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  • (Although not necessary, Part 1 of the story is here and Part 3 here)

    There is a moment in coupling, at the peak of ecstasy, when you are melting inside each other, the warm shiver, that sense of succumbing to a liquid joy, the knife edge where you feel as if you are beginning to dissolve, melting into the cosmos, with each breath you forget where you begin and your lover ends, your arms and legs, entangled, skin to skin, lip to lip, the rhythm of your breath, your heart beating in unison, there is a moment when it feels almost what dying must feel like, a glimpse of total oblivion, total immersion, total fulfillment.

    That night it was like the promise of spring had returned after all those years of winter, the desolate years, the years of frostbite, my heart unfettering, next to him, I could hardly sleep, afraid that if I slumbered that when I awoke, all this would disappear, become only a phantom of memory, we slept together, spooning, half-asleep, half-awake, clutching each other, throughout the night, sometimes, I could hear a car buzzing down the street, the lonesome moan of a foghorn, and the smell of him, he had such a sweet smell, like the humus of the earth, cinnamon, grass and leaves.

    The next morning when I awoke I was afraid that last night had been just a dream, a mirage, and that in the stare of the bright daylight, peeking through the blinds, that everything would appear sallow, and that after the fairy dust had disappeared, the mundane world would resume, and that the only thing remaining would be a throbbing headache, a hangover. I feared that perhaps I would find the sound of his voice grating, or perhaps now without the candlelight and the wine, there would be only a sagging sensation, a sense of depletion, and then the awkwardness, the fumbling for the shoes, the peck on the cheeks, the promises that we would call each other, numbers politely scribbled on paper, that whole familiar ritual of a one night stand.

    But not so, not so with him, that candle lit glow, it was still there, and when we grappled in bed again, there was still that sensual fire, the carnivorous desire, that fevered feeling, it was still burning, in the morning light, he was still as handsome as when I first saw him last night, even more so, in the daylight, with the stubble on his face, the messy hair. I still recall now that moment, naked and nestled, the two of us, in that bed, the downy fur of his chest, and the daylight seeping throw the window, like a warm sea, how soft his lips felt, like dew.

    We spent that entire day together. We drove to Stinson Beach on Highway 1, through the sidewinding road, the serpentine curves, with the windows down, between the ocean and the mountain, that exhilaration of being in a car, on a road, on a warm summer day, with the sound of the radio, some classical station that we found by accident, and when we reached that town by the sea, I felt this adolescent glee, holding his hands as we walked along the shore, and ate some oily fish and chips, just his mere presence left me dazed and dazzled.

    Sometimes you can meet someone new and yet they seem so familiar to you, the way they smile, their touch, it as if you have known them all your life, an intimate friend whom you had lost contact and were just now reconnecting, it seemed so effortless our conversation, even the silences between us in the car, it was as if we had known each other for years and years, friends through many life times, though we had just met, there was a sympathy between us, more than just words, it was through the eyes, through the beat of our hearts.

    I learned more about his life, how he grew up in Montana, in a small town, his parents were Christian fundamentalists, his world as a youth was centered around the Church, a world where men hunted deer and elk, a world of grizzly bears, cold winters, snowmobiles, a wilderness of pines and cedars, a world with looming mountains that scraped the sky with their jagged peaks. He told me how his father taught him how to gut a deer, how he cried and cried amid the blood, the gore, the severed head, and at an early age he already knew how to shoot a rifle, how to fish and hunt.


    And then it ended. A year can go by so quickly. In a blink. The farewell at the airport. The hug. The kiss.

    Sometimes. Especially late at night, when I cannot sleep, I will wander by his place near the park. I can still recall his face, that first night, the way it glowed in the candle light at that dinner party, the way he stunned me with his hazel eyes. His scent, that woodsy smell and those days we crumpled together in my bed, smoldering with feverish lust, those days, of furtive glances, surreptitious kisses, those days, when my heart was bursting, in pain, and joy, those days, when I waited by the bay window for him to arrive, to hear the buzzer of the door, and his footsteps on the stairs, those days, those bewildering days, when my heart would quiver and quake, at the slightest touch, a mere glance, and I was falling.

    (I took this photograph of a public mural on 19th and Valencia)
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