a moment.
It had been an unusual night that had started in a very shaky way. My depressions had been hounding me all week, so I had decided to get very wasted this Friday and make my way to the beach. The rhythm of the surf rolling up the shore always helped to relax my mind. And that was where I saw her. At first she had seemed like an illusion. A creation of a lonely, intoxicated mind. Then she spoke. I could no longer remember the exact dialog, but the conversation had flowed in an alarmingly easy fashion, as if we were old friends. As we laughed and flirted amongst the flax covered dunes one thing led to another and she asked if I wanted to see her place. ‘Is the Pope Catholic? Does a bear shit in the woods?’ I had thought to myself, but coolly replied ‘Sure.’
‘I like art.’ I finally said. She snuggled closer. ‘I picked you as the artistic type.’ She replied. ‘Not exactly women’s intuition.’ I thought, considering we had already discussed the current exhibition at the local gallery. But pot often seems to foster simplistic responses. I didn’t care. So far this had been the best experience I’d had in years. ‘What about you?’ I said, spluttering slightly as I choked back another draw. ‘I play in a band.’ She said. ‘Woo hoo, I scored myself a rock chick!’ I laughed. Somehow that little snippet of info had made her seem ten times hotter. ‘What band?’ I asked passing her the joint. ‘Lightshifters.’ She said proudly, rolling onto her back again. I had heard of them, but I hadn’t seen them. Nate had gone to one of their gigs the other weekend and raved about it. But then Nate did have some rather unusual tastes, so nobody at my flat had really taken much notice of him. He said that they were a jazz/rock outfit. I was keen to hear them play now.
‘What instrument do you play?’ I said, now fully intrigued and sitting up. ‘Bass and backing vocals mainly. Though occasionally I jump on rhythm guitar.’ She also sat up and ran a gentle touch across my face, playing with my five o’clock shadow. ‘Can I hear you play something?’ I asked. ‘What? Now?’ She replied. ‘Well I was gonna wait until my 60th birthday…’ I joked, ‘but now is good for me too.’ She pushed me on to my back and straddled my chest, dragging deeply on what was by now a roach and blew the smoke in my face saying with a smile ‘very funny, smart ass.’ Being an environmentally conscious person I sucked in every bit of the floating smoke that I could in a well-intended effort to recycle it. ‘Well?’ I said, allowing the smoke to escape with the word. She looked at me in silence for a moment, allowing me to become lost in her beautiful brown eyes. She smiled again and bent forward, kissing me softly on the lips. Then rolling to one side and off the bed, she stood up, placing the roach on her bedside table, and walked to the built in closet on the far wall of her room. The moon was full and streamed through the open curtains of her bedroom window. The soft blue light danced over her naked body as she moved, almost gliding across the floor. It reminded me of a painting I’d seen once. The night almost seemed like a dream and I was reluctant to close my eyes, even to blink, for fear of waking.
Opening the closet, she reached in and retrieved an acoustic guitar from behind a row of hanging clothing. ‘What do you want to hear?’ she said. ‘Up to you…’ I replied. She sat on the corner of the bed and strummed a chord. Then tinkered for a moment while she fine-tuned some strings. Then she began to play. It was no tune I was familiar with – kind of blues with a hint of jazz in one or two of the chords. As I lay there listening she began to sing in a low, almost gravely voice that reminded me of Tracy Chapman. It was good. It was damn good. ‘This girl has real talent.’ I thought to myself.
When she had finished, for a moment silence descended upon the room again. She looked over her shoulder at me. ‘Well? What did you think?’ ‘Wow!’ Was all my stoned mind could come up with. ‘I’ll take that as a compliment.’ She laughed and fell back onto the bed, sprawling across my legs. ‘We’re playing at the Marine tomorrow if you want to come along. I’ll leave your name at the door so it won’t cost you anything.’ ‘I’ll be there.’ I replied. She crawled up the bed and snuggled against me again. That was the beginning of the best year of my life.
‘I’ll wait in the car, man.’ Nate’s voice invaded my thoughts and I shuddered. It was never a good feeling being pulled back to the real from such a perfect memory. Nancy’s hand squeezed my shoulder gently. She leaned and spoke softly into my ear, ‘Take all the time you need sweetie. We’re in no rush.’ I could hear them walking to the car park as their steps squelched on the wet grass. They were good friends. And they made a good couple.
I had been so deep in memories that I didn’t noticed my thumb was beginning to drip blood from a small pin prick caused by a thorn on the single red rose I was carrying. I knelt down and placed it on top of the headstone. Then removed my handkerchief from my jacket pocket and wrapped it round the wound. The marble looked streaked as the light drizzle ran freely down the face of the stone. The doctor had called it an accidental overdose. Maybe it was an accident, maybe it wasn’t. It no longer mattered. I had been crying for several days and now felt nothing but numb and hollow. I knew it wouldn’t last and the tears would return. ‘I brought you your rose…’ I said quietly, as if not wanting to bother the other residents of the cemetery. ‘I nicked it from your neighbors rose bush. You know? That one by the back fence. You always said they were your favorite.’ I could almost hear her reply. Something like, ‘Are there aphids on it. I like aphids on them. It somehow makes them seem more alive.’ There were one or two aphids on it.
My eyes drifted slowly towards the grey, cloud-laden sky. ‘Accidental overdose, my ass.’ I thought to myself. Depression seems to be the Reaper’s scythe… and another soul is claimed. ‘Goodbye my sweet rock chick.’ I said in a horse whisper as I kissed my index finger and touched it to the cold marble. Standing, I made my way to the car. I felt drained and tired. I longed to sleep, to dream… to see my rock chick one last time.