THE FALL OF DIOTIMA

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You are not a friend. Dio thought to herself and wished she had said it to him.

Each word seemed to form into fists beating upon her chest. Looking down, she hoped there would be some trace of what was causing  such a noxious sensation. There was nothing.

He was not the only one, but somehow he was the cause of all this. He was the first you see. After years of resigning herself to a life non-extraordinaire, she had to know he existed. Someone like him existed. And she met him.

She could not help but be amazed at how disasters like this start;  With wine? With a smile? With a kiss? No, these things start with a handshake; a “Hello”, “Hi”, and “It’s lovely to meet you.”

Dio shook her head. The fact is, this one started with a wish that she mistook for hope.

He didn’t offer it, but it just found Dio the same time they met. She thought it was from him.  She didn’t ask for it.  Not that soon. But she did hope, for him. The truth was that she wished for him.

Not anymore. Not now that she knew what he was capable. Not now that she realized what she was capable of; that she made him realize she was capable of this.

Dio realized she spent the night with a man she could not love. Not anymore. Add to that the painful truth that he made so clear; he could not be her friend either.

Come to think of it, I don’t think I ever loved him, she thought. “How can you love someone you don’t know?” she always asked her friends who had their hearts blown away and smashed to splinters after whirlwind romances, well, stopped whirling and died down.

I never knew him; saved for his profession, his hobbies and a smidgen of things about his family. I never knew how he felt. I knew what he thought sometimes, because I had to ask. How could you love someone like that? How could you learn to love someone that way? How can you love without knowing?

Then again, how can she not? For as these thoughts came to her; images and sensations of him came with them; like specks of swirling dust made golden in a ray of light illuminating an otherwise dark room.

***

 “What am I to you?” she had asked Jim one Spring Sunday morning. She felt playful and gay, like some perky character Kristine Chenoweth would play. They were in his flat. It was the third night she had spent with him since they met.

 Dio  was putting on some makeup using his living room wall mirror to check how she was doing. He was trying to put on his socks while sitting on the sofa. He mumbled something inane. She didn’t understand. And as she was putting on lip gloss, he tapped his palm on the space beside him and said, “Let’s cuddle.”

 Had she been a puppy, Dio knew how she would have looked. But she thought herself a lady and believed Jim believed so too, so she walked and sat down beside him and wrapped her arms around his neck. He put his arms around her  waist. They seemed happy. Or could it have been just her?

“What am I to you?” she had asked him after a moment, and she felt his shoulders stiffen. Oblivious to what this might have meant, she pulled her legs up, swung one over and straddled him.

Facing him she wanted to gaze into his deep brown eyes but he looked away and then looked down on her thighs. Dio ended up staring on his forehead. That is not a good sign, especially from the usually stoic lawyer. She didn’t mind though because she felt his hands slide underneath her dress and squeezing her thighs.

But Dio had to know.”What am I to you?”, she asked again

“What am I to you?”, she asked again.

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