Sunday, August 8, 2010


They sit in a corner of a New York bar where light diffuses into itself, sharing belly laughs and sudden streaks of blushing, as if time has not passed since they first loved each other. Giselle cannot believe she is staring at the same thick lips that breathed sex into her fifteen years ago. It has been long since they've seen each other but she still feels the same biting urge she did as a teenager. She once thought the attraction she had felt for him was rebellion, induced by her mother's disapproval of her good-girl dating a bad-boy, but what Giselle feels tonight as she sits across form Louis, crystallizes the fact that it was all real.

She remembers the night of their first kiss under a seagrape tree at the beach, swaddled by a crescent moon. Even though his hands could circle her sand-sprinkled waist, he held her as if she were a freshly painted Picasso, and when she looked into his squinty eyes, Giselle saw tears. She asks him why he had cried that night so many years ago. He tells her he was just thinking about that night. He answers that it was gratitude; he had been grateful she loved him back. It sinks in. The atomic, teeth-marked, heaving, breathless moments sink in and the square table between them is the only thing keeping the two magnets from snapping again into each other.

He tells her his apartment is just a few blocks away. He asks Giselle to please let him paint her before she has to go back home. She wants to let him do it, he wants to show Louis how her body is still beautiful, how her breasts have defied gravity, how there are still places in her he has not discovered. She wants to be able to look at him as he looks at her for however long it takes him to put her on canvas. He reaches for her hand and squeezes, releasing adrenaline into her beating gut. She agrees.

They walk to his brownstone in Brooklyn, still laughing. Giselle even twirls when Louis mentions she still looks like a sweet-sixteener. She pauses when they reach the front door. He lets her in and as she tiptoes inside, he tells her to make herself at home. She's immediately drawn to the art studio set up by the living room window. She chokes when she sees how talented he is; she thinks of her mother and how wrong she was. He offers her a shot of Patron. She smiles as if two ropes were pulling at the sides of her face. He makes a toast to "things that never die."

As Giselle lay naked on top of a black lacquered sideboard, Louis swatted his brush, canvas whimpering, hand trembling, heart erupting. The air that swirled out out of her met with his at the center of the room. For three hours he painted her, for three hours she smiled at him, both thoroughly happy for the first time in years.

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