My eyes are still heavy, forcing breath from my chest, my joints creek. As I turn to a man dressed in uniform in front of me, tall, tan, long face with a flat nose and one eye noticeably larger than the other stands in front of me, with one rolled up sleeve taps his wrist with his index finger and says,
"Sir, this is the last stop, I am going to have to ask you to go"
"Yes sir that is correct, now you have to go"
I uncurl my limbs and stretch. This is the third time in the last month that I have done this. I but the train is the only time I can really feel comfortable enough to sleep these days, the screeching of the tracks the rumbling gently rocking me as I sit in the back of the cart is a comfortable change then the cold floor of my friends garage. In slow motion I stand with my head hanging down, too tired to look at the man, stumbling over my feet catching myself against the hand rail. I feel like I am caught between consciousness and delusions, but at this point the swirl together in my mind and mix making my vision hazy. Taking deep breaths become impossible as it is too congested to feel am getting my energy's worth of oxygen. Dragging my feet against the cement I make my way to the stairs with my hands buried in my pocket playing with change.
Walking up the stairs I tap each step with the front of my foot and begin to count, as it has become routine for me to know I am awake. I read somewhere that counting becomes impossible in dreams, so I just thought I should cover my bases. After twenty-three steps, I stand back now straight and head held. My bed is about fifteen miles away from where I am standing, more steps then I am willing to count I start to walk. I grab crumpled up dollars and to see how much money I have; a ten, three singles, two quarters and five pennies. This is not enough for a cab. Head held low I know which parts of the city are dangerous, and how to avoid getting mugged. Under the hum of the street lights I am caught by an unfamiliar smell in this part of the city that I haven't smelled before, soil and sage. Curious to where this is coming from I begin to speedily walk to the end of the block. Now taking in deep breaths I hold this smell in my chest, closing my eyes to an image of a garden, of sunlight, of a girl covered in pedals. I make a sharp turn of the running my shin into a wagon full of herbs, and proceed to fall flat on my face.
"Oh my goodness, are you alright"
"Y-yeah, I'm alright"
"No really I'm fine"
I roll over and look up to a tall dirty blonde beauty wearing a sundress. Under the street light I can't make out any specific feature, but her outline illuminating brightly. Extending her hand I grab it and she pulls me up. She smiles with small thin lips, large wide blue eyes, and ears pointed forward on her round face with plump cheeks. Something about her ears made me want to brush my hands against them. Smiling now, she holds the wagon's handle with both hands in front of her, making her arms press together her midsized breasts. My head begins to dip slowly with my eyes fixed straight I begin to scan, her dress a light blue, laced with flowers and extending down just above her knees, smooth pale skin leading down to her tiny sneakered up feet. Quickly I jerk my head back up to make eye contact with her and smile looking at her hair braided tight down both sides of her head with ribbons at each end. I begin to feel a searing pain down my leg as red begins to pierce my pants.
"Oh my goodness, you are bleeding"
"Yeah, it's that time of the month"
With a look of concern she leans over and rolls up my pant leg. I am tempted to grab the top of her head with both my hands and run my fingers over her braids. The bright light from above reveals the soft tiny hairs all over her arms, and all I want to do is just brush up against them.
"Yeah, it doesn't look that bad. But I think we better get this bandaged up"
"Yeah, I know, I think, I should just, I don't know"
"Are you alright? You look really tired"
"No, I just need to get sleep"
"Okay, well I need to get these planted, my place isn't that far, and I kind of feel responsible for that leg."
"It's alright, I will just walk it off. You know like how the coaches always say."
"Hmm…..yeah I don't know if you're really tired or on something, but I'm kind of in a hurry so come on"
Spinning herself around once then to the left we begin to walk down the street one block. My leg begins to throb slightly as my try to limit the amount of pressure I put on it. After one block, I am only listening to my breathing in my head, watching her as she pulls her wagon. I hesitate to ask if I should help as she struggles to pull it.
"So exactly why are you pulling a wagon full of herbs"
"Well I'm moving these from my aunt's apartment uptown to my place because she is moving. I just got my garden set up and ready to start planting, so she suggested that I take her plants. Everything just kind of fell into place, so here I am."
"Interesting, at midnight?"
