Love and lust in the bubble: My Desdemona

By Adlan Jackson
Print article
Published: Monday, February 11th, 2013
Illustrated by Angela Zhou

As Frost once wrote, "at last came a knock." You appeared at my door, hair golden in the phosphorescent glow of the lights that lined our hall. You looked at me, and it seemed to last forever. Your hand clasped in mine, we went out into the frigid night air. Jocundly, we found ourselves at the stone steps of the Tiger Inn. Oh, how the old house stood! How it stood tall and broad and great as Vesuvius! A bouncer, down at us two, glowered grizzled and grey, but you didn't miss a beat, producing four passes like Adam from the clay. Two for me, two for you. You smiled winsomely at his aged face, staring into years of hardship with the resolve of Dionysus at the door of Hades.

We shuffled our coats away from us and walked down the wooden stairs that had seen so many stories, that were so much older than we two. From the cold and now into the heat! The fire of bodies entangled, of passions flaring, and the siren's song from all around us, all the while: "I'm feeling sexy and free, like glitter's raining on me." Quickly, then, I fell to the Beast; the sweet poison flooded through my veins. I wanted more, I asked for more, but like the Sphinx, a stranger stood before me and sang a riddle unto mine ears, "chug one to get one, bro." And the devil was cruel, but he was honest.

I'm fucked up at this point, and you take me by the hand, my Desdemona, and lead me to the center of the fray in the chamber's darker half. I looked into your eyes and fell, as Hamlet fell to Laertes's poisoned-tipped blade.

And then, your eyes.
And then, your breath.
And then, your lips and mine.

And before I could my brain truly knew, fully understood, you pulled away, and at last you spoke, "Yo, I'm drunk!" Here, you laughed into my shoulder, and it was the happiest I'd ever been. "Are you drunk? Do you wanna get out of here?" And so we went. I'd almost given up on love, but here it was: real and stark as the nose before my face. I held my tears behind my eyes.

"Oh my god! What day is it?" It was Thursday. "Frist is open! Do you wanna get pizza? Actually, I shouldn't. No, whatever. I want pizza." The way you spoke was so easy, so free, as though you'd done this a million times. When we found ourselves at the checkout line, you smiled at me, "are you gonna pay?" It was my hour, and though I fumbled for a few seconds, I managed to complete the magic, handing my Prox over to be swiped. Victory.

But then, it happened.
"Becky?" Someone asked.
"Donna?" You answered.

"I haven't seen you in, like, so long!" I waited for you to finish your chat, my eyes closed because I'm wasted, waiting for you to return, softly to my side, the arc of your head fitting neatly into my neck.

But you didn't come.

Instead, I watched you walk away, my Ophelia drifting down the river. It became clear to me, like so many limpid pools of deepest blue: coffee dates trump DFMOs.