“And what are you smiling about?” Glory asked as her fingers tenderly searched for something through the hair on the back of my head, and I recalled how much I loved lice check in school.
“Nothing. I’m good. Everything is normal.” I was a liar, too. I hadn’t realized how jubilant I was, grinning from ear to ear. I was never the guy who could play it cool. That was not me. Expressive and overemotional. I was unable to stifle my excitement or my dismay. Born without a poker face and at the mercy of my mood. It was something I was trying to remedy, something I was working on, partially why I was engaged in this experiment of solitude and isolation. I wanted to be more reserved, and in control of myself, and learn to respond to things out of my hands like an adult. Which I was not.
Glory tugged my face toward hers by my ears, and our mouths met properly for the second time. We kissed in the back of a smelly, beat-up, sideslipping yellow Ford Escape. Gelb. Making out or getting down in the back of a cab with the city skyline in your periphery is quite magnificent. A true New York City moment. I highly recommend it.
I lured her bottom lip into my mouth, gently sucking on it before swapping it out for the top one. I wanted to kiss her so badly since the moment I walked into Anne Bonny’s and saw her. Our tongues made introductions with the perfect melange of sweet tenderness and playful aggression. If only Glory would want to kiss me this passionately forever, if we could sustain this ardor, well then maybe I could be happy, because then and there in that moment I was happy and I couldn’t remember the last time I felt that. I knew it was a tall order and I was counting every chicken before it hatched, but was it a lot to ask for? Life had taught me some treacherous lessons and I knew, the intensity of anything will fade and love, well, love almost always dies. I wanted to be wrong.
Glory’s hands, warm and powerful, pulled at my hair and massaged my skull. The driver slid the little window of the partition closed. My hands were stationed at her hips, those hip bones I wanted to suck on, as I pressed the palm of my hand on the seam of her Levi’s. I could have sat there, with a bib on, lobster and all, and ate every last piece of fabric attached to those magically applied jeans. Every last piece, I kid you not. I kneaded her femoral artery. And I thought about squeezing her to death like a boa constrictor. I moved my other hand up, combing it through her lovely black hair, and thought how perfect her scalp fit in my hand. A match made in hell.
Not so young lovers finding each other in an insomniatic city, under the stars, and above the clouds in each other’s arms. Classic. I saw us, together, arm in arm, for a lifetime. My mind was getting ahead of itself, but I enjoyed the thought. I saw death. That was the next logical place for my brain to venture off to. I thought of the Canary Islands, dark stars, encroaching planets, and nuclear deliverance. I wanted to undress her, but I would have to wait, and so I had to make the best of whatever time we had left here on earth. What is the life expectancy these days? Whatever it was, no matter how long I had left, I knew it would never be enough with Glory.
How soon would the honeymoon phase end before we grew distant and I found new ways to avoid her? Would we fall in love? How fast would I fall out of love? What was the matter with me? Again, way ahead of myself. I’ve already talked myself in and out of love and in and out of a relationship that didn’t exist. My brain was wired wrong. I wanted us to fall in love…
I’ve serenaded her under balconies in my dreams. I’d written billets-doux in my mind and said her name aloud. I envisioned those little love letters tucked into unread chapters of books and under plates of leftovers waiting for her on the counter. I hoped the Glory I invented in my head didn’t interfere with the actual, real life, flesh and blood woman before me. I’ve spent my entire life disappointed because I’ve always envisioned everything how I wanted it to be and it had never lived up to it. Never. Not once.
Beyond aroused, I could have burst. I could have detonated right there, a chemical reaction resulting in millions of tiny molecules, all googly-eyed and panting. Imagine that. Pure science. If the world was going to end, I was content with it ending then, with her in my web, in that filthy fucking cab.
The driver glanced our way periodically, I knew because I could feel his eyes, there was a mixture of condemnation and excitement in those brown irises. Braun. But this wasn’t a grotesque display of western lust, maybe it was a little, but what if he was wrong, what if he caught sight of love, real love blossoming and drooling in his car. I wished she was still in that dress from earlier.
I pictured the backseat transforming into a sauna, a jacuzzi like the ones in those Mount Airy Lodge commercials from back in the day, heart shaped, with foamy water overflowing, pouring through the doors and spilling through the hole in the partition. Tea light candles, lit and lining the back window, illuminating our faces as our mouths opened, closed, licked, pulled and sucked. Champagne glasses, not that I ever drank champagne but I would in that fantasy.
She would say, cheers. And I would say, prost.
She would say, I love you. And I would say, ich liebe dich.
The New York City skyline waved, Venus and Jupiter peered down on us as we made our way to the galaxy of Queens. I had always yearned to leave but then I was more than happy to head back homeward. Glory was with the daydream escapist. I had escaped, in one way or another, depending on your perception of things, but as always it wasn’t good enough for me.
I had escaped for the time being forgetting all about the dirty roadside of the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway, all the houses and apartment buildings I’d normally wonder about who lived under those roofs, the billboards reminding us of nonsense that we didn’t need, the counting down of exits, the pile of bills I could barely keep up with back at the apartment next to the toaster, the planes flying overhead, Laguardia airport’s endless construction, the trees, the graff, the structure that I pretend are satellites or extraterrestrial. I escaped it all. I didn’t wonder about any of it. Not once did the thought of falling out of the cab come to mind. I hadn’t even felt any apprehension returning home. An intuition instilled in me by my upbringing. Nothing existed outside of the cab, just Glory and I, everything else was meaningless and remote.