"Yeah well I just started at the animal shelter, and its right next to her apartment, and I just got off work, so it was convenient, well…you know, I don't want to have to make more trips if I don't really need to"
The block meets the park as we turn to the right and cross the street. My legs feel like they're on auto pilot at this point on foot in front of the other. Now my sock damp and sticky from the blood slowly dripping out of me like sap from a tree. I fix my attention to the one wagon wheel as it wobbles side to side with every bump. My hands swaying from side to side, thinking out the perfect measurement of movement to not be noticeable that I am trying not to be noticed as I swaying my arms from side to side, or was it up and down. I quickly start counting each footstep again. Focus on my breathing, grit my teeth as I follow behind her. Slowly my head begins to float down, now listening to her footsteps in front of me, I blink, then I blink again, my eyes are too dry. I begin to rub them, then my face. Suddenly an abrupt stop in front of a large iron gate, she stands hold keys in one hand and the wagon's handle in the other.
"Alright we are home"
Turning her head her smile is a flashbulb in my face, a jolt of energy shoots down my limbs and I straighten myself again.
"Alright well my neighbors are pretty big dorks so we need to be really quiet"
Turning the handle she slowly inches the gate open as it lets out a squeak with each forward movement. She creates just enough space for her to fit her wagon through, holding the gate open she waits for me. I tip toes through the gate as she slowly yields the gates progress to close before there is a small crash when it locks shut. The front yard dark and barren of any vegetation accept a tall cherry blossom bright with color even under the cloak of night. We follow the pavement hugging the wall of the building to the back, which is opened up with lush greenery. The feint smells of herbs and spices fill my nostrils reminding me of grandmothers home cooked meals during the holidays, fresh.
"Okay, I'll leave this right here. You," whispering softly fingers directed towards me, "come with me"
She reaches for my arm and grabs my wrist. Pulling me towards a red door on the right side of the building, we now stand in front of a red door, paint chipped at the corners and a rusted door knob. With no key she turns in and we enter a dark filled with boxes. With a flick of a switch we I see maze of boxes, and through a small crack I can see a bed to my left and to the right a fridge and sink. Navigating her way around she is precise in her movement like she is dancing to the left.
"Here, come here"
I slip through the boxes and past her bed to the bathroom. Medicine cabinet open she frantically searches for what she needs. Grabbing bandages and alcohol, in each hand now she taps the toilet seat with the lid down. From the door way I collapse down onto the seat as my legs are now numb and my body feels light. She rolls up my pant leg reaches for some toilet paper she wets it in the sink kneels back in front of me and begins to wipe away the sticky blood beginning to cake itself the open wound. Tossing away the stained toilet paper she begins to pull more, rolling it around her hand, she grabs the alcohol and begins to pour it on the toilet paper, then presses it against my leg. The stinging pain I should be feeling is being drowned out by my tiredness. Even though it stings I do not have the energy to respond with the proper whimper or plea for something less. She grabs the bandage and stretches it out across her body from arm to arm taking the left side she begins to wrap it around my leg, tight. After six or seven layers are wrapped she tears the end with her teeth, and then tucks it under the rest.
"There we are tough guy, now you shouldn't have to worry about an infection"
"Thank you nurse"
"Well this is my place by the way"
"Yeah I use to move around a lot before I lived here"
"Wait so how long have you lived here?"
"About eight months"
Rolling down my pant leg I stand and wait for her to stand as well, as she gathers the alcohol and bandages on the floor then rises. Hugging them close to her chest she turns around to put them back.
"Well, what are you going to do now?"
"I honestly don't know I was probably sleep on a bench somewhere close to the station until the trains start running again"
With a concerned look on her face, as her brow looks like a tight rope, she pats the back of her head scratches her arm.
"Well I was suppose to get off at Grandview but fell asleep"
"Isn't that about pretty far away?"
Now her eyes flicker like fireflies, with a small hop forward she says,
"Well if you want, you can sleep here, I have a cot in the corner I can bring out."
"Yeah, I mean I don't want you sleeping on the streets"
Only answered back with a smile she rubs her nose and walks out of the bathroom. Following behind her she dances between the boxes to one corner. Ducking under she disappears for a second, emerging with a folded up cot in both hands and a smile. She lifts it above her head and begins to walk back round the boxes, the cot bobs around like a raft on soft waves. I begin to reach to grab it from her arms, she hands it off to me. I hold it in my arms pressed against my chest. She shoves one of the stacks of boxes away with her shoulder, creating a space large enough for the cot to lay down.
