I was thinking back to that day in the museum.

I was thinking back to sitting in the museum cafe with you. You ordered something with polenta. I was drinking gewürztraminer, but I don’t remember at all what I ate, or if I ate.

All I remember was my cunt pulsing wildly after you fucked me in the men’s room.

It was glorious, you know. I remember sitting in the restaurant, with jeans and no panties, the seams sticking to my wetness. I remember that sudden warm rush as I shifted, and your come gushed from my pussy, soaking my jeans.

It made me hot with want for you then, love. You know? I wanted you then, wanted to take you back home and fuck you wildly all afternoon.

These moments are my museum, you know, these collected works of fucking you. Of loving you.

I wonder how the critics would see these works over time. Would they scoff at the sheer indecency of it now, proclaim it genius later? That is the way, the stereotypical response of misunderstanding.

Or would they find it forever nostalgic drivel? Love is such a common sentiment, after all.

But it inspired me then.

I think of all the moments I never would have enjoyed with you, if I had seen them without the lenses I wore, the ones that cast a pink happiness on everything we were.

You had the best of me, when I loved you.

No. That’s not really true.

You had the best of me when I thought you were the one in love.

stood up

The porch light had burned out, I remembered as I walked quickly up the sidewalk. The footsteps behind me had seemed menacing in the late night, though I no longer heard them when I turned up the street toward home.

Now it was a Saturday, monthly concert evening. But the music that ordinarily transported me from my everyday existence had left me wanting tonight, not from the lack of skill on the part of the pianist, but more likely from my own state of mind as I walked into the concert, the untorn ticket for the seat beside mine still in my wallet. He had said 7:30–I was sure of it–but as 7:40, then 7:50 went past without a word, without a sign, I walked into the crowded hall and found my seat.

The night would not be spoiled, beloved music still promising its sweetness on a soft, warm evening. But the Chopin I so dearly love only irritated me in its perfection, as if it were mocking me along with the couples casually touching hands as they leaned into one another to whisper, a giggle, an arm swept around a shoulder. Intermission came, and I glanced at my messages in the lobby, then felt a lump in my throat, a warm embarrassment sweeping over me at it as I saw that he had not answered my text, not even now. I walked outside, cherry trees blooming all around in the glow of spring. I looked up at the stars, wishes so faraway, the cherry blooms, oh, bitter sweetness. I dried my eyes, and felt a sudden urge to be anywhere but there.

The streets were filled on this beautiful night, muffled voices, an occasional laugh drifting out from the restaurants, the clink of glasses. Wine cooked off in a sauce, that aroma stopped me, beckoned me, aroused my hunger. I glanced back at the glowing lights, turned back, and walked into the cafe.

It was you, I should have known, you, bent over your magic pan, the whisk quick in the thickening sauce, the heat, your face flush from the hot stove. I knew, the thyme, the memory of your hands on mine. You stood behind me once as I chopped for you, carrots, onions, celery, your wine-lush lips on the back of my neck. You threw the vegetables into the sizzling butter, tossed them, then turned me around and kissed me, pushing my blouse away from my shoulder. We sipped that wine, that crisp white wine poured onto the mirepoix, the thyme on top, we cheered and sipped, gulped, the droplets from your glass then falling onto my chest, my buttons undone as the wine dripped down, your mouth tracing the trail of the wine, you brusquely pulling my bra from my breast, and kissing me there, there in the kitchen, my nipples firm, and ripe, and wanting.

The beef would sit in that stock with the mirepoix for a long time, I knew. I used to know the nature of braises, their slow simmer, your teasing kisses in the meanwhile, the long road, the unhurry, the same ending, always, and none the less satisfying for the repetition. I had forgotten.

I had forgotten, the pleasure, the elixir, brown stock, your beard scraping the soft flesh of my inner thighs. It was you, yes, you in that kitchen. I ordered the wine, and today’s special, and I sent my compliments to the chef.

It was spring, as I walked back past the concert hall, now dark, a cool wind picking up, raindrops starting to fall, the glowing lights gone, stars gone, cherry blossoms blowing from the trees. The streets had emptied, nearly, only a few pedestrians out now, hurrying, like me. I rummaged through my purse, and pulled out my keys as I made my way back to my dark house.

You startled me, my heart pounding as you appeared suddenly behind me, grasped my long hair and pulled my neck to your impatient mouth. I began to scream, and you hushed me, the heady scent of stock still in your hair, subduing me. My keys fell to the ground, it was you, your beard now scraping my neck, your hands round my wrists as you pushed me roughly to the door, my breath short, your kisses cool, soothing my raw skin.

It was you, your hair, sweat, pillow still warm, fingers, lips gently tracing the lash marks on my backside in the early morning light, the cream, coffee, wet grass and blooms, wet street, the gently turned eggs, the luxury of rain, cool, the lost, the recovered, the here, the now.

clair de lune

It was the blue sparkle that caught my own eyes when I saw him across the crowded room. I stood there, surrounded by friends, but became quickly aware of his grin, his gaze undoing me right in the middle of the crowded dance floor. He walked over, followed by a group of local boys who I later learned worked with him in that temporary sort of job he had picked up… His friends occupied mine while the music blared around us.

He was French. And so, in that mundane middle-America, top-20 lake resort nightclub, I was transported once more from my roots, removed to all the exotic wanderings I craved in my own mundane middle-America existence..

“Veux-tu…?” he asked me, and I did, did sip on the drink he handed me, did push my hair back behind my ear once before he did it himself, did feel that shiver run right down my spine when his hand touched my ear, did want him to trace his fingers down my neck, against my breasts, to touch me once more… did–by the end of the evening–begin to feel my electric legs, did imagine myself threading fingers through his golden ringlets, pushing his head right down into my lap. I did want, wanted it all. But I did not, not at that moment, contenting myself to gaze into the blue clear sea I saw in those eyes, to listen to his stories about Cannes.

