Each hair I feel rising on my arms is like a happy spider crawling, tingling up my neck, spreading through hair and scalp and crowning me.
I feel him near before we touch, even before he arrives. I’ve anticipated him all day.
At the Blue Moon Coffee House it’s my turn to pay and I cover us both.
“How will I know it’s him?” the woman asks so she doesn’t charge him.
Can’t everyone feel, spot and know him as I can?
“I’ll tell you,” I say and do when he arrives in a button bright blue shirt. Skipping, jumping, rising and yelling all at once, “He’s the one. He’s the one” I say guiding him to our table.
He’s smiling. I’m smiling too.
We become the metal ends of a hammock and all that hangs between us turns to rope. We squeeze in and roll into one another’s arms as feet swing.
As a girl I didn’t know how to lean in or say yes to love and I’ve always waited for boys to unbutton me and my shirt. I didn’t know how to make myself naked first or keep myself from covering my nakedness. I thought I was protecting myself, and I was, but by hiding rather than being wise.
I am adult now and can unbutton myself. Yet, with him I’m hesitate.
Only after he puts a hand on the back of my arm does my hand reach for his. His arm slides across my torso like an oar lifted from the water, tired from the heavy work of pushing. I secure the latch so he can rest without worrying about dropping. His erect arm is enough for now and I stroke it until he relaxes.
We are melting the ice of pain we’ve been covered in. The water around us covers my ankles crawls over me knees and up my thighs. I’m chilled warm and I’m nervous, good nervous—breathless and excited.
My feet thrash and his arm becomes a life jacket I cling to as though I’m drowning until my feet can feel ground.
We do not make eye contact or undress. His proximity is my joy.
The energy between us is hip hopping, humming and ice skating in and under and through each other’s skin.
If you saw us from a distance we might looked like an ordinary couple. Quiet. Easy. Grateful. Boring. How seductively misleading that would be.
We are smoldering and frenetic and it’s energy communicating between us.
The silence between us is almost unbearable. It’s not awkward or strained but intense and sublime. I’m afraid the electric explosion in my heart will clash with the acoustic percussion of the band. I am absorbed with him and have trouble staying present to the room.
He puts his water bottle in front of me and need not say, “It’s mine but have a sip.” I don’t drink it in, at first, because it was him I was thirsty for.
I couldn’t let go of his fingers tips pressing into mine which were pressing into his. The lines in his hand and the space between our palms is what I missed most.
I let the tongue of my finger tip taste him again and again while my mouth stayed still.
Shoulder to shoulder, sitting, leaning, holding hands—we made love without undressing, without whispered promises or “I love you” declarations.
We stopped before orgasm, the crescendo building and then we went home. Alone.
Considerate, intentional and tender are most important now. Even more than temptation.
Plus, it’s the morning now and I’m alone in an empty house feeling sensual. No one makes love like a woman returned to herself, who wants but does not need a man. I can satiate myself but that does not mean he is not with me. I can feel him and hear his music play.
Without the complication of actual skin on skin and “what does this mean?” I invite him in to linger with me in imagination.
No matter what we do or do not do—my ears hear my mouth whisper to my soul how much I love him and always will.
I am wondering if I can make him come or go. If he can push me out or hold on to me.
The truth is I don’t know.
I promise to keep telling myself the truth of my heart no matter how my brain fails to make sense of it.
This is my only vow.
The only bed I make is my own. In it, I will button and unbutton myself again and again.
And I do.
Author: Christine “Cissy” White
Editor: Katarina Tavčar
Photo: Jeremy Choo/Flickr