Was it the fresh tomato that weakened your resistance? Its red, firm skin held a taut, yet wet flesh that dribbled seeds and red juice on the cutting board when penetrated by the knife blade.
Or was it the garlic, peeled by probing fingers to find the soft, stiff bulb that when gently pressed released that special aroma that always brought excitement to your eyes as your tongue moistened your lips?
You had examined the remnants of last night’s Mexican take out, still in the Styrofoam boxes, with your nose wrinkled, poking at the limp tortillas, lumps of melted cheese, piles of black beans and strings of chicken and steak with a disappointing finger; not even a pinch of the seasoned yellow rice placed inside your open mouth could change your mind.
I can make something of this, I told you.
Do you have a choice? You replied, laughing as you stepped onto the bathroom, lingering at the door, a bare shoulder exposed and your small face soft in the dim light.
We became morning lovers.
Waking in the early, soft light to find the loose strap of your night gown had slipped down your arm, I would kiss your shoulder hoping to wake you, but more often found you already awake, resting on your side, face calm, somewhere between deep thought and dreaming. You would turn and kiss me, a nibble at first, then deeply, your hands under my shirt as I slipped my hand over your breasts and felt the flesh rise, then ran my fingers down your belly and thighs; then slowly naked, mouths engaged, arms holding close, brushing the hair from your face to follow your soul through your eyes to that spot where we first met.
It was not always so. Once there was planning, and meetings, and rushed showers and cups of hurried, weak coffee, and promises of text messages, phone calls and emails, and at the day’s end the unloading of others’ grieves and worries we carried home to sort and examine, unwanted gifts.
It had become what it was because being at the center draws everyone and everything to you like gravity. It is too easy to be at the center; we savored that all flows toward us, reveled in the light that was effortlessly drawn toward us because we are.
It is too easy to be at the center, too easy by half to take rather than give; too easy to accept being there than it is to step away.
When our separate centers parted ways like after the collision of two solar systems, we found ourselves staring across an unwanted distance. If we had turned inward, our centers would have grown and deepened like black holes and drifted way at increasing speed, subjects of Sir Isaac Newton.
So we became morning lovers, letting the day’s noise fade to three a.m. stillness, letting those things that stuck to us for solving, dissolve so that there was only the two of us, eyes locked, the taste of your mouth on mine.
The bacon was finally crisp, small bits splattered across the frying pan, so I dumped in the yellow rice and black beans and lumps of cheese and strings of beef and chicken and stirred it all around. I sprinkled in the mashed garlic, added salt and pepper and the scrambled eggs. After mixing in the eggs I added the oozing tomato, a handful of cheddar cheese and a couple shots of hot sauce.
Your hair was still damp from the shower and you pulled the robe untied around you.
You leaned over the pan and breathed in the food’s mixed aroma. I don’t know, you said. I think I got it right, I said, and you leaned on the counter and wrinkled your nose.
I took a pinch between my fingers and you opened your mouth for the taste, then licked my fingers clean.
Maybe, you said, smiling.
Your body was still warm from the shower.