Marathon Kiss

Long before I met Andy, I was a bit of a slut. Well, not exactly a slut, but my lips slid against more men than I care to remember. The spring of 2000 was an emotionally perilous period, rife with anger and hurt and sorrow. I tried to put it all together with torrid affairs and messy hook-ups, seeking to further wreck a ruined trust in the world.  I’d had my heart broken a fair share of times, and I felt on the verge of losing all feeling. Yet physical intimacy was still a form of intimacy, and I craved it to a desperate extent. In many ways, all I wanted was a kiss – a marathon kiss – one that went on for days and left my lips swollen and happily sore. A kiss would always mean more than a fuck.

Marianne Faithfull wailed plaintively on the stereo on a misty late morning. A young man no older than myself pulled his socks and shoes on before somewhat hastily bounding down the stairs onto the gray street below. I listened to him go, feeling both regret and relief at once, then turned over and closed my eyes. I’d like to say I forgot his name in all the years that have past, but the truth is that I forgot it before he closed the door. Such was the state of affairs in those days.

I cherished the night of your marathon kiss,
Chemicals flying, oh I love this.
What’s it all for if you can’t feel the ecstasy?
What’s it all for if you can’t touch the power,
The will to live in the hour?

There was a sad and lonely beauty to that time in my life. In hindsight it appears a lot rosier than it ever really was, and sometimes I look back on it with a romantic fondness that isn’t quite deserved. Spring brings me back to the headiness of it all, when the beauty of the world sang softly as each day’s sun set.

Don’t steal what I have got, baby,
‘Cause it’s hardly enough for myself.
Don’t steal what I’ve got, baby,
‘Cause the balance is thin like a shell.

I cherished the night of your marathon kiss,
Chemicals flying, oh I love this.
What’s it all for if you can’t feel the moment?
What’s it all for if you can’t feel the moment,
The moment of kiss.

Late in the evening I walked beneath cherry trees that dropped their pink petals like ballerinas being stripped of their ruffled tulle. Warm night winds brought the promise of summer in through the darkness, while lights of homes filled with laughter and happiness and enviable otherness twinkled all around me. I peered surreptitiously into the windows of strangers, seeking out some semblance of a scene of stability. The rooms of others always felt warmer, happier and fuller than mine. I would sometimes gaze up at my own window, dark more often than not, and wonder what others saw. It was my belief that no one bothered to look.

Fearless when I’m with you,
Fearless when I’m with you.
Fearless when I’m with you,
Fearless through and through.

What am I gonna wear? I don’t care.
Nobody sees the inside.
Oh, the radio’s gonna take us out
Take us out on a ride.
I put on perfume and I walk in the room
The world stands still with you in the room.
I cross the floor and I’m high and I’m rich
When I’m under your lips and your fingertips.

On some nights a stranger would become less of a stranger, with a smile and flirtatious dance around pleasantries before tripping over frantically-discarded clothes. In the dim gray light of the bedroom I could hide my timidity and my tears, and even if the saltiness seeped into a kiss, no one ever cared enough to comment or question.

I cherished the night of your marathon kiss,
Chemicals flying into the mist.
What’s it all for if you can’t feel the moment?
What’s it all for if you can’t feel the power?
What’s it all for if you can’t, can’t live right here
In the hour, in the hour, in the hour?

When the unsaid and mutually-agreed-upon exchange of physical pleasure was symbolically signed by a second glance or a hand upon the knee you jostled against him, there was no promise of anything more. In fact, the additional preponderance always felt like a hindrance to most guys. I learned to sense that, to pull away. Having jumped into love, or what I thought was love, too quickly and too many times, I understood the game even as I fought against its silly rules. Still, there was good reason to keep an aloof distance.

It was far easier to shield the heart than to repair it.

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