Flashback to a girl. Standing at your door, smoothing her dress against hips that you’ll hold, the hammering – her heart or the knock, same thing. Stepping across her first real line when the handle turns. Wanting to fall because it is raining outside and she has just turned 27 and someone took a scalpel to her heart right after she discovered it was there. Cut out little pieces and took them away so that her love is full of gaping holes when you meet.
Last week the way you watched her felt like being stitched back together.
So she’s here and she’s watching you now. Sitting on the edge of the bed, clutching at a wine because she doesn’t want you to see the way her hand trembles, the sudden jolts. The way she is electric in your presence and how you lean back in the chair as if this is common, every day. There is a beginning in this, she knows. And the ending of something too, the passing of torches. It is there in the sudden flare when you kiss her mouth for the very first time.
She thinks I was worried I’d forgotten how and keeps her eyes open the entire kiss. Your lips will forever be her favourite thing.
When you remove her shoes she nearly cries. Please take care she would say, if such things were allowed. When you slide the straps from her shoulders, when you run your hands over and down – the touch you have both imagined these careless weeks. You turn her from the mirror now, concede. With a single look back to see what the glass reflects of hotel beds and borrowed time.
Then the trembling of a different kind, the way you slowly make her sea levels rise. You will always remind this girl of salt and tears. In time to come, when her body remembers – this tectonic shift, her first transgression. The way she breaks apart in your arms. And how she is pieced back together in the soft morning light.
Image by Joanne Piechota.