When I was a child
I used to love to stare at lovers--
at couples kissing, a man looking
longingly into a woman's eyes,
a woman adoring back
and marvel over the possibilities of love.
Usually I was with my sister,
standing in a grocery line,
or outside a theater.
She would tug at my sleeve,
roll her eyes and banish me with her words:
"Stop staring! What's wrong with you!"
feel that something was wrong--
that I could be so content absorbing
the wave of her hair, the scent of perfume,
his strong fingers cupped around her shoulder.
It was the long, uninterurupted gaze I most preferred.
At the movies, I would draw into myself
as I watched on the big screen lovers kiss
and felt a stab of pain in the center of my stomach
travel through my body like a drug--
and for that brief time it was as thoughI
was the lover, the receiver of such rapt attention.
When the lights came on I carried the kiss
with me all through the rest of the late afternoon,
through the long walk home underneath the autumn arbors,
through the dull and tedious routine of dinner,
until I was alone in my bedroom and could replay
the scene in my mind without interuption.
I knew that as long as I was allowed to look,
to linger, to stare,
to become one with that spell that was so other,
to know and then to have--
that one day, my desire would end.From the Trade Paperback edition.
Excerpted from The End of Desire by Jill Bialosky. . Excerpted by permission of Knopf, a division of Random House LLC. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.