Deplete

He couldn’t help but watch them
They weren’t trying to hide
He could even hear them
In pieces, anyway, on the corner
The twenty-somethings

The woman was beautiful
Although, not in the raw, carefree, subtle, palm tree way
Hers was a manufactured beauty
A skyscraper, an architectural wonder reflecting a brilliant sun
But not the sun itself
A feat that, no doubt, takes her hours to accomplish

The man, too, was beautiful – indeed, they tend to flock together
A too-tight Henley, suffocating a sculpted torso
With enough product to hold his just-got-out-of-bed hairstyle for the entire day
Feigned insouciance fooling no one
But himself
And her

He’d left enough unshaven, across his granite-chiseled jaw, to juxtapose the smooth, tanned skin of her carefully manicured, capricious hand
A hand wont to careful caresses and sudden strikes

They were arguing, unsurprisingly
An atavistic battle for dominance, over a begrudgingly shared pedestal made for one

Then he noticed, on a bench, beyond their animated displeasures and accusations…

She was alone, distant, depleted
A meandering brook in a forest forgotten
Disembogued of her surroundings, disengaged from her present

She bore little concern for the book in her lap, let alone the pages her finger marked
Deep in thought, or fantasy, or regret, she evinced sadness in her quiet elegance

Among the lineaments adorning her contemplative expression, were barely visible laugh lines
There was joy there once, though not now
He imagined making them appear

By this time, the twenty-somethings had vanished into twenty-nothings
All he could see was the distant, raw beauty

The way she’d occasionally tilt her head to catch whispers the wind afforded her
Trigger words from the brewing storm, invading her peaceful sanctum

Or how she’d subtly tuck a raven lock behind an ear, after the wind dislodged it
Playfully reminding her not to eavesdrop

Or how…
She stirred

Seemingly replenished, at ease, carefree
She raised her palm frond to shield her eyes, something he’d never seen the brilliant sun itself do, and she scanned the horizon
Taking in, perhaps for the first time, the beauty that surrounded her
Transfixed, he watched as she became the beauty that surrounded her
A feat that, no doubt, takes nature centuries to accomplish

Then before he could tear his glance away
Even before he could realize that he didn’t want to
She saw him seeing her
And she smiled

2 thoughts on “Deplete

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