Raised by wolvesYesterday's round of cliches and mounting egos ended abruptly in the dark as memories drowned us once again. We only ever get so far before we're yanked back by the leash of our past. It's not a leash, it's a noose, jerking me off my feet, out of the present, far away from the future. So much for hope.
Stronger than fear
If I open my eyes,
Ciúnas, Neamhchiontach. Ciúnas.
Just don't say it. Let me have this night.
He kissed my earlobe. My nose. My forehead. He smoothed his thumbs across my cheeks and cupped my head in his hands. His top hat puts his eyes into shadow. His eyeliner is smeared down his cheeks and across his lips. He's covered with fuel. I can smell it in his hair and on his skin. I reach up with one hand and try and wipe away the black. Underneath this is the light. Underneath all of these trappings of the Demon Juggler of Embro is my Lochlan. Or at least I hope so.
He keeps talking in other languages. Gaelic mixed with French mixed with Romanian. His hands are everywhere, his mouth everywhere. My clothes are landing on the filthy hotel floor one article at a time until I am naked and overheated and flush. There is no air conditioning, no standards for cleanliness and no identification required when you check in to this hotel. It's a dive. It's a forgotten strip of loneliness underneath a highway overpass in a city I wouldn't go back to on a dare. It's a shame.
He leaves his hat on as his hands come back up to cradle my face. Our clothes have made a sea on the floor, one of familiarity and small comfort. I wash them out each night in the bathtub and hang them on a string that Lochlan tied between the shower head and the window blinds. It only takes a few days in this heavy beach air to dry things and we each have four outfits plus our show costumes. We can't wash those. There's only one for each of us and we wear them every night. Loch's black pants are heavy with fuel and I worry that one of these nights he's going to go up in smoke but he tells me he's so careful, that he would never leave me alone here. He promises.
I take the whiskey and warn him that he'd better keep that promise and he smiles.
Are you happy, Neamhchiontach? Are you okay now?
I nod and swallow three times, then two more. I'll numb myself right out until I am. Then he will be happy too. He wants me to lie when he asks. That much I have learned. The whiskey holds truth's head underwater. Truth is drowning. Truth is dead.
He lifts me up in his arms and wraps my legs around his waist. He walks to the bed and dumps us both down onto it. A kiss to distract and then he has turned me inside out. There are no lies here now. There would be no place to put them. He pulls his hat off and sails it toward the table on the other side of the room just as I reach up to smooth his curls out of his eyes. I want to see him. It's still light out and so I want to see his expressions. They are so incredible as he goes through desire, passion, euphoria and then contentment.
We are almost to euphoria when the knocks start against the door. What begins as a polite rap soon turns to a steady pounding as he ignores it in favor of one last time making love in this place we'll never come back to. He stole the cash box yesterday while I made up an argument with the boss about how I should be paid more because I'm a performer now and not just a grunt. Lochlan took half the contents and then I picked another fight while he put the box back in place. We came back to the hotel long enough to collect our laundry and steal a map but now the hotel manager has realized that we're about to skip town without paying our bill and he wants to make sure we don't leave.
Lochlan takes me to the ceiling and holds me there while he finds his place beside me as the pounding on the door takes on the same rhythm as my pounding heart. I am shaky and spent. He lies down beside me smiling. Eyes flashing, face in an all-out grin.
This is not the life I planned for us but if you can bear with me, someday it will be, he says with a wink. We jump up and dress as fast as possible, buttoning buttons while we throw clothes into our bags, tying ribbons while I walk around exactly five times, checking the room to make sure we've left nothing behind. This is how we operate. Loch takes my hand and pulls me into the bathroom where he cuts down the string line and then takes the screen out of the window. He lifts me up and I go through easily to the dirt lot on the outside. He passes through my bag, then his bag and he starts to climb through when abruptly he stops and says one second, disappearing back into the room.
I can still hear the pounding on the door. I hear him yell One second! toward the door and then he is back. He passes through his top hat and then he climbs through the window. He loads both bags on his shoulder, puts his top hat on my head and takes my hand as we start to run. If we're fast enough there's a bus that stops just before the underpass to get back on the highway and we can leave this godforsaken place behind.