• Shanille Martin

A Dance Requiring Two Willing Parties

Updated: Sep 28, 2020

How did we get here? She was sitting beside the window when the words slipped out of her mouth, as if they have always been right at the tip of her tongue. I wanted to understand, to take the pain from her and shove it deep inside a basket, a basket with no bottom, hollow, it needed to be big enough to encapsulate her pain. Her cheeks were tear-stained, her eyes thick and full, but still empty. She looked like an outline, a remnant of the girl I’d met three years ago. She was light then. She was the brightest spot inside a dark room. I’d search her voice inside a crowded space, and even though it was petite, somehow I’d always find it. Her voice was a whisper amongst chaos.

How did we get here? The words dance around the room as if they were searching for an answer. They bounce off the walls where I’ve made love to her. Each surface, a memory. The pink loveseat from Ikea, the first place I fucked her. She wore a red dress, with knee high boots. I buried my face in her afro and told her she smelled like ginger and honey.

“I want to tell you but I can’t. I want the words to appear in our face so I can slap an answer into your chest. How did we get here?”

She said, “You were different then. When you held me I felt infinite. Your words were scripture and I was your humble servant.”

“When did my touch stop feeling that way?”

She looked away. Her breath was heavy. “I wish I could tell you.”

“How did we get here?”

“How did we?”

I remember the moment when I knew I loved her. We were at a college party. I spotted her searching for me as I lit my cigarette at the door. She seemed lost, but when our eyes met, her smile grew wide as the lawn outside her window. I watched her. I liked watching her without her knowing. I could move the way she moved. Touch the way she touched.

“Do we stay here?”

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