The cases are still empty. You reminded me earlier that I need to pack, but there they sit, sad and waiting, because I am full, bursting with a need to confess to you.
You are beautiful. You have been beautiful from the first moment you wound your fingers in my hair and pulled me against your wet, naked chest, the water soaking my top and dripping down my skirt, and you pressed your lips against my throat. I lay here, imagining that you can hear me, that you will look up from where I can see you, sitting on the beach, your head pointing away from the sunlight that pricks the azure surface of the water. That you will tilt your face from the young woman who sits close by on a rock, engaging you in conversation which holds you, riveted. I imagine you will look beyond the spindled balcony and the voile curtains, and see me stretch out my naked body against the coolness of the white sheets in this little room. But the heat is oppressive; it makes the sheets warm, it makes my hair stick to the pillow as I throw back my head and let my hands roam the curves of my breasts, and down over the ebb and flow of my ribs, and further, until my hands meet and try to find some comfort. What shall I confess to?
Maybe I should start with the way my skin smells. Do you recall the field of strawberry plants that we found, quite by chance, in the tail-end of the blistering heat of that day? When we were both lost, and we found each other there, in the field, and we took it in turns to feed the fruit to each other. Where you licked my lips clean of the juice that gleamed in the first throes of a setting sun that turned the blue day a vibrant orange. Where you trailed the sweet scent down my neck to the hollow of my collar bone, and rested a strawberry there, nibbling at it until it was gone, and all that was left was my body, and a soul that surrendered itself to your mouth as you removed my bikini top and made my breasts taste of strawberry, too. Or, so you told me later, when you took them to your lips again.
My fingers float like seaweed fronds on the ocean, tracing all those places where you made me taste of sweet fruit, and maybe I should confess to the way I find that my nipples have become hard at the memory of your mouth over them, teasing them with the tip of your tongue; or how my fingers shimmer over my skin and re-imagine the path you took with a strawberry between your teeth, a pathway over the rise and fall of my stomach and pausing for respite in the valley of my navel, where you bit the strawberry in half, and enclosed my mouth with yours to give me a piece of your fruit. You left the fleshy valley that ran in a stream of juice, finding your journey’s end between my thighs, adding to the dampness of my folds with your sweet fruit. It ran to the pool you discovered there, and your tongue dipped into it to drink of my wetness, only to replenish the pool once more. Licking the top of my thighs, you tasted the last remnants of your day’s fruit, before we had to leave the field, and the heat of the day, behind us.
I confess that the scent of the water I bathed in just now was of strawberries and, as my fingers take the place of your tongue, I remember how you told me you always wanted my skin to smell like that. And so I lay here and the strawberries fill the room as the unbearable heat sends its message through the droplets in the humidity, down to the beach below. Will you return when you smell my sweet fruit once again?
If you wrote to me and told me that you had found someone – that maybe you were in love – there would be a sound. It would be so quiet as to be inaudible to anyone but me. But there it would be, nevertheless: the quiet, unmelodramatic process of my heart shattering into tiny, insignificant pieces. Sharp enough, these shards, to cut along the skin you awaken by your trails of kisses. You wouldn’t know, because you wouldn’t hear, and I would do anything to make sure you didn’t. I would sit at the table with my only photograph of you, the one in which your face is now beginning to fade, or maybe merely masked with the residue of lingering lips. And I would let that picture of you find its trembling way from my cheek to my jawbone; I would let you trail your way down my neck until you reach the empty container that houses the broken essence of me. And my hand would fall, and your picture would flutter away from me. The desire for you would fill me, drown me, and my tiny pieces of essence would sink to a tear-flooded abyss that holds endless moments of your fingers circling my thigh, and the heat of your tongue on my cunt, and your lips tracing the contours of my breasts. You alone are capable of the destruction of such a fragile thing. I would not want you to know; if you did, it would mean you knew that I loved you. And then where would we be?
The cases are full now. I am empty, waiting.
As we leave, your finger traces up the length of my spine, and your fingers wind gently in my hair. You draw me to your lips and whisper, “You smell perfect.” Did you hear my confession after all? Maybe, one day, you will confess your very self to me.
Note: This is a piece of flash fiction that I originally kept on a static page on my website. I have been reorganising it this week, and have removed it from its previous location. Some of you may have encountered this story previously, but many of you won’t. Please forgive me if you’ve read it before – and apologies if I have have lost your comments in moving it!