To Kiss a Byzantine

My lips parted. A quick dart of his tongue scoops my cheek. He cradles my chin with his fingers. They are heavy hands lined with dry cracks and ashy fingernails. I wonder if he can feel the silk of my shampoo with the calluses, but probably not. He doesn’t feel much of anything but this kiss. 

“I’ll see you tomorrow?” My mouth closes around each syllable as if I’m holding my breath.

“No, I have…There’s that thing – I mean, I’m busy. I guess. It’s complicated,” he runs those weary hands through his own unconditioned hair. 

I lean back against the side of the car. The steel is cool on my skin where my shirt has ridden up. He keeps a thick grasp on my waist with lying eyes. His shoulders are as long as a sin. 

I roll my eyes, but it’s too dark to sense disappointment – not that he would notice. “Alright. Well. See ya.” 

He cups the nape of my neck with his palms. I reach for his fingers with my own and try to intertwine and hold them, but he steps back. His hands tuck themselves into his jeans pocket. 

His eyes are graced by individual lashes that blink unbothered. “I told you it’s complicated. I’m sorry.”

I yank down my shirt, pissed. I use my shoes to push me off against his car door, and I leave a scuff mark. My tennis shoes are as chalky as his hands, and I think of the print like a slap on his property. Walking the gravel to my doorstep, only then do I feel his hand in mine, including the blisters he has on his right hand from cooking dinner for his girlfriend. 

“Please wait. Don’t storm off.”

I’m stunned at his touch. 

“I wish things were different. It’s hard to have everything perfect.” 

I realize how little he knows, and how truly little he cares about anyone but himself. I raise our clasped hands to my lips and smell the lotion his girlfriend uses. 

“Baby, it’s really not that complicated.” I press a kiss on his hand. “I’m not the one, and she isn’t either.”

I leave him standing on my front door with the mayflies. In the blinds, I see the distortion of his body follow the shadows. Hands on his hips, cellphone in his back pocket. It rings. I know she’s looking for him, but I imagine he’s already long gone. Hands on his cellphone, declining the call. 

He turns and looks through my window. Chest heaving, he is broken, and I care about as much as he doesn’t. 

I wash my hands in the sink as I watch him drive off. A little chalk from his touch dusts itself down the drain. 

His hand is dragging on the clutch, the other is draped across the wheel, and there is nothing but shame in the footprint on his car. 
It ended in a matter of minutes, and ha, he had said it was complicated. 


6 thoughts on “To Kiss a Byzantine

  1. Another good one girl! You’re awesome…that’s why I use your writing as an example in class. Just remember, I get a signed 1st copy of whatever your first book is. “To my best & funniest Aunt Donna! I love you!”

    Liked by 1 person

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