"Well, um….are you hungry?"
"A little bit, I haven't eaten since around five"
"Oh well, if you want I have some cheese ravioli in the fridge"
"That's sounds great"
"How much can you eat?"
"I don't know a lot I guess"
She maneuvers over to the fridge. Pulls out a Tupperware full of ravioli, places it on the counter, brushes her hand around her ear rests her weight on one leg tilting her hip to the left pointing to the fridge. Falling back onto the cot I untie my shoes and slide them off. Rolling my ankle around and wiggling my toes I unroll my socks of my feet and slide them into my shoes. Resting my head my knees I close my eyes and listen to the clicking of the stove, water hitting metal slowly being drown out sloshing back and forth. I hear her scratching herself, a pause then continuing to scratch before stopping. I tilt my head to my side ear resting against my forearm the sounds of her actions slowly begin to dull. I feel myself sliding back before almost falling forward I catch myself and am jerked back into consciousness again. Eyes wide open, I see the steam rise, as she shuffles around the other side of the room.
"Alright, it's done"
"Do you want something to drink?"
"Sure I'll just have some water, please"
"Oh, you sure you don't want any wine, you are not going to make me look like an alcoholic are you"
"Okay, I just didn't know it was an option"
"Well it is, and you getting a glass"
With a soft angelic laugh followed by a short sigh. She grabs two plastic cups from the sink and shakes them down into the sink as small drops hit the sides making small pings. I stand up and make my way to her around one stack of boxes to meet her at the counters leaning up to the one next to her. She rubs her nose again and looks to me and smiles. Water now boiling over spilling over the stove, she quickly reaches to turn off the heat. Then opening the drawer to her fishes through and grabs a large spoon. Stirring the pot she grabs the ravioli with the spoon and tilts it to the side to separate it from the water, reaching back into the sink she pulls back two red bowls and dumps the ravioli into them. Once the pot is empty she places it into the sink. Fishing around back into the drawer to her right she takes out two forks.
Handing me a bowl and fork,
"You said you were hungry right?"
I smile back and stab one of the ravioli with my fork lift it to my mouth and take a deep breath to the smell of parmesan cheese before popping it into my mouth. Warm and chewy as I mash it between my teeth, I can feel the grains from the cheese roll against my tongue as it slowly melts and slides to the back of my throat. Again sifting through the drawer to her right she pulls out a cork screw and places it on the counter. Opens the fridge door she pulls out a bottle of red wine. Holding the bottle's neck in one hand she picks up the cork screw with the other, she stabs the top then begins to twist into the cork. With one thrust she pulls out the cork. With lips stretched across her face she now fills up each glass just below the rim. Ravioli finished in my bowl I place it back into the sink, not realizing she has yet to eat any of hers, I shove my hands into my pockets not knowing what to do with them and begin to play with the change in my pocket.
"Well I guess you were really hungry"
"Yeah I guess, I kind of just zoned out a little bit"
Handing me one cup she holds hers and begins to take sips. I take a sip, as I am not accustomed to drinking wine, I swirl it around in my mouth and taste grit, berries, and the way dirt smells. I try to not make a face, as I scrunch my face to exaggerate a smile. Her face reflects mine with an exaggerated smile as well, as she swishes her cup around in circles.
"So tell me again why you haven't unpacked"
"It's just a lot easier I mean, I basically use them as my dresser, and I always have a place for everything"
"Oh, that's cool"
"Yeah I mean, I just think right now I'm just too busy, and with my free time I would rather be doing something else, and it's not a problem"
"Yeah, I totally understand. I when I first walked in I thought it was a storage closet or something"
"Yeah my mom hates it," taking another sip from her cup, "hey, do you want to see the roof, it looks really nice at night up there"
With a big swig now she licks her lips and wipes it on her forearm. Almost done, I take one last gulp to finish off the rest.
She grabs the cup out of my hand and puts it back into the sink, then with a tap on my shoulder she begins to walk back around the boxes back towards a door next to the bathroom. She opens the door to a stairway, she holds it open for me and I walk through. Behind me now she closes the door, giggling the handle to ensure it is still open. Once satisfied she wakes walks past me up the stairs. Counting each step and watching as her dress slowly began to rise up with each hop up each step, I become fixed on a bow in the center of her back. After we climb past the fifth flight of stairs we stand in front of the door to the roof. Swinging it open we are met with a clear night sky with the stars luminous. Scattered around the roof are balls, a small kiddy pool and a hammock.
