A Long Way From Home
Christmas morning should be substantially colder than sixty-five degrees. If Christmas isn’t white, it should at least be cold and rainy, not clear, sunny and warm. I’m looking out the window, staring at the gorgeous scenery of southern Arizona and marveling at how one country can have such different weather from region to region. After breathing in the dry, warm air for about thirty minutes and watching the majestic sunrise, I decide to get back in bed. Not to go back to sleep, mostly just because the bed’s comfortable and I’m a little bored at the moment. There's not much for me to do, really – I’m the only one awake. Paula and Ron, two old family friends, invited me to their more-or-less-annual holiday weekend at their small ranch just outside of Tucson and there are quite a few people here, but no one else has so much as turned over. I considered making coffee, but I changed my mind and now I figure I'll just settle back into these terrific Egyptian cotton sheets and the featherbed and allow myself to do something I rarely do: daydream.
Not surprisingly, my thoughts turn to Blair. He's at his own holiday party in Calgary, with friends celebrating Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa and Boxing Day - all in the same house. I smile as I think of what that must be like, then I smile simply because I'm thinking about him. This is the first time we've been apart in a long time - several months at least - and I miss him. I miss him a lot. Blair is good to me and he’s good for me and I feel like he's on the other side of the world right now. I never imagined that us being apart would feel like this.
I conjure up images of him smiling and laughing with the heartfelt joy that he feels for life. His emotions are pure and unclouded, fueled by the exuberance of youth, yet tempered by the wisdom of age. When I think about that face, splitting apart with a wonderful grin, eyes dancing with irrepressible mirth, I think about how much love and affection there is behind it all and I close my eyes. I want him here with me.
I decide to let my mind wander where I usually don’t let it go. I imagine that he’s here, sleeping in front of me, facing me. I see his handsome face, slack and expressionless in sleep, and I reach out and touch him so gently he couldn’t possibly feel it. I don’t want him to feel it, I want him to feel the intent behind it. I want him to know beyond doubt that he is loved and admired by me. He is wanted and needed by me. I allow my dream-self to move slightly forward and touch my forehead to his, feeling the soft puffs of air leaving his nose and warming the space between us. I stay that way for a long while, willing myself not to do anything to wake him up just yet because I only want to connect with him like this right now. We breathe slowly and deeply, in tandem, my heart slowing until I’m almost asleep again, and I’m more relaxed than I’ve been in a long time. We’re together on Christmas, our own gifts to each other, creating a magical and serene morning under the bluest Arizona sky.
I inch myself forward the remaining little bit until I feel his lips against mine. First, I simply rest there touching him, but he must be feeling the excess heat finally and I can feel the shifts in his temperature and heart rate. I put on a bit more pressure, truly kissing him now, but softly still. This needs to last for me. I want it to last for both of us.
I can feel the exact moment when he understands what’s happening and he comes awake slowly and takes a deep breath, moving silently into the kiss. There’s nothing urgent happening yet and in fact, there are still only two places of contact – our lips and my fingertips on his cheek. We’re coming together and breaking apart, slowly, quietly, our lips meeting and pulling away until everything naturally escalates. Without rushing, his lips brush my chin and I find myself loving the way they drag across my stubble. I smile and he returns to my mouth briefly, then rubs his nose against mine which really makes me smile. I reach behind his head and pull the elastic band restraining his hair until it slips out, freeing the heavy waves and curls, then bury my hand in the warmth. His right hand glances over my ribs just at the moment I trace his mouth with my tongue, beginning a whole new conversation, a whole new train of thought.
I finally move my body closer to his until we touch, just barely, just enough to feel more skin and heat. His fingers skate down my back, mapping me, exploring me as I am to him. I touch his throat as his mouth opens to kiss my jaw, but this time when he comes back to my mouth, there’s more he wants to say. His tongue slides in and he begins the chain of intense kisses, linked together by love and comfort, and suddenly, we’ve moved to the next beautiful phase of our morning. Now we’re more than simply touching, we’re practically sealed together, shifting and gliding against one another until I’m nearly on top of him, kissing him with all the passion I can without shattering into a million pieces. He matches me, of course, accepting, returning, grasping my hands and twining our fingers together, letting me know he’s with me. He’s always been with me.
My cell phone rings and snaps me right back into the ranch bedroom of reality. I open my eyes and pull back the sheet, swiveling out of bed to get it from the dresser. I glance at the number on the caller ID, knowing only two people know where to reach me. Seeing a Canadian code, I smile before I even flip open the small phone, but habit still makes me say, “Ellison.”
“Morning, Jim,” Blair says, clearly having not been up for long. His gravelly morning voice goes through my whole body. “Merry Christmas.”
I smile even bigger and sit down on the bed. “Merry Christmas, Chief. I was uh, just thinking about you.”
“Yeah?” he asks and he’s never sounded sexier. “Me too, Jim.” I can hear the smile in his voice as he says, “I miss you.”
I turn on the mattress and situate myself until I’m sitting against the headboard. Pulling the sheet around my legs, I tell him I miss him and that when we get home, we should talk. He knows, he says and I’m not surprised, because he’s with me. He’s always been with me.