The Diary of Noel Edwards 12/6/2017

Women delight me.

I like their face, their shape, their eyes and subtle gestures particular to their sex. Of a specific caliber or class, I couldn’t possibly identify or name to be a favorite. I enjoy them all, femininity a la carte.

But my pleasure in them has never been so primal. Sex is a wonder in and of itself, but I’ve never been able to find joys or even the capacity to treat women as an object to be drained or sought for my mere enjoyment. To view the wonders of their lips and whispers as merely a source of a pleasure- a thing to be enjoyed and cast aside, or misused, I am incapable of. But I do enjoy them.

Monogamy is an atrocity to my affection. I can’t imagine settling for just one type of person every day. Alice is lactose intolerant, but still dabbles in yogurt. Makes funny faces at posters that seem over-indulgent, and spends most of our late night conversations worried about what the homeless are doing at that very moment. When we talk I feel my spirit wriggle free of daily conventionalities. As she describes the why’s as to her favorite kind of lipstick or misogyny, I’m able to let go of being over-sentimental, and laugh at the mundanity we all take so serious. Melissa is a different kind of liquor. Like my favorite kind of whiskey: tall, dark, and full of bad decisions. She sees the useless nature in all our useless endeavors. Cast a deadpan smile while she wiles the weekend morning away in pancakes and not-for-profit volunteering. Caring so much about the world, but refusing to let us know it. Bitter as lemons on a fresh wound, sweet as the aftertaste of scabs healing over.

They’re both so beautiful.

Then there’s Elsa, who I have no other attraction to other than the slender of her shape and attitude. A comely caramel for skin and a smile you could lie for- her eyes two coals that sit sharp like a pair of dice landing on snake eyes; deep black dots floating in a pool of milk filled with honey. Slender waist that drops like drapes into unforgiving legs, jeans that hug so snugly to the soft arches and tender dips of a shape that seems to be made for holding. Her voice has the gentle amplitude of money, powerful…but in your hands and deliberation, a bit worthless. She has no thought or words above the ordinary, and maybe her beauty is so blinding but, whoever needed intellectuals anyway?

Elsa, Melissa, Alice. They are all so beautiful. I want them each for their own reasons, but never for long or all at once. I can appreciate the delicate balance and attractiveness to their divisive characters. I could spend days with each of them, admiring all the facets of what makes them so unique in a world of copy pasted personalities. I love them for a while, under the gilded smiles of the moon and 4AM pillowed confession no Instagram or diary could ever fully reflect or comprehend. Alice, who reminds me to laugh because nothing is so serious. Melissa, full of bitter but still giving herself to a world that doesn’t deserve it. And Elsa, the beauty of beauty incarnate and made real.

Women delight me.

But only for a while.

Ms. Behaving Taught Me Better Than Politeness Ever Could

It’s cold, so women start to put the sandals away and whip out the fur hoodies and finger-less gloves.  Your #MCM’s caesar haircut fades into a fitted cap, cuffing season hashtags, two-button trench-coats, and fuck-it-every-other-day-I’ll-shave Winter stub. Five o clock shadows look more natural at six pm when the sun quits early and the city bundles into itself into November. Every bar and cafe this side of Houston shuts the beach umbrellas and tabled awnings, brings out a meme sign that’s not exactly funny, but clever enough with a Rick and Morty reference to buddy you in under the promise of cheap shots and warm company.
 
“I can’t stand hamsters,”
“But why did she think denim was okay,”
“What’re you on your period,”
“He was cross eyed but very cute”

This city speaks to me, offhand reveries echoing in the turnstiles. Ever-day glories I overhear gladly between ocean-scening ads lining up the train billboards on my way to anywhere but home. Spotify on my headphones and verbal traffic on the Canarsie bound L-line in Union Square, a cozy corner by the doorway I’m sharing with a tinkerbelle not near half my height, some baby carriages cluttering the aisle, and a giant [from the North, probably] leaning his head against the tiny six foot six inch train celing [I measured that shit, maybe] head space.