She giggles, mouth curled inward she and squints her eyes,
"Yeah I usually sleep out here, before I lived near the beach and always left my windows open"
"That is great, I love it"
"Well if you think the cot is uncomfortable you can always use the hammock it's really comfy"
"I might just do that, thanks"
With a smile content and free spirited she tilts he head slightly and walks towards the edge elbows locked and leans against it. From here back the wind slowly bounces her braids against her. Her dress flapping like sails, legs crossed at the ankles like fingers of a child. I walk next to her as her head is pointed away looking over the park, sit on the edge lean forward fingers locked against the side. She looks back with eyes pink and dry, as tears slowly begin to roll down her cheek. Was this the air, or was this emotion, I didn't want to assume anything. I was too tired for anything at this point. I raised my cheeks to smile with my eyes. She raised her left and rubbed her eyes before tears could escape further and smiled now sniffling.
"Yeah, it's just my contacts, I get really dry eyes"
I could not tell if she was telling the truth, in an awkward attempt to learn more I reached for her with my right, rested it on her shoulder then quickly pulled away. The gesture was not noticed as she turned away once again to over look the park. The breeze was warm, as it moved past me like soft fingertips against me, calm. Taking in deep breaths of air, holding it for a few seconds before exhaling out pretending I am jump starting my organs like a car.
"This feels really nice right now"
"Yeah, I haven't done this in awhile"
I slump forward and stand, walk towards the hammock past the small kiddy pool lying on top of a small layer of sand. I notice a small scuba diver calmly sitting at the bottom of the shallow pool. I begin to push the hammock back and forth gently, imagining that it's a crib, on a small island, with the ocean and the wind slowly putting a baby to sleep. I liked that. She walks towards me with her red sneakers, reminds me of Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz, braided hair red shoes and small dress except she was missing her small dog.
"Here, it's easier if we both get in at once"
On the opposite side of the hammock she holds the edge, I mirroring her actions, then positions 'sideways parallel to the hammock. She raises one leg the rolls into the hammock and I doing the same at moments later, causing us to roll to the center.
"I am a pretty good teacher"
Swinging side to side like a metronome we star up at the stars, getting lost in the ocean of night sky. My arm pressed against hers I readjust to position it under her neck as she raises her head to allow me to do so, then bending it to cup her shoulder.
"How's your leg"
I raise my leg straight up, and tug on my pant leg tightly bandaged.
"I think I'll survive"
Now readjusting to fit more comfortably she tilts her body to better contour herself against mine, resting her head against my shoulder arms wrapped in front of her she lets breaths deeply slowly exhales, reminding me of waves crashing against the shores. If a beaten up leg is the price I pay for being right here right now, then I would gladly slam the other against another wagon to do be where I am. Slowly I close my eyes and let the image of the crib and the baby being rocked quietly creeps back into my head. Her and now resting on my chest, we are just being ourselves at this moment. I now lean my head over pressing my cheek against the top of her head. She pulls away in slight discomfort as her braid tugs on her whole head. She its up and begins to untie her ribbons, and unravel her braids, then runs her fingers through her hair the now goes past her shoulders. She lets go of the ribbon as it slowly floats down the floor she floats down to my side once again, now her shoulder pressed under my arm pit. She tilts her head so her eyes meet mine, and smiles.
"I think this is perfect right now"
As we gaze up at the stars we see the half the moon up above and imagine we are the two halves, like the moon being held by the cloud, we are being held by this roof top hammock. I take in deep breaths of her and hold them in, her hair smelling of the rosemary, then exhaling slowly as to not move her from my side. Resting my hand against her back I begin to play with her ribbon in the center of her dress. She begins to rub her leg up against mine. The hammock begins to lightly tremble back and forth as she does so. She begins to lower her hand and play with the button on the front of my pants, flicking it with her index finger and thumb, back and forth. My eyes begin to feel heavy again as the slow wind passes. I imagine waves slowly rushing over me, sinking under. Resting at my side I feel her warm breath into my chest, hair draped over my shoulder, fabric of her sundress tickling my side.
