We lay in her loft on the biggest bed I’d ever slept in. I awoke to her index finger circling my aureole. Do you shave around your nipples, she asked. I don’t like the hair there. But it’s a beautiful blonde yarn. I don’t like hair, I’m sorry. But it helps my mouth, my hands, find their way to your delicate places.

Monika had mandarin colored hair everywhere. Her legs appeared freckled in the summer light as it fell through large wall-sized windows. I’d find her orange threads in my underwear, and stuck in the crack of my ass after a shared shower. When I was folding her dryer warm sheets the static would capture her hair, I’d shake the sheet violently trying to free the hostage strands. Monika fought anxiety with Zanex, and I fought feeling like an outsider by trying to get inside her, to make her feel something through the numb. She was right about the trail of hairs that lead to the important places on the body. I let myself into her loft, switch my shoes for slippers at the door, take the metal stairs up to her open bedroom and follow the paths her body laid out. Her ceramic skin contrasted the fiery translucent hairs on her hands, a veil over each finger, a way for my lips to search out in the dark hours. But now it was 7am and her body was sprawled atop her bed, uncovered in the summer heat. From her fingers to her forearms, the wildfire spread sporadically up her, turning to the finest down at her shoulders where her ocean-curled hair blanketed them. Hairs like ivy peak from her armpit, crawling for daylight it seems. I purse my lips to blow warm breath on her clavicle, the forgotten microscopic hairs standing up across her chest leading to the red-ring around her nipple. My tongue makes contact. She shifts a bit, a hard sleeper under self-medicated anesthesia. I kiss her left nipple, hovering above it, blowing slow hot breath. I follow her trails, the one that dives at the center of her abdomen towards the well of her bellybutton. Monika doesn’t own a razor; her skin is shielded from the sun at all hours either by clothing, or in the safety of her apartment. She’s my protected prize, untarnished. The body is centered, balanced, composed of pairs and a few singulars. Her two hips are parenthesis for her singular beauty, one also made of pairs. Her cream panties, transparent enough to see the strawberry they encase. I continue my visual investigation, my exploration of a body I’ll never live in. Her fluorescent legs are spotted by the tint of red hairs that cover her. I’ve stared too long, touched timidly, can no longer resist the differences between us, the differences I am enamored with.  I take her right foot in my hands, her eyelids crinkle-squeeze; I press her small foot to my face. My cheek to the top of it; letting the little hairs carpeting each of her toes tickle my cheek as I move my face against them; the way the body mirrors itself so appropriately amazes me.

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