There was something in his kiss that told me that it would be our last. It would be the last time that we lie in bed together like this, his hand on the smalls of my back, my head resting delicately on his chest, his heartbeat echoing in my right ear. He breathed calmly. I sometimes tried to match my breaths with his. I couldn’t. His tranquility was far from mine.
“Please don’t let this be over,” I bargained with God.
Throughout the night, even when knowing that the end was near, I slept almost soundly. Almost. I was sure that my subconscious would give me hellish nightmares of him disappearing into a blanketed mist, or maybe I would be at a strange party filled with unfamiliar faces, and uninvited company, waiting for him to show up, and he never did. But I didn’t have these dreams. Instead, I was in a sea, of what name, I didn’t know. I don’t think it exists in this world, or at least not in ours. And in this sea, the water engulfed me in its serene and aquatic wonders, cerulean under the sky. I was somehow free, liberated and able to swim anywhere that I chose. The monsters that may have lurked in the indigo below didn’t even scare me. They couldn’t touch me. In this water, in this sea, I was invincible.
But then I woke up, my body facing downward, doing “the dead man’s float” on his bed. I opened my eyes to see him in the darkness; his eyes fixed on the ceiling above him. He seemed to be seeing an opaque roof into, what I was sure, were the dark stormy clouds that loomed above us. If I concentrated hard enough, and listened past the noise of his spinning fan, I could hear the clouds too, the dark stormy clouds that offered a low thunder rumble in the distance.
“Brontide,” he had said earlier. He brought his pipe to his lips, sparked the lighter and inhaled.
“Brontide?” I asked. I was really stoned. I was really drunk. I was both. I felt like I was neither. “What does that mean?”
“It means low rumble of distant thunder,” he smiled wryly. “I love that word.”
I had rolled my eyes. Those writer types always loved worthless words. They loved to use them to remind us, commoners, that there was another world waiting for us to discover when we read their work. There was another world that satisfied them better than the one they were born into. Their world had class, it had taste, and it had cultured diction. Their useless verbiage, their nonsensical jargon, their right-click thesaurus on Microsoft Word, all of it was just their snobbish invitation to their fancy pant parties, a party that I desperately wanted him to take me to as his date.
“Why does there need to be a word for that?” I exclaimed. “Why not just say, I hear the low rumble of distant thunder? Why does there need to be a word for it? A word for phrases. Who makes this crap up?”
Thinking back on it, I shouldn’t have attacked one of his favorite words. I’m sure he didn’t mind that I had, but thinking back, I would have embraced his word. I would have embraced him.
Then, in the still of a rainy morning, he never took his eyes off the ceiling. He looked almost dead. Almost. My eyes surveyed his body. His chest moved up and down slowly, he blinked every now and then, and the hand that gently rested on his bare stomach only once moved to caress his happy trail that lined near his belly button. He then sprang into action, and headed for what I knew was the bathroom. I rolled over and checked the time. It was five o’clock. We had only been asleep for two hours.
Now back to the last kiss, where I am now, at this moment. The kiss was a goodbye kiss, though I didn’t know it at the moment. There was a sadness to it, a sense of finality that I had not tasted until he let me go. I just took it to mean that we didn’t want this moment to be over, not all of the other potential moments. His kiss mourned over those moments that would never happen. I mourned them more than he did. If I had known that that would have been our last kiss, I would have savored it more. I would have made sure that I remembered every inch of his tongue that caressed mine. I would have savored his minty breath with a hint of smoke still in its air. I would have done so many things differently but I couldn’t. He was done. We were dead. We were buried in our bed peace.