Realm of the Senses
I stop feeling sorry for myself for a second when I feel the tangle of ponytail scratch the back of my neck as it starts to dread under the poor fitting helmet. My mind is steeped in late-teen hormones and addled by idle time. I’m busy tormenting myself about the merits of love vs. sexual attraction. It’s quiet while we’re stopped at the light. Ever the fountain of folk wisdom; Mark tries to clear my head. “This is the realm of the senses! I must live in the realm of the senses, because if I do not, I will diiiieee.” The light turns green on cue, and he lays on the gas. My grip fumbles with the sudden movement. I almost slip, but I catch the tank in time to stay on the back of the motorcycle. He’s made his point. I am focused, and alive.
Two decades and genuine heartbreak are behind us now. I look at the lines of stress on Mark’s face while he continues to engage me in a conversation about embryonic human sexual development during the time before our genitals have differentiated into male or female parts. Pipe in hand, he points and beams, “At that point, your thunder button doesn’t know if it’s going to be clit or a harpoon.” The stink of tobacco pipe and coffee percolates the warmth in my belly that calls this home. This man has forged the clan for all of us and shaped living into art. Beans and sour cream, story and smoke, half-empty milk jugs, stray reptiles, bony-tongued fishes, incessant giggles, literature, chicory, pain, battles of wit, and endless endless coffee, have shepherded us all through the best and worst of our lives together. For a few moments, we engage in silly banter over biology which neither of us are qualified to debate. I know the pit in Mark’s belly remains full, but the lines in his face relax while he forgets for just a moment about the merits of love vs. sexual attraction.
This is the realm of the senses.