Its a sight. And an experience you cant appreciate until you’ve lived here long enough to love hating this city.

*DING*

“We are being held momentarily by the trains dispatcher. Please, be patient.” The monotone recording repeats for the eighth time in the last eight minutes. My leg started to cramp, the entire commute let out a collective sigh, and the anxiety of the wait was enough to make even the calmest man something awful.
But New York has its perks, despite itself: so much social overcrowding the most mundane become monumental.

I got off the grid-locked transit for a taxi in Union Square. Yellow cabs are a habit of a time behind us, and besides, who the hell can afford it or even carries cash? So I finessed a few flicks on rectangular glowing screen and waited in a Starbucks for a convenient lift to my evening. One tall blonde and awkward asking for the bathroom password later, I’m faux-pas among strangers in an Uber Pool. A smooth ride considering, A cluttered group of over-priviledges twenty-somethings has gone much worse (just ask the last election.)

So I spent the ride listening to some loser describe getting robbed by a cop that pulled him over for no reason. His son was coughing up a storm with the cold chill of passenger windows blasted open, a (wife?) staring at her phone and getting angry at a runny nose nobody controls. Another bored brunette sits passenger, laughing at herself or at her phone. The kid says goodbye when she exits and the door slam shuts in response. He plays with his Iron Man helmet in quiet, the sedan shuttles off to the next drop point, and somewhere between Broadway and Amsterdam somebody whispers:

“What a cunt…”

And the whole car laughs.
 
It’s warm, despite the gloves.

Whatever Doesn’t Kill You May Just Like To Watch You Suffer

“Do you know what poisons cows?” He said.

A plastic bag rustled between the trees and three children playing skip-the-cracks across the sidewalk. There was a fruit cart stand, so small and undefinable on that little corner of East Side New York, selling green and purple grapes by the pound without the seeds. Bananas bagged in bushels and boxes full of strawberry grays. Take your pick of processed shit organically packed in neat elastic little cartons. Fresh off the Nope.

There was a fruit cart stand, so small on that little corner of New York. Hungry hands lined and ashy, taking their turn turning fruit ripe enough to make the best off a dollar bargain. Used napkins, coffee cups, chewed up gum blooming petals of thick black sinew between ceramic oaks and mulberry shrubs. An addict waltzed between the crowd, unsteady toward Elysium, to the rhythm of his poison drum – bleary eyed, bent, and grinning. I watched a plastic bag settle on the flora of a steel lamp post while three children played skip-the-cracks on the edge of coming traffic.

There was a fruit cart standing on a corner of New York because nothing ever grows here.

“What?” I asked.  

Mingo shifted his weight against his cane and I heard a thousand bones groan and adjust to his new lurch. We were leaning on concrete slabs edged enough to take a seat in, smoking ourselves dry to the bother of that corner deli. The usual suspects. They hated us but we paid our cover, two coffees and a roll with butter, one extra butter and the other toasted,

He measured his cigar while I wiled away my third cigarette that morning, and the lively grey sunstrain of his eyes glint with the patience of decaying trees. Wise and old, or old and wise. I couldn’t tell.

“The cow. You know what poisons them?” Mingo repeated calmly. I shook my head saying I didn’t.

“Esperanza, es una planta. They eat it,” he ran his index finger along his neck, a universal sign difficult to misinterpret, clicked his teeth and the little calf was done.

It began to rain and three children scrambled under the safe pan of an awning. A man leaned against a bus stop map gritting his teeth to the grim blue tint of a text message. He sucked his teeth before closing the phone, his hot mood sizzling in soft hummed cusses; sparks against the drops of heaven crackling between us. The grey clouds gave way to a dark and hazy yolked sun, the children ran and the bust stop groaned. Mingo creaks and the moment is over easy.

“Why do they eat it,” I asked. “If it’s poison.”

And Mingo shrugged.

