I don’t know what it is that makes you glow.
You are not beautiful, not movie star gorgeous. Your hair is long and straight, your lips red. Soft skin over hard, even bone. Breasts neither small nor large, nipples ringed in delicate, transparent hairs. Attractive, yes, even pretty, but not beautiful. You are not beautiful and I don’t know why you glow like you do. You glow.
In the middle of summer I will lead you to the top of the hill, though the long grass burned golden and crisp, over sliding layers of leaves that move treacherous under our feet. Be careful. Don’t slip. Here: take my hand. I am more nimble than you, and I will not let you fall. This hill is a chosen place but no one ever comes here; it’s been a secret for a very long time. No one will disturb us. We’ll listen to the wind in the eucalyptus trees and the shrilling of the cicadas, and the stands of melaleuca will shield us from prying eyes. I’ve brought a blanket, soft and thick. See? I’m spreading it out now. Sit down next to me, in the shade under the tree. I told you it was beautiful here. There are king parrots and rosellas in the branches above. This shed feather, emerald green and metallic-shiny, I will brush softly across your lips. We are alone, I promise you. We are surrounded by nothing except bush and birds and sunshine. There is no one to see- I swear- there is no one to see if I touch your mouth. No one to see if I curl my hand around your leg, tickle you behind your knee. The sound you make when you giggle is so bubbling, delicious, I must hear it again. I’ll tickle you. I’ll caress you. I’ll lick my way up your spine to nip at the nape of your neck. The Japanese once considered the back of a woman’s neck to be the most sensual part of her body, and it’s not hard to understand why.
What is it about you that draws me in? Why must I watch you? Why do I ache when I’m without you? Lonely in the crowd I stand and wait for you, hollow until you come back and fill me. I envy the strangers whom you sit next to on the buses and trains. Obsessed with you, tormented by you, your absence carves a hole in my heart.
You glow. You glow all over. There is nothing about you that stands out- except your legs, I will confess, which are quite exceptional- but you are more, much more than the sum of your parts. You glow, you gleam, you are a bright and shining creature that attracts the eye. My gaze is solely on you and I can see nothing else. I didn’t know I was missing something until you came to complete me. When I touched your face for the first time I wept. The scent of your hair fills me with a profound sense of peace.
Let me undress you.
Let me take off your shirt. Let me unsnap the buttons on your jeans. I’ll nibble away the red marks on your perfect flesh and bite you to make new ones. The synthetic material of your underwear seems finer right now than any silk. I love the way your brassiere cups your breasts, displaying them, offering them like a gift. You are more delectable, more succulent than any fruit. Let me touch your nipples; I swear that I’ll be gentle. Your skin is so soft and fine there, and, come to think of it, so is mine. Shall we compare? Oh, eager! If you must tear my clothes- if you must. If you must. I can’t say that I dislike it. And if you like, you can also- my. Yes. Oh yes. This is nice. Very nice. Go up a little, across. Such a talented mouth you have, such sharp little teeth! Press your breasts against mine, kiss me, please, kiss me. If you want me to beg I’ll be happy to oblige. I will kneel here penitent, worshipful, a priest before your altar until you tell me to rise.
I have tried to make love to men, you know. It’s not that I disliked it; it was just that there was a fundamental lack, a certain sense of some vital thing missing from the whole act. There is something flawed about men’s bodies, a feeling that they’re unfinished, waiting for work to be done. Narrow the shoulders. Widen the hips. Place soft mounds of flesh over spare pectoral muscles; give the waist an elegant and emphatic indentation. The genitalia must first be slit, and then inverted. Form a soft and fragrant orchid, an oyster between the legs and buried within the abdomen, a bleeding cup that chimes once monthly with the moon. This is a recipe for a woman. This is a recipe for perfection. Part your thighs. Show me your secret orchid. We can be women and perfection together. Tell me what pleases you. Tell me so that I can tease you more. The inside of you is so warm and the birds and cicadas scream and scream their approbation.
Do you remember when we first met? We were drunk, you and I, dizzy and effervescent, surrounded by crowds of people with bright clothes and colours in their hair. We shook hands, and I thought to be polite because I didn’t yet know that you gleamed. Fireworks- when we touched the entire sky exploded in rainbow sparks and the air shuddered with the roar of a hundred thousand voices. I never believed in symbolism until I met you. A New Year came into my life and at the same time, did you. You flung your arms around me and kissed me passionately to commemorate. Our first meeting, we met under a blackened sky strewn with coloured sapphires and I suddenly realised that you glowed and that I would never want to kiss another, never ever again. The people around us thought they celebrated the New Year but they were wrong; wrong. They celebrated because we had met and would be together forevermore.
Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day? You’re so warm, so hot that you’re burning my fingers and my tongue and any minute now, I expect, pale tongues of flame will flicker into life amongst the dry blades of grass to begin a frantic, frenetic dance. Soft and yielding flesh, so coloured pretty. Your hand. Your hand. Put your palm on the top of my head. Dig your fingers into my scalp. Don’t be afraid to hurt me. Grip as tight as you can, twist my hair, pull it hard. Hold me. Hold me down. Anchor me in place, my sweet, because I’m being swept away.
What is it about you that makes you glow? You aren’t beautiful. Your voice is not dulcet and refined. You cannot write a sonnet, you cannot sing a song. Is this magic? When this is done, will you then lure me down to the creek where the Bunyip waits? Your red, red lips. Your long hair that blows in the wind. The heat of your body and the sun blazing down, you blazing beneath me, a glowing, incendiary woman.
Slick and wet. So much moisture that it seems like a waste in a country where every drop is precious. Give me your shirt so that I can wipe my face. Look: all around us, showers of feathers drifting down, parrot-bright. The very birds in the trees send us gifts. Let me tangle them in your hair so that you are nymph-naked and wild at the top of the hill, pose for me like some unattainable from a magazine. You are my adored one, my first thought on waking, my last thought on sleeping. I dream of you, I yearn for you. The book of my life is writ with your name, your voice, the smell of your skin and hair. The colour of your eyes, and the white of your teeth. I am defined by you, by your presence and by your absence, by your waking and by your sleeping.
You are not beautiful. You are beautiful. You are- oh. Oh, you’re beautiful. You are everything I have ever longed for. You are all that I have ever desired. I’ve been so busy counting your faults that I couldn’t see the all of you. You are beautiful. You glow. You glow because you’re beautiful and you’re beautiful because you glow. You fill my vision from corner to corner. I bask in you. I enjoy you. I love you.
Come closer. Closer. Touch me. Lean over me, cup my jaw and raise my lips to meet yours. Kiss me, give me the gift of your tongue. Let your hair fall down around my face. Fill me with peace. Surround me, with your glow.