Christmas in July

by Shaun Terry

She was long and elegant, strong with a vulnerable mouth and big, brutal emerald eyes that turned up on the corners of her high cheek bones. She walked like an overconfident dictator — her proud shoulders defying gravity, hanging far over her long back, her wide sturdy hips, and the heels of her feet. But her ostentatious mannerisms betrayed her deepest unspoken fears.

Sometimes, light would reflect off tiny particles in the air, forming long, straight columns that moved about in odd patterns as the wind blew the leaves outside. The dancing light would eventually land on her tender olive skin, and it felt appropriate because everything about her seemed beautiful, even if some things were bright and some things were dark, and even if there were discrete but unstill delineations between the things that she allowed to be clearly seen and the things which one had to discover for oneself.

She had acquired a moderate collection of friends’ things, not because she wanted any of those particular things, nor because she wanted to deny anything of anyone, but because she wanted to have small pieces of her friends’ lives close to her at all times as conspicuous daily reminders of those people whom she’d loved so dearly, albeit often briefly.

She spoke rapidly, with a gleeful, subtle lilt in her voice. She could dominate a crowd, relying on improvisation which she used to deflect penetration beneath the foamy surface of her cultivated persona. Her eyes could gently arrest you and refocus you on the captivating mysteries of her history; they utilized a balance between tenderness and the surgical incisiveness of her warm gaze. Her face smiled often and naturally, and she was quick to pay people’s way and to buy small gifts when appropriate occasions arose. She sacrificed of herself to such a point that she didn’t always know what she wanted. This time, she knew what she wanted.

She was a curious woman, and her curiosity led her to indulge in reading, working out, alcohol, and eventually, sex. Her family lived in Albania, so she basically was from there, though ever less so. In fact, she’d rarely ever fucked an Albanian. She preferred tall blondes and could find herself lost in iris-cascades of cyan and sapphire and she could love the surfaces of these viewing lenses, preferring to not dig deep into the roots and pools that formed beneath them.

That wasn’t the case here, though. This was different. She loved his voice, she loved the careful attention with which he said the words that he carefully chose. It’s easy to fall in love in the endless visages of a Northern European city, as so many of them playfully balance between beautiful very old things and beautiful futuristic things. They’d walk for hours: talking, flirting, smiling at each other, wondering whether this was something substantive or whether it was simply the ripe fruit of a temporary affair. Sure, they could meet again some day, but there was liberty in the timeframe that constricted their tryst. The answer was yet to reveal itself.

The day after their first kiss, she invited him to her room with ease, casually asking if he had a condom and hoping that he’d have at least one for each day that they were to spend together. The sex was good, but they both rightly knew that it’d only get better as they continued to discover each other’s bodies.

A few days later, she remarked, “I really like when you finger me before you fuck me. You know why?”

“Tell me.”

“Because it’s like Christmas Eve and then Christmas.”

He smiled in satisfaction.