Esperanza is a flower, bright and beautiful with yellow petals. And Esperanza is also hope, just as bright and ruinous. I couldn’t decide which killed them first, the toxins or definition.

“I killed somebody once,” Mingo said unexpectedly. “Coz’ of a woman.” He was calm, not sad nor entirely delighted. Not resentful or proud, but with the air of a man that’s lived and in living was reflective.

I couldn’t think of what to say and a car chuckled down the road.

“Do you having a girl?”

Down the block a gilded goddesses hips swayed, and she reminded me of a girl I reminded myself to forget. Gray eyed and somber lip’d, the kind of face easy to compliment and hard to misremember. I was staring and I didn’t care, and the longer I dared the sooner I realized that familiar was just wistful thinking. She didn’t look anything like her. The sighs were all wrong. She didn’t have the unhappiness riddled along her creases, she didn’t hold me like a melody at the slight of her hand or fuzzy forearm. She passed us without a crass look despite lingering stares.

But she did look a lot like her when she was walking away.

“Yeah,” I said to Mingo. I heard his head nod solemnly by the sound of his neck creaking.

“Never killed anyone because of her though,” I added.

Mingo laughed, ominously. 

“You might someday,”

I clipped my cigarette and said goodbye.

“I Love Seasons” Is A Pleasant Way of Saying That I Can’t Even Commit To The Weather

Fall brings out the optimist in me. As the trees tinge yellow, red, then an inevitable dark and muddy brown stomped lifelessly into the mud and sewers of the sidewalk, I get a little giddy. Autumn is a reminder of how beautiful the death of things can be, that life is but an episode among a series of joys, woes, and cosmic indifference to both. Don’t get me wrong- the syndication is a good one, a classic as far as I’m concerned, but always on the brink of being cancelled.

The Arrested Development of existentialism, in so many more ways than one.  

For me, October is a time when the air is always thick and wet, loaded as sentences and on the verge of rain. Where my nostalgia goes into overdrive and I’m overrun in moments that are bulging like clouds, but just as empty and easy to navigate. Standing near the bus stop the first day of school with a oversized Dragonball Z hoodie, and power level at an underwhelming under nine thousand. Kissing Tiffany in Bryant Park while something under our feet crunched loudly, and made the world smell like skin and an end to childhood. Sundays saying goodbye to my father after another awful weekend sharing a bed in his shitty little bedroom apartment.

The experience is a winter wonderland of wondering where all that time has gone, but I don’t want to come off as a nihilist. To be honest, as I get older, I no longer look to the past as often. But when I do, I look back at it all much more fondly. I want to reach out and call someone I haven’t spoken to or of in years, just to remind Tiffany, Kevin, Jimmy, Corina, or hell, even my father, that at some point I loved them dearly.

But sobriety makes empty feel like more than it really is, so I let those sentiments wither with the foliage and double down on the idea that I’m taking the weather too personally. I’m an optimist, and while it’s all going to hell, I’m not so obsessed with disappointment to not look forward to what might come after Winter. I’ve come to terms with the cup half emptied and don’t care to bother where the other half is gone. I want nothing more than to enjoy what’s left of the bitter coffee, jacketed weather, wind snubbed cigarettes and I-Miss-You texts the season warrants.

“Unca Chino, you’re sleeping and awake again,” Xavier said, a little four foot anchor keeping me from ballooning to those far and dizzying heights.

Luckily I spend these days too busy babysitting my nephews to spend it self mutilating in alcohol and scabs that have long-since healed. It was around 9PM, I remember, and after an obligatory afternoon playing catch and pretend body-slamming them on the collection of leaves we spent all morning gathering on the lawn, I was tired. I ordered a pizza and plugged them into a movie and video games while I brewed coffee that came out especially bitter. It was drizzling, and the raindrops ricochet against the window sill started to say something my mouth and heart could only mumble. I’d had a disgusting dream about toilets, teeth, and spiders, and the dreary sounds of wetness from outside made more sense of it than I could.

