You’d think it would be the fragrance of flowers, the symbolism of doves, or the euphoria of spice, but it was a grill restaurant that made me think of us this morning as I was waiting to cross the street. There was nothing special about it except for the hen that proudly posed as its emblem, presenting the world with a platter of roasted chicken. ‘Here is someone who would offer themselves to be eaten,’ I thought. And then I imagined myself being eaten by you. My body torn by your teeth, my blood dripping from your chin, streaming down the marble falls of your flesh.
Last night the air in my room had been heavy with the carnal scent of our new knowledge. You fell asleep in my bed. But sleep wouldn’t come to me; it stayed away from my clenched teeth. Behind my closed eyelids, tails and scales of ancient creatures stirred the sands. ‘If you give in, you will become like us: pictures in books no one reads, nightmares from times past.’
I stole out of bed and into the kitchen.
There I stood under the light of the range hood, nightdreaming of how we could wake up in the morning and share cups of coffee, and bits of talking, and a kiss before parting. Or you could wake up with fugitive eyes and I would put on a plastic smile. I would offer coffee. You would refuse and leave on some urgent nothing of your invention.
But you were in my room just then, your breath as deep as the sea. I sat at the foot of the bed and watched you sleep. You sighed and turned on your back, opening all your beauty to me. The smell of salty meadows rose from the center of your body. I slipped into bed next to you. Your arms closed around me the way water closes over the pebble that hits its surface. I became a pebble deep in water, self-contained, protected against every use that can be found for me, free to observe the rise and fall of life without taking part. Like a pebble deep in water, I slept.
And when the morning came, your eyes anchored on mine and I smiled a true smile. So elated was I, that I wanted you to go. Happiness is best enjoyed in loneliness.
But then, as I was waiting to cross the street, I saw the grill restaurant and thought I could end up like that chicken on the platter. It would be your doing – and my fault.
If I say ‘take my heart,’ you may do just that.
ⓒ Basilike Pappa