A community motel in familiar country, littered with fond families and to-be relics of domestic life. A veritable suburban oasis, if such a thing ever existed.

ver * i * ta * ble - used as an intensifier, often to qualify a metaphor.

So perhaps not a veritable suburban oasis. I’m unsure on a better word however. Perhaps exploration will unearth an appropriate label.

The tower stood at the edge of a highway, one I'd traveled only minutes before. The only cushion between the cluster and the road was a field, less than a mile wide. You could still hear the traffic from that distance. Count the cars if you wanted to. Not many would make it out this far. But I did.

Right, the tower. I swear it was a pair of cubes stacked one on the other, each with an array of 24 rooms and hollow in the middle for a tree that lurched through the apartments, desperate for life. And life it reached; Within its veins and around its skin, life shimmered and scampered and screamed. A single treehouse rested on one of its stronger limbs, a finalizing architecture to this, your tower.

Below the whistle and thistle of the tree, down where it's roots invaded the sod, but not so far as where it had punctured the acrid, August asphalt, there was your abode. Subterranean. Safe from the afflictions of sunlight. It seems perfectly fitting, but then again, that is the nature of these things.

per * fect * ly - in a manner of way that could not be better

Perhaps it was a perfect oasis. Maybe your endodermal hut was veritably fitting? Now I'm just collecting words. Silliness.

I knocked at the door, indistinguishable from any of the others, scuffed and painted over in 6 layers. Perhaps 7? No, the 7th was only dirt. The numbers, swirled and distorted in some dyslexic delusion, were polished, untampered by the paint and the dirt and the whistle and the thistle. Were they new perhaps?

My pondering was abraded by the creak of the door and a familiar smile. I watched on in confusion. I knew this was your home and yet I was surprised to see you. Even more surprised to see your smile. It was like you knew me. I mean, you know me, but… I don't know. It was the smile of an old friend, of wounds of loneliness salved over at the very sight of familiarity.

“Your hair has grown,” I said. It wasn't just small talk. You had it tucked up in a bun, nested behind your head, two pencils stuck through. Likely more for function than form, though you met both with grace.

“I guess I have,” you looked straight up, as though your eyes would roll back inside your head to examine the follicles from the inside. An array of blinking LEDs to tell you the status of each strand.

“And it's not black any longer,” I mused. You nodded with a laugh and gesture me in.

“Yes yes. My hair is very different. I assure you, I am just the same though,” you guide me down the single flight of stairs to your apartment. Somehow, sunlight streams right in through your window. Makes no sense, but that is the nature of these things.

The sunlight revealed a system of islands, each mapped, some sprawling and low while others lay in a bundled heap, mountainous and violent.

You lead me to the only substantial landmass, lying down and turning the page. The carpet was a quiet beige, the walls a very similar color to your hair. It really was a compliment. I hope you knew that! What I said about your hair, I mean. And your dress was lovely too. A green that was nearly grey, like the grass you find in winter, but not quite so dead. Your green had a blush to it, just like your cheeks.

love*ly - exquisitely beautiful

ex*quis*ite*ly - in an intensely felt manner
beau*ti*ful - pleasing the senses or mind aesthetically

Pleasing the senses in an intensely felt manner. No. Your dress was not lovely. Veritable, perhaps. Perfect, possibly. But lovely. No. Lovely was you. I felt the burden of your existence. I was overwhelmed (buried or drowned beneath a huge mass - the mass still unknown to me. What of you was so enormous that it could so easily surpass me?).

You looked up at me and patted the floor beside you. “This is what you came for, yeah?” You smiled again, much the same. I crouched beside you, letting my limbs expand behind me, my arms beneath me, a little platform for my frame.I did not read and you did not talk. We lay there in the ocean and soaked silently in the healing of presence. I knew why I had come, but I was sure our intentions were asymmetric. You seemed lonely, that's all. I have the sense that you called me. I have the sense you called me last. But then you smiled and smiled again. And then your shoulder pressed to mine as you leaned over my page. You weren't reading though. I know you weren't reading. I didn't move though. I sure hope you weren't reading. That would have been incredibly rude of me.