Rain speaks to me, the same way it speaks to you and every other writer this side of the century. We aren’t special. It’s not so strange how nature can make a noise that nears closer to truth than anything words can make up. There isn’t more honestly to life, vague sounds just allow for more projection.

“Shower time losers,” I said. “First one that doesn’t smell like feet gets ice cream before bed.”  They dashed up the stairs and I leaned my ear closer to the window.

There was another sound besides my melancholy that drew my heart and curiosity closer. Howling, is the only word that came to mind. Howling and guitars. The running waters from their baths upstairs gave me an opportunity, so I used the chance to sneak outside and satiate my greater habits. Cigarettes and busy-bodying.

I took to the driveway where the sound was closest, casually lit a stick of reprieve and sullied along the hedges. Those Jones-town bushes parted and gave way to the neighbors house, a cozy two-story suburbia, complete with a overly playful dog and little balcony facing my sisters house. That was when I saw her.

…Ah Brooklyn, Brooklyn take me in.
Are you aware the shape I’m in?
My hands they shake, my head it spins.

She was moonshining on the porch with a bottle of bourbon, her voice trailing along the sad bluegrass like static against the mini-speakers . A playful little beagle with a wet and button nose started whining at my jeans and cigarette smoke through the gate dividing me from her porch. His searching eyes much sadder than whatever guitar strings she sung three beats off key. I couldn’t see her very well, just silhouettes and blonde streaks my mind filled the blanks of.

It was so cinematic- single guy, cute dog, and a drunk white girl waxing lyrics at the moon; shipwrecked on a second story balcony by some emotional disaster. The pretense was a bit pretentious, even as I was living it, but they say that life imitates art, so I was comely to the cliche of it all. Reached down to scratch behind the mutts ears and whimpers to remind him of what a good boy he was.

“Is that The Avett Brothers?” I asked out loud, knowing full well that it was.

“I thank so,” her accent said, a bit surprised and to my enjoyment.

I let the silence build and focused my attention to scratching where his tail wagged the wildest. Too many words are the enemy of mystery, and the few we shared I carefully loaded to be as exciting and interesting as they could be. My father was a dog, a trait he handed down dutifully to me and my brother. Don’t talk so damn much, he used to say. All these men think the way is sweet talking. A woman likes a man that knows when to shut the fuck up.

The proof is in the pudding, and I’ve got enough step-brothers and sisters to vouch for whatever his methods were.

That woman, she’s got eyes that shine.

Like a pair of stolen polished dimes.

She asked to dance I said it’s fine,

I’ll see you in the morning time.

They say you can’t make sense out of a sentiment, but I can quantify the fuck out of a feeling. For instance, I started following some girl on Reddit that only makes quotes with little accents over the i’s and n’s. I don’t speak the language or understand a damned thing she says, but I damn sure like seeing it. Might be Italian, I think, or Spanish? I can never tell which, and to be honest, I would much rather never know at all. Ambiguity is what makes whatever the hell she’s saying so alluring, and a translation would be a mutilation and only ruin the magic. The not knowing is what makes it as fun as coloring books.

That’s why people watching is only fun with strangers.

“When I was in Tennessee, that’s all I heard between the bars.” I said. And her silhouette either nodded or examined me critically in response.

“My friends can’t stand it, but I really like some country songs.” I added, even though I didn’t. A bad habit: playing a game of two truths and a lie but not telling anybody.

I used to tell myself the horndog gene doubled down on my brother and skipped me. It was practically tradition that every Christmas the family gathered to hear one of the crazy situations and women Joseph got himself into over the years. There was the wife that flew him out to Miami just to bone him whenever her husband got too drunk and fell asleep. Threesomes with cousins who he admitted to me were actually sisters, but didn’t want to gross mom out.

“My parents use to play these songs when we lived in _________, and I hated ’em. Now it’s all I ever listen to.”

“Where’s ___________?” I asked.

