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after "Beginnings"

October 20, 2004; Adrienne Lee

I'm not sure which came to me first... the touch of your eyes on my skin, or the faint scratching I hear...

By now I'm accustomed to waking to your phantom touches. I still remember the first morning I woke up in your arms, in your bed, with you looking at me, your gaze so tender, so gentle. If I open my eyes now, I know it'll be the same. Maybe not the same. Definitely not the same. There was always a darkness in those eyes that confused me, that frightened me. Now they're just deep, sweet cocoa that I want to drink in, and drown in.

But the faint scratching... What's that? I wonder.

A familiarity tickles my memory. Memory that I had buried, so long ago... Slowly, I unlock that treasure chest. Almost fearfully, I let myself embrace a little more of our past...

Our past... I still have a hard time wrapping my mind around that, despite my heart. My heart remembers. My heart still bleeds for those six weeks, for that first and last time we shared a bed together, when we were kids...

No matter. I halt my mental journey, and focus on the present. The soft, incessant scratching, almost comforting in its own way.

Are you finally using the sketching supplies I got you? I wonder. Have you gone back to sculpting? Is that why you've been spending so much time in your little apartment? Hmm... I was beginning to wonder if you're having issues at work, if I have to pry again...

Suddenly, the scratching stops. I still feel your eyes on me. Are you looking at your work? Will you let me see? I wait for the sound to continue...

Instead, I hear a light thud.

Then every nerve in my body comes alive, as I feel your nearness, as I feel your weight on the bed, your weight on me, feel your warmth enveloping me.

I wait.


"Playing possum?" You whisper against my ear, your breath tickling my neck.

I smile, and turn in your arms to face you. "Didn't want to interrupt. So," I pause to receive your kiss.

Mmm... Liv...

My heart picks up to match your rhythm. Already I'm melting to your touch. Just how do you do that?

Stilling your hands before they roam, I lace my fingers in your hair, brushing your bangs from my eyes. "You going to show me?" I ask you hopefully.

"Are you sure? I'm kinda rusty..." You hedge, but I hear the quiet excitement in your voice.

You're cute when you're needlessly insecure. You know I love everything you do. "Show me."

Easing off of me, you reach down to the floor, and pick up the black sketchbook. "You sure? I'm not gonna get in trouble..."

"If you don't show me already, you will." I threaten with a smile. Patience is something I'm still trying to learn.

"Okay." You turn the drawing towards me. "Well?"

When I don't respond right away, you fret, "I suck. I knew it."

I shake my head, to reassure you while I try to find my voice. You don't suck, trust me.

You stop your verbal fretting. Patiently, you wait, with intense anticipation, your eyes traveling between me and the drawing.

"She's beautiful," I finally manage.

"You're beautiful."

"This is me? Really?"

"Really." You tell me, your eyes twinkle when you smile.

Once again, I find myself falling...


At the breakfast table you ask me, "So you really don’t think I suck?"

Hmm… and what would you call that thing you did earlier? I ask you silently, with a teasing lift of my brow. Edith doesn’t need to hear me talk about what we do; I’m sure she already hears enough.

You sigh softly, and rephrase yourself, "You really don’t think my art suck then?"

"Nope." I exchange a sheepish grin with you at the single light click of Edith’s tongue, then continue sincerely, "I think you’re a very good artist. I wish I could do some of the things you do."

"But you’re a wonderful photographer. Photography’s art."

"It’s just not the same." I tell you. It really isn’t. I can’t pick up a paint brush and paint you. Well, I could, but it’d be totally abstract art. "If I take a picture of you, all I need to do is try to capture a moment, then basically point and shoot. I don’t even have to think too hard about the composition. Meanwhile, every stroke is something for you."

I hear another click. Does Edith really think that? That sex is the only thing on my mind?

You snicker. I glare at you, and tell you with my eyes, if you want to get lucky ever again, you’ll stop.

"Hey," you continue as if nothing has happened. "How come you haven’t taken pictures of me lately? But just the kids?"

I’m feeling neglected, I can hear you say in my head.

"I’m just the lowly muse, while you’re the artist."

"Muses are not lowly; without them, there’ll be no artists." After making sure we’re alone in the kitchen, you add, "And I want to be your muse."

"Are you going to teach me to be Pygmalion?" I ask you suggestively, reminding you of something you said to me, years ago, in Paris.

"If you want."


Okay, I thought I was going to get my chance, "to make you," using your words. I didn’t think you’re actually going to teach me how to sculpt. And I’m not sure about sticking my hands in all this mud. Oh, right, excuse me, clay.

