I stick my hand down his pants and he turns to sighs. Movements morph from frothing tide to opium waves, a softer ebb and flow. He is a gentle locomotion, eyes shut, calm concentration in his lips and cheekbones, his mouth exhaling a supine warm current into my ear. Somewhere inside him he knows he cannot stay here. I know it, too. But time is relative. This moment lasts seconds and centuries.
Time exists in concentric circles, forever burgeoning outward from stillness. I, my hand beneath his faded denim jeans, beneath the elastic waistband of his cotton boxers, palm flat, pressing into the flesh of his washboard stomach, watch from the outer rings of time, manipulating him to its center. Can I make his time stop? For how long? I slow my body, press my hand to him, exhale. He is one ring away from the axis of eternity.
With his eyes closed, I can watch him. There is no nervous smile or darting eye. It is a strange voyeurism, watching this new face that is inches from my own, the delicate jaw, tiny obsidian hoops in both ears, long, drooping eyelashes and soft mouth.
We’ve both plenty of things planned on the evening’s roster, none of them involving each other. While our time has stopped, the clock has gone on, continued tick-tick-ticking. There are groceries to buy, museums to go to, makeup to apply and buses to catch.
But now, in this tiny moment, we are both close to the center of time, he more near than I. Seconds and centuries pass us by. And we inhale, exhale, sigh, bodies rolling like a gentle tide, far at sea, the sun glinting golden on the water, no land in sight, no clocks mincing minutes, only our breath, my hands, his flat stomach and closed eyes.