Suddenly I felt your teeth on my ear and I shuddered. You were gentle, but that only made it worse. Even as I pulled away, you nipped again, knowingly. Sparks popped over my nerves and a single chill tilted my spine toward you. Only once you let go of my ear was I able to look over to you. You lay there with the same smile. Anyone else would have soured over with the heavy lids of sexual attraction. But you. You chose to smile.

“You know we-

“It's alright,” you touched my hand to silence me, kissing my cheek. I found myself heaped underneath your compassion, your permission. I felt the imprint of your connection. I've never felt wanted, not unconditionally anyway. I usually wind up overthinking it and talking myself out of any acceptance I find. But in your smile, I was drowning in a force of acceptance most formidable.

As I sank, you laid over me, assuring me that the waters were safe. No one knows how deep the Pacific Ocean is. Challenger Deep is the closest we've come to knowing. How could you know if these waters were safe? And yet, somehow I trusted you. Trusted you to carry my down, into the heart of the Mariana, unscathed. Overwhelmed, but unscathed.

Your lips were wet and you kissed me so gently, so exquisitely, your hair around us like a bubble, leaving us just enough room to breathe.

When did you take the bun out of your hair? Your hair out of a bun? When did you emerge into this thing you once weren’t? The colors were different and you seemed… altered. Otherly. But then again, I was taking you in at the depths of an ocean beneath a tree. What of sensibility was left? You stripped us of sensibility and we lay at the bottom, watching the pinprick of sunlight that was the surface. It shimmered like a planet, torrential and horrific, but so remote.

Beneath the ocean, beneath your room, beneath acrid August and all beneath the tree.

And yet.

I felt no easier. Enshrined in entwining seaweed, strands of blue light pooling between our bodies. You made it clear that I could have whatever I wanted. You weren’t begging me, either. When you looked at me it was with confidence and a volume of acceptance I’m still unable to understand or feel. It was not an exquisite acceptance, not because you were not exquisite but because I was not. I still am not. I know I owe you no apology by your measure, but I offer it regardless.

As my body, buoyant and empty, would drift up, you would pull me back down, finally strapping me with your hair and weighing my feet with stones you’d collected from the baptising Mississippi, rounded without facade by the rushing waters. I watched you until I could no longer, until the light from the surface fell away.

All oceanic metaphor seems pornographic when discussing sex. Caverns and crevasses. Sea worms and ‘such great depths’. It's all vile, tampered and trite. It's embarrassing that my mind would go there, that it would not strive a little further to find something adequate.

a*de*quate - satisfactory or acceptable in quality or quantity

Why was it that you found me adequate? That you'd let your lips linger, fingers rest, breasts sustain. I find myself fearing the most Oedipal diagnosis as I realize your nurturing spirit, one of only concern for my well being. The alma mater.

Why would such spirits blend with such erotic visage?

But I know you're not the mother. You were concerned for my health, but you were also able to provide for it. You not only wanted to supplement my need, you also knew how to and had the means to.

When I finally opened my eyes, you were beneath me. No ocean. No caverns or crevasses. No paint or dirt. No whistle or thistle. No metaphor even. Just skin.

skin - the final layer of protection from the world around us and the only thing stranding us from the connection we desire with the ones we want to share with.

Skin should be understood here simply as skin. There is no adequate metaphor to be used in its place and it should not drop to such a level as to become metaphor itself. We had hearts and lungs, livers and other assorted guts but we were skin. Every last inch of us.

“What?” you inquired, stumped for the first time, your eyes quizzical, but not worried. “Oh,” you pulled out from under me and made your way quickly to your bedroom, emerging with a small square. “Here,” you offered, tossing the condom on my billowing stomach.

Adequate, a condom and veritable, a suburban oasis.