On a bus with corporate types, I kiss my man, while swiping a five dollar note from his back pocket. It’s a game we play. I wave the note in front of his face and he laughs at my thieving prowess. I kiss him again, then I press the stop button and head to the front of the bus, to find myself next to you. We work together, just like we used to. I try to recall what it felt like before we were lovers; when things felt clean, undecomposed.
We step off the bus and I feel the pang of separation from my man, with whom I feel safe. On the footpath, you and I walk arm in arm. Our hands intertwine, as if we belonged. But you are not your normal, cocky self. You don’t control me now. Now, like a spider, you need to be patient. You can’t tee off at me for kissing another man.
“I really want to have dinner with you soon,” you say suddenly, looking straight into me so that I understand the meaning of your words. “Just don’t know when yet.” There it is, the small print. I want you, but not that much.
“Yeah, whatever.” I say, but my tone betrays me. My words lack teeth. They come out velvety, even though all I want to do is shout: I DON’T GIVE A FUCK ABOUT YOUR DINNER PLANS, but I don’t, because I’m already in the vortex.
In a brightly lit milk-bar, you order a large flat white, “I feel like a Cornetto,” you say. “Do you mind paying for it? I will get the coffee.” Like an obedient child, I get the ice cream for you from the fridge. You smile, readying to empty me of everything I have. I pay for the Cornetto with the five dollar note I have been holding onto, to stay connected to my man. But instead of handing it to you, I bite off the chocolate filled wafer tip, then I eat the top too. You watch as I gorge on the nuts, the dark swirls, the cream that trickles down my chin. But you don’t say anything; you are not in deep enough yet.
Naked in bed, we lie at contorted angles to each other. You’re on the phone, talking, charming, building yourself up. I’m not sure why I’m here again or how our bodies relate. I think maybe your leg is in between mine. You use it to connect me to you, while you pay attention to someone else. But I can’t escape how good your skin, your bones, your intent feel. You hang up and roll over onto me, stealing my body into yours. Taking me into your flesh that makes all else disappear: my man, the safe words, the barb wires, the trenches I have constructed to keep myself safe. All that is left is a sticky whirlwind between two lovers destroying each other one sweet, selfish moment at a time.
In The Moment
The place we had sex last, was the same place we had sex first. The years between are filled with gravity. The symmetry of the two moments is superimposed in my mind. The same but different. The first time was blissful, unmarked by truths. The last, was pensive, broken by a thousand cuts.
Both times, we played music from a playlist we made together. A playlist you described as ‘one for the ages’. The first time, it only had a few songs, including one from your own album, ironically titled The Truth. After the first time, on the last day of February in a leap year, you added to it, Nothing Without Love. I added Throw Your Arms Around Me.
There was love the first time, maybe there was even love before then. We did it on the dirty carpet and the cheap bedspread. The last time, I leant forward to take pressure off your crippled knee. You were so hard for my softness, it almost broke us. Afterwards, we lay together, your face in mine. You were gentler than usual that day.
When dressed, through a window I took a photograph of a building in which you lived with a woman. You frowned and I reminded you there were testaments of us more vivid than a photograph from a hotel room. The first time, all seemed possible, ‘You and me babe, how about it?’ The last time, all I could hear was a national guitar playing us out.
The Victorian Writer, Jan 2022