autotelic, autistic, assonance-hole©.

cafe diem I

Café Diem is the name of the sidewalk bistro/coffeehouse where first we had
time to study one another. The conversation was typical of any first
date, eyes meeting only to dance away to ‘safer’ places, covert looks
from under lowered lashes, bodies carefully mimicking one another and
sharing the heady exhilaration of basking in the warmth of each
other’s attentions…

He is dark, swarthy, and uniquely mysterious. I find myself wondering
how he manages direct eye contact that reveals so little. His eyes are
clear and amazing to me… Autumn leaves flecked with the first
oranges and reds of the season. I’m contemplating the shape his
irises, I recall my daughter telling me there are only two kinds or
irises: flowers or star-bursts. Before I can decided, I suddenly
realize I’ve been staring. The thick warmth of a blush steals up my
neck and suffuses my face. He chuckles and reaches across the table to
reassure me… his hand is warm, soft, and somehow electrifying. I
become still, every part of me focusing on the gentle weight of his
fingertips. From a distance, I can hear the murmurs of conversation
around us… but I am listening to the slow pulse of my own heartbeat
and wondering if he can feel the thumping through my skin. I am
certain he does, as I can feel the flesh of my arm and wrist rising
and falling under his fingers. The thought is enjoyable to me.

The meal arrives, and I laughingly tell him there is much to be
learned about someone by watching how they eat. He grins and bids me
watch carefully then… and proceeds to enjoy his meal. I am resigned
to follow every move… the slow, deliberate manner with which he
opens the gyro, the delicate movements to select, spear, and raise
each piece…. the way he anticipates the mouthful by greeting it with
slightly parted lips… how his eyes close slowly as he savors the
texture and taste. He swallows and carefully lifts his eyes to mine, a
boyish, impish grin flashing like sunlight. We laugh loud and long,
making people turn, look, and wonder.

He is suddenly somber and I cannot figure out what he’s up to until I
notice he has taken the grapes from his plate. With a challenging
smile, he reaches across the table to offer me a chilled, red globe. I
lean forward to take it from his fingertips… lingering for a brief
moment with teeth lightly brushing him as my tongue pulls the fruit
from his grasp. Now it is his turn to blush… and I smile to myself
to see the dark color flood his face and continue until even his ears
are a murky shade of mauve.

The entire meal is enjoyed in this fashion… taking turns exploring
and taunting one another. The conversation is modulated, carefully
neutral… all context, meaning, and message delivered non-verbally.
It proves a glorious exercise in sensuality and I find myself
marveling at our willingness to so overtly display for one another.

As usual, the best is saved until the last… as the waitress
carefully sets the two slices on the table, his eyes leap to mine and
one smooth brow arches upward in question, “Midnight Express,” I
murmur, “Taste and I’ll tell you what it is…”

Our forks dip in unison through the rich layers of the dessert,
lifting in time and our eyes meeting as we taste it together. I enjoy
watching his eyes widen slightly as the icing spreads through his
mouth, and I wait for him to ask the question I can see in his face.

“My god, what is this?” His voice is somewhere between a drawl and a
moan. I chuckle as I reply, “Midnight Express is a chocolate cake of
three to five layers. The white filling between is white chocolate
cream, and the icing is a sturdier form of the same.” He is enjoying
it as I speak, and he nods to me as yet another mouthful is savored
and ingested, “It is perfect. Just sweet enough to enjoy. Any sweeter
and one couldn’t finish it…” He pauses to have another bite, then
continues, “…any less so and one wouldn’t want to…” he smiles to
me and adds in a light whisper, “Much like everything else I’m
discovering today.”