Below is a story from a very dear friend of mine. DBM has always been very good with words and I have always admired her straightforward writing style. Her imagery over introspect narrative creates a more subtle story, which allows the reader to put him or herself into the shoes of the main characters. This is a love story about a man and his muse. It was sent to me untitled, so I used the first line of the story as a post title. I post this raw from her email and hope everyone enjoys it as much as I have.
She's always been his muse.
Since the moment he met her, that night when all the stars seemed to conspire to bring them together in the same place at the perfect time, she inspired most of the lyrics he sang about. That one split-second when their eyes met amidst the haze of the smoke-filled room, above the ambient noise of everyone else talking excitedly among each other, that was the moment which unexpectedly turned his life around. He just wasn't aware of it then.
The following morning found him uneasy and unusually full of inspiration. He woke up with a splitting hangover and a head full of garbled phrases, words that meant nothing to him. Without even bothering to make coffee, he sat on his writing desk in a daze, and emerged not more than an hour later with a new song. When later his bandmates asked him how he came up with what was to become the first single off their next album, his mind drew a blank - save for a vivid image of the most piercing pair of eyes he'd ever seen.
After the first song came a few more; and always about an unexplainable longing and/or happiness that, as far as his consciousness knew, just wasn't in him. He often wondered where the sudden rush of inspiration came from, and he felt like the world cheated him of something. After all, didn't he deserve to know how he managed to break his 3-year-long writer's block? He felt incomplete. But nobody else seemed to be bothered by this - all everyone else cared about was his brilliant songwriting.
They met again a year later, and this time fate made it such that they became acquainted and eventually fast friends. The band had invited her and a handful other girls for some "after-party drinks" at the hotel where they were staying. And she got just that - a couple bottles of beer, and some laughs. When the rest of the group got so buzzed and acted all touchy, she excused herself on the pretense of needing to go to the rest room and went straight to the hotel lobby.
He found her, a few minutes later, sitting on an empty bench at the taxi bay outside the hotel. He noticed her empty chair almost as soon as she left the bar, and for some reason he felt compelled to look for her. Now, standing a few feet away from her, watching her lone figure puffing away on a half-consumed stick of cigarette, he suddenly felt drawn to her.
"Hey. Mind if i sit out here with you?" he asked, when after a few unsure steps he reached her bench.
She looked up at him, startled at his voice. Then her face registered recognition.
"Oh, it's you. Sure," was her response, with a small smile.
He sat a few inches away from her and relaxed a little. "What are you doing out here? Can't handle the party anymore?" he teased, in an attempt to open a light-hearted conversation.
She laughed softly. "You invited us for drinks, and now i've had my fill, so i think i'll call it a night."
He looked at her more closely. Out there where the moonlight shone on her face, without the smoke screen and the flashing disco lights, she looked absolutely enchanting.
"Need a ride home?" he asked.
"No, i'll manage. Thanks though," she replied. "I'll just finish this stick then i'll be on my way. Want one?"
She extended her pack of lights to him. He gratefully fished out one stick from the small box, lit it up, and took a long puff.
"I'm Daniel, by the way," he said, extending a hand.
"I know." She shook his hand briefly. He thought he felt a tingle of electricity just as their skin met. "I'm Mia."
They sat there silently for a while. She looked out into the dark, empty avenue in front of them with an expressionless face. He, on the other hand, fought the urge to stare at her. He felt like he knew her from a distant past, he just couldn't place it.
She stood up abruptly and faced him with a smile. "It was nice meeting you guys. I had fun. This was fun."
He wanted to make her stay just a little longer, but he knew he couldn't - shouldn't. Instead he stood up and mustered the confidence to ask, "Can i have your number?"
She briefly looked at him quizzically, but dug into her bag to find a discarded department store receipt and a pen. She scribbled down a few digits, wrote down her name, and gave him the piece of paper.
"Thanks," he said, relieved that he didn't have to explain himself - because then what would he say? It was public knowledge that he was seeing other people, and he didn't exactly want to come up with excuses to hide the fact that he found this girl, this stranger, infinitely more attractive.
"Good night, Daniel. See you around, maybe."
And with that she turned on her heel and walked away. He didn't even have the chance to say goodbye to her, too. She hailed the first empty cab which passed by without looking back and, within seconds, he was alone.
He called her the day after. She seemed surprised that he actually put her phone number to good use, and they ended up talking for hours. They talked almost everyday since then and sometimes, when both their busy schedules permitted it, occassionally even met for lunch or drinks. They got so comfortable with each other that he didn't notice how much time they've been spending together until one time, when he had to go out of town for a week, it struck him - he's never been without her since that night. And he realized he didn't want to be.
The night before he had to leave he invited her to one of their exclusive shows, in the same place where they first laid eyes on each other; though both of them weren't aware of it. She wasn't planning on finishing the show, she told him, and settled to watch alone in one of the tables at the back. It was a crazy, busy night; he wasn't even able to say hi to her when he saw her walk in. Instead he caught her eye and smiled wearily, apologetically, from across the room. She smiled back reassuringly.
The spotlights shone and he heard the familiar opening riffs of that song, his song, that broke their 3-year hiatus. As was customary, he closed his eyes and let the rhythm of the music engulf him. He opened his eyes just as he was about to sing, and looked directly at her.
There was a sudden flash of recognition in his brain the moment their eyes met. Him on the stage, her hiding in the shadows at the darkened part of the bar. Deja vu.
That's when he knew - all these years, it was her. How he missed it, he didn't know. But now he was sure. It was her. His muse.
He finished singing in a daze, elated at the realization. He held her eyes the whole time, as if trying to tell her that he was singing for her, afraid that if he looked away he'd lose her again. Midway into their first set, he took a swig of beer and when he set the bottle down, he found her table empty. He leaped off the stage and ran past the confused crowd, searching for her, desperately.
He found her outside the bar, leaning on the wall with a cigarette in her hand. Much like the first time they talked. She looked at him, surprised.
"What are you doing here? You're supposed to be playing inside!" she exclaimed.
Instead of answering, he walked - no, half-ran to her, took her face in his hands, and kissed her. She was surprised at first, but found herself returning his kiss with just as much passion. It was the kind of kiss that felt so deliciously right. When they finally broke off for air, she looked up at him and found him gazing at her intently.
"What was that for?" she asked, confused.
"It was you all along. I'm so glad it was you," was all he said. He hugged her tightly then, his face buried in her hair.
She was stunned at his actions. For some time now she knew she was falling for him too, but she was so afraid he would just chalk her up as another fan girl with an annoying crush. She didn't want to risk losing him, they were so good as friends. She was so sure that was all they ever would be. And yet there they were, so close together that they were breathing the same air, literally.
She relaxed in his arms, contented, as he stroke her hair. They stood that way for what seemed like an eternity.
"Tour with us," he said, murmuring into her hair, breaking the silence.
"What?" She was surprised. He'd never asked her for anything before.
"I know it sounds crazy right now, coming from me. But i just found you, and i'm not going to lose you again," he said.
"We've been friends for a long time, Daniel. I don't understand," she replied slowly, more confused at his choice of words. Didn't they just share a pitcher of beer over dinner the previous night? What was all this talk about finding her again, then?
He smiled at her. "I don't expect you to, but if you come with us i'll explain everything. At least the parts that i do know. Please say yes."
She stared at him. He looked so desperate, and so absolutely beautiful, standing in front of her. She felt all reason leave her.
"Okay," she finally said.
He kissed her again, this time slower, longer. And as he felt himself losing control in that kiss, that burning, passionate kiss, he knew he finally found what was missing in his life.