I Am the Coy Mistress

She is sitting in the chair at her desk, the blue, fleece blanket a friend made draped over her knees. Her desk is an array of items: an empty bottle of Mountain Dew, the keys to her car, her wallet, highlighters, and a dishwasher-safe cup from students representatives of "Avoid the Stork." Her hair, wet from a recent shower, is pulled back into a ponytail, and she dons her glasses. Elbows on the keyboard tray, she rests her chin in her hands as she reads seventeenth-century poetry.

My vegetable love should grow
Vaster than empires, and more slow;
An hundred years should go to praise
Thine eyes, and on they forehead gaze;
Two hundred to adore each breast,
But thirty thousand to the rest:
An age at least to every part,
And the last age should show your heart.

Beethoven's "Moonlight Sonata" plays through her head, the gentle compassion of the notes lightly grazing her senses. Her hands move to the keyboard, fingers poised as if the ebonies and ivories rest beneath them, rather than the alphabet. Dipping her head in rhythm with the imagined sonata, her fingers strike each key with deliberation.

"To His Coy Mistress..."

She inhales, sighing deeply. Beethoven isn't the only man on her mind. She is always thinking of someone else--a person whom she has been dating for nearly six months. Things moved quickly at first, she admits, laughing again at the idea of spending the night together after only eighteen days of knowing each other.

Now, however, when talk turns to commitment and marriage, she shies away from the subject. An innocent night spent together watching "Pulp Fiction" does not compare to Hedda Gabler's "everlasting train ride." She wonders how he can expect full commitment when dating itself is somewhat of a game. The phrases "playing the field" and "going fishing" had to come from somewhere. Furthermore, she realizes, it is difficult to commit herself to someone who has, more than once, lost her respect and trust. A paradox, perhaps? He wants commitment before he sacrifices something. She nods in silent agreement, distressingly gnawing on her fingernails. But what about trust? A relationship is a commitment, yes, but a relationship is based on trust. No trust equals no commitment.

All the same, that doesn't detract from the fact that, this past weekend, she spent three hours watching "Say Yes to the Dress" with her mother, discussing what she wants for her wedding. Black tie affair? Outdoor wedding? Location? Her mother even ventured to ask the when, where, who, what, why, and how of a potential union to A. Vague in her answers, the daughter somewhat skirts around the questions, anxious to respond. She is afraid; she struggles to even be honest with herself. Her mind blocks any acceptance of this notion at this time.

Not without trust. No more broken promises.

Successfully demolishing the nails on her left hand, she returns to Andrew Marvell's satire.

For, lady, you deserve this state,
Nor would I love at lower rate.

The buzz of her phone interrupts the iambic pentameter. She stares at it, chin once again resting in her left hand. One sigh and two blinks later, she reaches with her free hand, fingers clutching the device and sliding it open to read the message.

I can't get you off my mind! I miss you so much.

..........................................she is at a loss for words.


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