“Kentucky,” she said. And I smiled, because destiny has a terrible sense of humor.

“So is that Jamison, Old Grandad, or Jim Bean in your cup?”

She laughed, a dry and raspy thing, bordering between the crisp and crunchy stomp of an Autumn leaf. Or smokers lung.

“You Rey’s brother?” She asked.

“No, the other ones.”

“Babysitting?”

“Those boys are too damn old to be called babies.” I said.

“You want a taste?” She said, raising a hazy outline of the bottle she was drinking.

“Not yet,” I said, and the image of my sister finding out flashed before my eyes the way movies say your life does right before you’re dead.  

There was a long pause in the chilled and country New York air, filled only by honking cars and the beagles front paws scratching against the gate for my attention. His breathing heavy with huffed intentions of trying to get over the waist-high barrier between us.

I’m old enough to know the quick wiles of young women. Dumb enough to have experienced the fleeting fancies of the older ones. And oversexed enough to not give a damn about the disasters brought by both.

Her darkness, even from a vague distance, felt so warm and familiar. Comforting- like your room with the blinds are shut tight and it’s an annoyingly sunny day outside.

“If you hear country, I’ll be out here.” She said.

I waved a silent goodbye, gave her pooch some goodbye rough-housing, and sauntered back inside. Xavier was huddled in his 3DS and Ian was coveting an arms race of nerf guns by his bedside. They’d forgotten about the ice cream, and thinking about what awaited outside, I pondered doing the same.

Wondered if these violent delights always needed such thigh-ish ends. If I could break myself from doggish genetics and spend all night with two kids hopped up on ice cream. If I could abort these veins and be more than these base desires. Or are these speculations as sour as the bourbon that could be overflowing my cup. I wanted to be sweet as the mood it seasons and affords, easy as the Hello-Is-That-The-Avett-Brothers I’m showcasing in glassed smiles. It’s a weeknight and she might have work in the morning, but then again so do I. Is it worth getting started on tonight and well on my way to hating myself tomorrow? With alarm clock reminders nagging my pocket, the world knocking violently, trying to abrupt the bluegrass dream. Responsibilities begging at me, like a puppy scratching at the door.

After all if mistakes are what we call experience, then a man is made of them. So if I were to go, I would not be irresponsible. I would merely be building character.

Oh, those empty hours where my righteous rises from the deep. Do I have to? Choose, I mean. Between the calm or the storm. Can’t I be both? Loud and quiet, like the eye of a hurricane.

“All right boys,” I yelled.

 

“It’s time to-…

You Have To Smile To Say Her Name

I can see what Hemingway saw in Cuba.

Old Havana opened to me like the wet, stale parts of a pleasant dream you’ve been interrupted from. The people are nice enough to be kind but let you alone, Havana’s dilapidated but pristine architecture remains hauntingly beautiful, and what drunk can pass up top shelf rum for two dollars and fifty cents a shot? (Only 6 bucks for the bottle in every bodega outside the tourist traps.) A writer’s paradise nestled 110 miles shy from the great liberated bays of Florida.

Cuban sun hums the kind of heat that makes sex feel more like a pass time than a necessity of the body. The women are rather beautiful, decked in their humble but strapless dresses, skirts, and generic bootie shorts. Their skin a light mahogany, turned crisp as chocolate candied in barrels of sugar cane and caramel. All busy-bodied on with their ways to work, children, friends or other excitements. None of their eyes occupied that bored, detached, and conceited vanity so common in the gorge-ous types of Tinderellas; carting their full makeup and empty hearts up Amsterdam back home. And although they were not oblivious to their spark of specific intelligence we have a habit to dare call beauty, even the Cuban courtesan maintained a modesty and meekness in their character I’ve yet to see in any American demeanor.

But no temptress, addiction, or wile siren had ever made me more drunk with love than fair Dianysia.

