20. Was a Sunny Day


Video version by: Thorrison

 “Where were you, goddammit?” asks John, opening his door. He looks past me to Christine, who is holding both bikes. He doesn’t say hello.

“I tried to call you,” I tell him.

“Well, do you have it?” he asks.

“Of course I have it.” I reach into my pocket.

“Come inside, for Christ’s sake. I don’t want the whole block to see this.”

I tell Christine it will take a minute and walk in. I give him the roll. He counts it without speaking.

“There’s $20 too much.”

“Take it.”

“It’s yours, man.” He puts it into my pocket.

“How’s business?”

“Too many people who want Colombian dope for commercial prices.”

“I have to go, John.”

“Yeah. Good-bye.” We shake hands desultorily and off I go.

“Your friend doesn’t like me,” Christine says as we ride away.

“He’s just in a bad mood.”

She changes gears and pulls ahead. I catch up and ride beside her. We’re silent for the rest of the ride home.

 Sandro Botticelli - Birth of Venus (detail)

I close the door to my bedroom and take her in my arms as soon as we walk in. No mistakes this time. Her smile is a wall. I let her go. “I don’t mean to push.”

“Just go slow.”

We take off our shoes and sit on my bed. I touch her cheek.

“I wasn’t planning,” she said. “I just went off the pill.”

“That’s OK. We don’t have to, ah…”

She pulls me to her. Enveloped by her warmth and the softness of her arms around me, I touch her gently. She smiles softly, almost sadly.

I kiss her lips, her throat, her breasts and her body. I peel off her underpants  and, like a slow blues, it’s all liquid sadness and soft surrender. She’s still for a long time after she comes, cradling my head on her belly. Then, reaching a decision, she pulls me up to her face. She holds my head in her hands, eyes searching mine. God, she’s beautiful. She lays my head on the pillow and then she’s doing it, what Matisse never would.

I touch her hair gently. The night surrounds us, rich and warm. I come, reaching for her as she fades in front of me, withdrawing into herself. She owns herself again when she looks at me.  Her head rests on my chest, thumb gently rubbing my skin.

We lie in the darkness, candle flickering and our breath the only sound in the room. I was always sure of Matisse when we were alone together.  I lean over Christine and blow out the candle.

“Sleep well.”

In the morning, the room is flooded with light and her head is still on my shoulders.

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