i want to write our history of missed opportunities on my skin, and i want one day for you to read it back to me, peeling away gossamer layers of fabric and lace to find the veiled secrets of what was, what might have been, and what is still to come.
there is a rhythm to it – always a rhythm to that secret vocabulary of touch, the dialogue of eyes and hands, the way my body moves with yours against it. when i am with you i am nowhere else, and i think you know that, and you know that this kind of love is unique because all we have to do is hop to the side a bit and we’re somewhere where no one else can find us. you are a man who loves well, and i a woman who loves deeply, until there’s nothing left, and because of this we drink in these moments of rough-voiced singers and martinis like the ocean in my mouth with arms and hands and eyes and lips and exhaled smoke curling to the tin ceiling. some day we will love until there’s nothing left, and then we will sit quietly and say “remember how it was when?” and we will nod and it will be enough.
for some reason we were talking about tattoos that night, late, as the paint dried on the walls of the small room around us. i touched the circles on his inner forearms. we talked about faith, and how those marks were a reminder. i asked him if he had any others, and he said “do you want to know? maybe i should let you wait and find out.” he said it with laughter in his voice, with me perched on a stool in my skirt and boots and sweater like the night.
i didn’t find out, and i had forgotten until just now, watching all the real girls, when zooey deschanel touches the tattoo on her boyfriend’s shoulder and he laughs and says that he got it a long time ago.
you are in my bed again. how are you in my bed again? i laugh with your mouth against my skin, my hand on the back of your head protecting you from my nightstand. we toss about with laughter and kisses and mouths and skin and hands in hair and sheets and blankets and bodies half off the bed and fingers interlaced and fall asleep together, your body warm next to mine. in the morning i almost don’t want to wake you, your sleepy head on my pillow, your body curled up where mine was not too long before.
i think you might have known me since birth or before, the way your eyes meet mine and go beyond them. i think if you were ever to touch me i would shatter into a thousand pieces and become a part of the dust and air and the ice in your glass.
we touch each other in the casual way that characterizes our conversations – your hand soft on my back, my hand cupping the side of your face, your arm around my waist as my hands cover my mouth when i laugh. you kiss my cheek, then slip away to greet other friends that have just arrived. later you find me in the crowd, making snarky comments about the people rocking out around us. when you make your departure i reach through the rows of people that separate us to touch your shoulder, saying “it’s really too bad that you’re not into me.” you step back towards me, gently kissing my mouth, and say “i’m not as good as i seem.”
in the middle of the crowd in the middle of the set in the middle of a cold dark night we stand looking at each other, perfectly still as people jump and scream and sing and dance around us. in this moment we are alone, and i half expect you to kiss me, but instead you say “will you go out with me?” and i don’t know what to say.
My response to Ben sTone’s challenge to fuck with his art
i can see how he thought i was crushing the walnuts with my fingers. they were small, and the meat came apart easily. it was summer when i met him, and the steps were warm with sun and my feet bare. my hair, white since childhood, was long those days, and i was used to people staring. his eyes were hungry and tired, and i took him by the hand. he sat at my table drinking lemonade while i made pesto, and then we fucked on the kitchen floor, and he laughed when i told him he would always associate crushed basil with the the texture of my skin.
he liked to tell people i was the perfect girl and that i possessed secret powers and that my white hair came not from the premature onset of age but from a chemical imbalance that allowed me to control the universe. he liked to tell people that i crushed walnuts with my fingers, and that when we first met i picked him up with one arm.
and it was good. it was good for a long time – the fucking like mercury, our bodies like chemical reactions, the slow dazzle of our love. when he was asked how he scored with a girl like me, he would squint his eyes closed tight – those too piercing green eyes – and whisper “chemistry…..”
what comes after, though? in one ending he finds my body with my heart pierced through by a steak knife and a mysterious note behind my head. my body is whisked away and destroyed, and he spends the rest of his life waking up from a beautiful dream to the reality of life without perfection.
in one ending he finds my body not so perfect after a few months or years or lifetimes, and all the stories of super powers can’t hold it together when the chemistry fades and the crashing together of bodies can’t conceal the change from summer to autumn and my skin’s winter-white.
in one ending he finds my body with my heart pierced through by a steak knife held just so, and the curve of a slender throat and long dark hair against my skin’s winter-white, and he stands in my kitchen crushing basil between his fingers as i carry my boxes in one arm, the hand that once drew his in shielding my eyes against the too-bright summer morning.
they say that when you’re happy, you’re just like everyone else, and when you’re alone, your misery is unique. i say that in love, in death, in loss and in chemistry it all comes down to the turn of the knife.
In a crowded theater my body moves with the music. I brush my hair out of my face, my fingers laced through it at the nape of my neck. In that moment I can feel your breath on my skin and it is like nothing I remember.
I am 17 and on the dance floor, two weeks from graduation. My best friend is there. Such a fateful night. We danced to that Whitetown song and sparkly confetti rained down from the ceiling. We were so young. I found glitter in my bed for a week, and every time smiled a secret smile.