Aries, Part One

[13 May 2019]

5:00 – 7:00, 32.

But maybe I’m wrong. Maybe that’s the way things actually are. The sun rises earlier and earlier every year, it seems like. Colder, too, I think.
“You’re ridiculous.” He says.
“Maybe.” I stay silent a long time. 6:56. Are you thinking or are you sleeping again. His breath is slow and steady. Your breath is slow and steady. I sit up a little bit, propped up on an elbow. Sleeping. I really think you’re wrong.
I feel him twist around in bed. Barely awake. White sheets. I look at him in the eyes and you look me in the eyes.
‘You’re ridiculous, babe.” He says. His morning voice is low like molasses and just a little gravelly.
I sit there for a while thinking about that.
He doesn’t call me babe at any other time of day anymore.
“You’re ridiculous.” He says again. There’s a hint of a laugh somewhere in his voice, but he’s not awake enough to drag it out.

His head falls against my chest and I put my nose in his hair. I close my eyes. Warm and dark. He smells of cedar and earth and sky and something else and sage. His breathing slows again, relaxes, deepens.
6:58. That’s what the clock says. I don’t want to get up.
Somewhere under the covers, he grunts. I guess you were asleep. The bed is shaking. sorry. I’ll stop. I sometimes shake my leg when I’m thinking. I can’t think and sit still at the same time. It makes it hard to write. I wish I liked working with my hands.
He grunts something. He sounds displeased but you’ll forget about it later I think.

I’ll stay still a little while longer. Or try to. His hand is warm. It really is cold outside, whatever he says. His hand is warm and his leg is draped over mine. It feels nice. I put my hand on his back. I’m happy when my hand is on your back. Your skin is soft and smooth. Bronze and amber. Olive. Not like mine. God, I wish I had your skin.
6:59.

I want to stay here longer. His beard and his stubble mingle on my chest. Warm. Dark. Hickory. Not as dark as it is outside. I bet it’s starting to get bright. His skin is so smooth. Sunsets and fresh coffee. Whisky. Smooth skin and the little fuzzy hairs at the small of his back. The sun is catching them just right so they almost glow.
I don’t want him to be right. About the sun rising earlier. I love this time of day, this time of year, when the soft morning glow filters through the bedroom curtains – a moment stretched into eternity condensed into now. When I wake up from the sunlight and can hold him and feel him breathe and watch him sleep before the day takes him away.
I lean into his neck. I smell him. Closer. Deeper. He smells of earth and wood and bed and a little sweat. Somewhere in his sleep, he feels the warmth and nuzzles in a little more closely. My back hurts a little bit, that’s ok. Do you hold me like this while I’m asleep anymore?

Alarm goes off. Stomach twists. Sit there for a second. Look at the clock. 7:00. Why does it have to be 7:00. Look at him. He’s probably still asleep. Roll him off me. Walk across the room. Air cold against my naked body. Was it this cold yesterday. I hate this alarm sound. Hit the alarm. I really shouldn’t go back to bed. Walk back to bed. Look at the back of his head and his arm peeking out the blankets. I’m not even tired, I just want to be with you like this a little longer.

Get back in bed. Lie down on my side behind to him and cradle him in the hollow of my body. He is warm. He tucks his leg between mine. I lie there for a long time. Holding him. Feeling him breathe. He is warm. Olive and amber and earth and chestnut. Feel the coarse hair on his thighs. Feel the soft hair on his stomach. Feel his soft hair on my face. I think you’re awake but I know you don’t want to be. You shift a little deeper into my arms. You are warm. It’s only here, now, when your defences are down and we can both seem to forget. Do you know that I still look forward to this every day more than anything else?

The sun peaks in behind white curtains. Look over my shoulder. 7:08. Time to get up. You’re lying on top of my arm. How did that happen? Roll you off. Blood floods in. He shifts. You’ll be up in a little bit. I know you’re awake now. Walk across the bedroom. Cold air on my skin, cold floor on my feet. Pine. Cold floor on my feet. Ceramic. Start the water. I like it warm but he likes it cool. Pick something in-between, maybe a little on the cool side.

