"...we are afflicted in only this one way,:
That having no hope, we live in longing."
- The Inferno canto IV

We're both starving. Haven't eaten all day, but we make love on the bed in the hotel anyway. Took our time. Like in the beginning. He tells me I'm beautiful. He asks me if I'm OK with this. He asks me if he's hurting me.

He always asks.

Because, of course, he hasn't figured out what St. Augustine and Dante knew centuries before-life is pain. We come into this life screaming and if we are lucky we give our vocal cords a few breaks before we exit the world screaming as well.

The scent of him is heavy now. It was so familiar, even from the beginning. It took me awhile to realize that it was because of his soap, Dove. Soft sensitive skin. That soap with his skin, so comforting. Before his surgery, after he left the apartment, I walked around holding one of his pillows and crying. Trying to keep that scent with me. Terrified it would be gone soon.

And now it will be. I'll lose all of this. This memory of mine obsessed with detail as it is-it will slip away. Go the way of the plot line of Vanity Fair and the phone call I was supposed to make to reschedule my therapy appointment and the monologue I memorize from Titus Andronicus. Already, I've started forgetting details from the day-the name of the baby alligator I held in my hand.

After the smell, the sight will become fuzzy, the sound of his voice, then the vocal pattern itself, and finally what it was that he said. Soon all that will be left is the stuff. The bubble shark and the smorkin' labbits, the stack of DVDs, the t-shirts, the old copies of Fangoria, these journal entries, the stationary from the Inn, the stingray magnet. And over time, these things will dispose of themselves. Papers will be accidentally thrown away, t-shirts will get donated or worn out, the stingray magnet will fall off the fridge and break. After this weekend, he will send me an email saying he is "saving and taking care of everything" from the weekend. I'm already a museum exhibit. The Titanic. Some sunken marvel impressive only in its failure and lifelessness.

But for now, he's here. His soft slow kisses. The comfortable weight of his body. His warmth. The smell of his sweat. I hold him tighter-trying to keep the scent of him on me. Trying to etch all of this upon my memory. To keep this moment longer.

But I know it will be over soon. Tomorrow we will pack our bags. I'll have the taste of his tears in my mouth by nightfall. And even that will be gone in a matter of hours. And even now I can't describe the scent. Can't put into words so the moment I can't recall it, I won't be able to even describe.

And so even as we make love, even as he is inside me, he's already gone.

The sun's gone dim, the moon's turned black;
for I loved him and he didn't love back.
-Mrs Parker and the Vicious Circle


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