Thursday, June 18

Tender Moments

I lie reclined on the thick mattress with my elbow in an almost right angle, and my hand cradling the back of my head. My eyes crawl in a lazy trail from her quiet face to the stacks of boxes behind her. Our room is a maze of piles of clothes waiting to be organized in the wardrobe, which still has the strong scent of wood, of picture frames in their protective wraps begging to be released and displayed, of table lamps and other small furniture with their matching partners lost in one of the unopened boxes, of my books and her magazines, stacked into little towers threatening to topple at the slightest sneeze, and of her odds and ends, her makeups, her vanity affair. We don't even have a proper bed yet, just the mattress pushed against the wall with the window. The guys from IKEA promised us delivery of the rest of our furniture today. My eyes return to her, as they always do. Gentle morning light dances between the leaves of the tree outside our apartment block, peeking through the window, bathing her in a warm glow. The way her body moves with each breath reminds me of the quiet waves of the beach at sunrise. Her hair, usually a mystery of cascading silk, is sticking out everywhere, a stark contrast against her tranquil face. Her long, curved lashes catch the light of the sun, but still her eyes dart about behind closed lids, assuring me that she is still deeply asleep. Her full lips curve slightly. Maybe she is having a pleasant time in her secret dream world. Even asleep she takes my breath away. I long to caress her smooth cheek, to trace a line down her angular jaw, to the small scar at the base of her neck, a token of her spirited childhood. She always tries to hide the scar, but I always tell her that it makes her even more perfect. Of course, she doesn't believe me. But I love kissing the scar. It's slightly cooler than the rest of her warm skin, where I love to kiss as well. Heck, I love kissing her, period. But I also love watching her sleep, so I refrain from risking waking her up. She moves a fraction, and her hair floats down to rest on her lashes. Without thinking, I smooth the hair from her eye and tuck it behind her ear. My fingers caress her earlobe with the slightest pressure. "Hey," she whispers without opening her eyes. Her dimple burrows a deep impression on her cheek as she smiles. "Hey." "Watchadoin?" "Watching you sleep." She lets out a throaty groan and pulls the blanket to cover her face. My exposed feet suddenly feel cold from the air-conditioning. I intertwine my feet with hers to share warmth. "I'm ugly like this!" I smile even though she can't see me, with her face buried under the down cover. I wait a moment before pulling the blanket over my head to join her. "No matter what time of the day, no matter how you look, you are the most beautiful woman I’ve ever laid my eyes on." She lifts the blanket enough to peer at my face. She narrows her eyes to slits. "Well…besides Angelina Jolie." Which earns me a hearty punch on the chest. "Oof! Ouch, that hurts!" And we both break into a fit of laughs and giggles. I feel a stitch on my ribs from laughing so much. Settling down, I caress her chin between my thumb and forefinger. "Well, I’m thankful you consented to share your life with me. I’m glad I’m able to wake up beside you every day, and to be able to look at you, to watch over you while you sleep."

She rolls her eyes. "Last I checked I didn't marry a poet." She lifts her hand and uses the back of her fingers to trace the contours of my face. "I love knowing you're watching over me. I love having our feet twisted together like this. But most of all, I love you."

And we kiss, a long, soft, and gentle kiss.

"Ugh," she mumbles between kisses. "Your breath stinks!"

"Yours too. But I’m not gonna stop kissing you!"