My fingers yet remember, now that I have long forgot.
My fingers trace still the lines of her lovely face. My hand yet cups her overflowing breast. Even now, down all the folded years, my skin recalls the softness of her thigh and my dry tongue, all but lifeless now, still tastes her sweetness.
My eyes have grown dim. My eyes no longer bring to me her smile when I am sad. My eyes no longer replay those crazy, happy moments, before things changed.
I cannot say, now, when hope is lost, why I did not tell her how I felt. Immediately, then, there, at that exact moment when we were, however briefly, complete.
I do not recall, what miscalculation, or flash of silly pride, or simple act of stupidity, sealed my lips. I cannot piece together the minutiae of that awful moment, that chasm, into which I allowed my silence to fall.
I am old now, and full of regret, the very regret we said we would never feel. That same regret we told each other we would not permit. I wallow in it now.
I know I should have told her I would return. It’s obvious, you do not need to spell it out for me. I know I should have said to her all the things that lovers say. I should have sworn to her that I would return, no matter the distance, no matter what trials and tribulations befell me, I would return for her. To be with her. To be complete again, with her, for a little while.
My ears, occasionally, when least expected, will hear her laugh in the laugh of some other girl, and bring it all tumbling back into mind, into the cruel light of day.
But memory, that overlay of hopes and dreams, associations and betrayals, memory itself, fails.
I cannot tell you why I left, in the pre-dawn, when all was at its darkest. Before daybreak could bring new hope. I cannot say why I left no note. I can only rage, and when rage fails, as rage inevitably does, I can only sigh.
Sometimes, in the spring, when the snow melts even up here, high in the mountains on the very top of the world, I sometimes catch the tiniest scent, or hint of scent, of her perfume.
Then I see her once again, touching the merest dab onto each wrist and behind each ear. Throwing back her hair, casting one last fleeting look into the mirror before taking my arm and sweeping out of our tiny apartment into the rich, black tropical night.
Then I see her dance, and laugh. I see the love in her eyes and the promise of her lips, and I remember! I remember, fleetingly but full, and visceral and raw. I remember my love, and loss, and shame, and guilt.
And through it all, for a moment, in my mind’s eye, I trace once again, her perfect curve.