“We learn that
is the same
but we keep
they don’t have
– Rudy Francisco
Her eyes are shut tight, but she can smell honeysuckle, dampened wood, the Earth. Her hair wraps around her face from the wind’s harsh tug, and he pushes it behind her ear. His touch makes her flinch, but only for a moment. A mockingbird sings nearby and she opens her eyes. Green surrounds her. The sun is blistering hot above them, but the trees cast shade in certain spots. “How about here? This seems as good a spot as any.” She observes the ground around them; a clearing in the center of looming trees, green grass covering the ground, along with a thousand dandelions.
She takes her pack off and takes her quilt out. Smiling at her, he takes the quilt from her and spreads it across the ground. They sit down across from each other as she pulls out homemade club sandwiches and a bottle of Meomi she scored from a table the night before. He uncorks the wine, his eyes shining along with the sun.
She watches him pour her a glass, wonders how she ended up here. She wonders if she loves him; if she ever even knew what it meant to love before.
Always a ravenous eater, he is half-way through is sandwhich by now.
He is inspecting her, notices her untouched food.
She smiles, takes a sip,
“I’m more than okay.”
The warmth courses through her body and settles in the tips of her toes. She takes another gulp, and the sun now looks more like a star than it ever has.
She feels brazen, unshackled, like she could fly with those mockingbirds over there and sing their song.
“I wish we could live here, claim this spot as our home.”
He laughs at her, “I’m always home with you.”
She looks at the cathedral around her, and she does a silent prayer for any god that may be nearby.
After they are done eating, he lights them both a cigarette and hands her one. Her wine is nearly empty and the sun is hiding behind the trees now. He pours her a new glass.
“What are you thinking of now?”
The cigarette smoke smells strange among the flowers and she feels a surge of reality.
“If any of this is real.”
He kisses her, soft and quick. “How did you end up so strange?”
She laughs, tries to polish off the second drink.
Grabbing her hand, he whispers into her neck,
“Of course I wouldn’t have you any other way.”
She kisses him harder this time. She feels like an animal and wonders if she could eat him whole. He lets go of her hand and moves it to her hair.
She understands that this is very much real, and that her heart hasn’t stopped fluttering along with those birds, and the sun is shining, and soon the moon will rise, and she knows this as much she as hknows she is in love.
She had never been in a diaphanous love. She never understood love could resemble something that wasn’t in the form of destroying her. To her, passion meant holes scattering the walls. Love meant arguing in the middle of the summer, blisters on her feet from the concrete. She didn’t understand what it was like to be held in soft hands because soft to her had always felt like sandpaper. Love used to mean fucking with your eyes closed and now it feels like the first time she truly opened them.