Sometimes you write things just to get them out of your head. Sometimes it’s therapy. Sometimes it’s a way to forget things that just won’t go away. I started writing this yesterday when the scent of cigarette smoke permeated my apartment and threw me backwards in time to a place I really didn’t want to remember. I didn’t think I would share it. I thought I would write it, then burn it, so to speak.
Well, I ended up sharing it with my girlfriend who saw more it in than I did….so I thought I would share it after all. I’ve been calling it an Exorcism…perhaps it’s a renewal as well.
I don’t always notice when it happens. When the colors wash out, when I blink and time shifts and I’m suddenly thrown backwards into a time I wish I could excise from my mind and forget.
The memory arrived with a smell. An acrid curl that burned through my nose and into my lungs, searing and killing alveoli, seeding poison into my blood.
Becca pushed into me, her hair on my back, hand between my thighs. Her mouth kissed and bit and sucked at the full swell of my hip. I missed it happening. The late afternoon light through the curtains revealed few hues in our bedroom.
One moment I rocked back into my lover, filling the void left deep inside me by her week long business trip. Her words that dripped with lust and desire faded away into moans and breaths and the smell invaded, finding traction in the absence of her from my sight and my hearing.
The thrusts into me intensified. I wanted to cry out but I couldn’t find my voice. The grip on my hip tightened and I clutched at the sheets. The scent filled my mouth, my throat, an invasion that penetrated as thickly as his cock once had. I screamed in my head but all that came from my throat was a hoarse cry.
Tears rolled down my cheeks, burning and hot. My body went stiff and I tried to reach back, to stop the sex, to push him off.
I blinked, clearing my vision. The sheets in my fist came into focus and I noted each gray wrinkle. Not gray, it shouldn’t be gray. We had blue sheets. Brilliant sky blue sheets. A shudder raced down my spine and I tore free of my paralysis. My fingers wrapped around Becca’s wrist and I yanked with all my strength. She tumbled, off balance, to the bed beside me. Her eyes widened at the streaks on my face and I stared at her gray irises.
I couldn’t stop the trembling and I couldn’t get the taste of cigarette smoke out of my lungs. “Your eyes should be green,” I whispered. My eyelids fluttered, trying to force the color back into my world. The skin at the corners of Becca’s eyes wrinkled and her hands touched me as if I might shatter.
Perhaps I would.
“Baby?” I heard her voice. It was her voice, sweet and soft and gentle. A woman’s voice. That was right. But her eyes needed to be green and she needed to smell like cocoa butter and almonds and watermelon lip gloss. I nodded and pressed my hands over hers, felt the differences, made myself catalog them. No scars, longer fingers, smaller palms, and the right pinky didn’t curve out because her mother didn’t break it.
I took a breath and tried not to sob. The smell of him was still in my lung and I couldn’t seem to speak.
Becca moved closer and my throat tightened as I swallowed. What if she smelled the smoke? What if somehow he was here, pressing his foulness into me so he could contaminate this beautiful, sweet woman?
“Talk to me,” she whispered, slowly erasing the distance between us. Her fingers slipped into the sway of my back and stroked, soft and slow. He never did that, I reminded myself as my insides coiled and twisted. I wanted to scream in frustration that years later that man still touched my life. “I’m here, love,” her other hand stroke my forehead and drew little circles on my temple.
The lust we had so recently been chasing felt curdled and wrong in my stomach. Nausea ate at the back of my throat. I blinked, still seeking relief from the hue-less world, and she urged me the last couple inches to her.
Her lips touched mine and I waited for the recoil at the overwhelming presence of the smell. Instead they softened, molding to me instead of invading, inviting me closer. Oh, how well I knew those lips and how sweet and kind they could be. Tears tipped over the fringe of my lashes again and without thinking I leaned into her, giving in to the safety she offered.
The tip of Becca’s tongue teased my lips apart. The first real sound rose from my throat, a soft, low moan, and she slid her tongue over mine. She tasted of peach and honey and vanilla; the dessert we shared before our desire overran our hunger and tumbled us into bed. Her fingers slipped up my nape and cradled the the back of my skull, her other hand still on my lower back drawing gentle shapes.
She made no demands. Did she remember the one night of confessions we shared of ex lovers and the ghosts of them that haunted us? Perhaps. We were still new, still learning, still discovering each other. Pressed against her I couldn’t confuse memory with present. There was no trace of him in her soft skin, tender touch, and sweet, sweet way.
My chest ached when my eyes opened and her green eyes met mine, gone dark and mossy with desire. I wanted to cry with relief, but I was so tired of crying. Instead I kissed her, reviving the passion that had gone so wrong earlier. I asked and she gave, letting me take her mouth, her cunt, all of her. I filled my mouth with her, stroking her clit with my tongue until I drowned in her pleasure, inhaling it into my lungs, overwriting the shadow of the past with the bright, sultry, salty flavor of the present.
Later she cradled me, kissing me, her fingers teasing tiny, tiny circles around my clit. I stared into her eyes, clinging to shades of green, gold, and the hidden ripples of blue as I came, refusing to let the world go black and white again.