Pass back through the bedroom. He still hasn’t moved. Laugh to myself, somewhere between resignation, frustration, and amusement. Stupid boy. His arm is splayed out on the sheets. Olive and linen. Milk and honey. Ivory and cedar. How is that even comfortable? I open the door and close it behind me, not as quiet as I should.

Pass through the living room. My eyes sting. The sun is brighter in here. I guess he forgot to close the blinds last night. He loves the sun. His jacket is on the arm of the couch. My jacket is on the other arm. Charcoal and juniper. Reach over to the thermostat and turn it up. 60 degrees for sleeping. It’s still cold this year even though it’s spring.

I put the kettle on, pull out the mugs. Me, for my tea; him, for his coffee. Grab a tea bag and the French press and the cream and the sugar. Put them on a wooden tray. He has a way of turning the little things into art.

Head back through the bedroom, open and close the door, and back into the bathroom. Look in the mirror. Wipe away the sleep. Lean in closer. Wipe away the fog that’s starting to collect. I only look in the mirror every couple of days or in dim lighting or from a distance. Suck in the stomach. Tired eyes. No grey hairs yet. No wrinkles yet. Maybe a faint line between my eyebrows. My hair is a little thinner than it was when I was 23, though. Sigh. Breathe. Sigh. Breathe the knot away. Turn the shower a little cooler.

I get in the shower. The first shock of cold water hits me hard but I push through it, trying to acclimate. I notice myself getting angry. Why am I doing this for him? I stand there for a long time, trying to breathe the knot away again.

I hear a rustling on the other side of the curtain. Then the toilet seat goes up. He’s peeing. Then flush. Toilet seat goes down. He stands outside the shower. I take my time.
After a while, “I’m going to be late.”
“Ok.”
I move a couple bottles of shampoo around to sound busy. He knows I’ve been done for a while. I sigh, loud enough so he can hear me, quiet enough so it sounds real.
I turn up the heat just a little, and step out of the shower. I grab my towel and dry off on the mat. He steps by me and into the shower. My jaw clenches a little bit.
“Good morning,” he says.
“Good morning,” I say back.
Maybe it’s rituals like these that make our lives feel meaningful. Maybe it’s moments like these that give shape to our lives even past the point of pleasure or understanding why.

He’s in the shower now. I hear him grunt and adjust the knob on the shower colder. The lid of a bottle pops open. The scent of sage and sandalwood fills the bathroom. I open the door. I tell myself that it’s just to let the steam out. But I know it’s actually just to listen – to hear the sound of the lather in his hair and on his skin, to hear the sound of the water running down his body and splashing at his feet, to hear the sound of his breathing as his body loosens up and relaxes in the warmth.

It’s moments like these that I can’t seem to let go of. Moments that I scringe and scrape and cobble together. Moments I steal that aren’t mine but should be. I turn on my beard trimmer, pretending to do have a reason to remain in the bathroom.

I’m stalling. I see that.

I sigh. Quietly this time. I leave the bathroom and close the door behind me.

Maybe things would be different this time around.

[From The Myth of Prometheus]For other parts of this narrative:
Taurus, Part Two

9 responses to “Aries, Part One”

  1. orkidedatter avatar

    You blew me away with your touch of these words. You make a movie in my mind, thank you🦋
    You are awesome❤️

    1. Nathan AM Smith avatar

      Thank you, my friend! 🙂 You are so encouraging always!

      1. orkidedatter avatar

        My pleasure🦋 I love your writing and always looking forward to read.
        I wish you a wonderful day.

        1. Nathan AM Smith avatar

          And you as well <3

  2. N.Z. Robotewske avatar

    I’ll need to take some quieter time to read this thoughtfully… 🙏🏻

  3. N.Z. Robotewske avatar

    Hi Nathan! You certainly do paint quite a picture with your words! I can’t help but read this—without your mother in mind. There is so much longing to receive love—but love doesn’t seem to be returned—in equal measure. And that’s heartbreaking…ask me how I know—been there. Keep writing and be true to yourself 🙂

    1. Nathan AM Smith avatar

      Thank you so much, my friend. I had a good time writing this – it made me go deep into myself, which was a powerful experience. This particular story is not over, so I hope you enjoy the rest of it.
      Thank you, thank you, thank you as always. <3

  4. […] For other parts of this narrative: Aries, Part One […]

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