It was late when she stood before him in his living room, between the linen weave sectional sofa and the flat-screen television. She, in her favorite navy silken camisole and dark denim, the low heel of her tan loafers leveling her nose with his chin. He, in faded blue shorts and a matching t-shirt, its Panavision logo printed in yellow on the breast pocket. His sneakers lay carelessly between their feet. The final obstacle, she thought, as she noticed Sun Tzu’s “The Art of War.” It was hidden partially under a newspaper on the mid-century wooden coffee table. Would he lace these tired shoes over his bare feet and walk with his hand in hers to the neighborhood cafe down the street? Or, would they—as usual—stay in and end up between his sheets? She hadn’t browsed his bookshelves tonight as she’d once done, listened as he read from a Bukowski novel, or flicked through Hemingway’s “Men Without Women.” Instead, there was urgency and the lingering question: did he feel the same way about her as she did about him?
As she began to tilt her face upward, she wondered, “What can you understand about a relationship from a kiss?”
She imagined the romantic dinner they might or might not be having. Their fingers meeting across the tablecloth between forkfuls of braised beef. Sharing spoonfuls of vanilla ice-cream as dessert. She began to wonder if with time they’d ever grow more alike, and what else they’d share—buying, say, the same model of electric toothbrush, or color coordinating their wardrobes. Whether they’d ever see each other more than a night or two each month. Or, even if that didn’t change, whether they’d grow closer—cuddling in bed, lost to the world for a whole morning whenever he wasn’t off on location somewhere. Or when he was, by telling one another everything about their day in long late nightly phone calls.
As he tilted his face down and his lips approached hers, she realized she still had not met many of his friends. Nor had they ever actually made any of the trips they’d talked of taking together.
They had never been hiking upstate. Or to a summer beach barbecue in LA. Jumped into the ocean from a cliff-top in Jamaica. Or eaten Pain au Chocolats for breakfast before getting lost in the book shelves of Shakespeare & Company in Paris.
On the other hand, maybe it was too soon to be thinking about their romance like this. Too much to ask of him. Unfair to be disappointed. Or, as she’d been telling herself, maybe she should be trying harder to live totally in the moment, and, as he’d said, “without rules.”
She should query the dinner reservation, she thought, their lips almost touching. Or at least mention the film. Being a Saturday night, tickets would sell quickly. If only a kiss could see into the future, she thought, as their mouths met. Warm. Familiar. If a relationship was a film, you could rewind, fast forward, or pause at the good bits.
Given his lips, this Hollywood picture would surely resolve in transcendental bliss. They’d share a home in Topanga Canyon where he’d scramble her eggs laid by their chickens early each morning. Miles Davis would play as she did the dishes. Weekend afternoons would be spent on the terrace reading books and scripts. He’d plan his next film in the study and she’d write her novel at her desk upstairs. In the evenings they’d dissect all the issues of the day.
She pulled away, her eyes looking into his. Searching for clarity, searching for something remiss. Boy meets girl, love and marriage, happily ever after all? Or was there something different afoot. She’d seen those films too; Godard’s “Alphaville” featuring a secret agent posing as a journalist, for instance. Did he want an ingénue who knew nothing of love or poetry, as played deftly by the female sidekick in this tale? Should she put aside her desires for romance and ignore the risks? She might mitigate these perils if she starred in her own film, she thought.
His eyes seemed to smile and she leaned in, eager to feel his lips on hers again. Who was directing this feature, she thought, as she bit his lip, just a little bit. He retaliated with a peck as he led her gently backwards towards his bedroom. Would they drift to sleep, their bodies entwined perfectly and wake to orange juice or hot coffee? Might he take her for breakfast at the cafe on the corner, before they went their separate ways to work that day?
He smiled. She smiled back. He looked toward the bedroom door. She picked up her purse from the floor, found her phone, touched the Uber logo.
Tights by Emilio Cavallini
Tights by Emilio Cavallini
Bodysuit by Princesse Tam Tam