I had an uncle who used to say that if the world came to end while he was still living, he wanted to be at the heart of the destruction. When the asteroid slammed into the ocean or the bomb blew off half the continent, Uncle Eli wanted to be right at ground zero.
It wasn’t that my uncle had a death wish. It was a more a desire to avoid all the despair that comes after such a horrific event. Broken bodies and bloody aftermath. Orphaned babies roaming the streets. Desperate, half-dead survivors fighting over the last box of honey buns in the bodega. Who wants to deal with that?
“Just take me out with the first wave,” my uncle would say over his plate of stew beef, rice and collards. My mother cooked big all the time because her brother had a knack for showing up just as the food was ready. “What you got cooking up in these pots, girl?” Eli would ask my mother as he ambled toward the stove, plate and fork already in hand.
Because he was my uncle, and I was a child, I was prone to agree with him on the whole post-apocalypse thing. No military rule or refugee camps for me. I would be proud to go out screaming like a bitch right along with the army of morons standing in the street gaping up at the sky as the five-mile space rock careens into the earth. Hypnotized by the scarlet hell boiling down on them instead of running their asses for cover. The few. The proud. The instantly fried. Sign me up, dammit! I’ll be the one melted right into my shoes.
But today, as I stand gazing into the pair of eyes across the theater lobby, running for cover doesn’t seem so bad. When someone looks at you through intense autumn pools, reflecting hints of gold and amber and flecks of green and chocolate, you kind of don’t know what to do. Running for cover is the instinct. If I could muster the will to move my legs that’s exactly what I would do. If I could catch enough breath in my lungs to take me right out of this lobby and into the street, then I would be so gone. But my legs are numb. My breath has rattled to a stop. And my heart is slamming against my chest telling me to move forward or die.
After 20 years in a relationship (ten of them married) and two kids, here I stand at ground zero about to get pulverized by those eyes. Because I shouldn’t be here, but there is no other place in the world that I should be. I am…what? Gay? Bisexual? Lesbian? Queer? None of them sound right in my mind so I use them all, but only to myself. To everyone else I am: Mommy. Wife. Sister-in law. Friend. Co-worker…
To everyone except her.
To her I am only me: Beautiful. Passionate. Intense. Sexy. So deliciously different that I am unlike any other woman on the face of the earth. She tells me that in words, but she doesn’t have to. I can feel it in the caress that sends volts of electricity through my body before her touch even lands on my skin. And in the way her lips claim my own unto themselves. Both soft and delicate or deep and passionate, locked in kisses so sweet I can taste her for days after. The same lips that now smile at my entrance…brush my cheek…whisper my name, as I melt right into my shoes
Let the aftermath come.