A Short Story by Astrid Bridgwood
Pillowcase between my teeth, light pouring over me like dawn was made to be laid sticky over sorrow like honey. I wake up without you, hair tangled with the smell of your skin.
I dreamt about kissing you. Streetlight’s orange and wavering on cracked cement; laughing into your shoulder, whisper-sweet mouths. Wishing I could keep this moment amber-preserved and still, a lapful of your legs and teeth grinning around my tongue. I’d live in this dusk, lingering before our walk home.
I didn’t kiss you right, the first or the fifth time. I owe you another, a thousand for the first over too-quick and sloppy, sick with the thought of leaving. I should have hesitated, careful; touched you like I meant to: tender, holy.
Fragments of soft memory: grabbing your face, phone in my hand. Screen on skin. Wanting desperately to keep you between my palms, cheeks captured under callouses. I should have poured more of that love into your mouth. Pulse burning on my skin, your name like worship. Squinting at the sparkling lipstick traces caught in the window-mirror before I had you scrub me smooth.
I should have kissed you sooner. Lovers sat on damp cement stairs; the world gone neon behind you, pink-lit and glowing. You laugh in my face and I’m looking at the sun, at water skimming over rocks glittering and glorious with afternoon; acres of wood gone soft with moss, trees set ablaze at dusk. Yours is a body blessed by light.
The next kiss given like a blessing, received like a prayer. Pupils wide dark with glory, staring at the figure holding every world under her tongue. Eyes black and thirsting, spilling over. A cup overflowing: I drink greedily of beauty so long denied. This is the common tongue, pouring forth from my lips — I love you, love you, love you with all of me.
I’ll dream of you and for you, darling, of angels that wear your face and lift me to ecstasy. I’ll miss you, ache for the next breath that will mingle with yours. I’ll greet you like a cliff lit by morning:
bright-eyed into your embrace.