Title: Every Color Goes Where You Do
Author: Green Quarter
Disclaimer: Characters of The L Word are not mine. The title is taken from a line in the song, ďItís Good to be in Love,Ē by Frou Frou, which is not mine either.
Feedback: Always appreciated, at above address.
Note: Some wishful thinking on my part on behalf of Dana and Lara.
There you are. I havenít seen you up close in weeks. You changed your schedule so that you only work dinners now. And usually Iím already gone by the time your shift starts, but not always. Sometimes Iíll see you when Iím on the courts late in the afternoon, when I see your car come into the parking lot and then your red hair shining in the sun as you walk to the back entrance of the club, the entrance thatís closest to the kitchen. Itís like I have some sort of homing device with you, because I know instantly when youíre around. You never look towards the courts, not that I blame you. But you must be working lunch today because youíre standing not ten feet away from me in pretty much the same spot where you kissed me for the first time.
Iím half hiding myself behind a bank of lockers because I just want to watch you a little bit longer, and Iím afraid if you see me youíll leg it in the other direction. It looks like avocadoes have figured heavily in your recent past, if the green stains on your coat are anything to go by. It reminds me of when you used to engineer a spill so that we could meet down here for a prearranged rendezvous. We only did it a few times, but of course I was afraid we would be caught and put a stop to it. What an idiot I was.
How did I make such a mess of things? Itís incredible to me that you are standing right there and I canít go to you and wrap my arms around you. My hands are itching to touch the bare skin of your stomach where your tank top is riding up as you pull a fresh coat from your locker. Did you do something new to your hair? New highlights or something? Thereís something different about you.
You were perfect from the first moment. Not that you are a perfect person, nobody is, but you were perfect for me. And I hadnít felt that way about anybody in such a long time. You were like this gust of wind coming off the ocean, rattling my window frames and waking me up from a deep sleep. You were something good, worth holding onto. Even my friends knew it. They saw how we were together, and they could not voice their approval loud enough. Now? With Tonya? Silence. They donít really like Tonya that much. Hell, I donít like Tonya that much. Sheís a mediocre replacement.
We were so good together. You didnít just tolerate my enormous geek factor, you embraced the geek within, and werenít afraid to show me your own inner goof. With you, I felt comfortable in my own skin, something that I was only used to feeling on the court. And we laughed together. That was something I never had with anyone. We would be lying in bed, something stupid would set us off and we would just not stop laughing, the bed would be shaking and Mr. P would get all bent out of shape. Good times.
Thatís another thing. Mr. P crawled into your lap minutes after you entered my apartment for the first time. He has never done that before. Never. It usually takes him a while to warm up to people, but he liked you right away.
Lying in bed with you was the best. After you helped me get over my awkwardness and my embarrassment, I never wanted to leave that eight-foot square of mattress, blankets and pillows. I wanted to declare our bed its own country with a population of two, three if you count Mr. P. Those unproductive days we wasted just lying in each otherís arms were the best of my life.
But you were so confident where I was so tentative and timid. I hated that I couldnít be what you wanted me to be. And no matter what you might think, I did want to be that person for you. I want to tell you how I gave Conrad the boot, I know you would be proud. I want to tell you how Subaru gave me the opportunity to step up and conquer my fear, to be the kind of person you would want to know. Iím trying to be that person, but itís hard, and I wish I could have you in my corner again. I wouldnít squander that gift a second time.
If you only knew how small I feel for putting my career before you. Most days I feel like the crud youíd find on the bottom of your shoe. I know I made the hugest mistake. My reflection accuses me every morning when I look in the mirror.
I even came out to my parents. You were right. They didnít stop speaking to me, but things are pretty strained. And they are so in denial. My mother even went so far as to set me up with one of her friendsí sons, and I came out to him, rather than just giving him the brush off like I normally would have done. Thatís because of you. Even after weíre no longer together, you give me the courage to do things I didnít think I could do.
Who are you smiling at? Itís a nice smile, but itís not like the smiles you would aim at me when things were good. Iím not being smug; itís the truth. The heat in your eyes when you would look at me could melt these steel lockers. Even though youíre not looking at me now I can tell that this smile doesnít quite reach your eyes.
Itís somebody else in a white chefís coat, somebody new with whom you work, maybe? You are laughing politely at something she said, and then you turn and see me, and the laughter dies on your lips. My heart stops with a lurch, and I canít stop staring at you, and Iím frozen in this spot. You sigh a little sigh, your expression neutral, and approach me. My heart recovers and begins to pound, as if I just finished doing an hour of windsprints.
ďHi Dana,Ē you say.
Somehow I manage to utter a response. God, Iím such an idiot. Now is the time for me to use all those words Iíve been rehearsing to myself when Iím in the car, or the shower, words I would say to you if I got the chance, but youíve got me tongue-tied.
ďI like your haircut, very stylish,Ē you say, smiling at me. And I canít help but notice that this smile is identical to the one you gave your co-worker. Your blue eyes havenít warmed up one degree towards me.
ďThanks,Ē I croak.
You wait for me to say something else. I wait for me to say something else, but my brain has just completely shut down, and it took the motor function that controls my mouth with it. Canít you see it? Canít you see what youíre doing to me?
ďI saw your ad in the Advocate. Congratulations,Ē you say, your voice becoming a bit colder.
Nowís my chance! I wait for all the thoughts that have been running through my brain to start pouring out of my mouth, but Iím the victim of bad timing.
ďLara, are you coming?Ē the co-worker says, from over by the locker room door.
Shut up, bitch, I want to say, Iím talking here. I look past you and frown in the girlís direction. But the simple truth is that Iím not saying a word. I want to say something, anything. Ask if we can have coffee, or just if youíll stay for one more minute, but you are turning away.
ďLara, please, wait,Ē I blurt out.
You turn back around, expectant. This is all my fault. But the enormity of the task in front of me, of making you see me again, love me again, seems insurmountable.
You know me, you know that I sometimes have trouble getting the words out, and you take pity on me. ďI have to go, Dana. Maybe we can talk later.Ē
You have left the door open a crack for me, and I am so grateful, but you are still leaving, walking away from me. And as I watch you go, my world turns to black and white, because every color goes where you do.
Thanks for reading.
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