He was a photographer, and through the next week he snapped photo after photo in my bedroom, in the late afternoon light before my mother came home from work. I was no kid, living still at home with my widowed mother… A college dropout, I was, a translator, a woman who wanted more–whatever that meant.

In the parking lot at closing time, in the clear bewitching moonlight, he handed me an address–“demain, avant midi”… I held it, tucked it gently into my pocket, then hesitated only a moment the next morning before leaving my friends behind, heading into the water on skis, laughing, then climbing into the back of his friend’s van to lie back and let him fumble with the fastenings to my shorts–the complicated ones that tied rather than zipped. I lay back and let him kiss his way down my belly, making his way quickly to the softness of my inner thighs, to the first time that I ever fucked anyone within twenty-four hours of meeting him. And fuck we did, loudly, athletically, with an abandon reserved for couples who know one another either perfectly well or not well at all.

And from that, I decided that he was just the sort of boy a girl should take home. As for him, he was free for the summer–another dreamer, off to see the world–yes, yes I wanted so much. He left his job and grabbed his bag. We sped through the winding roads back to the city in my old Chevy, flirting dangerously through the speed traps. I reasoned that taking him home was a hospitable thing to do. Yes. A reasonable thing: after all, a puppy would be far more trouble, and far less fun.

My mother was not amused. A generous coworker stashed my new friend in her parents’ house until they came home from vacation.. just a few days. And by then, my mom relented, laughing as she carefully made a bed for him in the basement–fully expecting that when she went out for the evening, we would behave, as she put it–respect the unspoken house rules implied by the gesture. We were going out. And yes, he would take a shower and dry off with the fresh fluffy towel–the blue one, folded neatly and draped over the bathtub.

No. He would instead pull me into the shower and hold my wrists against the wall, sucking my nipples as the warm water ran down on us. Even before the door shut behind my mother, my friend would push me against the kitchen cabinets, ripping my panties as his fingers traced the wetness of my labia, as he rolled a condom down his smooth cock and pounded me from behind.

My mom still shows the photos she took of him at our table, the photos of our unauthorized office margarita party, the photos of the guests at the dinner he prepared when I was ready to push him onto a Greyhound headed to his next adventure. I heard from him a few times, then again when I lived in France a few years later. But life moved on, as it does, and from the summer, it was the pictures, the laughter… memories we kept, cherished even years later.

Memories may not die. People do. It was a terrible accident by all accounts, and the outpouring from the community was evidently tremendous, devastating.

Ah.. so he was loved. By the time I had met him, he had been gone for months, and seemed perhaps a bit homesick as he flipped through the lush pictures he had in an album from home. Faces, I saw, beautiful smiling faces of friends I never knew. Faces of friends on beaches, with the palm trees, and that same Mediterranean blue that still sparkles when I think of it. These must have been the ones who grieved then. But not I–I, who have a photo, and a story, and yet a vague sadness, like a once happy song, in a minor key, playing far, far away.

sin and contemplation

I sat on the wide windowsill combing my hair, there I was a mere shadow in the low light slowly burning through the humid morning. You said years later that you remembered this image of me when you awoke, watching the beads of water fall onto the floor as I shook my head still wet after the shower after the run. I had been up for some time and returned in the early morning carrying two coffees, carrying a newspaper, carrying the key to the cheap rented room we found late the night before. You slept that morning–unusual for you–and I had let you sleep when you rolled over as I ran my hand across your belly, across your stiff cock. You smiled as you rolled over, and I left you to pleasant dreams, left me to wander the streets ostensibly seeking fitness, in truth seeking to grasp any sin still lingering there from the night before.

It was New Orleans.. must have been so long ago, so long before the recent sins of nature, sins of greed–so long ago that sin and New Orleans meant something else, some dark and forbidden thirst, like me traveling there with you–you so wrong and so delicious.

We sneaked away and followed the Mississippi, the fabled river leading us to temptation, all the way down: taking us to salvation or damnation, whichever seemed the appropriate definition when we got there.

Salvation: take me higher, I said, as you pushed your tongue into me. You were young then, inexperienced, and I was young, too, but not too inexperienced, so I showed you how I liked your tongue to tease me, to release me. Tease me release me. tease and release. Oh God, I said, and I came, saved by your tongue, your fast study tongue, your everlasting gobstopping tongue not stopping not releasing me not yet, intoxicated by this new power you had found over me.

Damnation: down low and dirty, those grinding tunes playing on a radio upstairs while you pumped your cock into my ass–you didn’t think I would do it, and I did it, and you pushed your way into that hot little hole, dirty little hole. You pushed a finger, two, in, lubed your cock before sliding it in, too. It was your first–not habit to me then–and you fucked me cursing under your breath at the sheer thought of it, at the sheer thought of fucking my ass. Damn, you said as looked down at your cock disappearing between my buttocks, damn, you came more quickly than you wanted, damn, none too soon for me shaking violently already in the pleasure of all that you could do to me then, there, too.

These were our novice attempts, our discoveries in rooms with peeling wallpaper, thin walls, window air conditioners blasting air that seemed to be made cold by freezer-burned ice cubes stored deep within, not great, not anything but loud. They may be gone now, surely are, surely should be, rebuilt as something better, refined, new. They may be gone, but I think of the white chenille bedspread, the scatter rug, the aqua tile in the bathroom, the sink with your toothbrush sitting on the side next to mine, a few coins on the table, the car keys waiting to unlock yet another adventure.

I think of you, there, standing in the window, the shadow of you waiting in the darkened room as sun falls, as light falls, as I fall into your arms.