We’re in love by our third martini. Mine dirty, his with a twist. There is an excitement knowing how fast and temporary this will be.

The waitstaff are talking about us. When he leans in closer to hear my voice more clearly, I smell violets and cigarettes on his collar, and lemon vodka on his breath. I subtly swoop toward him and we briefly touch cheeks. His skin is as soft as the summer atmosphere around us and the dim streetlights above.

We aren’t discussing anything of great depth, but engagement is an obvious quality we share. And so we tell stories and tip glasses and laugh loudly while we talk about what it’s like living in other countries.

“It’s hard to understand anything about how the States are perceived unless you spend significant time overseas.”

“Agreed.”

The bartender likes us and brings a shaker a third full with every drink she pours. “There’s a little left, you can’t waste that. It’s Friday.” I like her greasy black hair and gold nose ring. The three of us exchange looks and she understands she is welcome to join us, if she could.

It was a busy, boozy New York City night. People traveled in groups, fingers laced together, elbows hooked over shoulders. The two of us sat in the corner of the sidewalk patio and told each other where we pursued postgraduate degrees. “California.” “South Africa.”

We decided to go back to the room and drink all of the Belvedere in the minibar. Halfway through the third bottle, he’s on his knees in front of me. I’m envious of his perfect pedicure. The color matches my bag exactly.  I sprawl my fingers, whip back my wrist and slap his face so hard that his eyes slightly water.

“Thank you.”

I won’t tell you much about after that because, as you are aware, I am a very private person. But there was a tattoo, many piercings, chains with weights, hooks and leather.

You told me to write you a story. You know, and you alone, understand that I do everything that you tell me to do. Especially when other men are involved.

[part one] [soundtrack]