He closed the door gently behind him. I stood locked in place, the backs of my bare legs touching against the soft bed covers. The room turned musky as his scent took over, the smell of the fresh sheets dissolved in my airwaves. I tried to focus on his hand, resting on the door handle, but then his hands lead to me thinking of his arms. Soon I found my eyes were drifting over his body, getting closer, almost there, a little further and I would meet his lips.
His dimpled chin hadn’t seen a razor in a few days, I wanted to run the palm of my hand over his stubble, feel the rough against my smooth skin. Then I thought about his lips again, his mouth, that stubble rubbing my exposed neck. He lowered his head, his lips parted, about to speak. He hadn’t said one word yet. Not since he knocked on my door, walked into my hotel room. If he were to speak now I would melt, skin and bones dripping to the floor, muscles collapsing and life ending. How I wished he would just speak.
His hand dropped from the handle, drawing my eyes away from his imminent voice. I reached behind me without turning, my hands feeling the surface of the double bed for a discarded packet of cigarettes. It was there, it touched the small finger of my right hand. I prayed there would be a lighter in the pack, the only other lighter in the room was in my pocket, and that had long been abandoned by the door along with the coat it belonged to.
My hands met in front of my unsteady body; slightly shaken they pried the packet open. Just the last one, the lucky one, was left. The lighter tucked away next to it. I tapped the cigarette out, and struck the lighter various times before I could get it to spark. Through all this he just stood, watching. Although I was not looking at his eyes, I knew how they would be staring. I took the first slow drag, the cigarette pursed between my lips, the smell of ash rising into the mix of scents already settled there.
Now that I could no longer smell him I felt braver and moved my eyes straight past his lips and looked right into his eyes. He looked good, better than I remembered. His hair was shorter, less wavy now. I used to run my fingers through his hair every night as I closed my eyes, the smell of his skin enveloping me. I could still taste him now, on the tip of my tongue, such a vivid memory it excited my taste buds.
Words still seemed to be perched on his lips but he couldn’t bring himself to speak them. I was unable to form words of my own to bring to the tip of my tongue, which was still too preoccupied with the taste of his skin. I thought of how I saw him before, his arms pulling me close, no secrets to be hidden from him. And then there was this, the distance that separated us, the smoke I blew out blurring his image as he stood unwaveringly before me, a self invited man.
There was an ash tray by my feet. I took a final drag and flicked the butt down from where I stood. My eyes had moved away from him for two seconds and when I looked back he was moving, towards me. The distance between us had felt like it was doubled by the months without seeing each other, yet he broke that gap in five easy steps. His arms rose as he reached me and his hands cupped my face as he pulled me into a kiss. This was a kiss to put all others to shame.
Fifteen months, not one word, and he came back for a kiss like that. The room collapsed around us. His mouth met mine with the perfection of a long term lover and the passion of a longed for stranger. His hands lowered down my back, the warmth of his skin seeping through the silk of my dress made me shiver, knowing what would happen next if I didn’t put a stop to it. I had wanted him back, thought about this moment, but something wasn’t quite right.
I tried to step back, but there was nowhere to step, the mattress stopped my movement short and I fell backwards onto the bed. He fell softly on top of me even as I struggled to make sense of the situation. I had too many questions that I needed answered, too much pain to be wiped away by a moment of passion. As my mind raced he pulled back, propping himself up on his forearms. He looked into my eyes and I saw the sadness he hid behind his smile. I reached for his hair, my fingers caressing the back of his neck and he pulled me close to his chest as I began to cry.
I was cradled in his arms, feeling guilty for falling apart. I still felt the soul devouring nausea that came to the surface since he had first gone. Seeing him was something I had imagined happening casually, maybe from across the street or at a cafe. I would smile at him casually, make casual conversation and casually not bring up his disappearance. I would most definitely not cry.