Hangover (revisited)

I wake in a nest of pillows and blankets that smell of fresh straw and heather, blood and sex.  Way too much light is coming in for this to be my city apartment with its shades and heavy curtains. I must be in my crash pad, the shell of a crumbling building a couple miles off the highway. My head aches, my mouth is dry and I don’t remember coming back here last night. If I am completely honest, I don’t remember much at all of last night. What little I can recall is a kaleidoscope of impressions: a biker bar, the smell of leather and smoke, the taste of smooth whiskey. Raucous laughter, loud music.  The pile of cash spilling out of the pocket of my discarded jeans makes me think I must have had a good night at the pool table.

I untangle myself from the blankets, stand on the hard stone floor and stretch, working out the morning stiffness. It is then that I notice you sitting in the shadows a few feet away, staring at my unfurled wings. Thousands of white feathers stretch across the framework of these hollow bones. I note that I could use a bath or a shower. My feathers are dull and crumpled from sleep.

I am vain about my wings.

Your expression is unfathomable. You are not unattractive and appear to be in a similar state of undress. For the life of me, I cannot remember if you are last night’s lover or my prisoner. For a long moment, I consider our nudity, my swollen knuckles, your split lip. The dried semen on my thighs, the dried blood on my naked belly.

Could go either way.

Perhaps both?  I have had crazier nights.

You don’t move any closer to me. I can’t tell whether you are currently restrained or just cautious about approaching me. I wish again that my memory of last night was a little clearer.  I mentally promise myself for at least the 124th time that I will cut back on my drinking and start spending my evenings alone in my apartment with a good book, maybe catch up on Game of Thrones. Clean up my act.

Yeah, that’s going to happen.

“Are you an angel or demon?” you ask from your corner.

You sound more wary than frightened. I respect this. You have a pleasant voice, deep. An Irish accent, I think.

I consider your question, turning it over in my mind. I suppose it’s a fair question but it lacks a certain amount of. . . imagination. I grab the bottle of water next to the makeshift bed and take a long swallow before responding to you.

“What makes you think they aren’t one and the same?”

You lift your arm easily out of blankets to catch the partially full water bottle I toss to you.

One mystery solved.

 

After

Our breathing is still rapid, labored, but starting to calm.  Your hands are entwined with mine above my head.  Your lips look bruised from our passionate kisses when you lean in to kiss my lips again, then my forehead before you carefully untangle yourself from me.

I don’t know what comes next.  This is the first time that we have made love and everything is new, unfamiliar.  Our bodies are relaxed but the emotional intimacy between us is still fragile, as delicate as a globe of hand-blown glass.

You lay yourself next to me on your side, facing me.  I rotate my body toward you, now on my side as well. We are inches from each other.  I am aware that this almost feels more naked than when our bodies were joined.  I can feel the warmth coming off your body, the dampness of your skin.  Our scents mingle together in the air.  You must notice my goosebumps, my skin chilled without your enveloping warmth.  You pull the covers up to our shoulders and under the sheets you drape your leg over mine, offering me your body heat.

Your head is cradled on your bent arm.  I have never had this opportunity before to look so directly into your eyes. They are a startling blue, even in this low light, your lashes almost colorless.  Your reach out and touch my cheek, caressing it with your palm and then with the back of your hand. Your hand then moves slowly down my shoulder, brushing my arm, searching for my hand under the covers, which you clasp.

You bring my hand to your mouth and kiss my knuckles one by one.  You have not broken eye contact with me and I wonder idly what you are thinking right now but decide not to ask.  I will settle for the mystery and warmth in your eyes. Your hand again starts to travel up my arm slowly, resting on my shoulder.

I reach out and touch your face.  Your beard is surprisingly soft.  I trace your cheekbone, finally feeling at liberty to really look at you, to explore you.  There is a new knowing between us but so much we still haven’t learned yet, despite our coupling only moments ago.  I want to memorize you with my eyes, smell your skin and breath, paint you using all my senses, create muscle memory in my palms, in my lips so I will be able to recall the feel of you, the taste of you, the way you look right now in this moment.  In this after, when the rest of the world has fallen away and there is only you and I.