Dianysia, hailing from the distant lands of the Antilles, ebony skin stirring like molten rum and cokes. When I first stared into those dark pools of milk and caramel we dare call eyes, a dark and maddening desire filled my heart and all extremities. Like burning alive, but on a smaller scale- my nerves tingled in a calm excitement and I become painfully aware of life. Sensitive to the slightest touch. When her mouth curved that methane smile I was called…no, pulled towards her uncontrollably, like a marionette by a string.

She was a waitress in a bar called Patchanka near Old Havana. I’d stopped only to rest my feet, but as I finished my drink a small band manifested itself near the entrance. They began to play a soft but quickly paced Cuban salsa, sharp and lively but to a calm and hazy melody. As I listened Dianysia came bursting from the bar counter, conjured from the bottled merlots and ambrosia lined along the shelf.

She had an energy and tenacity I immediately couldn’t keep myself from. I liked to watch her work, to see her briskly bouncing from one end of the shop to the other, writing furtively with a furrowed brow, or barking jokes and groans at customers or other staff. There was something so fun in her folly and playful in her unpleasant, and when a certain chord of a certain song saxed around us in a certain way, the dark image she presented would melt to swaying shoulders and whispered hymns. Quiet prayers and praise to songs I imagine we sung only for her.  I sensed some kind of history between her and the brass musician.

“You like the way he plays?” I pestered, nodding at the saxophone player swooning the local fans.

“Me gusta la musica, no los musicos.” She replied flatly, not bothering to look up from the order she was jotting.

“But without musicians there wouldn’t be any music,” I pressed. Annoyingly, I knew, but having a taste of sharp tongue I couldn’t resist getting another.

“Entonces solo me gusta las canciones de la playa y el mar.”

“Beaches and…rivers? Then it sounds like you prefer water, not music.” I said.

She let her pen down confidently, raised the veils of her dark brown eyes to glare at me combatively.

“Y tu? Porque te sientas solo en un lugar de companeors.”

“I like to have company, not companions.” I said. She laughed, a loud and raspy percussion I wouldn’t describe as a noise, but as an instrument or natural clamor. Like water rustling down a river, or thunder.

“Pareces que prefiere alcohol, no la compania.” She spat, and before I could respond, darted back towards the bar. Feeling the sting of being shunned, I took to the rum and drank with an added gusto to assuage my wounded pride.

Moderation is a myth to me. I can never kind of- I must always either be entirely or absolutely not. I’ve never bothered to take much care of myself because my body is not a temple. It hungers, rages, consumes. It swallows and devours everything like a fire. Not knowing self-control, a little lightened by the Antillean sun, and the quick but soft songs pulsing me along, I’d been near my sixth or seventh glass before I realized the sun and my sobriety had sunk so long ago.

Dianysia banged another glass of Santiago rum before my glassy eyes, smiling so wickedly and inviting. I was confused and attributed to my being drunk. Was she serving me the entire night? Hadn’t I tried to talk to her but found her not interested? Why was she so suddenly pleased at me now but not before?

“Me gusta tambien los lunaticos.” She said, laughing, Her raspy echoed in my chest over and over. With a twist she picked up a purse, I don’t know if it was hers, and danced out the bar counter and far away from Patchanka. And I watched her, still confused and a little drunk, but enjoying her all the while. She turned the corner of the entrance, my senses re-emerged and she was gone.

The saxophonist was standing across from me, a look of worry and warning in his empty eyes.

“She’s stubborn,” Was all he said.

“I like a girl that’s sure of herself.” I replied.

“Difficult. ”

“Well nothing good ever came easy.”

“Crazy.”

“I don’t get along well with sane people.”

“She’ll always go against you.”

“Who wants to be around people that only agree with you?”

He cooked his head as if he were staring at a rorschach, laughed a little insincerely then followed up with an honest smile that bordered on pity.

“That girl’s going to make you lonely.” He sighed. I finished off the glass of rum, but already I could feel sobriety coming for me like the sun.

“I know.” I said.

