Peaches Musk & a Bit of Obsession
She has Samson hair. Its strength and power of persuasion are built into its ebony locks. I can prove this wonder . I have seen the miracles worked before my eyes. I have watched her untie her hair. I have watched it unravel until it brushed her waist. I have watched others watch. I have seen grown men twice her sized cut down by the length of her hair. I have watched them crumbled to their knees before her. It is in the power of the hair, we would joke when men made fools of themselves. It is in the power of Samson hair.
I know there is more to this. I have never told her what. I would like to keep the illusion I have built, the illusion that I have not fallen under her spell, that I have not fallen to her hair. The secret is that there is more than the way her hair unravels more than just the shear lengths that defy convention. The secret is that when she lets her hair down each falling wave of hair releases the scent of peach or musk. By the time all of the waves have crashed upon her back it is all I can do but drown.
There were times that I would watch her, touching her hair, and breathing her in, watching the highlights of lapis in onyx. I had tried to use its shine as a scrying mirror. We lay side by side, my hip grazing hers. My leg balancing at the edge of her calf. I worked up the courage to touch her again. I dripped my fingers over the curve of her hip following up to the ridges of her ribs and then I would grasp it. I felt ebony slide through my fingers as I stared into it. I could see shapes of blues forming beneath the pressure of my fingers. I wanted to see something. I wanted the scrying mirror to forfeit something. I searched for the happily ever after I had been dreaming of in her hair.
What are you doing? She would ask.
Seeing if we would stay together.
And you’re looking the answer in my hair? I shrug. Why don’t you ask me? Says the oracle.
Because I already know the answer. Says the sage with to much common sense to survive in a fantasy.
She would get up and stretched, her back arching and shadowing. She grabbed her sweater, her jeans, a cigarette, and her wedding ring.
You’re to serious. She would say while lighting her cigarette. The flame got to close to her cupped hands making them glow in iridescent shades. Can’t you just live in the moment? She would drop the lighter and stare at me from under a raised eyebrow. She sits down beside me and blows smoke over my body.
I would fold my body into the haze. I am too logical I am too practical to live in an illusion built of smoke and mirrors, built of walls made from ebony, musk, peaches, and the small of her back. Those walls always crumble. She will wait for minute. She will wait for me to speak and then she will grow bored. She will put on her wedding ring while she looks into my eyes and then she will lean over me. She will kiss my cheek and veil the side of my face in her hair. I will reach for it and she will grab my hand and say don’t. She doesn’t like people grabbing her hair when she has on her wedding ring. It is to confusing as to who owns her, who has her. Or maybe she’s afraid someone will take a knife from behind their back and cut it all off.
She doesn’t wear her wedding ring anymore. I don’t know what this means. She never told me and I never asked. I just noticed one night when our fingers where tearing at and into each other that she didn’t stop to remove the tie to reality on her finger.
I traced proposals on her back while she slept. Sometimes I printed and sometimes I scrawled. Words stuck in my throat and rerouted to my finger tips. I brushed back her hair and kissed the brink of her shoulder and traced Marry Me over both shoulders, down her spine, and in tight writing in the small of her back. She sighed and flopped her head to me.
What are you doing? She yawned
Writing you a message.
No. I say disappointing her, loosing her interest. The bottom of her lips drops and I would reach for her hip. I would forget forevers and possession in the shifting sand color plains of her belly. I would drink from a river dark as Lethe and end up drowning in deep eternal caverns.
She was still married. I followed her to her apartment. She had no idea. I couldn’t let her know that I too had been leveled by her. I stood under her window and watched her husband make slow rough grasps for her. He owned her and it showed. He had no reason to make quick attempts. Reaching out and pulling away. He never had reason to believe she would pull on a sweater and jeans and leave if his touch wasn’t perfect. He had no reason to go fast, afraid, and unsure. He owned her.
I go to her apartment a lot these days. I sit on her front stoop. I have shifted my gaze and now I stare bold face into the moon. I don’t watch him and her anymore. I can’t, not even when my eyes move to the third window on the left. I imagine things when I watch them. I see his hands on her, I see his finger reaching into her hair. . I drives me to madness. I sit and watch the moon until I can’t feel my fingers or the doorman begin shuffling my way. By then the moon is half way over the building and every night I look up and see her window I tell myself I am getting one last look at the moon, then I slip into the shadows and veil myself in ebony shadows that smell nothing of peaches and musk.
On my better nights I think I am waiting for her. I think that they might fight, that maybe he found out about me, about us. Maybe he’d hit her, hit her hard enough to draw blood. She’d come out the front door and I am just standing here, just happened to be passing by. She would have a suitcase in one hand and her other hand clamped to her mouth. She asks to come home with me and what could I possibly say to that. We take the long road home, the way that winds up to a bridge over a lake. I take her suitcase and she smiles at me. I know this because I see the edges of her lips break out behind her wrist and her finger tips. We could stand at the middle of the bridge and she would take her ring off. We watch it spin in the air and then we watch the ripples in the lake. We watch her marriage drown under our feet. I know this time the ring is gone and she won’t go back to him. I know that she is mine.
No more. She would say.
Never again. Says I.
I see that her hair has stolen the silver from the moon and I grab her. I grad her hair. I grab the masked ebony hair and she doesn’t stop me. It isn’t confusing and I have no knife. She is mine. I kiss her then under the full moon and over the corpse of her marriage. I meet her lips and taste her blood. It is our pact of forever. A blood pact sealed with a kiss.
As I said this is what I think about on my good nights. The nights when I can see only my fingers on her back and only my fingers disappear into her hair. When I can smell peach and musk on my fingers and on my hands. These are the nights when I know she has just come from my bed with the marks of my nails and of my teeth on her body. On these nights I know he will see that someone else own her. That he is not the only one who holds her or loves her or runs their fingers in and out of her hair. He is not the only one who knows that her lips swell after orgasm or that she snores in small breathes in her sleep. On my good nights I comfort myself by knowing that he is the one who has been duped. That he does not own her as much as I.
On my bad nights I don’t know or feel anything other than the cold and I know that I am drowning and that I am ridiculous. I know that she is not going to come down and I know that he is erasing the marks I made on her with his nails and his teeth. I know that he is marking what is his. I know on those nights that he is her husband and the ring she wears marks them for forevers.
She comes to me from out of the gray streets. She tilts her head at me as she walks past until I catch her hand in mine. She stops and cocks an eyebrow at me.
Got a minute. I say.
Only that. I notice the ring on her left hand. I need to leave you. She says keeping her eyes level to mine as she sits across from me.
I let go of her hand and watch as her red nails reach for me.
It has nothing to do with you. She says. But I really need to go.
She leans into me. Her hair shields us from the view of those walking past. I can smell peaches as her lips come closer and I close my eyes as they meet mine. I feel a scratching at my chest. I don’t notice because I am drowning and I don’t care because she knows I have fallen. She knows I am the fool. She pulls back her lower lip sticking to mine and I can see her hand cupped out side my chest her nails and fingers shining red. She pulls and tugs and then finally coaxes my heart to jump into her hand. She stares at it for a moment and then throws it back in upside down. She traces her finger over the wound and it closes at her touch.
Good by. She says. I can say nothing.
She stands up and stretches. I watch her back curve under her suit. She straitens and waves at me and I sit. I sit and watch as she walks away licking her fingers.
This one actually exists in printed form. After years of reworking it the story was published in a book called Gay Shorts. I even have a copy somewhere on my mantel.
I would link to where you could buy it but I haven't seen one in print for a long time.