What Happened After Icarus Fell to Earth?
Desiree has a body that's difficult to forget. Her skin smooth and free of taboos. No signs of cigarette burns or lashings, though she's tastefully pierced and tattooed. Even though my vision was blurry from the fall, I could still see her well enough to notice that she took something out of her backpack--but what exactly I couldn't tell you. Some small, silver, plastic electronic device. I remember she adjusted the pillow beneath my head.
After Yusef had given me the lighter, I ran up the stairs so fast that I slipped on one of the steps. They were still wet from this morning's rain. I slipped and fell backwards and hit my head on the concrete. With the wind knocked out of me, all I could do was lie like a beetle on its back, gazing up at the sky. My neck was too painful to move.
I noticed that the bruised cloud had grown even darker. It filled my field of vision and closed down on me so that I could reach out my hand and touch it. I don't know how long I was out. Some time between an instant and an eternity I imagine. Maybe 15 minutes.
Like a snake a warm, moist hand slipped its way into mine.
I had to open my eyes carefully. They felt like rough stones when moved. Desiree had come looking for me. When she was finally ready, I wasn't there. Although I could feel her breath on my cheek, it took a while to register whose breath I was feeling. She helped me up off of the stairs, led me to that place I had been so anxious to enter, pulled down the covers and put me to bed.
I thought that, maybe, the small electronic device she held was a digital camera. Whatever it was, she quickly put it away when she saw me trying to get a better look at it. I watched her get up and walk to the bathroom. I heard the faucet water run for a moment then shut off. She came back and sat down in a chair next to me and rested an ice bucket on her lap. After wrapping some ice cubes in a washcloth, she lifted my head and put the washcloth on the pillow so that my head could rest on it. I was surprised at how loud I was breathing.
Desiree was more attractive than I could have hoped for, even if she already had signs of creases forming at the corners of her eyes and lips, but no body is perfect. Images of beauty shouldn't be taken from media and packaging. Images dress as people, but fail miserably in the end when you're alone in a room with them.
I reached out my arm to touch her, grabbing for her wrist or neck or whatever I could reach as long as it belonged to Desiree, but she leaned away from me so that my hand passed through air instead of touching her skin. My hand moved like a swimmer's moving through water. She actually laughed at my lack of body control. On any other day I probably would have been offended. As my hand passed through emptiness I lost balance and nearly rolled off the bed and onto the floor. She would have gotten a kick out of that. My arm swung through the air carelessly, knocking the ice bucket off of her lap. Not only was my chest covered in ice, but my arms and stomach and crotch were too. The ice was cold. It soaked through the shirt fabric to my chest on contact. I asked Desiree for a towel.
"We'll lie on the other side of the bed," she answered.
She scooped up most of the ice cubes, the smaller pieces were left to melt, unbuttoned and pulled off my shirt and wrapped the sheets around me, cocoon-like.
"You have condoms, right?" she asked. My eyes felt like crusty stones as they followed the contour of her legs down to her bare feet. She had all of her toes, the correct number of digits, all generally the correct size and in healthy condition.
"Like I would be stupid enough to forget them," I said, totally confused and at a loss, not to mention the fact that I had a splitting headache. Generally, I was in a daze.
Desiree turned her head and looked, longingly I thought, at the door. Unsure if she had heard, I repeated myself.
"I am also very injured," I added.
Desiree looked at me again and ran her fingers through my hair.
"Yeah, I have them."
What happened next is difficult to explain. Desiree was melting before my eyes. I was dumbfounded. I saw water trickle from her eyes (I first took them for tears), spout from her ears (like she was a mock classical fountain), cascade down her shoulders (like a waterfall), drip from her fingertips (like a faucet) to between my lips and run down my cheek (like runoff). Water shed from the insides of her thighs over her calves to her feet. It all collected in a puddle next to me on the bed.
She took a moment to gather herself before rolling prone across my waist. She was so beautiful, but the sudden fluid turn of events brought with it a hollow feeling I couldn't identify, until out of desperation I concluded that my stomach and mind had gone AWOL, and that the Void was taking up residence in place. The possibility that I had finally reached a dead-end came over me so subtly I barely noticed.
"Finally," I mumbled, not referring to anything in particular.
