I was surprised to feel myself react to his touch. It must have been weeks since he last brushed his hand over my skin, because what he did made warm sparks shoot through my core and buzz in slow circles along the back of my neck. I felt then that there was something cold and steel that formed the center of me, that he was holding and turning over in his hands. He swept me up, arms crossing my back, hands tight on my hips, and his lips pushed warm breath into my ear.
Gautam: he was a man with valleys between his muscles and curves along the bones of his pelvis. I felt them with two of my fingers and felt a vague memory come back to life. This was a man who looked like the man I had stood next to on our wedding day. This was a man who looked like the man I had held in my arms that evening. The man who had changed the sheets when we discovered blood there, long before we ever said the word wedding between us. This man looked like that man – were they the same?
With his pants down and discarded, I saw that he had more hair than I remembered. It was deep, like sticking my hands into warm water and feeling the bottom of the sink. I combed through with my finger nails and pressed my lips to his neck to remember how much my lips could feel. The steel inside of me warmed and warmed and burned, and when he pressed me apart, it cracked and everything fled from inside of it. I would swear I saw small black wisps float up into the corner of the tent, out of my mouth and my eyes, but I could not be sure when his tongue slipped into me and for the first time in a very long time I had the urge to tell him that I loved him, but my neck was so far curved that maybe I would not have been able to speak.
When he told me he did not have protection, I laughed. I felt my lips spread so that they pushed at the bottoms of my ears.
“I don’t care,” I told him.
We sat up and wrapped around each other and moved slowly. I heard voices from outside the tent, but I was the only one who could see anything here. I watched his eyelids spring open and shudder when we began again at last.