Warmth by Bader Shehab

The way your mascara tears ran down your breasts, the line it left behind of charcoal and coffee-black, dried in every pore and curve of your skin. The scent of your perfume mixed with the humid sweat, authenticated by the golden shadow of the sunset hitting the smog-filled window panes. Your Lady Marisol-like demeanor and aristocratic elegance in the ruin of a few rails. Colombia’s finest and bloodiest at the tips of your fingernailsThe 2004 Yamazaki shot glass with your fingerprints still on it, it sits camouflaged with the sun’s dying light fighting what’s to come of the devil’s hours. I can tell the Marlboro is too strong for you; bloodshot eyes and reddish ears holding your raven black hair behind in a ponytail. You watch the dancers sway in the absence of music, watch them hold and laugh and cheer behind your cigarette and alcohol fumes. After a while you’d take off your shoes and dance alone, the wooden planks worship your soles lines where your high heels hugged your foot left marks. Your mother’s dress left behind a gust of tobacco and ‘Laurent. Everything is unmuted, and the colors bleed back around you, as if the goddess of fertility is possessing you. At times, your dress casts in my direction and I could be an arm’s length away from you. 

And, when you bend your arms and pull up your dress to properly move with the flamenco guitar – my heart syncs to your every step and with every turn I sip the tequila. The drops of alcohol in my bloodstream seem to attest at the most beautiful projection. With the occasional eavesdropping of sea, waves and howls of el Niño disrupting the coffin-silence of this cold.

You… you always dance, smoke, drink and sweat first – alone, without me… then you pull me to dance with you. I never dared ask why, but I could only sit back and watch you get lost in the crowd. You always got the last word in, I let you win every argument. We got lost in Antigua driving a ’64 Bentley; leather suitcases and sandals packed unapologetically with all the sunscreen we can get and not many clothes and a stash of stolen art cash that you never cared to ask about. You bought wax candles at the souvenir store below the hotel and we made love. You gutted and wrapped a small grouper in palm leaves and cooked it in the oven, fed me every tender slice of its meat. Your revolution-tired eyes sank into mine every night as you slept against my chest. You held me like you knew this would happen, you kissed me like you knew this was to come, and you let me wash your hair like every strand was the last… I can still feel your hands on mine when I grab the steering wheel, I could still feel your feet on my thigh when I drive away – I can still see your scarf dancing along your neck with the Caribbean winds…

And, this simple wax candle; this one in particular had the marks of your palm’s grip when you hugged it. I’ll hold on to it with my dying and racing breath. Your candle is all the light I have left while I keep hitting these lines of cocaine until my heart stops so that I can join you in death and feel your eternal warmth.

Leave a Reply