Older Woman

Older Woman

I was with an older woman.

Words momentarily suspended in air, before gently rippling the distance that separated us. 

In the deep timbre of his voice, a confession of the respite from adulting to his single mom, sister, and me.   

We were children, playing pretend, really. Able to wed or war but not buy alcohol.

I felt no harm, having grieved the absence of my first love eons ago, embers sufficiently cooled to indifference. 

Many moons later, a familiar colloquy.

Another sleepover at his studio in Spanish Harlem. Room enough to eat, sleep, and fuck. The sun warmed the bare, white walls and glistened against the golden, wooden floors. Summer beckoned with the promise of cheap delights.

I showered as he fixed a bachelor’s breakfast. 

Turkey bacon. Eggs. Café Bustelo.

Emerging from the steamy shower, skin ever slightly damp, black hair upswept in a rough, white towel. The evidence of last eve’s sweat and musk down the drain.

Under his gaze, my skin squirmed. I finally met his ardent, sable eyes temporarily transfixed between time and space 

You are going to be amazing in 10 years. 

A decade becomes two.

Assured in spirit. Powerful, inked form reclaimed from mother/otherhood. Laughter’s undeniable mark crinkling my eyes and mouth. Age spots freckling sharp cheekbones. Skin tags cascading down slim neck. Gray protesting against a sea of wavy, vibrant sea green hair.

On the other side of adoration, I see her clearly. 

That older woman is me. 

I am her.

Photo credit: Nguyễn Thanh Ngọc