Wednesday, February 16, 2011
Just a Kiss
Miranda's story continues. If you haven't been following along, you may want to start at the beginning.
* * *
Just a Kiss
The coffee table was littered with cashews, potato chips and two bottles of wine—one empty. An oblong ceramic platter displayed three different cheeses and an assortment of crackers. Actors mimed their scenes on the muted television.
Gathered with her two best friends for one last bash as a single woman, Miranda sat cross-legged on the floor in Wendy’s apartment, her hands cupped around a glass of chardonnay. Her long dark curls were pulled back with an elastic, away from the green masque now smeared over her face.
“A week today,” said Wendy, sprawled on the sofa, her own face smothered in an oatmeal paste, cucumber slices on her eyelids. She balanced a bowl on her stomach from which she selected Cheezies, popping them blindly in her mouth with unerring accuracy.
“Then it’s all over.” Sandra blew on her wet nails, waved them to dry. Having opted for the Camomile facial, they all agreed she looked like a cheery sunburst.
Miranda laughed at her friends. “Marriage doesn’t mean it’s over.” She sipped her wine, let it dance over her tongue.
“I hear that love-making is non-existent after.” Wendy popped another Cheezie into her mouth.
Sandra made an affirmative noise as she sipped her wine. “It’s true. Love-making goes out the window.”
“Well then,” said Miranda, “I guess we’re safe. We don’t make love.”
Sandra choked back her wine. Wendy sat up, sending cucumber slices to the floor.
Miranda shrugged. “We don’t make love.”
“You’re twenty-three years old. You’ve been living with Gregg for over two years. And you’ve never made love?” Wendy looked over at Sandra who only shrugged.
“We fuck like rabbits, we just don’t make love.”
Sandra hooted with laughter. Wendy fell back onto the sofa, threw a Cheezie at Miranda. “You had me going there for a minute. I mean, how can you sleep in the same bed with Gregg and not make love.”
“I told you,” said Miranda, topping up her glass of wine. “We don’t make love.”
Sandra blew at her nails, waved off this minor detail. “Making love. Screwing. Same thing.”
“No it’s not.”
Maybe the wine was getting to her, but there was one thing Miranda knew: sex had absolutely nothing to do with love. After everything she’d suffered through, struggling with the darkness to reach the light, she’d been shoved back into the vortex by the first man she’d trusted. Her grandfather may not have crossed that line, but Darryl made sure he broke through it, shattered it beyond repair. It took ages to breach the surface, to breath again. Oxygen manifested in the form of Gregg. And because she could trust him, she would marry him.
Wendy sensed something in her friend’s voice. Setting aside the bowl, she sat up and picked the cucumber slices off the floor, stacked them neatly on a cocktail napkin.
“How can you say that? You’re getting married. You can’t have sex without love.”
Miranda shrugged. “The two are mutually exclusive for me. I can’t—won’t—have sex with someone I don’t trust. I mean, you’re naked for god’s sake. You’re pretty vulnerable. But the act itself? It’s purely physical. A way to release pressure. There’s no love involved.”
She popped a cashew in her mouth. An awkward silence filled the room. Wendy sipped her wine.
“Is it good? I mean, are you satisfied?”
Miranda grinned. “Honey, there are days I can’t wipe the smile off my face.”
They laughed then, talking over one another, the fallout of Miranda’s bomb drifting away; though the mushroom cloud hovered around her.
As her friends chatted about the wedding and exchanged Hollywood gossip, Miranda sipped her wine and wondered if Gregg could feel the gap between them, the distance she maintained. Did he even notice she couldn’t kiss him when they fucked?
* * *
Miranda's story continues...