“I want you to be fast asleep when I get there.”
This is the text he sends, in response to my letting him know I’m in the city.
It’s a little game we play. Although, honestly, I’d forgotten.
It’s been a long time since we’ve seen each other, and there is no guarantee that the unknowing which once existed between us will still be enough.
Even so, here I am, unlocking the window and sliding it open.
The beautiful spring air its own caress, I guide my body to the wide bed.
Lay it down on its side. The long, slow arch of my hip an unspoken invitation.
How he noiselessly ascends the fire escape, I’ll never know.
Silence is a gift very few have.
The sheet loosely covering me lifts, as if by a breeze. And for a moment I wonder if he’s in the room with me now, or if simply, in my wanting him so, I’m imagining it.
But then his warm lips meet the skin on my inner leg.
Ever so delicately.
This scenario, without fail, is its own seduction.
The sun is low in the sky. The room, behind my closed eyes, will now be cast in long shadows.
And by the time I open them, will be filled by darkness.
His pace is slow, patient.
This, also, is rare.
To be clear, this man is not my confidante. We will never share long conversations in which he uncovers anything about me.
Instead, he bears witness to my body when I’m unable to conceal its tremors. And this is somehow, for me, a more profound and necessary intimacy.
His velvet-soft tongue grants him access to some hidden place, within me, that seemingly belongs to him.
I experience it, occasionally, as a betrayal.
“It’s okay,” he intones, his deep voice hushed, as if in secret.
He stops, waits long moments for my staccato breath to lengthen.
Allows my fingers to entwine reassuringly in his.
I don’t know how this man learns to do what he does.
Nor how two bodies are able move together so effortlessly.
In due time, I’ll marvel at it. But for now, my carefully-assembled mind has already begun to collapse.
“Are you all right?” I ask, wanting to make sure, before I’m gone.
“Just let me take care of you,” he answers.
I think I’d find his generosity unbearable, were it entirely altruistic.
But ultimately, there is undeniable evidence that it’s not.
Afterwards, we lie together in the darkness I prophesied. He smooths the damp hair from my temples, and again pulls me towards him.
His kisses oddly become even longer, deeper, more searching.
As if there’s so much he’s yet to say.
But when he stops for a moment, I curl up in a nest of myself, and fall instantly and very deeply asleep.
For real, this time.
I suppose he leaves the way he came.
Some time later I wake, my mouth looking for his.