My mind was racing and my dry mouth was slightly agape. I quickly snapped my lips shut and swallowed down the fear and erraticism, and as my scratchy throat was relieved by my salvia, it gave way to a stunned and mystified expression.
His widened eyes continued to glare into me, a desperate need for knowledge swirling around in his dark irises. His features were hardened, almost as if he was on-guard, and he stood as if ready to burst open with anticipation.
“Well, though I wouldn’t have worded it quite the same way… I was wondering the same thing about you,” I finally managed to force out.
His expression softened a bit and he relaxed onto himself. He took a few steps away from me and finally realized I was no threat, giving into his better judgment and turning away from me. While he reached up to run his long fingers through his black hair he spoke quietly to himself.
“What the hell is going on? This is insane… I shouldn't... feel like this.”
“I know what you mean,” I blurted out.
He whipped around, dropping his arms to his side, and gawked at me.
“You know what I mean?” he questioned angrily. “You know what I mean?” he repeated, this time more to himself then to me. “What…” he forced out a lungful of air, “huuhhh… what is going on?” he asked completely defeated, staring intently into my eyes.
My head began to swim. His eyes so dark, yet inviting, and exuding so much warmth that I wanted to crawl inside them and live forever. I could feel my heart ricocheting around in my rib cage, it’s constant and strong pounding the reassurance I needed to confirm I wasn’t simply frozen in a moment,and I certainly wasn’t imagining any of this. I forced myself to blink and found my words again, though I was sure my resonance wouldn’t even compare to the rich, low timbre he possessed. With each word I spoke I took a small, unsteady step closer to him.
“I don’t know what’s going on here either. But I do know…” I licked my dry lips, “it’s completely unreal.”
I was close enough to feel an electricity radiating from him. My body reacted almost instantly to the thought and goose bumps rose all over me, a shiver starting on the back of my neck and unraveling all the way through my body, across my hips, to the tips of my nails, into my bones. The thought of his essence washing over me and filling me was more than I could withstand and I felt as if I’d collapse under the images fluttering around in my mind. I closed my eyes and took a deep breath, my nostrils flaring as the air quivered out of me.
I felt pressure on my bicep and opened my eyes for a moment before realizing he was gripping onto me. I stared at his strong hand, this extremity that was clutching onto me, permeating my flesh, searing warmth, desire, and the unknown into me. I knew my hammering heartbeat was powerful enough that not only could he feel it through his grasp but he could hear it thundering through the bathroom. I followed his arm up to his body, his steady, unyielding body, standing before me like an offering to some gorgeous goddess, though I was far from that. I finally looked up at his face, etching every feature, curve, line, dimple into my memory. I again felt that magnetism, that impulse to reach up and cradle his face in my palm, touch him; I wanted to master how his skin felt against mine, how his cheek literally conformed to the dimensions of my hand, however scientifically impossible it was. But this time I resisted, though it physically pained me to deny myself what my entire body was screeching for.
“I feel like I’ve known you for my entire life, yet I’ve never laid eyes on you.”
He calmly and deliberately shook his head in understanding, taking a moment before responding, “What’s your name?”
I had this uncontrollable urge to laugh. Such a simple question for such a loaded encounter; it seemed almost unimportant given the circumstances. I knew without knowing a single thing about him that I could love this man forever, yet the most pertinent question that rose to the surface of his mind was my name? After a few moments, I realized just how fantastic it was that even when our bodies were most definitely fighting for each other, he was able to maintain a simplistic charm. The magnitude of that hit me suddenly and I smiled softly, ready to answer him.
“My name is Karman, with a ‘k’.”
“Like karma?” he questioned automatically, his face lighting up at the thought of the universe playing some sort of matchmaking trick on us both.
“Just like it,” I responded still intoxicated by how he lit up the entire room. His smile warmed me from within and filled me with a longing to crawl up inside of him and never leave.
“What’s yours?” I asked looking so deeply into his eyes that I saw the answer before he even spoke it.
“What’s yours?” I asked looking so deeply into his eyes that I saw the answer before he even spoke it.
“It’s Aristeo… yeah weird I know. But most people just call me Ari.”
“Not weird,” I responded, “just unique.”
“My family is Greek and it’s a more modern version of a playwright who lived in Athens… it means best or happy or successful,” he shrugged in frustration with his rambling, which I found quite cute, “I dunno,” he finally finished.
