He walked in smelling of cigarettes and whiskey and the leather of his jacket. He looked like the man of my teenage dreams, before I stopped dreaming. His left eyebrow had a deep cut that accentuated the five o clock shadow his high cheekbones wore. I wasn’t used to guys like that – guys who looked at me like I was poetry. They generally poured their troubles into me, about their wives, lives, and bosses. I was the instant comfort in the age of waiting for lines, and missing crowded trains. The first time we met, we danced to the rhythm of love, and we left it at that. You paid them six hours to dance with me and study me, and make me yearn for you. You made a promise of tomorrow, and you stuck to that.
Tomorrow came a week later. You said I’m falling for you, is it too soon? unlike the other men, who just said they love me for the favour they want. You wrote me a couplet, and I cried into your lap and you said let’s get out of here.
You came back the next week, and you got me cake, and you fed it to me, before playing me your favourite song, and read me your couplet for the day, and we sit talking in the six hours allotted to us. I ask you why you did it, and you say I’m your muse and you’re going to immortalise me, but you don’t want to jinx it.
The next week, my owner knows you’d be coming, so doesn’t schedule meetings for me. You walk in ecstatic and say that you got the deal: you’re going to be published and I am the cause for it. You tell me Let’s run away from here. I want you all to myself. And I tell you that I’m a caged bird, and I will only slow you down. You look into my eyes and say breathing doesn’t slow me down. I look at you, and I want it. So we make love, and it’s nothing like anything. You look me in the eye, and whisper I know places we won’t be found in. So I risk it.
You let them know, and they let you take me to the movies. And everytime I look back, I see the vultures circling and the crows cawing. You hold my hands and we disappear in the terrace, me holding on to you, like you are the key to my life, and you are! And we hear the explosions, and we close our eyes, holding on to each other, and our dear lives. We make hasty promises of staying awake if the other falls, and the thought is unbearable.
Because you caress my hair, while the others tug and pull at it. And you kiss my cheeks, while the others strike it. And your eyes speak of love, while theirs speak of revenge and glory and boredom. You leave tattoos and they leave scars.
And I whisper I’m falling for you too, is it too late for that? And you smile up to me and say, They may shoot at us, baby, but we’re bulletproof. And you nuzzle my nose, as they come pouring in. And we jump.
Inspired by Taylor Swift’s I know Places, and Amita Trasi’s The Color of our Sky.
If it’s not clear, the female protagonist is a prostitute at a brothel, and the male is a patron who fell in love with her.