Melting. chocolate in my mouth. A man I've just met asks me to find him the cherry. I do, and he pops it into his mouth as I take another bite out of a pair of chocolate handcuffs.
Frozen. It's last winter, and the world outside is covered in snow and ice. The man and I leave the V Day party together. Slipping and sliding. At Gerrard, he stops and kisses me. Bourbon and chocolate and cherries.
Melting. Beneath my muskrat coat, I'm on fire.
Frozen. It takes him a month to call me.
Fire. We meet at a place for drinks, then to a restaurant where he orders a dozen oysters on the half-shell. Amidst candlelight and hyacinths, the black threads of my fishnet gloves soak up oyster and lemon juice. In darker places other juices flow. I lean over and put my nose in the purple hyacinths and inhale deeply. He picks a few blossoms and places them between my breasts, where the lace of my camisole peeks out.
Hot. One of my fishnet stockings keeps falling down. In the ladies room I perform a kind of Laurel and Hardy routine: off with the boot, off with the stocking, turn it right side in, put everything back on. Back at the table, I tell him about the vaudeville act in the cubicle and he wonders aloud how stay-ups stay up, so I brush my full leather skirt back to reveal not only the rubber-lined top of my stocking but also my thigh.
Later, he'll reveal to me how transported he was by that creamy sight. But on this night at this late hour I am giddy as hell, having stayed up all night the night before discussing matters of love and life with my friend. Knowing this, he says he'll hail a cab and send me home. He helps me into my muskrat coat and we leave the restaurant.
Burning. The following week we meet at a wine bar. Smoke from ignited sprigs of rosemary excites the olfactory sense while creamy cheese inspires finger-sucking.
Back at his place, hot tongues of flame lick the embossed fleur-de-lys on the inside of the fireplace. By the flickering light and crackling heat, his hot tongue licks my own flower.
Steamy. April brings fiddleheads and a Magic Wand. We share a plate of the tender ferns, steamed, soaked in butter and spritzed with lime, and for dessert we drive to Come as You Are, where he gets me the crème de la crème of vibrators and other toys.
He's not threatened by them, because he has the wisdom to know they don't replace his tongue, fingers, cock.
These are all different mediums for exciting me, just as ink and oils are different mediums for the visual artist.
Burnt. "Trust," he says, "gets eaten away." I reply, "Trust is always there, but life experiences create this murky film, and it gets murkier with each breach."
He says: "Then you meet someone - someone like you," and the film clears, bit by bit.
"Love," he says, "I feel as if we are inventing it." I say, "Yes. Love. It's not a path already taken. It's a living thing, it breathes."
We decide we must invent new words for love, a new language for who we are together. We start with "hyacinthinsized."
Sweltering. It's one of those muggy days in August. I'm feeling jittery as a bug in a jar, all jumpy nerves and wet heat. We walk through the city, stop to buy lingerie, then press on to a small café.
Iced. He orders me cool drinks with umbrellas in them and watches as I drink. His eyes are green like fiddleheads or the sea, though the light emanating from them is pure silver. It glows through slits of merriment or wide circles of surprise, laughing silver, knowing silver, brilliant silver. And then there's his caring for me - that's brilliant, too, more brilliant than the sun.
Dripping. In the ladies room I kick off my g-string, its pink and lilac lace butt strand most assuredly contributing to my high-strung state. I step into my new soft green boy-cut undies. Tonight he'll pass his fingers over the pink embroidered flowers on the front, then pry beneath to find a pink bud of the flesh-and-blood kind.
White heat. If the vibrations of "om" can harmonize the world, the vibrations of his cunnilingus growl can harmonize my soul, not to mention make me come.
Sizzling. We walk along the busy Saturday-night street, crowded with summery fashionistas and jump jive boys. I steer him into an alleyway to kiss. There's a hush now, the hubbub far away. Iron stairways, light falling in slats. Mud puddles, men in shadows, drug deals, scents of chop suey and cappuccino.
A red light glows through an iron grate; trees push up, defying concrete, garbage, exhaust, overwrought city planning. And two people, just passing through, wrapped in love, blossom even in the polluted urban squalour.