All I need is a moment.
It starts so simply. She does not dwell on the eerie feeling in her gut, and with time, it passes. A smile provides reassurance, so long as she focuses on my teeth and not my eyes. Seeing her guard relax, I take my time to build upon the trust she offers willingly. With her suspicion subdued, I begin to plan for my departure. Once the right conditions are met, a storm will pass through and carry me away. Whatever is left behind is for her to sort through.
Is this too good to be true?
At first, absolute bliss. Artificially concentrated affection floods in. Each expression is formulated towards maximum potency, engaging her brain's reward center in a unceasing cycle of craving and gratification. Sincerity is assumed; the right words are said and the pins fall into place. A loose structure of trust is built upon the foundation, brick by brick. A home-made meal and compliments easily exceed lowered expectations. A wall obscuring the truth is build so gradually that it remains unobtrusive. Her trust allows the viewing window to close ever more, until she satisfies herself with the sliver of light left over. That is all she needs.
Any horizon is preferable to perpetual darkness. By magnifying all available light, it is possible to induce brilliance.
Light begins its retreat; the solstice is reached after a week. Everything looks the same, but she feels the pull back. She does not know why, and refuses to ask. No hints lie in plain sight, and she does not pry the door open. My secrets remain hidden, and she is content with simple company. She has no desire to fill in the dots.
That's all I need for now. Everything else comes later.
Playing out on a screen only she can see, a bright future opens up to great possibility. She does not dwell on small details, leaving my past and personality as optional pieces in the puzzle of our soon-to-be life together. I can see the cog-work behind her eyes; mental construction of a dream-world. By providing much-needed distraction, her overly active imagination allows me ample time to collect data.
Pass, pins, and accounts. Arrangements for dispersal, accomplices set to assemble. Week three is all preparation. Painstaking attention is paid to public persona; a relationship must be assumed on first glance. The schedules of neighbors are taken into account. Less mess leads to more success.
Week four begins within the eye of the storm. The maelstrom lies just out of view, beyond the swirling winds of delusion. She sees nothing but the sweet smile I wear on her behalf. Her desperate daydreams provide insulation from the impending onslaught, delaying her eventual awareness and saving her from the worrisome anxiety. The rain finally arrives on the last Wednesday of the month. She searches for her umbrella. The object is no where to be found.
"I can drop you off."
"And pick me up?"
Smile. Laugh. Reassurance.
The final piece of the puzzle falls into place. She dashes for the revolving door in a haphazard attempt to dodge the deluge. Her ill-fitting summer dress does not survive unscathed. Half-soaked, she stops in the doorway to blow a kiss. I snatch it from the air before pulling away from the curb. I discard Bill, dispense of any last minute business, and disappear into the pouring rain. Sold for parts for a new start, I only take what I need. In certain cases, that means everything.
All I need is a moment.
May I have a moment
of your time?
It will be
You may not know the cost to come. I always knew, but now Emily does as well.