I sat on the worn leather couch. It had been a long work day, and I had felt a little worn and leather myself. My lips were dry under a lipstick that was faded and most likely smeared here and there. My eyes were open wide, but with every blink they opened up just a little less than the time before. The skin on my face, especially near the corners of my mouth and edges of my cheek bones were stretched to form whatever expression customer service had demanded at 2 in the afternoon on a Tuesday. And my hair? Well let’s not talk about that.
You sat on the couch next to me. Dirty, broken-in jeans. Dusty T-Shirt. Fluffy hair. Smudged eye glasses. Multi-colored stained and calloused hands. I eyed some new bruises on your wrist. A pipe wrench, perhaps? You reached around and pulled me in. I smelled the top chalky layer of concrete on your chin, the sweet and salty dehydrated sweat on your neck, the reminiscence of your favorite cologne.
A few weeks ago, I would have been alone on my bed in my pajamas. I wouldn’t have made it halfway through a Stranger Things episode before calling it quits and turning the lights out. But not now. There was something about a new romance that gave lonely human beings more stamina than all of the caffeine drinks combined. We were both tired, but we fed off of each other’s excitement. Your touch recharged me. My touch relaxed you. We unwound together.
We breathed the air in the living room together for a few moments. Your hand slid up and down my arm gently. There’s something about a rough hand moving and touching gently, softly, delicately. All day long, rough and tough hands are moving things, building things, molding things, fixing things. But your hands just lightly graze my body, never changing a thing. It’s easy to tell when a rough hand cares about what it’s touching and moving. Every few breathes, I turned and kissed your upper arm, just shy of your shoulder. Sometimes I kissed your hand. Or your chin. My lips can't help but constantly say hello.
After our bodies said hello, our words were warmed up. I spoke first. There was a building, a bank actually, that I walked passed every day on my way to work. It had these large thick concrete posts that guard it from any possible vehicle intrusions. I found a little corner where the building’s security might be susceptible to a sneaky invasion (due to a larger space in between concrete posts) if enough force was used by a certain vehicle. The bars on one window also look a little aged. A few security guards looked a bit old and feeble. For the next two hours, we had discussed hypothetical ways to rob the place. By then we had laughed to the point of pain, you had lightly tapped your pointer finger on my nose because I had said something silly, and I had covered your mouth with my hand because you had said something too ridiculous.
We were twitterpated. And in a very serious way.
At 7:30 PM I had woken up by the sudden realization that I had napped through Andy’s poetry reading. He had told me it started at 6 and only lasted an hour. I had intended on going. I wanted to see him read. He was a curly-haired friend, and I had planned on going. The inside of my chest moaned with a friendship pain, but by the time the moan reached my mouth it was only a yawn. I rolled over and saw your face. Peaceful. Restful. It made me happy to see you sleep knowing that you may never sleep enough hours to recover from the work that you do day in and day out.
By 8:00 PM, we were eating left over taco salads side by side. I thought maybe it would be good to get out. Maybe walk the dogs. Or what about going out for a drink? If not today, maybe tomorrow night, we could do something extravagant enough so that I might wear a dress and still feel somewhat underdressed. I wanted to wear lipstick. Something red or plum, something bold or beautiful. Maybe I could wear those long dangly earrings I had worn for you months ago when we went out to see that show on Main. I wanted to remind you of that beautiful lady I was when we first met, and I wanted to prove to myself I still could be that beautiful lady if, for whatever looming reason, I needed to be.
I opened my mouth to throw the option out onto the literal table that we were eating our chilled dinner on, when you brought up what you had for breakfast. Talk moved on to work, and you explained what a backhoe was. Somehow that led to us talking about family dysfunction, and I started asking you questions that were too personal, but too interesting to be left unanswered.
Two hours and many, many well listened to words later I was sitting on the couch with your body taking up the majority of the space and your head resting comfy on my lap. I ran my fingers through your sandy hair and watched your hazel eyes study the dim edges of the furniture. You reached up and placed your hand on my thigh. Your touch recharged me. I continued to comb my fingers through your hair. My touch relaxed you.
We unwound together.
I recalled there was something I wanted to mention, something I wanted to ask you, something about us…but I couldn’t remember what it was.
“Wasn’t Andy’s poetry reading today?” You asked.