In Rosy Memory / by grace mcgrade



He looked like he was raised by the forest, or maybe by a mountain. His skin was sunkissed and warm, freckled with dirt and hair, long tarzan locks and thick, calloused hands.

He had a love affair with plants and soil, an insatiable appetite for all that was untamed and unexplored. Forever humble to the intelligence and wisdom of nature.

It began with shifting glances in quiet moments, never quite still, our eyes fluttering like butterflies searching for a place to land. Silently reaching for each other, and never quite touching.

We danced around like this for a week, ebbing and flowing out of each others bubble, in a shy, flirtatious routine. I crouched down next to him  on the couch, and asked to read to lines on his hand. Rivers and indents of flesh, pulsing blood and worn skin that told tales of heartache and a mind  stretched too thin- where his heart and intellect were in a silent war. I traced the lines on his palm with my fingertips, the same way I wanted to trace the rest of his body. Slow, soft, recording every inch of him, till I could recite it by memory. I think that was the moment it became real.

I liked sleeping with him-just sleeping, more than anything else we did. Enveloped in his limbs, heat and steady breath. Drowning in tendrils of hair, tangled toes and fingers, breast to breast, woven eyelashes and open mouths. Entering our respective dreamworlds as one, wild thing.

This was a new kind of love, aware of it’s timely limitations. A place of recovery. I think we had both been wounded by previous variations of crazy- lovers who had needed caretakers, who had then just taken and taken and taken..until we were left empty. That adrenalizing intensity of being with someone who was unsafe, was missing. That feeling of constant imbalance, of teetering on the verge of madness and heartbreak- was gone. Instead, there was gentle care, playful possibility, tender and unpossessive.

We walked to the ruins of a castle by a seaside village. There was a rare kind of golden sunlight that day, the kind neither one of us expected to stick around- but it did, and cast a dewy glow on the road ahead. Treading lightly on trails leading to infinity, on emerald cliffs that just about hovered above a gentle sea. There was no distinction to where sky met sea, just never-ending pools of etheric blues, drawing us closer and closer to the old ruin. We agreed that we could be in Ireland, or on our way to Hogwarts. Then we lay on the beach, half asleep, in each others arms.

Naturally, we both wanted to stay longer. In that pocket of time, it was so perfect, pure and untainted by reality. To extend it would be cruel. Maybe he would have been unprepared for my wounds, or I would have grown resentful of him. This way, our love has a fighting chance, in imagined realms, in rosy memory.