My face dug into her pillow and I smelled him on her bed, like a dog discovering a foreign odor of urine washed across his favorite tree. A seize of territorial instinct welled up, but I neither fought it nor embraced it. I simply let it be. A spark of primitive emotion. A false philosophy of ownership. An archaic concept of commitment. A myopic view of love. After all, here we lay—naked and entwined. Does that not still signal an enduring affection, a commitment and an intimacy? Our chemistry just as intense from the first moment we touched.
Together we are fire, but fire burns. And even steel and iron must be cooled and forged. It must take shape. We…we were never shape. We were and are an amorphous tangle of flesh. We were never anything more than potential. We never formed a routine. No habit of us. Sunday mornings were never defined by a couple sharing a breakfast in bed. We never took walks in the park, holding hands and talking about our plans for the future. Dinner parties never occurred. There was no formal announcement to friends and family. No habit of us.
In each other’s presence, we exploded—dashed to each other’s body for frenzied copulation. Minds stretched out in the ether of orgasm. No more world at that point. No time. Just scraping fingernails and teeth trying to claw, gnash and chew away the shells of being so that nothing but this pure ghost of passion subsides.
Yet creation, as it groans, must emerge. It must abandon that easel of nothingness and become. It must grow and form and limit and fail and wither. That is the only true path back to the umbilical. Once traversed, that line between becoming and became cannot be undone. The mirror does not shatter, only fades. And we are nothing more than two mirrors reflecting the beauty of each other’s empty glean of possibility. I see now the poetry of the universe’s pen. I see now the perfection of her dating an artist.
In every way, he is built to save her. His stroke creates boundary. Creates being. His nature is to define. Carve. Invent. He is a man that reaches down through the water of the mirror’s surface and pulls forth the drowning swirls of what could be, clothes them and dishes the appropriate smiles and tears. Me? I was (and am) her fire. I cleansed what was rusted. Made pliable what was set. I burned dark horizons with bleeding pools of new dawn. She can and will live again, but my part is done. I realize it’s not betrayal I smell, but time.
On this pillow I smell her future. Her comfort. Her peace. Her definition. I smell routine. And nowhere does it contain my scent.