Monday, Jan. 13, 2003, 2:19 AM

Perceptions in Blue

Perceptions in Blue

We lie naked beside one another. The fishtank casting a blue glow about the room that our bodies float through in an ethereal fashion. I'm content to lie naked on top of the covers gently running my finger along the furry path between my chest and stomach. My finger plays about my belly button and my gaze traces the cracks in the ceiling. My arm is falling asleep beneath her body.

I move my arm to bring life back into it, causing her to lift her head from my chest and reposition it so slightly that her moist breath still runs across my abdomen warming the same spot that my fingers gently play over. She moves closer and presses her body firmly against my side before adopting her former skittish repose. She lets herself be seen at times like this - when she is unaware. In a moment she will realize that her naked body lies exposed for my eyes to gently play over and will pull a blanket across her midsection.

She shifts, pulling the corner of the blanket away to drape across her hips. She dutifully covers her sex and lets the point of the spread fall across my naked thigh. She squeezes closer and presses her face into my chest like scared child looking for refuge in the granite certainty of her father. And I am her like her father, stoic and unfaltering, despite my nudity.

I lie on my back wondering why she is trying to run away from her exposed familiarity. Every night she sleeps with it, and every morning she showers with it, and when clothed she is apt to flaunt it to the boys in the mall with hungry eyes and stiff cocks. Yet here with me she runs from herself, embarrassed as if my ridicule. Perhaps I fail to grasp the gravity of the situation. And it is not that force which attaches us so tenuously to the skin of the earth that is causing her to cling to my side. The concept of vulnerability swims to the top of my mind like noodles in soup disturbed by a passing spoon.

And I don't understand the concept of vulnerability - why people harden themselves against one another so that when one does break through the shell of another they resemble the dry and withered innards of a walnut. Why close the light of life away? To avoid pain? Pain is a stimulant as is love. But people insist on shutting everything out, content to exist as a chrysalis in a cocoon - never completing whatever futile metamorphosis they struggle towards that will allow them to experience all sensory input without pain, hunger, or desolation. And what is passion but an all consuming hunger of the soul?

She jerks in her sleep awakening my mind to the fact that she is trying to spin a cocoon around both of us to shield us from all the pains and pleasures of life. Trying to lock me to the commonplace habitual life of the modern middle-class working family with barbecues every Fourth of July and a yard to mow in the long shadows of the afternoon. Where days, and then seasons, run into a dark indecipherable mess like an inked letter in the gutter.

I get up slowly, careful not to wake her. I turn off the fishtank light and make my way outside to where the breeze caresses my body without question or intent.

-- July 1993