The Woman

For JS

We had dinner. She had cooked.

I knew her from my French course: she was sitting across the table from me. I found her intriguingly captivating from the moment she entered the room. Her French accent was perfect, her words intelligent and passionate, her lips pursed. Everything about her was attractive: her short, wavy hair and the orange and ornamented hair-band, the silver ring that curled around her right nostril, her small, firm body, her mysterious, deep phrases, the sweet tone of her voice, her old bike, her oriental-looking ear-rings that dangled down from her small ears, pointing at her majestic neck. Oh she was beautiful. And she was compassionate. And she was different. There was a fissure in her gaze, a sigh in her tales, and a sadness on her soft shoulders. And yet her laughter was from so deep inside, from a loving, deeply sensual place.

The pot with the steaming stew was the veil between us. She told me about the man she had fallen in love with in France. I shared my story. She was holding on to hers, I wasn’t. As we spoke, and as the stew cooled down, the veil was lifted. Her lips drew me in, and I let them, so they swallowed me, and took me to a place where that prickly feeling bursts out of every pore.

We had desert, we continued to take each other to spaces with our words and gazes that we both longed for. Then we went upstairs. I believe she had a cigarette on the windowsill, looking out into the distance. If she did not that night, then she did the next night that we spent together.

She smelled like cigarettes and chicken bullion and sweet flowers and tea and earth and fall leaves and wet dark black ink and dusty curtains and yellow book pages and fresh morning air and soft tears.

On her covers, the clouds on which I escaped from reality, we kissed.

When I left in the early morning hours, I realized that this time, I was holding on, and she was not. It was that which she had liberated in me, that which I had found deep inside of me when I was with her that I was holding on to, cradling in my arms, protecting it from the winterly cold, looking at its odd shape in the silver moonlight. I was going to fly home for Christmas the next morning, but before dawn, I was going to be a changed person. A more sensual person. A person who knows her curves, who has had them shown to herself by another woman. Only she could appreciate them, and she did, and I now forever will.