While he sleeps I catalogue his body. When he is awake I keep my distance.
While he dreams I touch and map in a fit of cartography. There, on his elbow is a scar where a mole was removed out a fear. I name it the Crater Benignant. When he is awake I pretend not to hear as he relates to me his medical history. The fear is in the past from him, but not for me.
My favorite place to travel, I keep my hands off during the day. I am drawn to his potential cancer, a heart shape mole located on the inner left thigh. I do not want him to know the importance of this, that, or us. We are too young and where his scars are visible markings, mine are emotional.
We met in passing. I believed that my interactions would have me moving over him like a tropical storm. My presence would have been heavy and forceful upon his body, moving through after a few days, and leaving debris in my wake. With time my name would be forgotten, the damaged cleared, and anything broken would have been repaired. As a weather pattern it is easy to predict the future from past experiences, but when I made landfall with him things were different.
He does not allow other to pass by, he pinned me with dates and conversations. He laughed at my attempts to shrug him off and continued to come over even if I did not answer my phone. He is the kindest stalker one could imagine, never forceful or pessimistic but always assertive and courteous. His body absorbs the coldest of touches and claims, instead, to feel warmth.
Months later he updated my Facebook status, pointing out that since he has integrated himself I have been faithful. He takes that as an unspoken answer. Now we are a couple, exclusive and intimate. I suspect he knows how my fingers trail over him in while he sleeps. I am suspicious that there are moments when he is awake and he keeps up the ruse so I can do my work. When it was time for him to renew his lease, he opted not to. He spent a week moving his stuff into my space, one box and grin at a time. He noted that as a bachelor, he had little furniture to impose and the few pieces he owned were not appealing to either one of us.
From his mouth, we are we. In the irregular breathing pattern that is the state of being awake, I keep my pronouns separate. In the repetitious movement of his breathing, I mouth the collective ones that he is comfortable with.
Over the knees are hairy forests of solid girth. When compared to mine, they are laden with strength. We Indian Leg Wrestle, even though I have lectured on the reasons why I hate the name and feel that it is immature to play. I pout every time he suggests it and at night I dream of the next time he will win the match. His legs are the stems of a conqueror, legs to make my own surrender in weakness. I never thought I would be so idiotic as to say any man could make me buckle at the knee, but he has an unsettling effect on my nerves.
I journey further on, stabbing at his innie belly button. The vast cavern houses lint as if his core needs insulation from my frigid touch. I would pick it out, but then I have nothing to tease him with during the day. He laughs along with me and makes a swirling motion with his hands, waxing on and off in demonstration of how his stomach hair gathers the fabric of his shirt. Like little robins building a nest.
Though I love his face, I stay away from idolizing for it is a topography that even a stranger can claim to have knowledge of. The slope of his nose could be described by classmates. The shape of his lips, by admirers past and present. The lighting of his eyes and how they appear within his sockets could be detailed by coworkers. I know that others have charted his body before me. None before had the skills or the passion to do it as well as I.
I keep my distance in an attempt to gain perspective. I wish to hold onto the beauty of him long after time changes it and presents me with a grander, weathered, landscape. I have never wanted to settle in one place. I have never believed that I would be satisfied in what God has created. I felt the wandering urge to move about for so long that I never knew of home or what that could mean till he drew my conflicting air streams onto his land. I am trapped in a valley more beautiful than I deserve.
He tells me I am necessary, wanted even, declaring that he loves how I affect him. He accepts me for my destruction and shrugs it off by explaining that he knows it is my nature. I could tell myself, that he is like the others. I could tell myself there are things about him that I cannot stand. But neither statement would be true.
I feel at our age, time is cruel and will work to send us on different paths. No one so young can know that they are meant to be home and feel at peace with that. He takes the artic blasts that are my love in stride and wraps his cloak tighter around his shoulders. He humors my night time explorations knowing it is how I show my love. He knows that I love him, even though I have never said it aloud. I trace the words onto his body at night with my fingertips, leaving the ghost of my affection to stay with him during the day.
I look over his land with respect over what was created, fearful of those who wish to discover him. I am not the first explorer. Like Amerigo, I know that what I witness is an uncharted territory to the rest of the world. I dare not debase it and claim it to be any known land. I fear that my name will be used for an important continent later on, but that few will know the significance of my contribution. “Those four marks,” he will say referring to the raised scars on his right arm, “oh those are Sam.”
A name for four islands, Sam, a comment in passing as he details his medical history to another would be explorer. They would not know of my accomplishments and significance. They would not know that I tripped over a rug in the small apartment we shared. That he reached out with his body to envelop me with the safety of home. That in the process of the reach I stabbed him with the fork that I was holding and shattered a bowl of pasta on the ground at our feet. That he laughed at my clumsiness and then kissed my blushing cheeks. I turned a deep red like the welling blood on his arm, and though I drew blood we were full of so much love that it radiated with heat and melded with my cold front.
I want to be Sam, Conquistador of Matt. I want to be Sam, Queen of Matt. I want to be Sam, the first, the last, and only.
For now I am comfortable with my night missions. One day I hope to present my drawings to society, but after years of discovery and research. I cannot imagine ever leaving this Paradise, not even God can banish me from this land. I have been given the gift of a new world; I will not pass through its border passively to a life dreaming of missed chances. I want to be Sam, Conquistador of Matt: the first, the last, and his only.
The featured image accompanying this piece, entitled ‘Butterfly Eater’, has been used with the permission of Malaysian artist, Airahnn. You can find out more about Airahnn on Deviant Art and Tumblr.