Caution: Kids at Play.”
Joy parked her VW bug up near Cowles Mountain and, before long, we were both in the passenger seat, going at it while Springsteen’s “Thunder Road" played on some quiet FM station and a perfectly round, full moon watched over us in a sky devoid of clouds. She did this thing where she bit my earlobe and whispered that she loved me. It drove me crazy. Curved slightly on the right side of her mouth, her lips gave her a look as if she were always slightly amused. I wanted to touch her every time she smiled, put my hands on her body just to feel connected.
Months before, I saw her at an all ages club, and worshipped her while a band called DeadEnd covered Billy Idol’s “Eyes Without a Face.” We’d been seeing each other ever since. She was smarter than I was, more experienced, and I still benefit, all these years later, from the things she taught me. Often while we were driving together, Joy would stop at a red light, and then—with a look of raw lust in her eyes--reach over and squeeze me on the knee. I realized over time that Joy’s every movement was intended so that I would learn.
During a pause, Joy turned her body to avoid the gearshift, her lips grazed my flesh (they felt like fire on my cheek), and she moaned a little in the back of her throat in a way that stopped my breath. I placed my fingers at the back of her neck, felt the soft intersection where her hair met her skin, and grew drunk on how her throat smelled like the cinnamon she’d had in a hot apple cider from Starbucks. I inhaled her scent, and then I pulled toward her me.
Gently, she rolled beside me and looked in my eyes. She seemed sleepy but content, as if I’d satisfied her in some profound and necessary way. “You’re so open to me, she said, almost sadly, “so innocent,” and then she touched my face with her outstretched fingers—her skin on my skin like a medicine, healing me.
This one night in her car, while we were parked on the mountainside, staring up at a moon that was bright, but offered no answers or insight, was long before the sky above us fell, long before I knew what was down the road, long before Joy pulled her car over to the side of the street not far from where we first made love just to tell me that there would be no more parking, that his name was Michael, and that, eventually, I would get over it.
James Pierce's work has appeared in various print and on-line journals including Flashstory, lingo, and The Dirigible. He calls Dubuque, Iowa his home, and wants you to know that the important parts of this story are true.