It starts somewhere in the middle. You on one end and I on the other.
Inside it’s claustrophobic and outside, it starts to rain. You open your umbrella and we huddle close beneath it, as if seeking heat from dying embers. We walk but you’re angry and the umbrella is the only thing left in my hands as you run forward, the rain making dark, wet spots on your shoulders and down your back. By the time I reach you, you are drenched, rain dripping from the ends of your hair. In the half-light of the night, you are ethereal, like some hazy apparition born out of imagination. But underneath my fingers, you are as real as the rain.
There’s nothing like kissing in the rain. On hot, sweaty nights, the rain comes like relief, sweeping down like a gift from the gods. It is clean and thorough, washing everything before it. Inhibitions fall, one by one, like raindrops off leaves. As approaching headlights throw patterns of bokeh on my eyes, as the rain seeps into my clothes and onto my skin, as your body radiates heat through to mine, there really is nothing like kissing in the rain.
Inside again and there are people, people, people. A bottle cracks open, cigarettes are lit, a joint is clumsily rolled. You are somewhere, over there, speaking, cajoling, murmuring. In my ears is a muted buzzing, as if everything has had the volume turned down. It is as if my ears are searching, from among the cacophony, for your voice.
Goodbyes are said, doors close and you are there and I am here. It doesn’t take long for clothes, like our old inhibitions, to pool on the floor like puddles. You show me your scars and I display mine like a soldier would, hard-earned, each one a remnant from a battle fought. We’ve both survived small wars, where there were warring sides but no arms and legs to lose, only hearts and minds.
We try to write poetry and I stumble into words like potholes I don’t see coming. My brain is a sloth, sluggish and slow. I try to think of words that go with you and all I can think of is brownskin, brownskin, brownskin. You write to me a paean and even through the haze of alcohol, I am marked. Then, it is brownskin, cinnamonskin, chocolateskin, your breasts, your eyes, your calves, your ankles and your breath.
Even though you are fading, you are still open. We grasp each other like bodies drowning in the murk and in the dark, we are all hands and tongues, yearning and straining. Body against body, skin on skin. It starts and it never seems to end. There is only a pause and though we would like to keep going, it is morning, you are tired and your voice is tinged with sleep. We lay next to each other, not talking. Unpredictably, you initiate and I cannot help but begin anew. Already, there is a new dawn and eventually, there is sleep.
When you wake, there is a hint of a smile on your lips. We talk and you don’t forget. Still a choice, you say. I know, I respond. It is always a choice.
And it ends like it began, somewhere in the middle.