Flesh Into Fire
I roll our interlaced fingers over so that I can see the back of her hand. It’s strong, but delicate. Long fingers and white skin. Veins that tense with the clench of her grip. Freckles. Just a few light, faint, perfect freckles.
I have the same thought I had the other day. That I want to learn her. Her body. Every millimeter of her. I want it burned into my brain. I want to imprint her into my memory before she goes. I want to study her. I want to have a PhD in Maddie Clayton.
I let go of her hand and stand up, turn to face her and then kneel down.
“What are you doing?” she asks.
I don’t say anything. She’s not wearing shoes, so I start tugging at the toes of her socks and she giggles as I work them off her legs and then hold her precious feet in my hands, examining them. I stroke the bones that run along the top, ending at the tips of her toes, and I kiss each toe one by one.
I turn them over to inspect the scar I found the other day, and I give it a kiss. Then I spread her legs and slide in between them, popping my head up to give her a kiss on the lips, before I unbutton her jeans and draw down the zipper. She leans back, propping herself on her elbows, and shimmies her hips as I pull her pants down. They’re so tight on her, so fitted, that they draw her underwear along with them as I pull, and then the pants are off her body and on the floor, and her bare calves, and knees, and thighs, and pussy are there for me to explore.
Still leaning back on her elbows, she tilts her head to the side, presses her lips together in a tight smile, and raises her eyebrows at me.
I lift one of her legs and place my face right next to it. Like an archaeologist exploring the contours of a priceless, ancient artifact.
Her smell. Her smell will be the thing that I know I will hold onto most. It’s always been that way for me. Smell is the most potent sense I have when it comes to triggering memories. When I smell cinnamon, I remember my mom. Because she was baking when she collapsed that last time after chemo. And so that’s the smell I choose to associate with my final memory of her, as opposed to the antiseptic smell of the hospital. Because that wasn’t her anymore anyway. Mom stayed in the kitchen. Only the shell of her stuck around for a couple weeks more in the hospital bed.
Right now, Maddie smells like freshly cut grass. She’s been packing and getting ready to leave all day, and it’s been weirdly warm of late, so she’s a little sweaty. And that smell—that pungent, dense, round smell of sweat on her skin that fills my nostrils—reminds me of summer. Which I love. Because I suppose that means that for the rest of my life, there’ll be an entire season where every day all I’ll be able to think about is her. Even though I don’t imagine needing a lot of prompts to steer my thoughts in her direction.
As I stroke my fingers along her leg, kissing as I go, and drinking in her scent with every breath, she drops down from her elbows, letting herself lie flat on her back, her legs dangling off the side of the bed. She traces her fingers up and down the line of her stomach, pushing her t-shirt up to the curve of her breasts as I continue my survey of her flesh.
I’m discovering things. Things that no one else on earth besides me will know.
Her right calf appears just infinitesimally stronger than her left. Her left knee is the teeniest bit knobbier than her right. And when I kiss her behind either of her knees, she shudders through her stomach, causing her toes to crinkle.
As I pass the bend in her knee, I draw my nose along the inside of her thigh. She wriggles a teeny bit as my beard moves along her soft skin. And then my mouth is right at the brink of her entrance. I take my thumb and run it along the pink folds and she lets out a “mmmmm.” I tilt my head, studying my fingers as they massage her tender skin, and take note of what sound each gesture evokes from her.
Kissing tenderly on her opening causes her to growl from somewhere deep inside her throat. So I do. I kiss, and I let my warm breath signal my presence, but I don’t want to penetrate her. Not this way. If she wants me to be inside her, I will happily oblige, but for now I just want to be here with her and hold her close.
And I will.
And I will hold her close in my thoughts every second that she’s gone.
But more importantly…
I will hold her in my heart.
Some people search their whole life looking for that one place they belong. For that one person who gets them. Who brings them into their world, lets them fall easily into the pull of their gravity, and lets them just… be. Just exist. Quietly. Naturally. Freely. This is Tyler for me. The center of my universe. The man around whom I now orbit.
Not like a satellite, either. But like… like two things meant to be one. Like long ago something crashed into us, broke us into little pieces, and left us adrift. Floating in directionless space. Spinning wildly with no tether. And now we’ve been pulled back together. And we circle each other, still spinning, but with the purpose of joining. Of becoming one thing again. Not because of tragedy, the way I’d imagined when I sent that letter. It’s not a lifeline of salvation connecting us now, but some force of nature we can’t explain, or control, or bend to our will. Some law of the universe that dictates the fate of things.
We are connected by something more powerful than shared sorrow. And every moment we’ve spent apart has been valuable. Necessary. Critical.
His mouth between my legs feels wonderful. I could close my eyes and enjoy it. Let myself reach the heights of pleasure.
No. I’m done doing things alone. We’re connected now. And everything we do will be together.
So I whisper, “Tyler,” as I caress his head. Run my fingers through his hair. Touch his shoulders. Slide my fingertips up and down the hills and valleys of his muscular arms.
He looks up at me, his eyes smiling even though they’re half closed, even though his mouth is still working. His tongue still flicking against my pussy.
“Come up here,” I say. “And kiss my mouth.”
Now he smiles with his whole face. His hands plant on either side of my hips and he draws himself up to standing. He lifts his t-shirt over his head and undoes his jeans, letting them fall to the floor, and his nakedness reminds me that he has lived every single day of his time on this earth.
He leans onto the bed and eases forward. My legs open wider for him, welcome him between them as his cock—hard, and long, and ready—rests against my clit, making me want him.
If we stopped right now, if he just rested his chest on top of my breasts, became nothing more than heavy weight as he closed his eyes, relaxed, and fell asleep… I’d be content, happy, and satisfied.
And not because there’d be more chances to do this later. But because it’s him I want. Not the sex.
He leans down, his hands on either side of my head now. Bending the mattress the way spacetime bends around a sun. And when his lips reach mine, my eyes are closed.
And I fall again.
I fall far, and long, and easily. The same way I drifted towards him. And as I drift, weightless, we kiss. But I’m still connected to him. Always next to him. Because this is what it feels like to fall into someone, not away.
This is not me slipping down the mountain.
This is not me losing my footing.
This is me finding myself. In him. In us.
So when I reach my hand between my legs and place him right where he needs to be, he enters me. And all those broken, spinning pieces come together to once again create the thing we were always meant to become.
Our bodies move together. Perfectly synchronized. Like the dance of stars in space. His body is hot, and my body is hot, and the heat we create between us doesn’t burn like fire but rearranges us. Like the molecules of two metals mixing to form the strongest sword made of the very best steel.
Our lovemaking is slow. And perfect.
We reach the heights of pleasure together. As one. And it’s the kind of climax that only happens once in a lifetime. The kind of release that means more than the way it makes you feel. It tells you who you are, and who you’re with, and exactly where you fit in the grand scheme of things.
He says, “I love you, Madison.”
And I say it back. “I love you, Tyler.”
We mold ourselves into each other as we relax and grow sleepy. Our bodies back together. His arms around me. My back pressed against his chest.
Our hearts beating. Keeping time.
Becoming what we were always meant to be.