Everything Ended Save Love in the Dark
Everything Ended Save Love in the Dark
We move from New Orleans to Baton Rouge after the great conflagration. Government buildings near the river are converted to apartments after Louisiana State Agencies are defunct from the tide of refugees from New Orleans. There are just too many people and not enough revenue once the New Orleans tax base is atomized.
Before my very eyes, Rowena strips out of her lily-white as first communion dress into her black-as-Wicca lipstick on the eve of Samhain, lingerie.
This evening we lay in the heat with a ceiling fan as our only solace until I stumble into slumber when the sensation of age creeps upon me. “You are like an old lover of my catty youth. This heat washes over me like a wet dream. Even women can leave the stain of their dreams on cotton. And I’ve done it as good as any man” she muses out loud. In the wee hours of a delicate morning, I feel her shiver against me like an old crone nearing the end. But I know she has many years ahead. Don’t I? I glimpse the once starry-eyed Catholic school girl who wandered the hallways of “Our Lady of Perpetual Penance.”
I ponder wide and deep. Her ragged breath sounds like a death rattle. But I face my personal demons with the strong prospect of immersion in the River Lethe to wash all the taints of my past into oblivion.
The sodium lights peek through the window and touch her sober nakedness with an aura of golden heat which awakens my restless libido. We answer the midnight summons with our eyes wide to the opening future.
Rowena retires to the powder room to wash the sweat from her mascara-smeared face. I watch her rub the moistened cloth to wipe away her makeup. Soon her lips are pale, once again, as Poe’s Annabel Lee’s. I tag behind her to wash my face. Each splash of cold on heat feels like a bath in a baptismal font to christen me into a new age.
Together, we step into the manmade waterfall of her shower and ballroom dance under the pelt of liquid joy. Each hot bead steams my skin into blushed manhood. She shuts off the rush of water. Then I close my eyes and feel the opium rush of cool air on my drenched body.
With sure feet, I follow her footsteps to the window and stand caressed in the late spring breeze. I know that Baton Rouge is a camp for New Orleans refugees with their French Quarter customs where her nudity is a form of art that is appreciated by a passerby on the streets.
The city lights up like a million candles. She stands at the window gazing the thousand-mile stare. Her languid eyes form crescent moons.
Jazz floats upward across her. She says, “My body is so weary but let’s cut a rug.”
I reply, “I’ll baptize you into the bestial breed when civilization dissolves in a burst of flame leaving only an untamed wilderness of desire.”
“Get down brother. You got me grooving to your beat like it is nobody’s business.”
“Our poetry may be flowery but it is straight from the bowery and we don’t expect no dowry on our salary.”
“Oh honey, don’t you fret over the boss man. You got a gig with me come what may. And a pink slip isn’t always bad. Mine is the type you wear that comes off when the spirit moves us.”
She wraps herself in terrycloth. Her bathrobe looks like a pre-exhibition drapery on her nude portrait. She tells me, “I see myself as a bare woman whose beauty is appreciated by many but seen by few.”
“Yes, the lucky guys down below who happened to look up at your spectacle.”
“You could hardly call them peeping Toms because the curtains are wide open for curious onlookers.”
“Maybe you could appear at a set time every evening and be the star of your own show.”
“I might get my own fan club. If I am punctual I could draw a crowd.”
“I could go down there and sell popcorn and sodas while you entertain.”
“Our budget could use a boost. You could raffle my panties to the lucky guy.”
“Your entrepreneurial spirit is an inspiration.”
“Desperate times call for desperate measures.”
“So long as you don’t ask me to take pictures of you and sell your signed copies.”
“What kind of girl do you take me for? Just because I sell my lingerie doesn’t mean I confuse art with indecency.”
“What if I take a silhouette of you in the moonlight? All they would see is your dark shape.”
“You are pushing it buster. But you think photos of my darkened figure would be within proper decorum?”
“They would sell like hotcakes.”
“Like a bake sale only for the libido.”
“In the interest of art.”
“I am the next Mona Lisa.”
With the urge of sunbeams, we rise from our mattress with Rowena’s witness to me. “I have found a kind of fragrance all my own with you, my man.”