Quicksilver in the Hand
by Jamie Freeman
||Untreed Reads Publishing
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Julian and Tony meet in line at a David Sedaris book signing. "Promise me sixty blissful moments and I'll pass my whole life with you," Tony tells Julian. And, although the line is really little more than a charming pick-up line, a relationship does develop, told moment by moment from beginning to end in the 60 segments of this story. Love blooms in moments of passion, but as the clock ticks on, the cracks begin to show and Julian must choose between himself and the relationship he thinks he wants.
Julian is paying for a couple of plastic cups half-filled with wine.
“This is bogus, Julian.”
“Bogus? Really? A hundred and fifty thousand words in the language and you choose—”
“Bo-gus,” he says again.
Julian laughs. “Why?” he asks.
“You can’t capture the whole scope of a relationship in an hour, particularly in dance. It’s ridiculous.”
“What about two hours?”
“You know what I mean,” he says.
“What about in words?” Julian asks.
Tony shoots him a look, sees where this is going, swirls the yellow wine in his plastic cup. “That’s different,” he says.
“Talking about love is like dancing about architecture.”
Tony does a double take. “That’s what I’m saying.”
Julian shrugs and smiles. “It’s from a movie where people spend a lot of time talking about love.”
“But not dancing.”
“A little bit of dancing, actually.”
“But dancing can’t tell the story alone; you have to have words.”
“What about paintings?” Julian says.
“Different again. Dance is like…it’s not really… I mean, you can’t tell a story with dance. Not like you can with a movie or a song or a story. Nobody really understands this stuff; they just nod and talk about movement and emotion and crap and they only know what it’s about because they read the program.”
“Swan Lake, The Nutcracker, The Red Shoes…” Julian says, taking a sip of wine to cover his smile.
“You’re just saying that because your friend choreographed this mess.”
The lights dim for a moment; voices rise and bodies begin to move around the theater lobby. Torsos bend as hands discard empty plastic cups, hands are clasped together, and legs propel diverse bodies into alignment as the audience re-enters the theater.
Tony takes Julian’s hand and kisses him lightly on the knuckles.
A tall woman in a blue pantsuit nudges past Julian, her elbow sliding disdainfully along his back.
He barely notices.
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