At the Movies

I took my first Creative Writing class this past Spring.  One of our topics was concise expression.  One fun in-class assignments was to rewrite a famous book or movie in two sentences.  They were not supposed to be summaries but I was really challenged by this assignment.


The Graduate:

Life after college sucks.  I advise against having sex with your girlfriend’s mother

Star Wars:

He wanted off his dreary planet desperately.  He answers when opportunity knocks and discovers himself the hero.

Romeo and Juliet:

A love so sweet, so passionate,  so star-crossed.  Who thought it would end so badly?

Pride and Prejudice:

Her pride was hurt by his assessment of her looks and suitability; she was prejudiced against him.  Fortunately, they got over themselves.

Fire

The sheets with tiny pink rosebuds, incongruously innocent, are tangled beneath us.  Your lips travel slowly down from my earlobe down to my neck, marking your territory.  You stop at my collarbone; nipping it gently with your teeth before lifting your head to look at me.

Our shirts are lost somewhere on the floor, my bra discarded on the bed along with our socks.  Jeans and underwear create the only barrier that separates us from each other’s skin.  I want to know your skin as well as I know my own.  Every scar, every freckle, every tattoo, every perfect imperfection.

You hair is damp with sweat as you balance above me.  Your eyes are dark, intense, questioning.  I involuntary bite my lip.  I am already anticipating your fingers deftly unbuttoning, unzipping, removing the obstacles.  You take me out of my always busy head, reminding me that I am flesh, I am fire when I am with you.

Hangover (revisited)

I wake in a nest of pillows and blankets that smell of fresh straw and heather, blood and sex.  Way too much light is coming in for this to be my city apartment with its shades and heavy curtains. I must be in my crash pad, the shell of a crumbling building a couple miles off the highway. My head aches, my mouth is dry and I don’t remember coming back here last night. If I am completely honest, I don’t remember much at all of last night. What little I can recall is a kaleidoscope of impressions: a biker bar, the smell of leather and smoke, the taste of smooth whiskey. Raucous laughter, loud music.  The pile of cash spilling out of the pocket of my discarded jeans makes me think I must have had a good night at the pool table.

I untangle myself from the blankets, stand on the hard stone floor and stretch, working out the morning stiffness. It is then that I notice you sitting in the shadows a few feet away, staring at my unfurled wings. Thousands of white feathers stretch across the framework of these hollow bones. I note that I could use a bath or a shower. My feathers are dull and crumpled from sleep.

I am vain about my wings.

Your expression is unfathomable. You are not unattractive and appear to be in a similar state of undress. For the life of me, I cannot remember if you are last night’s lover or my prisoner. For a long moment, I consider our nudity, my swollen knuckles, your split lip. The dried semen on my thighs, the dried blood on my naked belly.

Could go either way.

Perhaps both?  I have had crazier nights.

You don’t move any closer to me. I can’t tell whether you are currently restrained or just cautious about approaching me. I wish again that my memory of last night was a little clearer.  I mentally promise myself for at least the 124th time that I will cut back on my drinking and start spending my evenings alone in my apartment with a good book, maybe catch up on Game of Thrones. Clean up my act.

Yeah, that’s going to happen.

“Are you an angel or demon?” you ask from your corner.

You sound more wary than frightened. I respect this. You have a pleasant voice, deep. An Irish accent, I think.

I consider your question, turning it over in my mind. I suppose it’s a fair question but it lacks a certain amount of. . . imagination. I grab the bottle of water next to the makeshift bed and take a long swallow before responding to you.

“What makes you think they aren’t one and the same?”

You lift your arm easily out of blankets to catch the partially full water bottle I toss to you.

One mystery solved.

 

After

Our breathing is still rapid, labored, but starting to calm.  Your hands are entwined with mine above my head.  Your lips look bruised from our passionate kisses when you lean in to kiss my lips again, then my forehead before you carefully untangle yourself from me.

I don’t know what comes next.  This is the first time that we have made love and everything is new, unfamiliar.  Our bodies are relaxed but the emotional intimacy between us is still fragile, as delicate as a globe of hand-blown glass.

