My boy of ivory scoots closer to me in bed. This is our first time post-cum. He smooths back my hair and kisses me. We stare like giddy teenagers. His forehead, his lips, his perfect clavicle. The silkiness of his chest hair. I inhale it all. It's nearing 95 totally humid hell degrees outside of our shitty Airbnb in Harlem. He kisses my forehead, tells me how he even loves the taste of my sweat. His eyes grow wider, like pristine clear water pools above limestone. We stare again.
"Are you ready?" I ask myself. This is the moment I've told you nothing about. This is where I tell you. In this moment, I am immediately transported back to my childhood. I am six years old, I am learning how to swim at the Y. My swimsuit is blue and white, with red polka dots. This was the very first thing I picked out for myself. I loved the way the dark blue was metallic and still shimmered underneath the water. It was also the cheapest one at K-Mart, the one my mother approved of. I remember feeling so proud, like such a lady, even at six years old, in that sparkle shine swimsuit. My Boy of Ivory winks at me with one of the pools, and long lashes. My six-year old-lady-self goes back to the shallow end of the pool. All of the other kids in my class, in my lane, are darting off to the deep end. Stroke after stroke, they all reach the end, and each get a high-five from the coach at the end. I still wait on the other end of the pool. I am the last one. I am always the last one. I dawdle, too. Do you know that?
He pulls me in even closer. This is it, this right here.
I go back to the pool. Another day. Everyone is practicing their butterfly strokes. I have gone three classes without going to the deep end of the pool. The "coach" has gotten sick of asking me to at least try to make it to the deep end. He has given up. We have skipped the part where I swim to the deep end with all of the other guppies, and I am learning the other strokes, I go out of order. I always go out of order.
I stare right back at My Boy of Ivory this little micromoment is the one I will remember for the rest of my life. I am filled with the same strength and determination in this moment, as I was thirty years ago in the shallow end of that pool, as all the other kids were learning how to do the side stroke. I got out of the pool in the middle of class, marched over to the deep end, did a perfect dive in, and did the butterfly stroke all the way to the other end of the pool. This would not be the first time I heard oohs and ahhs after I have surprised people who have given up on me. Nor would it be the last.
I'm the one who inches, centimeters, millimeters in closer now, right next to him. I am ready. I dive in. I pull in My Boy of Ivory, I pull him in as close as possible. I entwine my fingers with his. I get to the bottom of his pools of limestone. I can breathe down there. I inhale, I exhale. I am here now, and I never want to leave.