Dad's dead serious when he tells me no boys. He's leaving the house to me for the night, until noon tomorrow, and under no circumstances will there be any boys in the house. I nod. I know. Isabel nods. Isabel knows.
She's my man.
She's so strong; it's maddening, what she can take. Her face is set as he wishes me good night and leaves. We hear the door shut, and she doesn't move. We hear the deadbolt slide into place, and she doesn't move. We hear the motor gun and the car descend down the road, and she doesn't move. We hear nothing at all, and I'm pinned. She boosts me on to the kitchen counter, and I gasp up into her kiss. My head hits the spice rack, and I smell cinnamon as draw my legs up around her. She moans against the clatter of my thin high heels falling to the floor, and I can't help but laugh a little at her, so predictable, so Isabel. I haven't seen her since right after third period today. We didn't touch or talk. She just came by as I was putting on a little more greyish lavender eye shadow at my locker and leaned next to me, lazily, arms crossed, bluntly staring down all the cute soul mates and prom dates that walked by. She's my man, she's my cockatrice, she's a thousand sly little things that make me warm and sure and indifferent to all those harrowing things I am.
Slow as honey the day dwindled down to nothing but tonight. I covet this time we trap; it's like nothing else I've ever had, and it makes me glib and selfish to the touch. No parents, no siblings, no friends, no teachers, no guidance counselors, no psychiatrists, no doctors, no scientists, no police, no concerned citizens, no self-righteous political organizations frantic that we might corrupt or infect their dear sweet children. They don't know it, but it goes both ways. Makes me weak in the knees how possessive Isabel can be. Truth is beauty. The seams of my stockings run rivers those boys can't touch. I know it by heart; it reverberates back as she runs the palm of her hand down my left breast. I twist up a little, and I can faintly taste Joy's grape on her teeth. This isn't effortless for her. I know this through and through. I love her in cold blood. I love her here at home when she lays me low and loves me back. I love her at school when she determined not to let this secret buck me off. I am so fiercely what I am, but I can break. I've come close; I wonder if I've made antibodies to devour those beautiful, fleeting desires to be destroyed, violently and completely, by her side. A difficult truce wound up inside me a long time ago, and I think she really knows because she never complains or slips up herself. She iced the temptation early on; she's croppingly normal to all those other girls out there. She knows well enough why I've got to have things this way, and she never makes me listen to myself explaining to her with all those awful words that make it sound like I do anything but love her. She's a gentleman.
A real man.