Sweet Rosé, follow me home 

by Charlotte E. Wilde

Summer is a void. We put on our July skins, golden brown and luminous, that we might trace such sun-kssed maps towards the sweet skinny-dip secrets of August. Glistening trails of sweat trace body’s contours with leprechaun-like follow-me’s that linger on even in the shade of rosey cheeks and wine stained lips. The feeling of heavy hair clinging to my damp back aches like the billowing sails of trouble– it’s August again and I always feel a little reckless in the heat.  

Hindsight knew Éleanore read my look laid bare like a pack of tarot cards, taking the book from my fingers without a thought, “tu as trouvé ton bonheur, alors?” A rhetorical question; I realized later that hers usually were. 

I met her for a drink at 21h in a bar by the canal far too tendence for my liking but the crowd seemed to blur and I found my cheeks hurting for a laugh. Looking at her evinced the strangest effect, like the skin of your chest twisting round a pair of nimble fingers that envisioned your destiny as a soon-to-be pinwheel ready to decorate some ill-advised DIY. I doubt I could describe it any other way, a tugging tightening that burned straight through to the bone.

Her eyes were the color of my leather bracelet and her tan-lines told stories of weekend-warriors lost and not refound amongst the dunes of a ferris-wheel reminiscence meant for two. It was hot that summer, as hot as I can remember. She bought me a glass of rosé for which she extracted a kiss and her lips were the color of wine and wet and cool. “Eey-lee-ah-nor,” she corrected with a singing breath that shifted to maple. I watched her talk while the heat formed beads of sweat above her lip and I found myself wondering if a touch of her skin would evince a synesthesia symphony of pancakes and warm syrup that would swirl from her and envelop us both.

“You think too much,” she stated, as though announcing the banality of next week’s weather and I was certain she was right so I followed her home and let her pull me close in the doorway instead of walking away like I said I knew I would, but didn’t after all. Instead I laced her small fingers in mine and lost myself in the waving canal. When she whispered in my ear lost-in-translation didn’t stop the conviction of her lilting accent slipping down my chest until I freed her hand and stood still while she tuged at my t-shirt because in all the heat I’d forgotten how to breathe. She spanned the swells of my ribs like Sartre’s love-notes in the hallway and I kept thinking I must have missed something but there I was with legs heavier than eyelids.

She tells me I’m beautiful, her lips trace beautiful again and again onto my skin in sliding homage to something we were born to worship in a physical abstraction. Perfection no, but certainly what exists under that tan passes for a secret worth keeping. I’m not sure anymore but her lips bruised mine like mint leaves on ice and together we become some winged thing that breathes with gills and walks on water like a curse. Summer is a void but we were cast in leading roles with gleeful grins and serious eyes.

I woke up hours later sweating with her skin sticky next to mine so I watched her wondering what flavor of ice cream she preferred and if she fell apart before the ends of films until my blushing thoughts swam in cups still half full but now empty as a hungover smile. I question anyone that can sleep through the night. She never stirred even when I half hoped she would. I stole away before the heat of the day reminded me of myself and the garden’s whisper “you are naked” rolled off Eve’s serpent’s tongue to reach my rainstorm’s ransom worth of calm.

I never saw her again after I slipped down the curling stairs from her apartment but I often thought of all the things we could have said that got lost somehow in the humid city’s breath and the way damp strands of hair framed the pulse of her throat in a Picasso-esque masterpiece of confused perfection. Éleanore unraveled me like a necklace, she held her hands over my eyes and told me to breathe; maple and mojitos and the recklessness of a summer heatwave sucked the air from my lungs until she closed her lips on mine and we forgot ourselves in the dark.