This was our secret communion. Beneath a darkened sky, we came each night to the room on the top of the tower, paints in hands and dreams of flying farther caught up in our throats. We lay down side by side on the creaky wooden floor and tried to make out new constellations from our arrangement of glow-in-the-dark stick-up stars. After, we stayed, pulling paint chips from our hair and whispering soft things like kisses in breathy pauses, spilled forth from lips, for hours.

You brought me bread and chocolate. I filled you with pictures of poems.

We met in a tiny studio apartment that we were renting from some terrible old lady with cats. We sang our songs for her some nights, and dedicated them all to her bathroom slippers, and all the ways we would never be like that.

You see how many cats you have now? You’re all the same...

We came on quiet nights, and painted, or sang, or read. We danced once, in darkness, lit only by the tiny little window and the street lamp we pretended was the moon. Whether you were there each night or not, I drank for you there in our secret communion and broke bread with my god, all the time quietly eyeing your place in the room.

You painted me one night, remember? Do you remember? Of course.

You took the brush to my eyes and filled it with thick, deep red and purple. You played it across my skin and made me new in colors like passion and dreaming. You put your mouth around my open ears and scratched blue fingers over bloody hips. You pushed your tongue through my stomach until I screamed, and we made it through the night in distant rocking. It was the only time we kissed in more than play, and you did not come the next night. And I the next. Night by night we each ‘forgot’, missing the other completely until we’d forgotten our place in the tower and sought out distant rooms, bathed in the sun.

What of the nights I did not come? Did you wait for me beneath harsh spotlights, and play out your pain on a canvas? Did you sing?

I never forgot...

We came with dreams of farther heights to our room beside the moon. We pretended the time was almost right, but we’d grown comfortable. Never fat nor lazy, but our comfort in each other broke us down, and our art was suffering. Maybe that’s why we kissed... We never left our little tower, though, even if we never did come back. We never left, and the pain of a thousand isolated images slowly overtook me as I rotated your paintings through my mind for the years to come, and dreamed of your face in a portrait more real than paint could ever be.

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