Friday Night Story

First Goodbye

Her skin is creamy, like coconut milk when it rolls over the tongue, the color of golden caramel drizzled over warm fudge. Her hair smells like lilacs, but not the artificial silkiness of a shampoo; it smells of the flowers themselves, as if she soaks her charcoal locks in melted petals.

But my fascination with her sensuality is neither revealing nor concealing. I take her in like a breath, hold her in for a moment, then let her go.

Her name flickers in my eyes like the light glinting amber off the ice in her glass, shattering into a hundred points just when I’ve almost assembled it. It isn’t important; I mumbled mine over a din I couldn’t hear myself through, and Shakespeare, for all his grace, was wrong over the scent of a rose, at least as far as the metaphor applies to a woman.

I’ve been dressed a half hour, listening to her breath, watching the door as if it might abandon me here. At this time of morning possibilities unfold like heavy fog, warming my lungs with potential lives. They blow out like cigar smoke too deeply inhaled, their hinted flavor lingering behind.

I’m a romantic, even if it won’t show. I bide my nights in searching for a woman I can’t quit by morning. That first parting is hardest; each successive one comes with greater ease. Life’s too short (and far too long) to spend its entirety pulling away.

My hand touches the chilled knob, but I hesitate to turn it. And I look, something I never do, and she’s cloaked in a garment of moonlight. It draws me closer, and I sit on the corner of the mattress. There’s hours before sunrise, and it seems early yet to say goodbye.

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