I thought it was nothing serious because we only met through the distance of several friends and he was, in any case, late. I waited for him at a table in the restaurant, watching other people order and get and eat their meals. After that, I waited on what the restaurant insisted on calling "the terrace," where I could see people turning on the headlights of their cars and driving away into the night. It was the end of summer, and everything was warm. Even the metal chair that was slowly printing itself on the backs of my legs was warm.
It was too warm to move, too warm to leave, and I didn't feel like calling him, so I just sat. The chair was made for leaning forward in conversation and not for sitting, and the thought floated into my head, far away in the warm haze, that it might be uncomfortable enough to leave a bruise.
My phone rang. I thought about leaving it on the table. Lateness was an indication of something, a clue to consider, but I was too warm to care.
This was in the first two pages of the notebook that I just dug out from under my bed to sacrifice to the dull duty of to do lists. The fragment stands alone. There are no notes to connect or extend it. It's the very first thing I wrote when I started thinking about a story that was going to be about the twelve dancing princesses.
And then I became obsessed with the idea of summer, and my own physical reactions to alcohol, and dancing as a mode of transportation, and the difference between getting lost and losing oneself on purpose, and the story in my head--the one that hadn't been written yet, but was gathering shape and heft and would soon be so solid that I would be less and less able to see it as anything else--changed. And now it's weird to read this artifact from the other story, the one I decided not to write.