Pillow Talk
Lionel Lee Markham

It's when a man and a woman lie side-by-side on dampened sheets, sensing the feel of the cool breeze through the fully opened window ... And minds are as open as the pores of moist skin ... eyes stare unblinking at the ceiling above, held fixedly in position by the pillows which serve to cradle their heads. It's hypnotic, to lie like this and stare like this, bodies totally relaxed, only the minds moving.

Lips move slowly, forming almost random words, bringing them uncertainly into play to form equally random thoughts. No external stimulants nor depressants are needed to drop the body into an almost trance-like state. It is not sleep for the mind sometimes leaps ahead at dizzying speeds but it is not wakefulness either for scarcely an eyelid or fingertip moves. Respiration is quiet and even and subdued. Only the lips move, forming and weaving patterns of pillow talk. And sometimes, not even the lips, for there's that strange almost telepathic communication which comes into play at times like these, where the most subtle shift of the body-next-to-you is an oration of sublime beauty.

Sunlight saturates the room and the ceiling is as blank and as unfocused as her mind except for the cobweb in the far corner which wasn't there, she knows, yesterday. The breeze coming though the window is flavored by lilacs or is it honeysuckle ... one or the other ... depending if it's spring or fall and she can't exactly remember which one because it's all unimportant right now. He hears a distant and persistent tapping of a woodpecker from far off, down the lane in the grove of oak trees.

He's working hard after those grubs, he thinks, and fleetingly he knows that he should be up too, and like the woodpecker, grubbing and doing whatever it was that I was doing before she and I fell here onto the bed, but that too is too far away.

The mockingbirds never sleep and he remembers how they sang last night at one o'clock or sometime and he asks her if they kept her awake and she responds with a shake of her head which he feels rather than sees but he understands because she never wakes at night, sleeping the sound, simple sleep of happiness.

The musk-smell of him ... might be too strong at other times but now? just right and I love that smell because it's his smell and then she realizes that it's not his smell but its hers too, coming perhaps from her hair, or maybe from her own hands where she had grabbed and grappled with him.

Wouldn't have wanted that music to go away, he thinks, reassured, as he hears the disk cycle and repeat itself for the third or fourth time. It's lovely and silky music and it's sweeping and flowing and rippling around the bed, `way down there on the floor like a, well, almost like a high-water river at spring flood tide and wild and uplifting but deep-flowing and permanent. There's a part there, he says half aloud, that I've heard but never really listened to ... there, that part. Makes you feel like you're thinking about scud clouds, and somehow the color green. Don't know why.

Smells like lavender, she mutters. The kind in sachets. That's what it reminds me of. Smell of lavender. She knows it makes no sense, but she knows that he'll know exactly what she means anyway.

Somehow, he says, but mostly to himself, I've got to fix this so it never stops. She hears him vaguely and wonders idly to herself if he's talking about the music or the two of them. He's always fixing things. It's his nature.

Wanna get up? he asks. Again she shakes her head and he feels it through the pillow. No. Le's stay here and enjoy the breeze ...

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