The Phantom of My Memories
All these years have passed, and still, I dream of him like he is here, or like we had made love just yesterday.
We met in a college. Art class. He was tall, dark-haired, with black eyes, and a laugh on the brink of a cackle. No doubt a handsome man fitted with dark jeans, polos, and flat-billed caps. On occasion, he dropped acid and saw the world in shapes, sounds, and colors. And he could dance like Magic Mike, swaying his hips in ways that hypnotized women.
I never fathomed I could kiss him. I had imagined it once or twice after a friend encouraged me to approach him. But I still couldn’t imagine kissing him, not until the night he asked me to spend his birthday with him. We did nothing special. Just played snowboarding video games, drank cheap alcohol from red solo cups, and listened to sensual R&B tunes beat against the corners of his burlap dorm room.
When he kissed me, it was unexpected. The video games had ceased, and he was looking at me with deeper intent, laughing, spouting his theories of the universe, and telling stories of his time in Paonia where hippies gathered to indulge in psychedelics. In that unexpected moment, he faced me, taking me in his mouth with his thick lips, sweetness, and tenderness. He devoured me gently, his tongue gliding over mine in ways no 19-year-old should have knowledge of.
That night, while an acapella rendition of Boyz II Men’s “Still of the Night” played, his touches danced across my skin. Lips, tongue, and breath, all whispering at the swell of my breasts, in the crooks of my neck, and all other places my clothes covered so modestly. Each touch matched the notes and rhythm of the song, linking music and sensation to me eternally. I found I was catching my breath, my virgin skin having never been tasted by any man in such a delicate and unrelenting fashion. My world spun as those lips traced their path, all before his hands could even grace the dips and curves of my figure. It has been over a decade and I still wonder how he knew where to touch me in ways no one else has been able to. It was as if he had been destined to.
I remember that day and all days he made love to me in following years. How his fingers tickled my skin, drawing intricate invisible pictures, intense abstracts, and wide colorful landscapes across my naked flesh. Memories of those nights bewitched me during class, distracting me from my lessons and homework, inevitably driving me to near foolish desires to be near him.
It was marvelous, the way he took his time, understanding there indeed was plenty of it left in the world.
I had never felt so wanted and desired.
He became the culprit for enlightening me on what it means to worship your lover and nothing, nothing, nothing, would ever be the same since he showed me that.
As a grown woman at age 33, I still crave him and what he did with my body.
Those days with him remain thrilling thoughts within me, like an orchestra’s song provoking waves and mountains across every inch of my skin. All of those thoughts overshadowing future lovers and their efforts to please me still.
He stands to be the only man I’ve ever been with who never came to find me months or years after we parted. Somehow, he disappeared into a world swallowed by faces buried in cell phones, leaving no trace of himself behind. Not even for me.
Of course, I looked for him. But he is nowhere. And yet, he is still everywhere within me.
I struggle with whether or not he is real. I deem him a mere ghost. A pleasant phantom of my memories, drifting in the corners of my mind like stray cobwebs disintegrating with time. A constant dream of something nearly perfect, which, at times, I fear I dreamt up to escape from today’s dim and hollow realities of love and intimacy.
I can’t summon a single picture or physical memory of him that proves he’s real in my universe. Perhaps he exists in another one. Perhaps we’re fated to meet elsewhere or in another time. I wish I had something, anything, so I could affirm his existence and put to rest these memories replaying within me.
But there’s nothing.
Just the divine fate of two souls meeting only for their paths to never cross again. Another dream that’s tricked my mind into manifesting our fleeting union as a memory.
A memory that, alas, isn’t real at all.