Perchance to Dream.
(“Sleep, sleep tonight…and may your dreams be realized…” --U2)
I will never tire of watching her dance in sleep’s warm embrace.
I’ve been watching time slip-sliding away…watching the hours melt like thick, warm wax…condensing into a smooth, supple puddle of time.
Heavy are my limbs…tired…stretched too thin, pulled taut like too many worry lines. I ache to know cool, soft sheets and warm, supple arms.
She looks the same as the day I left…maybe her hair has gotten a little longer, and her eyes are closed, fluttering softly under thick black lashes as she visits the land of dreams.
If I close my eyes I can taste her kiss, feel her tongue, warm and wet, sliding over mine.
So many nights I woke alone, shuddering and shivering, bathed in my own sweat, flesh recoiling against the cold dry air pumped out by machine. So many nights I called her name, desperate to hear her voice.
It became a kind of madness.
Phone lines and modem connections are no substitute for true human contact. Whomever said “just like the real thing” obviously never had the real thing.
It startles me to realize how deep that “real thing” runs.
I hesitate to call it love. I’m fond of simplicity and I take comfort in the concrete: what I can KNOW, in an absolute sense. Love, like time, is slippery, slip-sliding away until it too melts into a puddle of thick, warm wax…wax that feels good spread across weary hearts. Wax that warms the skin. Wax that seals the cuts and bruises and scars that come with a lifetime of hurt. Wax, waterproof, protecting tender, tired eyes from tears. Love, like wax, surrounding me.
Love, like wax, is real.
What I feel for her is real…and yet…I hesitate to call it love.
Have you ever awoken in the middle of the night and swore you could feel someone right next to you, though you know there’s no one there? And that presence, that one person’s presence, is what you want more than anything? That’s what she makes me feel.
She makes me feel.
She shifts in her sleep and a soft cry, like a dove’s coo, escapes her parted lips. She draws her knees to her chest and shivers, mumbling softly in her sleep, her fingers opening and closing indiscriminately.
I wonder if she thinks of me.
I wonder if she remembers, as I do, the times her fingers stroked down my skin, painting patterns like stardust across my chest, dazzling my senses with white-hot flashes of light, and slipping into my mouth like cool, cool darkness. Consuming. Infinite. Complete.
I never believed in sex for anything but empty pleasure, and even then it was something to be pillaged and ransacked quickly, taking what I could before sprinting off into the night. I was lucky to last ten minutes.
She changed all that…taught me to move slowly, to learn her body…to taste and to touch and to feel and to explore, all the things sex should be but seldom is. I never liked to kiss, never enjoyed the close contact, felt awkward by someone’s face so close to mine…but yet…I craved her mouth. Craved the taste. Craved pliant, sliding, slippery lips all over and inside my own. Wanted the intimacy. Needed to share. Desperate to feel…
Afterward, so many times afterward, my body shivering and shaking and trembling from unbridled ecstasy…I would look at her…her eyes heavy, her limbs stretched out and languid…just before she fell asleep. I would take her hand, pressing it to my lips, and feel my eyes start to water. I told myself it was my body’s internal systems going haywire; that just moments ago I had relinquished all control and gave myself completely to the act of climaxing, and my body’s peculiar decision to shed tears was merely a by-product of that.
“S’okay, baby…” She would murmur, softly. “It’s all right to cry…”
And through my tears, her smile would break. Beauty so fierce I had to look away.
And still…stubbornly…obstinately…I hesitate to call it love.
“Honey?...S’at you?” Her voice is muffled, roughened by sleep, steeped in cloudy dreams, and I swallow, enjoying the childish shivers that race up my spine.
“Yeah, baby,” I speak softly, as not to scare her. “I’m here…”
“Thought you were gone…” She says through a yawn, stretching out eager fingers to reach for me. I take her hand in mine and bring it to my face, closing my eyes at the intimate touch.
“I was…but…now I’m back…” If I hadn’t been so enrapt by her beauty I might have chuckled at my inane comment, but her eyes have rendered me powerless, and my capacity for speech has been reduced to thoughts of her.
“Come to bed…” She pleads softly, eyes already closing.
I smile at her request, shucking off my shoes and socks, tossing my shirt over my head and leaving my pants in a puddle on the floor. I climb under the covers, pulling her into my arms, and she squeals quietly in surprise.
“You’re cold…” She says, and I blush deeply, laughing quietly. I pull her closer, warming my body with hers, skating my lips across her shoulder, inhaling her comfort.
“I’ll warm up soon enough,” I say soothingly, and snake my arms around her belly, pressing her as tightly to me as she’ll allow.
“Mmmmpphhh…” She mumbles, drifting away.
We lay in silence, just the two of us, the thin sliver of light from the moon illuminating her face, drawing patterns on her skin, painting silver streaks in her hair. I sigh, feeling contentment slip over me like a blanket.
“Love you,” I murmur quietly, and when her fingers squeeze mine I know, somewhere, she has heard. My own admission startles me and after a moment of icy fear I feel calm relief spreading over my heart…warm wax…sealing out the hurt, sealing in her love…my love…and I am grateful. For everything.
With a last kiss to her temple, I smile softly and drift off to sleep.
© 2002 ~A.