It was a Friday night in August. We had gone out in the summer heat, gotten drunk on mojitos and danced the way we hadn’t in months. You had run your hands along my body, made me giggle and protest that we shouldn’t be doing things like that in public. When you agreed, we left, and I stood smiling in the darkness on the sidewalk while you fumbled around, tried to flag every full cab that drove past. When you finally managed to get one, we fell into the back seat, filled it first with laughter, then the heavy sound of silence, of locked eyes, of stares too meaningful for words. We kissed, passionately, until the driver cleared his throat, informed us we had arrived.
I waited at the door of your two-story walk up while you paid, tipping way too much like you always do after you’ve been drinking. We raced up the stairs, you tugging at the tail of my tank top, insisting I stop to let you take it off. Just inside the door of your bedroom, we made love. We had sex in the way only drunk couples can, full of desperation and joy, learning each other all over again. After, satisfied and sober, I nuzzled my face into the curve where you neck becomes your shoulder; the place I still swear was made just for me. I inhaled the scent of you: cologne, sweat, skin, a hint of me. I inhaled, and used the breath to ask you the kind of question that can only be asked in the dark between two naked lovers, intertwined: “tell me about the first time you noticed me. “
I could feel you considering, felt your lips twitch a little at the corners, and smiled, knowing the question had made you smile. You took a long time with the thinking, so instead I said, “do you want to know the first time I noticed you?” “Sure,” you said, “you go first.”
“It was your jaw,” I whispered, and as you laughed I traced my index finger along the line that led from your ear to your chin. “You were at the bar, waiting for a drink, and you were looking away, and the way your head was turned made it so your jaw caught the light, cast a shadow. I couldn’t even see your face and I knew you were beautiful.” You laughed again; this time harder, and I said, “and then it was that. The bartender came back and said something to make you laugh and the sound was like magic, was like the sound I hadn’t known I’d gone my whole life waiting to hear. It was so perfect, the kind of sound that made me wish I could use a recording to define happiness.”
And that was when you stopped laughing. You sat up and turned to me and placed your palm against the side of my face.
You were quiet for a long time after that. You wrapped your arms a little tighter around me, and I knew I’d said something to make you happy in the way that often feels a little closer to sadness. You took a deep breath and began to tell me what I suppose I had already known, “It was your eyes.” I closed them, as if having them open in that dark room might distract you from the memory. “You were standing at one of those high-top tables, the kind that’s just about too tall for you, and you had just finished laughing, and you had this smile on your face for just a moment, and then it fell, and I don’t know if you even realized it, but you looked straight at me, straight through me, and I swear to god I’d never seen anything like it. It was like watching the ocean as a storm approached; first they were the clearest, the purest blue, and then suddenly they were grey, filled with something dangerous, something darkly magical. That’s when I knew. That’s when I knew I had to find out what it was that haunts you, had to find out what kind of person saw the world through eyes like that. “