The smoke curled out of the cigarette as he lay naked on the bed, muscles curling into each other. Delete. He walked like poetry, the slow grace of his movements rushing through her until all she could do was gasp. Delete. He sat on the porch, cheeks stained with tears, and the slow progression of time was marked only by the call of the birds in the trees. Delete. He walked out the door, as I stopped running and looked at him in the semi-darkness. Delete. He kissed me softly as I sunk into the softness of the bed, feeling it strain as I slowly gave in. When he kissed me, I thought “Capture this”. Take a picture. Run the video camera. I want to hold onto it. When he kissed me I knew it was the last.
So I write this to you, unnamed reader, so that I will not forget. So that I remember. This is how it happened. I am seeing him now and I see his Adam’s apple, sharply protruding from his neck, moving closer as the clock makes one excruciatingly long tick toward the next second. And then his lips are on mine. Have I told you that his lips are full, round sensuous against a visage shaped like stone? Those lips, dear reader, are meant for sin. You don’t believe me, you are laughing; but it is true. Then his lips are on mine, lightly pressing against my mouth and I want to arch into it and I want to pull him down to me until I don’t know where I end and he begins. You must think that this is not so special. You must be thinking, I have had such kisses in my lifetime. But you are wrong. I was being kissed and I was no longer there. I heard the rush of soft rain on the tree outside my window and the insistent scurry of two squirrels cavorting. But I no longer felt my heart beat and my blood pulse or the tears coursing down my cheeks. I no longer felt the uncomfortable warmth of the layers of blankets covering my body. For that moment, I did not exist.
Still you say, my most skeptical reader, that I just didn’t perceive those things. That I did not perceive the wind from the window or the smooth fabric on my skin but I knew that they existed, that there was more to the moment than the tale I am recounting. I understand that you have these thoughts because you, unlike me, have not experienced this kiss. I could continue to describe the empty slate of my mind as those lips broke contact, but I will not. I know you would not believe it. I will only tell you how it was when I came back. When I joined the ranks of the living. My eyes were closed and I did not see him leave but I felt it. I heard the slow creak of the door accompanied by a slightly louder noise of the wood hitting against the door frame as it closed. I wriggled a little, feeling the rough soles of my feet hit the smooth skin on the top and stopped. An alien layer lay between that contact like some impermeable membrane and I was conscious of not being able to reach myself. My hands slid all over myself, feeling the smoothness of legs and the fabric of the nightgown and the warmth underneath. My hands moved under the fabric and I expected to feel a familiar sense of pleasure, a rush of blood to the surface capillaries. But I only felt again the unfamiliar layer of separation. I tried again with a mounting desperation, first caressing then hurting. I was pinching the skin like a doctor would a victim of paralysis. Nothing.
So you see, it was the kiss. The kiss allowed me to traverse into the world beyond the one you inhabit. It allowed my long alien fingers to touch the keyboard with rhythm and grace as I write this. My dear reader, neither am I dead nor am I crazy. I tell you that I will go on. Will experience many more kisses, many more intimate moments; meet many more men with a gleam in their eyes. But I will no longer know this keening, this desire that consumes. I am settled now and I am sitting up the bed, covers curled over my legs, unable to stop the flow of words from my mind to my fingertips. How, you are thinking, was he able to cause this change? You are picturing Adonis, and you are shivering. You are picturing a god and you too want him. You are blushing now, so I will correct you. He is not a perfect man, is not the man I will marry or grow old with. What then, is he? He is a man. He is a man caught up in the journey of becoming whole, not quite handsome, but perfect for me. And that is it. That is what I have been trying to tell you. As he left I realized that he was perfect for me. You are shrinking now, thinking of putting down this paper, feeling embarrassed for me and a bit disgusted for buying into my fiction. Because you did believe, my dearest reader, my friend. You had closed your eyes and vanished into the deepest part of yourself searching, reaching for a similar kiss. But what now? You are telling me of your own heartbreak, your own perfect men, and what am I doing? I am turning away and I am closing my eyes and I am dreaming of the last kiss with the perfect man on a narrow bed in a room with whitewashed walls.