As she straddled me I considered how I would go about ignoring the Void. It was like being sucked in by a high-power vacuum-flush toilet on an airplane, a red circle imprinted on your ass, your disbelief and inability to accept what's happening won't erase the presence of the mark. I shifted my weight. I didn't know what to do. The sheets were soaked; my head was pounding.
Her patience, it was obvious, was exhausted. Desiree, my liquid goddess, was impossible to contain. She reached for me. The liquid movement of her arms and legs drew my shoulders, then the rest of my limp body, up to her. The octopus lock of her arms and legs around my back and thighs she preceded with a warm, open-mouthed kiss. Her tongue was a tidal current drawing a solitary raft out into the Pacific Ocean. I imagined the waves crashing back to shore, tossing the battered raft onto the beach. This, it seemed, was what I had to work with. But not yet. Tonight, when I get home.
"A lover that makes the toes curl is worth birth," I blurted out loud, beside myself. Embarrassing.
A mouth opening in a seductive, warm invitation just as often hits the lips like a bb and stings. Tattooed and pierced Desiree, however, knees bent and biting her lower lip, suffered through one false start after another with exuberance, laughed at my outburst, said something about how well I kissed, and I returned the compliment.
As I lay beneath her, I gazed up at her scrunched up face. I wanted to see her a little better. Her feet stank from the leather sandals she wore, but then again, my armpits smelled and I had no excuse for forgetting deodorant. Plus, I was sure that my bleeding head was making a big mess. She had closed the bathroom door, keeping the various cleaning agents' smells from drifting into the room, which would have sent me spinning into nausea. Thoughtful of her. A grunge band playing to a hall empty except for two slam-dancing civilians not only dates me, but is also a gross misrepresentation. I was not Kurt Cobain. I want to be an earthling only, dear. Leave death to Courtney Love. I am injured and Desiree was my nurse Betty. We contra-danced.
"Metaphysically, do you think sex links us to things ancient and cosmic?" I asked out of the blue.
"Maybe," Karen whispered in my ear. "Ohhhh...ahhhh. Oww! What are you doing?"
I apologized and adjusted myself.
"But what if it doesn't? What if sex links us to us? You and I. Or what if I am a figment of your imagination? Ever thought of that?"
"I have. But I dismissed it as absurd."
"Like I may be a fantasy you're fucking, and sex is you and your dreams and me and my dreams? Or I'm really miles away. Maybe I'm in Tokyo and this is just some cyber-psychotronic sex thing going on. Maybe I don't exist. How is your head feeling?" she asked, patting away with a towel some of the blood that had dripped down my face.
How depressing, I thought. Would I have built her up to talk such idiocy? Though it's true things tend to take on a life of their own. "Listen, Desiree..." I said, opening my eyes.
She put my hands to her hips, my earlobe she took in her mouth. Needless to say, I lost my train of thought.
I repeated a few times like a mantra. I can't go into all of the associations involved, the mental pictures, feelings etc. They are personal and weren't very clear to me, but present only around the edges of my mind. It was beyond busses and baseball. I didn't bother to consider whether or not there were web-cams set up to capture the two of us from various angles, broadcast for a price to anonymous men and a growing number of anonymous women. On the telephone she'd passed the suggestion off as a joke a few times, but I was against it. Not out of fear of the possible consequences, i.e. who would see the tape? No. There was the inevitable viewing that I didn't like, observing how I looked having sex, but more than that, the idea repulsed me.
"What happened to normal, boring, real-life, healthy sex between two people in love?" I asked, nibbling on her throat. "We should bring back courtly love."
"I thought you didn't like Courtney Love."
"What?" my body shivered. "I don't--courtly love."
"You don't love me," she said, biting hard on the fingers of my bruised hand.
"I know, I'm just saying." Inside I was thinking, "How do you know I don't love you?"
"It's right here," she said, plopping onto the mattress, carrying me on top of her with her momentum, oblivious of my throbbing head. Was she referring to right here in our motel room, or something more general and abstract that still existed somewhere in the persons of the world, inside our dirty hearts?
About the author:
Andrew Jecklin works as a massage therapist, and spends too much of his free time trying to unravel the adventures of Icarus Eulenspiegel.