PART II – 1
“You’re right, they are really ripe, sweet,” Demitri told her, smiling. “Delicious.”
They were coming toward an old town, or what was left of one. Clapboard houses with windows missing, faded curtains blowing out into wind, a boarded up gas station, ESSO almost visible on the rusted sign, a diner FOR SALE OR LEASE had been been neither sold nor leased, but vandalized. Even the spray paint had faded, though, as if the effort of that violation had proven too much for the paint, it had just abandoned the town along with its residents.
Demitri pulled the car into the parking lot of the diner, avoiding the piles of beer bottles, remains of small fires and fast food picnics. He didn’t ask Halia if she wanted to stop, or where she wanted to get out. He got out of the car, walked around and opened her door.
“You’d better put your shoes on, there’s glass and stuff everywhere,” he told her.
“What, why are we stopping here? I thought we were going on to the motel.” She slipped her feet into her sandals, tied the laces around her ankles.
He reached out, and she took his hand, more like a footman helping out a duchess than lovers. They walked around to the back of the diner, out of sight of the few cars that might be driving past. He said nothing, offered no explanation, just took her hand and led her, not quickly, but as if this had been the plan all along, going around back of an abandoned diner in the middle of nowhere.
Behind the building, the grass had gone to seed, green tassels against their legs. There was nothing to be seen, no people or stray dogs. The wind was the only thing behind the diner, blowing Halia’s dress around so that it surrounded them both.
Demitri turned to her, gently pushed her against the building and pulled her hands above her head. He traced her arms, down to shoulders, until his hands held her face. Halia closed her eyes, but he was having none of it.
“Look at me, open your eyes and see me,” he told her.
She did, they looked at each other, neither blinking. They did not move, not closer together, not further apart. They simply stood, each taking stock of the other. Halia smelled him, sweat and road dirt and beer, her mouth stained, her breathing ragged. He kissed her, once, twice, deeper, his hands were on her neck, her throat, reaching down the side of her leg to pull up her skirt, all the while they were kissing, the sweetest kisses, those kisses that do nothing more than that, taste sweet.
Soft, she thought, the wind is soft, his mouth is soft, this day and this place, this is softness. I will feel this always, this is what a cloud feels like, a sigh, meringue.
Demitri’s fingers curled around the hem of Halia’s dress, pulling the fabric up, cupping her ass, pulling her thigh up, pushing himself against her as his tongue traced a line from her mouth to her collarbone, tasting the salt on the skin of her shoulder.
“Aahhh,” a sound like release from her throat.
In one movement, Demitri unbuttoned his pants and kicked them aside. He reached underneath Halia, lifting her, wrapping her legs around him, sinking himself into her, pushing against the building, pushing pushing pushing, until he was there, all the way, as far into her as he could go. They did not move, her ankles locked together behind the small of his back, clutching him within her. Eyes squeezed tight, they breathed, held it, memorizing the sensation of their bodies coming together in the hot air, sweat running down them, the grit of the road on their skin and in their hair. They both knew it would never be this way again, this was the moment, the sliver of time that would cut into and scar them, leave a bond as strong as a welder’s seam.
Later, laying in bed with the motel air conditioning doing all it could to cool them, Demitri and Halia slept, each dreaming separately and collectively of cherries and the smell of hot asphalt and sweat slick bodies sliding together.
“The goes on forever.” Robert Earl Keen
PART II – 1