I stepped even closer to him and reached out to lay my hand on his chest. I was unable to resist making contact with him any longer and if this was all I could get at this moment, I wasn’t passing up the opportunity.
“I think it fits you perfectly,” I whispered.
“What is going on?” he uttered softly, lifting his own hand to cover mine. “This... these emotions, they,” he exhaled slowly, trying desperately to let the perplexity of the situation fade away, and clutched to me in the process, “frankly, they scare me a bit. It’s like… if a car were about to hit you right now, I’d die to save your life, no questions asked. Or… like I know that if I asked you to marry me right now, you’d say yes and we’d be together until death.”
I sucked in a sharp gulp of air at the honesty and truth behind his words, knowing that I felt those exact same things, however insane it sounded.
He continued, “How do I know that… when I don’t even know you? This is like nothing I’ve ever experienced before, but it’s like I’ve been searching for it and didn’t even know it.”
He let his hand trail down my arm and around my waist, eventually pulling me into him so that our chests were right up against one another. His other arm snaked up and around the back of neck and he guided my face closer to his. I trembled in anticipation of what I hoped was about to happen. My eyes fell to his lips, those two plump, slices of pure ecstasy and joy advancing on me. His tongue flicked out and brushed quickly against them, followed suddenly by his timid teeth unintentionally exposing the apprehension and sliver of craving he held for me.
Involuntarily, my arms shot up and writhed around the back of his neck drawing him into me. As my slender fingers twisted and entwined with the firm, pure strands of hair falling from his long neck, my mouth found his and my body exploded underneath my skin; if not for it, every ounce of unadulterated affection and devotion would erupt from inside me and drench every miniscule surface of the bathroom. His kiss abdicated to mine, but he didn’t relinquish a smidgen of passion, instead allowing our malleable lips to bond in a way that was indescribable. A fury of lust I hadn’t even paid consideration to imploded in my soul and I reacted as I’d assume an unrestrained beast would. I pushed him up against the nearest wall and ripped his t-shirt over his head. My heart was pounding, partially because this was not something I made a habit of doing, but mostly because I’d never done it before. He reacted like a magnet, immediately rebounding and snapping back against me. I fought with myself to stay level-headed, but this creature within me pushed away my common sense and perception. He was all I could comprehend. I wanted to tear into him, expose every particle of his being so that I might know him better than myself; I needed to discover what was making me hysterical with infatuation.
My lips smothered his bare chest with lavish kisses and I eventually maneuvered my way back up to his mouth, but he had other things in mind. Before I had a second to react, he twirled me around and pressed me against the wall. My shirt was up and over my head in moments and it was his turn to unearth his connection to me. I welcomed it and allowed my inhibitions to dissolve away entirely, opening myself up to him in any way he could possibly long for. His wandering mouth smoothed over every curve of my torso and when his face was in front of mine again, my only thought was to eradicate each obstacle keeping us from knowing one another inside and out. I allowed my arms to slowly make their way down, and just as I about to give myself to him mind, body, and soul… someone pounded on the door.
We both jumped, startled at the now-obvious distraction, for we were standing partially naked in a public restroom in a university library.
“Hey… is anyone in there?” a deep voice on the other side of the door shouted.
Ari cleared his throat, desperately trying to calm his hammering heart and collect his sane mind before he responded, “Um… yeah we’re doing some construction, find another one.”
After a few moments of silence, he allowed his head to turn back towards me, both of us fighting to control our breaths. He let his arm rise slowly, his fingers to brush my cheek. My knees wobbled uncertainly and I could feel heat rising on my face, turning my skin a rosy shade of embarrassment at the way I reacted to such a simple touch.
“Maybe we should take a second to collect ourselves?” he asked, smiling at me in that way only he could.
I shook my head in agreement and stepped away from his touch. I bent over to collect my shirt and after I was properly covered, I turned to find him in the same condition. We both took deep breaths and I found that I was eager to speak to him, my regular amount of timidity completely non-apparent.
“Why don’t we go some place where we can talk… maybe before we do this?”
He chuckled and I thought I might die from the amount of pure delight I experienced from hearing it.
“That’s a good idea.”
He reached out for my hand and again I was hit with that feeling you get when you’ve walked into your home for the first time in a long time. My heart swelled with immense adoration and comfort and I knew that even if soul mates were a thing of mythology or fairy tales, I was now a believer and eager to discover what else this beautiful stranger had in store for me.