There were no familiar salutations, perfunctory air kisses or the likes. If it had indeed turned perfunctory I wouldn’t have been sitting here, grateful that the seat I was on was fabric, not commercial grade vinyl, or even leather. I usually had to peel my flesh away, where my bare thighs extended past the hem of my satin coat and adhered in a film of damp trepidation.
Once I’d perspired so much, I was in flames upon leaving—my face a shade of roasted beetroot. You were long gone and I knew that it wasn’t just moisture I was leaving behind. The next person would have the essence of me, clinging to their pants, skirt or even bare skin. I imagined the confusion of a stranger putting their hand on the seat while adjusting their posture, their palm coming away sweaty. Would they wipe it off without a second thought or would they be horrified, immediately making a beeline for the bathroom to wash their hands? Even with humiliation burning right to the edges of my toes, I sometimes envisaged it might be a man who instead surreptitiously raises his palm to his nose and inhales deeply, curling his hand and excusing himself to the bathroom for an entirely different reason.
On the walk home that thought made me consider the danger of a dark alley and desperately coming again.
I can’t explain what it is that we do. I can barely remember how we started. All I know is that I will order your whiskey. It will sit on the bar, not directly in front of me, but a little to the right. You might arrive five, ten, fifteen minutes later. I don’t know. I never check the time once I’m seated.
I don’t know your face. I’ve never seen it. Sure I could’ve peeked in the mirror. Some of the bars I venture to are lined with that reflective glass, brittle sheets protected by lines of liquor. But I haven’t. I’ve heard you speak once, a hot whisper that licked inside my ear and down the side of my neck.
I know you like your whiskey European and strong. You wear an expensive looking watch on your left wrist (although I know little about watches) and your shirts always have folded cuffs, extending past the sleeve of your jacket. Sometimes your suit jacket is black and sometimes it’s navy with pinstripes.
It started with a little dare, a small secret that was all my own. Sitting at a bar with nothing else on but my satin coat. Who could possibly know? I was never much of an exhibitionist, even with alcohol flowing through my veins. It had never struck me to purposely reveal anything. My dress coat was short, but hardly bordering on indecent, lapping over itself neatly in a double breasted fashion. Self-titillation in a two hundred dollar coat.
And then there was you, and somehow without you it isn’t the same. I never know when I’ll see you, but somehow you find me. Sometimes it’s so fast I’m forced to grip the sides of the seat to steady myself, other times it’s so slow, I’m white knuckled as I fight to keep myself from moaning.
Salivation moistens my lips. I don’t even need to lick them, my mouth slipping against the glass of my icy cocktail. Radiant heat spreads over my vertebrae in a slow consciousness, and your arm enters my peripheral reaching for the glass. You tip it in your customary gesture that I’ve come to understand as a thank you.
My breath never fails to catch and I tilt my head in acknowledgement. We’re just another couple in a bar, having a drink together, or I hope that is what we portray. The cocktail glass stops at my bottom lip, your palm sliding across the top my satin thigh. I count to five, breathe out slowly, then finish the rest of my drink. The bartender catches my eye and I nod once, watching as he makes my drink. Managing a smile, I thank him and stare at the rim of the glass, your fingers poised.