by Rudy Andrews

                Her name was Grace, and in my eyes, that is what she will forever be. Before me she lay, without a rag of silk covering more than half a leg and the right side of her hip. Her long smooth leg draped over the blue bed sheets like a cloud on water. Her bare breasts lay open about her chest for only me to see, and to describe them as anything less than perfect would be no less than a crime. Her arms decorated either side of the pillow, holding the same grace as a ballerina in full extension. The pillow did nothing to support her head, as the mountain orange curls are softer than any pillow will ever be. Her skin, by the gods her skin. Some might call it pale, but to me, it couldnt be more perfect. But none of the aspects of her perfect body will ever do her face justice. Angels and demons would battle for eons just to fight for the right to glance upon her face. This Aphrodite, this Venus, was mine.

The creeping light of the rising sun began to creep through the cracks in the blinds, and the darkness of the room began to recede. I sat on a chair, wooden and lightly padded, and stared at the goddess who had made me a man. The greatest night a boy could ever imagine having was mine forever.

             I had never had a girlfriend, not through high school, nor freshman year, nor even sophomore year. Every girl I claimed to love turned me away, so I stopped trying. I am the last of my friends without a popped cherry. But Grace, she was the one I always wanted, the one I always needed, the only one I will ever need.

            From bar to bar, drink to drink, shot to shot, my friends and I roamed the streets of this city. I think they take pity on me the fools, thinking Im a lonely cub. The final bar will be a place I never forget, and the eyes that I met will never leave the deepest part of my mind. Grace, I had never seen a girl like her before. She caught my eye over her drink and smiled, with the straw in her mouth, sucking on some red drink that I couldnt identify. Her eyes, the lightest shade of Venetian green, but held a softness that I had never known. It was said that Aphrodite could make any man fall in love with her with just one look, and the butter I melted into would concur with that.

            She pushed away from that bar in a manner I could never imagine to be sexier, and strutted directly to me. Girls never walked up to me, what was about to happen? The first words that left her red lips echoed in my head for what seemed like ages:

Buy a girl a drink?

            Everything after that moved faster than light ever could. But her laugh. Amidst the chaos of euphoria that proceeded, the one detail I remember is her laugh. No symphony or million dollar violin could ever match the sweetness that was her giggle.

            Before I knew which way was up, I was in her bedroom. My heart was pounding in my chest and the zipper of my jeans strained to keep together. I had never had a woman before, but I knew that no man would ever know the joy I was about to. She could tell I didnt know what I was doing, but she was kind, and gentle, and with her I felt whole. Days, weeks, hours, years. It didnt matter anymore, there was only me, her, and now. And when all was over, she fell asleep in my arms, wrapped around me like vines on a tree. The same smile she made when she first saw me was still on her face when she fell asleep.

            I woke only a few hours later, she still slept, and I watched her sleep. My mind thought of nothing when I saw her face, so why then could I not stop thinking? I got up, found my clothes, and sat in the chair staring at her. Her lips, her hair, her body, her skin, her laugh, her smile, she was and always would be perfect. We would go to movies, eat dinner at fancy restaurants, and we would make love every night. I would show her that she was a woman, and she would make me feel like I was a boy. We would have kids together, who would all have the mane of curly red hair that their mother did. And we would grow old together, and we would die together. Our lives would be perfect.

The thought of how great our lives would be kept a smile on my face as the door clicked shut behind me, and I was gone forever.

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