"I'm getting a little cold. Do you want to go back inside?"
Slowly we begin roll from opposite sides when she is tumbles to the side as I sit on the edge ready to stand. Quickly I grab her before she falls to the floor. Look at her in the eyes cradled in my arms and slowly dip her to her feet. We share a moment of silence, holding her in my arms like something fragile. Now standing she grabs my wrist and we make the trip back down to her room. Once there, she guides me to her bed side and we sit quietly, waiting for a sign or an invitation for our next action.
"I didn't know if I wanted to do this at first. But after lying with you on the hammock, I think I'm ok"
"That's pretty straight forward of you"
"I mean, it takes five seconds for a girl to know if she would sleep with a guy or not, but that doesn't mean we will, but we are open to the possibility of doing it"
"Oh, yeah well for guys it's…"
"Yeah well you don't have to tell me"
"No, I mean you seem like a very genuine person, and I really admire your honesty. And well this is going to sound weird, but your ears"
"My ears, what about them"
"I mean, they look really cute, the way they stick out"
She giggles, with an open face smile,
"Well thanks, I guess"
I smile back. Slowly our smiles begin to fade away and her eyes become fixed on my lips. She licks her bottom lip slowly dragging it in before pressing it down with her teeth as if she wanted to do the same to mine. I begin to lean in, tilt my head to the left as she begins to lean in head tilted as well, My eyes begin to close as it presses against her lips moving against each other, passing air between like we need it to survive. I tangle my hand in her hair trying to hold her head, as she places her hand against mine, sliding it slowly down to the center of her chest before letting it fall into her lap. Sliding tongues against one another her hand presses my face towards hers heavy, noses smashed together we fall like leaves to the bed. She grabs my hand and guides it under her dress, wedging it in between slowly lifting it off of her. She is soft and smooth. I graze my hand across it to feel the small fuzz of her body like a peach. She slides her hand under my shirt and begins to rub my chest with her soft hands like a metal detector she searches for value. Slowly reaching down my side to the small of my back she holds me and pauses. Lifts her head from him and smiles, hair hanging down as curtains I lift my hand to wrap them around her ears. Her body shivers with delight.
"Here I'll be right back, wait right here"
She gets up, walks to the bathroom, returning with a small plastic square.
"Here put this on"
While I unwrap the condom as she helps me out of my pants. Once out she snatches the condom, hand now wrapped around me she begins to stroke, slowly giving way to pure pleasure and I swell. Now erect she slides the condom down from the tip to the base and shimmies out of her silk thong to a smooth surface. She crawls on top resting lightly over me, and begins to gently grind into me, her soft lips caressing me. She raises her hips to put me inside of her my pressing in deep, she exhales with excitement. The slick surface of her inside clinching tight around me causes my legs to twitch uncontrollably. She falls on top of me grabbing her bed sheet as I roll on top of her wrapping our bodies in a cocoon to transform. Now trusting in like a piston we slowly inch our way up to the middle of her bed, cupping her shoulders so she does not leave me she holds the back of my neck so I do not leave her site. With heavy breath I take her in again for as long as I could as I my body crashes against her shores again and again, though her body will not change or erode, inside I chip away at the tether holding down the chemicals to make her body tingle, to become pure energy. Holding me tight he eyes closed tight, for this pleasure is too enjoyable for her to share, my hips locked with hers we begin to shake. No more words from me or her as we the only language we speak is one that can only be understood by performing this ritual. Now almost to the point of climax I pause, she opens her eyes, and before I can continue, the rush of electricity shoots out of me, her hair smells too good, this bed is too soft, but this room is far too small.
The sweat running down my face is the only proof I have right now, that I felt more alive than I have in awhile. My left arm collapses under my weight, as I roll to her side, and shudder. Her body is swollen. There was a fire burning inside, as she sent smoke signals out her mouth, only gibberish, but I felt like I know what she was getting at. Heavy breaths and fast beating hearts, our connection slowly began to fade as I lied beside her. Her eyes began to close. My eyes have never been wider, as I look to the sealing and watch as the ceiling began to fade deeper into night. I knew I could stay, but for some reason all I wanted to do was run. Too tired for action I only curled up beside her to feel her insides quiver at me touch still too sensitive. It must be about three in the morning now, how do I know that I have not been loved right, in months.