The Private Abyss

My heart swells. I know without looking up what he looks like when he's sleeping. A Byzantine saint, wide eyes closed and bronzed skin forever upon mosaics of forgotten Justinian palaces. Or a Romanian gypsy, peaceful after a day of creating music for little fey things like me. Anything not from this world. The world outside is too unkind for him. It is raw—the tragic world we refuse to admit is tragic—and brimming with the smoke from the nuclear power plant two miles away. You can still see the doppelganger towers, red monster eyes blinking at midnight.

He doesn't belong outside this place. I nuzzle against his warm, musky skin (that little niche below his armpit) and wonder if I belong outside this place either.

I know it's not quite morning because the breeze that wafts from outside and past the makeshift green blinds is still nippy. It brings the scent of rain on its back after the cold that pricks my skin, makes my nipples hard as rosy buttons. I smile through the goose bumps. I know if I nuzzle up against his torso I'll be warm again because it's just that simple.

The rain is sweet. It's one of the sweetest things to smell—it's not saccharine like fruit—no, no it's not like that at all—and it's not fleeting and entirely feminine like perfume. It's pungent. Sweet as moss and earthy and constant. It's the smell between my legs, on my fingers, on his sheets. I can hear it steadily come down. I hope his cat sensed the rain and is somewhere warmer, drier.

I turn over; he turns over with me, subconsciously seeking out the feeling of my back against his torso and arm draped over my side just barely nudging my left tit. My nipples perk up again, but not because of the breeze. With a smile, I feel the flush that begins in my belly and flows like lava between my thighs. He does that without trying, without even being awake!

Here I am, pale fey thing, cocooned by my Byzantine saint/Romanian gypsy. There are secrets in this room that only my lips have whispered, secrets from my parted limbs that only he knows. They're sacred to this room and I'm some Ishtar temple priestess who lets him delve deep within me to seek ancient nirvana. We lit incense only two hours ago, and then he knelt before me with an offering.

His breath is hot, subtle on the crevice of my neck. I shiver from the breeze. He pulls me closer. He holds fast onto my belly like I'll leave him. He pushes a strong leg between my thighs. I inhale. He feels my chest rise and rests a casual hand beneath my left nipple where it's soft and even paler. His fingers smell like me.

I dread the sunrise. Returning to the world after this seems absurd—am I having an existential crisis? This very moment, I realize, exists in a vacuum of almost-darkness. Things in the outside world exist in contexts of one another. Everything happens for a reason. Because is tacked on. I feel lost out there, cold, like a negligent mother left me outside before bedtime and all I want is to sleep in a warm bed.

No one has to come into this world. It's mine—his, too—and I get to sleep. He wouldn't leave me out in the cold. He'd always invite me inside ("Come into the Temple of Ishtar or Dionysus if there's wine tonight") and I'd invite him inside too. In the morning, he'll leave me and I'll leave him, parting like we never owned this place.