Free Simples

From: "streets: lisbon"

Free Simples

The sign had stopped you. Planted your feet transfixed. Cocked your head to one side. Curious. I pulled up behind you. Just short of collision.

“It's coffee and a croissant,” you said. “For 1€! We'd be losing money if we didn’t.”

It wasn't about the money.

I adjusted the camera bag on my shoulder. Couldn’t find a proper spot for the strap. Probably could have survived without the fourth lens packed away inside. A Shooter’s Lament. And Pride.

“We have six minutes,” I warned.

Could have had more. Of course. Time. But you walked out of the bathroom. In that tired flat. Vapor and mist surrounding your entrance. A rock star. Moving onstage (my sense of you— not yours). You knew the time. The schedule. I knew you knew. When you dropped the towel wrapped round you, I knew. Time was lost. We had somewhere to be. It was just not somewhere else.

I could not fight you. Never my strongpoint. With you. Nor an ability I particularly wished to develop. You moved forward. Water still beaded on you. Here. And there. You smelled of soap and shampoo and desire. You crossed the room to me. Walking like a kitten playing the panther.

“We’re going to be—”

You knew how to stop me. Break me. From thoughts. Intentions. Any lingering awareness of self. Your mouth pressed to mine was an off-ramp from any other focus. Or concern. You hair, still wet, clung to my face. As if aiding in some embrace that needed no help.

You hopped. An effortless little bounce and push off the uneven wooden floor. Your legs wrapped around my hips. Feet crossing behind me. Heels pushing against my backside. No turning back. Another concept that did not sit with you.

It seemed no time. Until you had me inside you. You could do that. Find the Fast Forward and Slow Motion buttons of life. At will. We moved in contrast. Together. Another of your skills. A sense of crossed-purposes that arrived in unison, producing mutual intentions.

You kept me just above you. So you could see my face. My eyes. You, with that mischievous look that could make any moment seem indulgent. Stolen. High school back seats and basements.

You built without display that morning. It was your way. Sometimes. A little gamesmanship, I think. Your hips ground against me. You bit your lip just so. Maybe signs were displayed. But I was lost. In being found. Again in you.

When my finish approached, you revealed. Where you were. As well. Right along side. As so often you managed. Crossed-purposes. Mutual results. And we released. Together. Hard. And loud. With force. Guttural. As is we could not push it from us fully but contracted tightly, desperate to do so. And also compelled to pull fully into the other, but the last distance of that eluded, too. Purposes in opposition. But not crossed.

We caught our breath. Thirty seconds. Maybe a few more. Ejected from blanket and sheets. Pulled on clothes. Like firemen. Except our call had been answered. And we bolted. The tired flat.

You liked the rush. Not of movement. But adrenaline. That's what I have come to believe. Looking back. As I do. It wasn’t the idea of being late. That wasn’t the attraction. No such passive-aggressiveness in you. You believed very much in punctuality. Admired it, in fact. What drew you was different. You just thought... I don't know, that there could be (should be?) a sense of triumph in arriving at the appointed time. The beauty of a moment.

“Accomplishment can be found in anything,” you often said.

That was what you sought. When you challenged the clock. And circumstances. And us. You wanted. Accomplishment. Satisfaction. Heightened. A theme for you.

So, we hustled. A lot. Airports. Train stations. Cinemas and theaters. Home. To programs or meals or bed. I never saw you break a sweat. Snap a harsh, anxious word. And, to be fair. We never arrived late. Or missed a connection. The razor's edge was your safe place. In most things. I know that. Now. And you could dance it. I did not know to love you for it. Then.

I checked my watch. Near the kiosk. In front of the sign. Coffees and croissants. Five minutes. I tried a new spot for the camera bag strap. Still not right. You eyed me with those green temptresses. Wide. Beckoning. What chance did I have? I was only a man.

“Come on,” you said. “They even have free simples.”

You were at the counter before I could muster a reply. Chatting up the guy a bit. As if all the time in the world. Was ours. If only.

Your Portuguese was all the more endearing for being broken and butchered. The guy held his own. Not an easy thing. With you.

We got coffees. And croissants. Even a quick free simple or two. And we made the train. Like we always did. Then.

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