For a moment I am eighteen again and I see myself walking into your room, lurking outside your oak door for ten minutes so that I'm not on time and not too eager. In this moment the world is new and fresh again as i collect my thoughts restore my caution and try to shelve the pain in my feet from two hours of ballet but even then i knew that all caution fails when it comes to you.
You sit on your effortlessly rich gray cushions on the white marble of your room. Something Persian plays in the background, some sarang, or whatever exotic instrument has struck your fancy at the time. You sit, smelling of the green green grass under four hours of rugby and a hot shower which still wets your hair, a tub of ice cream resting on your large gray pj's. By you, a silver tray with expensive glass cups and silver spoons and Hershey's chocolate and strawberry sauce. As I come and sit across you in my over-large tee I notice a new bruise by the lower left side of your mouth. War injuries, you'd say. You look at me and I look at you and we sit in silence letting it speak for now. We're both tired and hungry and just happy to be.
Aren't you going to share with me?
In my head I trace the sonorous timbre of your voice.
Not if I said Please?
And you lift a spoon of ice cream towards me.
I don't want one spoon. Kanjoos na ho toh!
Bhooki na ho toh!
You speak, your voice tainted with accents from all the languages you speak, all the countries you've seen, all the people you've been. I make my best puppy face, pouting for effect. You narrow your eyes, hiding the mischief. How well you used to hide.
Are you trying to seduce me?
A girl's gotta try.
We smile. Somewhere between those silences and winsome smiles, I lost to you, my heart, my soul turning into a fluid fire and meshing into you.
I wasn't going to give up.
You know what? Give me the damn ice cream and I'll hike up Margalla Hills with you. Whatever you want.
You consider it for a moment.
Then I can tie you a tree and stare at you.
You said whatever I want.
Maybe I will tie you to a tree...
As if I ever could, I think as my eyes sweep over your arms. How safe you make me feel.
You're changing the plan already!!
...And leave you with the monkeys...
There are monkeys there?
You sweet, sweet flower child.
So I've heard. And then I'll tie bananas around your neck...
So that the monkeys practice sodomizing rituals on me? How thoughtful of you.
I'll make up for it by buying you coffee.
You throw your head back and laugh a laughter so rich so vibrant so untainted that it will live to haunt my lonely nights for years to come when I lie in the darkness thinking of you of the curves of your face of the bruise on the lower left of your mouth of what was and what could have been the door we never opened down the path we never took. Perhaps even then I knew it would be over so I preserve it all in my head, a second-by-second mental photograph, a movie that would play itself in my head over and over robbing me of any sanity. How I would throw away this world and everything in it to hear you laugh like that again.
I bite my lip.
Acha na! I have a better way to figure this out.
We'll compare hand sizes. Whoever has smaller hands gets the ice cream.
You smile. I hold out my hand. You take it in yours.
Nahi, whoever has lesser hair gets the ice cream
I groan. My tresses go down my waist, waving ever so slightly at the ends. I resort to drama.
Fine. I'll get my hair cut.
It's very long.
I like it long.
But it's so hot.
Come closer so I can decide that.
You tug at my hand and I come sit next to you.
I meant the weather.
You smile, slow and sure. I go for the trump.
No wait. Who ever can get waxed wins.
You just sit there and smile. In my mind, I trace a finger to make the crescent of your smile. One last move.
Give it to me or I'll take it and run.
A bluff so obvious.
Don't go anywhere. You can have it all.
I take it from you and turn to my side.
Aren't you going to share it with me?
But I gave it to you.
It's mine now!
All caution and exhaustion exhausted, you reach for the ice cream and put it on my face. This means war. There is vanilla and praline on your hair my face the white marble of your room. When our lips meet, there's laughter on yours. There's Hershey's strawberry syrup on mine.
Be eighteen for me tonight, won't you?