You lay yourself next to me on your side, facing me.  I rotate my body toward you, now on my side as well. We are inches from each other.  I am aware that this almost feels more naked than when our bodies were joined.  I can feel the warmth coming off your body, the dampness of your skin.  Our scents mingle together in the air.  You must notice my goosebumps, my skin chilled without your enveloping warmth.  You pull the covers up to our shoulders and under the sheets you drape your leg over mine, offering me your body heat.

Your head is cradled on your bent arm.  I have never had this opportunity before to look so directly into your eyes. They are a startling blue, even in this low light, your lashes almost colorless.  Your reach out and touch my cheek, caressing it with your palm and then with the back of your hand. Your hand then moves slowly down my shoulder, brushing my arm, searching for my hand under the covers, which you clasp.

You bring my hand to your mouth and kiss my knuckles one by one.  You have not broken eye contact with me and I wonder idly what you are thinking right now but decide not to ask.  I will settle for the mystery and warmth in your eyes. Your hand again starts to travel up my arm slowly, resting on my shoulder.

I reach out and touch your face.  Your face is surprisingly soft.  I trace your cheekbone, finally feeling at liberty to really look at you, to explore you.  There is a new knowing between us but so much we still haven’t learned yet, despite our coupling only moments ago.  I want to memorize you with my eyes, smell your skin and breath, paint you using all my senses, creating muscle memory in my palms, in my lips so I will be able to recall the feel of you, the taste of you, the way you look right now in this moment.  In this after, when the rest of the world has fallen away and there is only you and I.

At the Movies

Concise expression was the topic of my creative writing class tonight.  One of our in-class assignments was to rewrite a famous book or movie in two sentences.  They were not supposed to be summaries but I was really challenged by this assignment.


The Graduate:

Life after college sucks.  I advise against having sex with your girlfriend’s mother

Star Wars:

He wanted off his dreary planet desperately.  He answers when opportunity knocks and discovers himself the hero.

Romeo and Juliet:

A love so sweet, so passionate,  so star-crossed.  Who thought it would end so badly?

Pride and Prejudice:

Her pride was hurt by his assessment of her looks and suitability; she was prejudiced against him.  Fortunately, they got over themselves.

Indelible

Her ink was not merely art.

It was her truth, her history, etched upon her skin in indelible ink.

“I’m Still Breathing” coupled with a semi-colon on the inside of her left wrist integrated knife scars from desperate nights when the pain, loneliness and desperation almost won.  A tribute to survival.

“I Write for Fear of Silence” marked the inside of her right wrist.  Calling herself poet, she resisted the smothering silence that had tried to steal her voice.  Continuing to spin truth onto paper, onto the screen, shouting into the wind, “I am.”

The peonies covering the left side of her back, reminding her beauty that existed within and without.

Her right thigh read: “We define ourselves by the best that is in us, not the worst that has been done to us.”  This was where the bruise of his hand print had lasted for months after the brutality.  She painstakingly and defiantly reclaimed this territory.

The most recent tattoo had been designed with her lover, who understood and loved both her strength and her fragility.  The fierceness and the tears.  She now knew that no matter how lost she became, she was strong and would persevere.  It was a promise of faith they both committed to.

The words carefully inscribed into her skin, under her rib cage, below her heart read “Love Me Until I Am Me Again”

Fire

The sheets with tiny pink rosebuds, incongruously innocent, are tangled beneath us.  Your lips travel from my earlobe, kissing slowly down my neck, marking your territory.  You stop at my collarbone; nipping it gently with your teeth before lifting your head to look at me.

Our shirts are lost somewhere on the floor, my bra discarded on the bed along with our socks.  Jeans and underwear create the only barrier that separates us from each other’s skin.  I want to know your skin as well as I know my own.  Every scar, every freckle, every tattoo, every perfect imperfection.

You hair is damp with sweat as you balance above me.  Your eyes are dark, intense, questioning.  I involuntary bite my lip.  I am already anticipating your fingers deftly unbuttoning, unzipping, removing the obstacles.  You take me out of my always busy head, reminding me that I am flesh, I am fire when I am with you.