What Would You Miss Most?
*Written March 2021 - One year into the Covid-19 Pandemic
I’m pretty sure the next time I have sex with someone I’m going to cry.
the shock to the system alone of having someone’s skin on my skin, someone’s sweat in my sweat, their breath in my mouth…I think it might just break me open.
My heart feels like an egg. I tell my friend over the phone,
all brittle casing pretending to protect a fragile, delicate life.
I haven’t had sex during the pandemic because I don’t know what it would feel like to break open under a stranger like that.
And because I can’t take lovers as lightly as I once did without calling it
Maybe I should never have taken them lightly to begin with.
I don’t really know anymore.
You know that moment in the movie when the person, confronting death, looks back on their entire life and longs for even the silliest, stupidest moments back for just a fraction of a second? It’s the Our Town moment. The It’s a Wonderful Life moment. The Insert-Christmas-Special-Here Moment. The protagonist goes back to a memory that seems mundane, a memory of the time their argued with their lover about whose job it was to confirm the reservations, or the time that they felt endlessly bored listening to a family member talk about minutiae and the sheer humanity of it all brings them to their knees as they bargain with the angel of death or whatever that plot device might be and begs them please. please just give me a little more time.
That’s how I feel about sex these days.
Even bad sex.
Well, mediocre sex, anyway.
But all the silly, clumsy, passing moments where someone brought their body close to mine and we tested the mixture of our elements…those I would bargain to hell and back for just for a few more minutes in.
In the pandemic nostalgia is the drug of choice.
I tunnel back into memories and resurrect ghosts
like the soft animal of my mind depends on it
I could lie in bed all day remembering the way a lover’s hands felt against my thigh or the feel of their breathing against the back of my neck because the problem is,
I don’t seem to know which way is forward these days.
As much as I’m afraid of losing my memory, I’m more terrified of getting lost inside it.
What would you miss the most about being human? I ask my lover in bed one morning.
His fingers trace my lips
catching the words as I speak them.
Falling in love.
Really great sex.
Laughing so hard my stomach hurts.
I remember him
touching my body like he were learning a new language:
Slow, attentive, patterned.
Memorizing its hows and whys
The way my breath maps out pleasure like a weathervein.
When he pulls me in I can still taste myself on his tongue
I have never wanted to remember something so badly
As it happens
Each second unfolding
pure and perfect in my cells.
Please let me keep this moment.
I think to myself.
Please let me remember.
I don’t know what the long terms effects of this sort of isolation will look like
for those of us who live through it.
I guess no one does.
Will we let time stand still in reverence to the body?
Our attention drawn to the light of our lover
like the aperture of a camera.
Their breath announcing
Here I am.
Will we touch more?
Touch better? Touch differently?
I missed you.
Let me feel every inch of you, before our time is up.
Will we all develop fetishes for breath play and kissing and revealing just the lower half of our faces to each other?
The perfect clarity of desire in action.
Just an open mouth
suspended in the dark theatre of a bedsheet.