Meanwhile, my Galatea is standing in front of me, draped in nothing but a thin sheet of fabric. Why I ever thought this was a good idea is completely beyond me.

"I don’t think this is working." I smashed the lumps of clay together, to let out some frustration.

"Maybe you’re just distracted?" You tease me. Argh! How dare you!

"Maybe I should put my clothes back on."

"Don’t even think about it." I start building the shape again, just like you had shown me. "If you’re going to make me wallow in mud, you should be naked. Besides, all the Roman statues are naked."

"I think you just want to see me naked."

"Well, no. Seeing’s not the only thing I want." I tell you, and stick two little lumps about a third down from the top of the block. As I work the shape, I could almost feel your breasts under my fingers. Hm… Maybe this is kind of fun.

Finally, you speak up, "What are you doing?"

"Sculpting?" I answer you with a smile. The edge of arousal in your voice did not escape me.

"There’s more to me than my boobs."

Methinks you doth protest too much. "Hm… I guess you’re right." I pretend to think, then turn the block around. Picking up the carving tool, I outline your legs. Slowly, I form your backside, adding layers of clay to shape your ass.

Meanwhile, you’re trying your hardest to be a good model, to ignore me.

Hmm… I wonder… Dipping my fingers into the bucket, I bring forth water to moisten the material. "I think I’m finally getting somewhere," I engage your attention as I slip my fingers under the rounded globes. "What do you think?"

"I think we need to take a break."

Oh, I can’t agree with you more.


"Okay, this is what you do." With your hands over mine, you show me the next steps.

I lean back against you and sigh. "You know, Liv, we remind me of a bad movie."


"Demi Moore? Patrick Swayze? Except we’re reversed."

"Really." Your laugh is contagious sometimes.

"You’re the sculptor, and I’m not Swayze." I insist, and tap your nose with my muddy finger.

"I see," you grin, and trail a line of clay down my shirt. "Should I start singing Unchained Melody to you?" You ask, while nuzzling my neck.

Great, now I have mud in my hair, although cleaning up could be fun… Turning about, I kiss your lips, and smile at your whimpered complaint when we part. "Are you hungry already?"

"For you, Alex," you still my fingers with your hands, and whisper softly against my ear. Then spinning my stool around so that our eyes meet, with deep tenderness, you add, "always."

And who am I to argue with my muse?


"I think you should just finish it for me." I look at the abstract sculpture in front of me. "Do you mind?"

"Are you sure? I think you’re coming along fine, Sweetheart."

It really does look like it has potentials. Still. "Sculpting’s just not my thing." I touch your cheek, relating my gratitude towards your encouragement. "Don’t think I have the patience."

"Always about immediate gratification, huh?"

"Don’t you know it." I return the teasing glint in your eyes. Maybe Edith’s right, that is all I think about. "I’ve decided to stick with my cameras."

"You going to take pictures of me again?"

"I need to take at least A picture of you, for you, so you could finish making you."

"My, that sounds like an interesting proposition." You laugh at my choice of words, your face coloring slightly.

Aha! That’s all YOU think about, too!

"Actually, I just want nudie pictures of you," I explain, the timbre of my voice taunting.

In response, you protest, a little too loudly I might add. "You have nudie pictures of me already!"

"I mean nudie, nudie pictures of you." I grin and pat you gently on your cheek. You look so cute when you’re shocked and aroused. And I’m sure your imagination is running away, a mile a minute.

"Um… Uh… Hm." You stare at me. Finally, hastily, you return to packing up the art supplies.

So glad I can still make you speechless.


"Hey, Alex?" You ask me, after we put your studio back together, before we leave your old apartment.


"Can I show you what I’ve been working on? All those nights I came home late?"

Why are you so tentative? I wonder. "Thought you’d never ask!" I respond cheerfully, allowing the little girl excitement to show through.

"Wait here."

Okay… I watch as you retreat to what used to be your bedroom, and count each second we’re apart. I think on some level, I do that all the time. Patience is a virtue, I keep telling myself.

Just when I decide to join you, you appear at the doorway, cradling a sculpture in your arms. You walk towards me, and hold it out.

"I’m thinking about calling this Dreaming, or Waiting, I can’t decide. What do you think?"

At the sculpture of a skinny young girl with big feet, sitting, with her palms under her chin, I can only stare.

I stare, and see the ghosts of our youth running towards us, laughing, hand in hand.

"How’bout Waiting for a Dream?" Finally, I manage, albeit with shaky voice.

You pause for a moment, then a lopsided smile appears. The same instant, I feel my heart skip.

"Yeah, I think I like that, Alex. I like that very much."

So glad I waited for you…

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