The last rays of sun are dancing through the window of my room, making a masterpiece of colour on the wall in front of me. I let my dirty clothes fall on the floor and step into the tub. As the warmth of the water wraps around my body I feel all the exhaustion slip away.
I've worked very hard at the ranch these last few days, especially since you stopped coming. Anything to keep my mind busy. But as hard as I try, at the thought of you slow, warm tears begin to spill out of my eyes, streaming down my face. I feel them running down and melting into the water. I know I have no right to claim your company, your love, but I just can't help feeling that way. I can't stop hoping you can ease your mind with me one day. I need you Jimmy, I need your strong arms to hold me, I need your soft lips on mine, I need your smile to brighten my lonely nights. I need you at the dimming of the day, when the sun sinks below the horizon.
A sudden shiver shakes me from my thoughts; the water is getting cold and the room is quickly getting dark. Carefully, so as not to fall, I step out and wrap myself in a towel. As I light some candles a desire I can't explain comes to my mind. Wiping the tears off of my face, I start to look eagerly in my old trunk.
I know it's here. It has to be here. My hands are trembling a little and I feel new tears press against my eyes. Nothing seems to be going right for me tonight. And then I see it, my blue dress. The dress you bought me that night in Willow Springs. It's been a long time since I last wore it.
I slowly start to put it on, thinking about all the times you dried my tears when I cried, you held me sway when my will was gone, you listened when I needed to talk. You always know where I keep my better side. But I guess it's too late now, I've lost my chance with you.
Sighing I walk to the window, the wood rough under my bare feet. I look outside, but you're not on your way to me tonight. We're not going to sit on the swing on the porch telling each other about our days, or just enjoying the quiet of the evening. Only now do I realize how much I want you, Jimmy, how much I've been waiting for the night we steal away, how much I need you at the dimming of the day, when the sky gets dark and the stars sparkle above us.
"It's been a long time since I saw that dress on you."
I find myself jumping a little at the sound of your voice.
I turn to look at you, standing in the doorway, playing with the hat in your hand. Despite the dim light I can see a slight blush on your face, while you shyly look away.
"I didn't mean to scare you. I knocked a few times on the door but when you didn't answer I got worried and I came in. I'm sorry, I shouldn't have come upstairs but I saw the light in your room so… I just… just thought you'd heard me."
You keep staring at your boots, awkward, and I can't help a little smile.
"I didn't. But you don't need to be sorry, I guess I was just… lost in some memories."
You're smiling back at me now and your eyes are so intense that I forget how to breathe.
"Well, come downstairs." I manage after a long moment as I make my way to you. "I'll make you a cup of coffee."
"Don't bother, I can't stay. I only came to say that probably I won't come for…"
I don't let you go any further. When I saw you at my doorway I totally forgot what I saw yesterday morning in town. But there we are. The magic is gone and you're here to tell me what you have to.
"I understand Jimmy. Don't worry, you don't owe me any explanation. And," I pause biting my lip before going on, "she's very pretty, by the way."
"She? Wait, wait a minute! Lou, I don't understand what you're talking about!"
You look very surprised, but how can you deny it when I saw you holding her with my own eyes?
"I saw you with that woman on the street." I say in one breath. I feel the warmth on my face but I keep staring at you nonchalantly. "I thought she was the reason you didn't show up anymore."
You look still confused, your dark eyes fixed on mine. I've already seen that look in your eyes a long time ago, that night in Seneca. The same night I realized I could never marry the Kid, not when another man had such a tight hold on my heart. My face is getting warmer and I feel the urge to look away.
"Look, Jimmy. I understand, you don't…"
"You understand?" Your voice wavers a little as you cut me off. "Why didn't you come over if you saw me?"
"I thought… I…" I start stammering, fighting to keep my voice steady. I just can't stand this conversation any longer, but I have no choice.
"I thought you wouldn't want to be bothered while you were having such a nice time with your sweetheart." I finally say, collecting all my courage and glancing over at you. "I'm sorry if I didn't stop to say hello."
"My sweetheart?" you say, arching an eyebrow as a soft laugh escapes from your lips. I can't believe you want to joke around about that. We're still standing on the doorway, and you put your hat back on, leaning slowly against the doorframe.
"You'll catch a cold." You nod slightly in the direction of my bare feet, but I'm beyond caring, my hands holding tightly, nervously to the soft fabric of my skirt.
"Anyway sorry if I didn't show up those past couple of days, I've been pretty busy in town. There was a series of robberies, and I think the Garrets are involved."
Your eyes soften as you stare into mine.
"I'm not sure I'll able to come until we get them. I don't want you to worry about me, so I wanted to tell you that."
I'm so embarrassed, I don't know exactly what to say. You didn't mention that woman and I don't want to ask you but at the same time my heart is aching to know.
"Thanks, Jimmy." I finally say after a minute.
Suddenly I need to go away, to be alone. I move a step trying to pass you but you block my way with your arm.
"She just stumbled, Lou. The woman you saw, I don't even know her name. She stumbled and I caught her before she fell. She twisted her ankle so I held her until we found a bench."
"Oh." I gaze down, suddenly very aware of my bare feet. I can't bear to look in your eyes right now.
"Nothing more than that."
You softly lift my chin up looking for my eyes, but I back off.
"Lou, please look at me. What's going on?"
You reach up and brush a lock of hair off of my face. All my barriers melt away.
"Jimmy I… I need you."
Finally I've said that, it just slipped out. I can't take it back, and I don't want to. I've never been so comfortable with you as now, and I realize I should have told you long time ago.
You move closer and I feel you arm slip around my waist pulling me against your body. I feel the warmth of your embrace, the nearness of your face, the softness of your lips.
"I'm here." You whisper as I slide my arms up around your neck and you bend down to kiss me again.
Yes, you're here Jimmy. You are here at the dimming of the day.
This old house is falling down around my ears
You pulled me like the moon
What days have come to keep us far apart
Come the night you're only what I want
I see you the street and in company
Dimming of the day - Bonnie Raitt
Author's Note: Many thanks to Liz for being my beta, and to Raye for sharing this song with me. I hope I did it justice.