Lip Service by M.J. Rose

Lip Service by M.J. Rose
Recently I was in Portland, Oregon for a wedding. I went alone because my husband had work stuff and anyway, someone had to stay with our little one.

Early in the afternoon, with several hours to spare before the much-anticipated headline event, I wandered down to the university area to check out the farmer’s market.

The sun shone, warm and yellow, through a high sibilant canopy of rich emerald leaves. The air was playful on my skin. I meandered through stalls of glistening red raspberries, juicy bursting blueberries, and gleaming purple blackberries ready to squish open on my tongue. There were heads of pale green fennel so fragrant and sweet, and rows of perfect round tomatoes, and long ripe squash… I was soon a little soft in my knees.

I found myself breathing faster and deeper. I felt both vaguer and keyed up, all at once.

A fantasy like a ball of yarn unraveled in my mind. I say ‘mind’ not ‘head’ because my whole body was involved, in the most emollient way.

I was walking indoors with a man I know, someone I hadn’t thought of in this most interesting context. We were inside and we were alone and he leaned down and wove his fingers through my hair. Then he pulled me close to his body, which was warm and taut.  When he kissed me, his mouth tasted salty but also sweet.

There was more, which led me back to my hotel room and some private moments. After a luxuriant nap, I texted my husband: “Really REALLY wish u were here.”

This lush diversion led me into some pleasant reveries: a memory of lying on a couch in the sun in Cape Cod, with the smell of bayberry thicket and sea on the wind, and the wonderful release I’d enjoyed then; a night early in our relationship that I’d spent telling my then-boyfriend-now-husband funny stories that were not G-rated, and which evolved into the kind of sweaty, rollicking good time I usually only read about; a sense of wonder at the pleasure and power inherent in sensual fantasy.

Reading MJ Rose’s delicious and often poignant and always intelligent “Lip Service” has brought all this back to me.


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