guardians of desire

She was sitting in front of me, staring at her tea. Her body was present, but her mind was elsewhere, a place I couldn’t reach. To get her attention, I tried a straw magic trick, only to spill my drink. She laughed briefly, returning from wherever her mind had been.

I’d been interested in her for a while, liking her more than a friend. After much effort and her hesitant interest in leaving the city, we finally planned a visit to a small town. There was a cozy bar for beer and a convenient hotel nearby. The perfect plan: start with coffee, progress to drinks, and spend the night together. Not our first outing, but the first time I wanted to spend the night.

I met her when a friend invited me to her workplace lunch. She sat at the end of the couch, absorbed in a Korean soap, until I lightly bumped the table her feet rested on. Her gaze shifted briefly from the TV, then back to it.

With brown hair, slender figure, and small breasts, her eyes would give a displeased yet charming look when on me. I enjoyed watching her, especially when she straightened her back, lifting her chin, as if balancing something on her head.

Soon we were washing dishes together after lunch. Her number at the end of the night surprised me. My mind forgot how I achieved it, as long as it went as planned, I wouldn’t need any tricks to gain her attention again.

The weather didn’t allow us to sit outside at night, and the bar was crowded, lacking intimacy for my planned conversation. Anxiety overwhelmed me. As I spoke, her reaction didn’t match my expectations. My feet trembled under the table. I couldn’t blame her or myself; anticipation had built such a magnitude in my heart that her response would always be overshadowed.

As night fell, bitterness filled me for not achieving the words I had hoped for. Careless, I took a long sip from her drink. To my surprise, she said, “We can’t leave now. You can’t drive like this. The hotel next door is a good place for us to stay.” My breathing became heavy, all sound faded except for my heart pounding. Words diminished, gazes intensified, wondering if this was the moment I dreamed of.

She whispered, indicating it was time to head to the bathtub. I couldn’t stop staring at her body, counting every small mole on her back, feeling the length of her fingers, the warmth of her palm, observing her ear shape, memorizing every smile she gave. I gave her a passionate kiss as she got into the tub; she playfully bit my finger.

“The water is warm; could you turn the heater on again?” she said, but my mind was too preoccupied with savoring each sensation, even if it meant being blind and deaf tomorrow. There were two switches, and I couldn’t focus enough to remember which was the heater. I flipped both at once, hearing a short electrical sound, followed by complete darkness throughout the hotel.

Panicked standing in the water during the power outage, she began dressing. I could only wrap a towel around myself, watching everything I had carefully planned unravel in the winds of fate, turning me into a paralyzed, speechless man, seeing her leave without looking back in the middle of the night.

Someone knocks on the door, and I rise, hoping it’s her, silently entering the room to go to bed together. “Too bad she left,” says the electrician walking in. “They make really good food here in the mornings.”

Category: story