Lana by Thomas Dorwaldt

Lana poured her vision into the glass, her eyes were as cold as the ice within. She had those kind of unflinchingly vigilant eyes that made any man uneasy. She caught a reflection off of the slick surface; a younger man took a knee across the room. It may have been the contour of the ice, but she swore he trembled as he left his chair. Doubting himself, doubting his potential spouse. Lana watched as the overbearing weight of his reluctance forced his knee to wobble as he lowered to the floor, as if his conscience wouldn't rescind his inner convictions and was vehemently pushing against his impulsive forthcoming decision. He wasn’t ready to do this.

He’d thought ceaselessly throughout the entire day about this pledge to monogamy that chains so many men. He'd thought about her wrapping the leash around her wrist a few more times to hold her rightful reigns with nothing less than utter despotism. He'd thought about his friends who would joke without refrain about him making the worst mistake of his life. He'd also thought about how they wouldn’t be joking. Lana saw him peek over his shoulder just the slightest bit, self-conscious about those witnessing his now very clear mistake. Their eyes met briefly and she almost mockingly turned away, embarrassed for him. He turned back to his potential spouse who glared at him with the solemn realization of what was happening. He asked, popping the question that should’ve remained a mere kernel. Silverware across the restaurant chimed against dinner plates; a wave of naive silence and the eyes of endearing strangers crashed onto the couple's table. This proud, but shaken woman shook her head no and slowly stood from her seat as he abashedly sank into his; a humiliating form of relief. She then left the restaurant, leaving behind someone who wasn’t prepared to stay with her but inconsiderately pretended otherwise. She left with an august strut. Lana mouthed Good riddance to no one in particular, and did the same.

The bidirectional hinges swung the door like a male-deterring whip from Lana’s hand and the muffled city’s babble flooded into the resonating silence of a restaurant where the patron’s appetite had been sated by an uneasy pity. The door swung inward and outward until the city could only whisper through the crack of the frame. Everyone inside was waiting for the door to conclude its dance, hoping it wouldn't. Its waltz was their only form of distraction. They felt the silence creeping in to regain its tyrannical control over the room but they couldn't help but maintain faith in the door, like when the diehard fanatic clasps his hands in prayer for a team on the wrong side of a victory nearing the game’s final minutes. The fans littered throughout the restaurant collectively sighed as the room had succumbed to the deafening silence. Their rubbernecking yet empathetic eyes couldn’t help but shift towards the shell of a man that couldn’t sink any further into his booth. It seemed as if he’d grown a five o’clock shadow in the time that had transpired, and his hair was disheveled from fingers lacing it with a strangling embarrassment. Peripheral and awkward stares alike inevitably provided his cue for exit. Not exactly how I’d planned that, eh? he announced with a broken laugh as he pulled his navy sports-jacket over his shoulders, but received little else than a chuckle of pity. He shook his head looking around, the awkward head nod that often says I’m in the wrong place. The same eyes that had yet to spurn followed him as he exited. He dropped the rejected diamond, along with a lot of himself, into a sewer drain just beyond the door.

Though Lana had looked upon the scenario with disgust, the dejected young man's guise wasn't altogether unfamiliar. This wariness toward the sanctity of monogamy and all of its restricting facets plagued her incessantly. This is not to say that Lana was a lascivious, polygamist slut, but rather to say that she was simply too enveloped by her own pride and disdain for the mutts that foamed at the mouth for a chance with her. The thrill of the chase was her finest attribute, though her killer thighs and bone structure could hardly be scoffed at. Lana was an unattainable entity of lustful desire, a specter in the dating circle. She just didn't want any of that. She was a carbon product of the city she'd rummaged through and the men she'd disavowed could join the ranks of sewage waste for all she cared.

The confines of a city will do that to you. Dependence isn't a virtue. Unless, of course, it is an intrinsic dependence on yourself. Lana developed an abhorrence for interpersonal relations; she despised anyone with an innate desire to latch on and forge any type of relationship. She prided herself in her own successes, and worked diligently and in introverted fashion in order to build upon them. Transient coworkers, fellow folks intermixed in the progressive and insatiable business of mass media and alternative journalism, simply impeded her path. She was renowned in many forward-thinking circles for her salacious and bombast skills as a videographer, and worked freelance for high commissions across the city. The camera saw the world through her, not the other way around. In a way, the camera was one of her only constant companions.

One learns along the way that there are far too many people that can fuck everything up for you. Lana learned this from her predecessors, the city folk turned degenerate derelicts littering the city's alleyways and hole-in-the-wall diners. Lana learned this from those that sired her, the parents she'd like to think she never had. Lana learned this from slandering criticism and jealous videographers. Most influentially, Lana learned this from men. A man, or an adolescent, immature jerk-off (she'd much rather slight him with such an anecdotal biography) had nearly derailed her entirely. She'd toyed with the whole love thing before, embracing her naivety and cinematic amore that is truly unattainable in a world absent of film. She'd met a young guy just as independent as she, but his was a philandering independence. He liked her, sincerely he did. He made it show too, his adoration for her was unprecedented. Unbeknownst to Lana, this adoration carried over into his other relations. It doesn't take a vigilant video journalist to uncover secrets, but it took this one longer than most.

He was an up-and-coming journalist, starting out about the same time as Lana. He was young enough to think that he could take chances; he'd thought that he would seek the stories that no journalist would want to cover, the gritty stories that would earn his print hosannas Pulitzer prizes. Lana subtly adored this about him. She fluttered about the parallels between them. They spent a few nights at each other's apartments sipping on aphrodisiacs, and these nights turned into weeks. Unfortunately, for both of them, he'd soon learn that everybody else wanted those stories, and everybody else would get them. Unlike Lana, who drew from this and molded her own success, this deterred him greatly. By the time he'd given up his Pulitzer aspirations, they'd been together for some time. His surly subtleties were at a minimal for the majority of it; his jealousy was masked by a facade of unrelenting support for Lana's flourishing career. Apparently unsatisfied by the most satiable woman he'd ever encountered, his intrinsic male thirst for more left his throat dry. It wasn't until he got sloppy that she finally picked up on this, and the only man who'd slipped his way into her narcissistic pride was now the example she would draw from when lustful suitors attempted to court her.

Lana's cold eyes looked upon this same man in a chance encounter one day. She had built a desirable name for herself career-wise, she had succeeded. Despite her wishful thinking, he'd seemingly done okay for himself. He was dressed well in a navy sport-coat, and this restaurant was a far cry from those deteriorating hole-in-the-wall diners aforementioned. She watched him carefully through her peripherals, noticing a trembling nerve about him that only she could recognize. Maybe it was just the contour of the ice in her glass. Good riddance.

My name is Thomas Dorwaldt, I study Advertising, Communications, and Creative Writing. The latter I prefer to pursue on my own, but will take on a minor. My personal blog is on tumblr,