Sunday, January 31, 2010

Look Good Naked

Naked *naughty smile/wink… I could tell you about my trip to Cabo when I was 29. Someone had put a magazine clipping above the peephole in my room. It read, “Look Good Naked.” So, I did. For the rest of the trip, I walked around that room, I slept in the cool sheets… every time I came back to that room, I was naked. Looking back, there was probably a hidden camera, streaming me over the internet somewhere.

Or what about the time I, fresh from the shower, dressed in front of my windows… you see, the windows in my room open up onto a hillside of brush and trees – not a soul to be seen… usually… not until that morning. I finished dressing and looked up to see guys trimming the trees up on that hill… grinning. I felt they owed me some money for that one!


The word implies vulnerability. None of these stories leaves me open. I mean, you’re listenin’ to a gal who doesn’t have very many inhibitions sober. Black bra contest? Hold on *checking. Right on!

What I should tell you about… When I was in high school, I was never asked out. When I was in college, I was never asked out. It wasn’t until I was 24 when he asked me out. Dear Lord, his smile. His eyes. The look in his eyes when he looked at me. The way he would cradle the back of my neck as he kissed my forehead. The way he’d pull me to him, his hands on the small of my back or on both hips, pulling my body against the firmness of his. He was beautiful that one. Crème caramel skin, rugged and smooth at the same time. He was shaving his blonde head before it was cool, downy and ticklish on my palm when it grew. I mean, you could see every tiny muscle in his back – a swimmer’s back, a gymnast’s back. The echo of him, the memory of him *sigh

We went on a road trip that December between Christmas and New Year’s. From down in Joshua Tree, up into Northern California, into Oregon, into Washington, into BC. Eating, sleeping, playing games, camping near the beach. With him was the only time I’ve ever made love – we didn’t just fuck each other. It wasn’t that pure raw sex, which is good in its own right. The look on his face when he cupped, kissed and sucked on me, the fascination he had with tasting my insides, with rolling my skin and muscles under his palms and fingers. He drank me with his body. Hungry, waiting, desiring. Senses heightened, breaths held. The spark of the first touch… it wasn’t enough, never enough. It left me wanting more. I wanted to crawl into him, to be a part of him… Don’t breathe… Not yet… …

On the drive back, on a stretch of highway between Oregon and California… There was rain that night. The roads were slick. He had the window open for a hot minute to stave off the sleepiness. We both saw something in the road. I’m still not sure what it was. A deer? A coyote? I don’t know… When we hit the hillside, we lost control and flipped… he had his seatbelt on… How did he end up outside the car? What happened?

I knew there was blood streaming down my face, I knew I had hit my head… I saw him lying in the road. I didn’t matter anymore. I half crawled over to him, my hands and legs feeling thick and heavy, unable to follow through with my commands. Making my way with the cacophony of the rain raucous in my ears, on my skin, in the confusion… Or, was it the blood rush? Feeling the wet rocks in the roadway dig into my hands, imprinting them, muddying them, I had to get him out off the road.

He was on his back, his lashes touching his cheeks. The rain pooling at the inner corner of his eyes. The rain sliding down the planes of his face… There was too much rain, I couldn’t tell if he was breathing… But I had to move him. I tried… I tried… He was too heavy. I pulled his arms, and sat him up. His sweatshirt was soaked. Already? Was it water? Or?... I leaned my body behind his, his beautiful back against my chest, his head lolling, his body heavier without the spark of his smile. I moved him a little, pulling him backward. I couldn’t do this alone. Where was the adrenaline? Was that his blood or mine mixing and dripping with the rain onto him? It had to be mine. Why couldn’t I move you? Why did the seatbelt snap? How did the seatbelt snap? Why?

The next car, the lights blinding me… I thought it was slowing down. I thought help had come. I put him down to wave my arms, to plead for help. I ran out in front of him to protect him. The car swerved around me too fast… spun out… crushed his skull, crushed his smile… I watched it happen even as time stopped. That last moment…

He was gone. Forever gone. He was the love of my life... Infinity pain. Clouds of infinity pain… I fell through them. There was no one to catch me.

Now… Now, I stand before you naked…

Wishing you sweet dreams to ease your pain

Fog crawls over my body, blankets itself in my hair, nuzzles, musses. / The dawn is hidden. / Most still lie warm in their beds / a peaceful time for some / for others troubled / wishing you sweet dreams to ease your pain

Lately, getting out of bed before dawn was more difficult than usual. It always happened this way. She would rouse peacefully, mind drifting from one slip of dream to another. Then, her heart would remind her it was broken.

Laying in bed, she looked out her bedroom window and could only see the night thinking of making room for light. She sidled one leg and then the other over the edge of the bed, inched her sleepshirt off, and took in breath for a deep sigh. Her tentative hands moved across her body, caressing one bruise after another.

The colors were deepening in beautiful patterns tattooed across her sides, arms, back, legs... That's all she had the energy to notice for now.

She held herself close as she assembled herself for the day, every movement slow and deliberate, perhaps an effort to reclaim her body and self, perhaps to warn any further blows that she had her share already.

The warm water from the shower streamed through her hair - she tried to imagine what it might look like. When she was little, she remembered floating her head back in the tub and swishing back and forth so that her hair would sway in the water like a mermaid's she imagined. Now her hair reached below her shoulders, blanketed her back, mottled black, blue, purple and green screened through the darkness of her hair.

She drifted again to a winter’s morning when she had found the bottle wash up on the beach… cliché. But, there was a note inside. It read, “Tonight I marry a man I don’t love. I don’t know what will happen, but with you I want to share this one piece of advice that I’m counting on.” It said, “Cherish your mistakes – they are what will make your life interesting.”

It began with a shudder, a slight quiver in her breathing... Heaving sobs she didn't know were in her were forced out. Her hands were splayed on the wall of the shower. She couldn't see through her tears and the water now mixing together.

Drained, she sat down on the floor of the shower, the water raining down an aggravated assault. Finally, when the crying stopped, she turned off the water, wrapped herself in her towel, got out a new nightshirt, put her hair up, and collapsed back into the sheets and pillows, her damp hair wetting it all. She formed a sort of nest, a cocoon. Back to sleep... Back to sleep... Start over again.

She looked out her window one last time. The sun had risen, but it was a hazy cold light. The clouds had come down.