Pack the orange juice; she’ll bring the vodka. Spread the blanket beneath the spring sun, in a part of the woods that are secluded enough. Beat down nature to do it, stomping weeds and flowers and wildlife with selfish pride. Sit stiffly. Drink. Wipe beats of orange from my lips and listen to her gulps.
When she has drained all there is, recline together, in unison. Shift on the blanket. Sticks poke hard against my back, rocks sharp at my sides. The flowered blanket is thin and smells of detergent. She washed it for today, for us.
Nestle closer, ignoring the pain. Focus on the loosening of limbs, on the sudden giddiness rising from within. Place fingers on her cheek, freckles blossoming beneath the sun. Watch her eyes as they turn brown, as they turn green. Skim noses. Kiss. Wrap fingers down the bumps of her spine; trace the goosebumps above the line of her jeans. Act like I know the way.
Fall back, toppled, her hair tickling my neck, lips trailing downwards. Wildflowers soar high above us — a sunken paradise. Let her soft suctioning blend with the birdcalls. Feel the slight chill when her lips move away. Pull on the hem of her tank top, cotton soft and then gone, crumpling into the grass. Unknot my halter-top. Let her shimmy it away and feel the warmth sink into bellies and backs and collarbones. Kiss her shoulder. Taste sweat and something sweet. Pay attention to her breathing. With my lips, trace indentations of where her bra has been, skin still tattooed pink with the outline.
Hear twigs snap and freeze, muscles tense around each other, lips suppressing giggles. The voices fade. Laugh loud into the hollow of her neck. Kiss her eyelids, her belly button, the undersides of her knees. Hear her breath hot against my ear, all exhales and half-formed words.
Afterwards, lie back, arms extending. Wrap around her and pull close, fingers snagging in her hair. Watch the sun. Let it burn a little. Try not to stare at her too long. Feel my stomach balloon with kisses; let them fly out my throat like butterflies. Spread arms and legs out as wide as they will go. Almost taste the sky.
Dress eventually, clothing scratchy and hot over languid bodies, metal button digging into my soft flesh. Slip on shoes. Fold the leaf-covered blanket and slide trash into light backpacks. Turn back to look at the rectangle we have left: a piece cut out of nature. The flowers look so short from a distance.
Find the road and head home, arms swinging. A man in a pickup truck roars past, shouting something out the half-open window. We don’t hear what he said. We will never know what he said. Kiss again. Taste sun, taste salt, taste the lingering burn of alcohol. Try to retain the man’s blurred face. Press harder against the swell of her lips. Against this moment. Here, now.
Devon Bacso is a Brooklyn transplant currently living in Tucson, Arizona. They work as a school psychologist with aspirations of being a doula. Their hobbies include making bad pottery, watching any Dateline episode hosted by Keith Morrison, and cuddling with their adorable two cats.
Photo by Imat Bagja Gumilar.