I: Bulgari Black (Duncan)
I first saw him drinking coffee in a dimly lit corner of an airport Costa, face tinted blue by his laptop. My chair screamed as I pulled it out. He glanced up, smiled wearily and my heart lurched like a boat tied to stalwart iron tugging to flee.
Each Friday I travelled home to a cold northern city, to a house alive with family, to someone I’d loved for more than fifteen years; familiarity had perhaps dulled our edges, but the bonds, plastered, riveted, taped and put to bed were secure. We’d had moments of darkness, nights of war words; resolved in the light of pale morning, skin reeking of fuck and Dior. But I felt loved enough.
On weekly London commutes I saw him everywhere; at check ins, on trains to Liverpool Street, wandering scattered concourses, thumbing magazines in the warm, sugar-aired W.H. Smith. He trailed vanilla and a weird sniff of smoky plastic, mixed with businessman heat and exhaustion. It was intoxicating. I stalked his vapours.
‘Can I buy your coffee for you?’ He was standing behind me, exuding that sweet scent of Lego tires and chai. Such a casual request led us recklessly to a room in a hotel, sitting in loaded shadows, each of us wondering how the other tasted. It felt insane but my skin burned for him. ‘You smell of burnt tea and rubber, it’s driving me fucking crazy’. I stood and touched his face hard, pushing fingers over his lips and stubble. He flinched, then chewed and licked at my fingers. I leaned down and pushed my face into the gap of collar and neck. ‘What is this smell?’ I asked, nuzzling his throat, ‘it’s amazing’.