“ We are all mortal… until the first kiss and the second glass of wine”
I don’t know who said those lines or where it came from but the quote says it all. For me at least. I was invincible. I was the better part of me. The yes part, the thrill queen, the aggressive seeker. The need. I was more. But I think for her it went the other way around… It’s the kiss that turned her mortal. The wine that made her kiss. Because we wouldn’t be as splendid without our vices. We need them from time to time. This ash tip French kiss. This blowing smoke. This losing reason. This sightless inhibition. This alcohol fling. This baby, we couldn’t get much higher feeling. This private euphoria that your parents warned you about, cautioned you against even if it was the best time they’ve ever had. They just won’t admit it because society had gotten parenting hardwired. Had gotten morals confined into a certain way. Had gotten the police involved in dreaming.
It was 3 a.m. The unholy hour that only validated this unshakable thought in the back of your mind… maybe God exists. If not for anything else, for her. For this moment. Maybe God exists. For this. Because of this. That instance where thoughtlessness gets you somewhere. 2nd base. 3rd base. Homerun. Skipping middle lines and grey areas. There was no technicality with her. Only a sliding fluidness. A sweet impulsiveness. Because at that instance, she became woman. Not a goddess. Not ethereal. Just real in the most divine of ways, the most sublime of manners. She lowered herself for me. Or maybe alcohol had a way of lowering everybody. Either way… thank God for that. Thank God for vices. Thank God for weak flesh and caving wills. Thank God that God exists because then the devil in us wouldn’t even try to make mistakes. We’d just be. Blandly be.
And she’d be forever out of reach.
It was wrong though. The morning made us realize that. The morning after makes us realize a lot of things. Maybe it’s the headache. Maybe it’s the reason. Maybe it’s the mind waking-up. Maybe it’s just the rooster’s third crow that shakes us out of our denial. The St. Peter predicament. Third times the charm. Third croak’s that straw that breaks the donkey’s back. The zooming in on a dilating pupil, the junkie revelation that the first score was the best and the worst. When the coffee kicks in with a little stir of wine. And the sheets untangle themselves and the hot shower does its work. When we rub the dream out of our eyes, we realize it was wrong. But the imp in us makes us smirk. Slyly and subtly. Maybe wrong is relative. Maybe our system hasn’t completely flushed the night out of us, the disco in our dance, the sweetness of the past. Maybe a little bit of foolishness remains.
What was in that drink? This strong mix of moon blood and star kiss and fermenting fruit- the excuse we robed our lusts with, the escape goat that took our chemistry out, our affinity for women skin, for blessed holes, for lovely contours. It took it way out. Far away into the skeleton closet. Into the other side of ourselves, into Johari’s fourth window. The part no one ever has to know. But we wanted to remember. Even for the sole thrill of remembering. For the naughtiness of the memory. For the disbelief. It happened didn’t it? It really happened. And nothing can take that away from me.
Except maybe roofies. But that’s another story. And our drink was clean. As clean as vices can get at least.
I remember everything.
She was electricity. That E.T. touch, that fingertip connection. Dynamic. Galvanizing current strokes. Up and down spine shivers. Jelly knee consequences. Firework burn. Soul shock.
She was soul shock. The feel was addicting. You wanted more. But too scared to have any. It was much. Too much.
And yet too little.
It was our hands coalescing. Actually only the tips playing. Exploring. Content with the small patch of skin that merged into oneness.
And it progressed to palms having their way with each other. Life line crevices intertwining into a whole new narrative. Predicting a different sort of future.
She was ivory keys. And I was the pianist. Or was it the other way around?
She was Duke Ellington. I was a Jazz sheet.
Maybe we were both. Simultaneously.
I was calloused. She was satin.
I was nail-hammer. She was fresh spring-stained sheets.
I was scar. She was nurse touch.
(Thank heavens for the Florence Nightingale effect.)
I was wall flower. She was an orchid. A petunia perfume. A Tiger-lily siren.
We took a liking to the contrast.
We took a liking.
And it grew into a passion ball we just couldn’t help but submit to. And it turned into a romance no one anticipated. And it turned into a secret everybody talked about behind our backs. And we became (the) story.
But what were we?
“What are we?” We couldn’t answer. Only shrugging gestures that cared too much but said too little. Only shaking heads that pretended they knew better.
“What are we?” We didn’t know. So we hid the label under the rug. And left it in the tip of our tongues to marinade like lost vowels and unintelligible gargles of forgotten language. Simmering until a phrase rises out of the rubble.
We were some sort of happy. The happy that had to pull its own weight. The happy that had to work two jobs and raise three kids alone but it was worth it. The happy that had to cope. The good type of happy. The earned type. The imperfect sort. The kind that knew how to fight and throw peppery invectives, the kind that kept its anger and its frustration and mixed it with the damp smell of sex. The type that got confused every once and a while. The sort that got tired. Cramped in a secret 5-storey walk up with cold water when you flush and unpredictable train noises and a frigid landlady but with a heck of a gorgeous view. A view we saw every Friday of the second week of the month when her husband has his routine factory visits just because he likes to keep his employees on their toes, and his pecker filled with power. This secret view of autumn snuggling and zealous lip pecks and unexpected gestures.
It suited us, this happiness. It was ours. We were ours.