A Kiss Haunting: An Adventure on the Thames (part 3)
I've never been so calmed by the sloshing of water; even though the music from inside is still making the bench I'm sitting on rattle, I find myself breathing steadily as I watch the Battersea Power Station fade into the night-shaded clouds. Nobody else is seeing this but me. But those are the benefits of being the eternal loner at a party, as I know very well from personal experience.
That thought makes me smile, much to my own surprise. When I've applied that label to myself in the past, it's usually been in the privacy of my host's bathroom as I attempt to muffle my sobs in my palms.
I know that I will remain single when we reach the dock once again. There will be no kiss tonight. But that reality isn't wounding now, as it has been at what feels like countless other events. This failure doesn't feel like a rejection; I'm not questioning if there's anything wrong with me, but rather I'm certain that nothing is personal tonight.
Yes, I've seen so many people inching closer to each other this evening, but their—my—desire is not fueled only by the alcohol; we are all looking for release, even if it is for the completely clichéd reason that we're young and alive—we've got a few hours here, and all of it will be filled with nearly unparalleled levels of thirst, of lust, of beauty, and of fun, all of which come with negligible promises of consequences. I'm not the only one who wants to be crazy; we all want to go nuts.
And so, I lean on the bannister, watching as the night envelops the river snaking into the distance, supporting my chin on the back of my palms and having the mad nerve to grin as I sit in the darkness alone.
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Since 2006, Iowa Writes has featured the work of Iowa-identified writers (whether they have Iowa roots or live here now) and work published by Iowa journals and publishers on The Daily Palette. Iowa Writes features poetry, fiction, or nonfiction twice a week on the Palette.
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Rachel Gosch is an intern at The Iowa Review. She is currently pursuing degrees in English/ Creative Writing and French at the University of Iowa.
A Kiss Haunting: An Adventure on the Thames was presented on the Daily Palette in three parts. Don't miss part 1 and part 2.