Revenge Forlorn [aka I Miss Laughing During Sex]

I could hear you laugh a thousand times and never grow tired of it.
Which, by the way, has happened. That video we made
on that night when we did those things we’d never share with anybody,
there was a moment before the tv turned on and
you tried to twirl and look sexy that just
didn’t happen. That instant, I must have played back a thousand times.
Not for the sexy parts. We’re so far apart hese days
I can’t even imagine you that way. But about 29.59 seconds in,
your face breaks into a laugh over my dumb face
I can’t ever remember making.

And that’s it, for me.
That’s how I masturbate/miss you.
I think back to that time we were naked and stupid
and so full of each other
that we didn’t care.

When I Said That I Would Never Forget You, I Meant It As A Threat

On rare occasion, I love being wired like a guy. Where at a glance and eyeful fuck I can forget women bite their nails or have bad dreams, and for a night or afternoon are fun and fresh as snow.

There are degrees of sex, and Sheila’s had a thoughtless and intimate excellence. She removed her top, threw it to the side with a careless confidence that left me awed. With the fluid wave of her bangled and slender wrist, she cast aside any remaining notion of neglect or lingering resentment between us. With the stroke of her warming touch and kiss it no longer mattered why-weren’t-you-there or never-called-me-back. Lust, although a primitive emotion, makes a lovely anesthetic.

Hesitance gone, caution numbed, I closed the breach between us and found her excitement waiting like an old friend. Our hands and lips, once so familiar, explored the whispered wants of each others skin once more. Silked and shuddering, we dissolved to a desire that was a devastation of man and woman, of what was expected or instilled in us. A thousand years of evolution torn asunder, become nothing to the nature Nature had adorned us in. The windows shut, the doors barred in- for a time the world had no place or say in anything, and in that freedom our instincts made demands that we surrendered to.

Her honey-darling skin was a temple that took me with open arms. She was a poem, a fire, a mountain in the distance that shook and filled me with a burning wander-lust. Such supple breast and forgiving lips, she accepted me entiretly with a hushed thrill and gasp that simmered as our bodies found a silent groove and rhythm.

I laid her across the mattress, her hair long and tangled like Medusa- the ancient hymns and sacrifices of the Greeks and Incas riddled along the veins of her skin like snakes. I ran my tongue along these secrets and found a magic I’d only read and felt no part of. At times and touch she folded under my caress and presented herself like a gift, waiting to be loved and intensively undone. Her passion came in tides and suddenly she would revolt, rise and take control. Eager and commanding, she left me powerless and quaking under the demand of her wild search for her fulfillment.

Our highs peaked, settled, then took wind and climbed much higher. We gave and took of one another until there was nothing left to be given. Consumed by consumption, a gentle tide came like an earthquake and swept our frenzy to exhaustion. And as we lay catching our breaths, I traced my love into a poem on her back in fingerprints.

“I’m quitting soon,” I said, and she took it to mean the cigarette.

“Good. You know I hate that it lingers.”

“Like my affection,” I said. But she didn’t move, scoff, or breathe.

“You’re so heavy,” she said finally. “I worry that I can’t keep up. That you’ll get bored eventually with someone like me. Some day you’ll up and leave, and you won’t look back. I know you don’t. You’ll leave one day like I’m not enough, like nothing ever is.”

They say there are times life presents us moments of greatness that define us. Where what we do will shape not just your life, but the world and those around you. In my bleeting heart I felt it to be one of those moments, and in that moment I was speechless.

“You’re terrifying,” she said.

I nodded and stared absently at the short distance between us. While the reality of one-and-only has always remained for me a distant implausability, for a touch and moment she was mine, if only for the night and orgasm. The night done, we picked up the fragments of ourselves scattered about the room like clothes. And despite the withhold we both know we’ll find ourselves here again, in a month or week or decade thereafter. Two torn souls tearing a room and each other for satisfaction.

The smoke may clear, but the dust, much like our hearts, never does quite settle.