WHO IS IAN JOLIE?

I Love You

Amira's bra wrapped around, caressing the lamp on the nightstand, illuminating the entire motel room with a hot, fuchsia pink. The intricate design on the bra caused the otherwise solid color on these walls to be disorienting, which, to Christian at least, was wholesomely erotic. He stared in transfixion at these fades, and then to Amira, who lay snugly atop the bed sheets. Christian, who was sitting upright where the bedstead met the mattress, felt as if he could smell the sweat evaporating off her warm, saline skin.

Next to the lamp on the nightstand sat a pack of cigarettes and a black alarm clock that displayed a resilient, dark red 3:04 AM. Christian glanced over the time, and grabbed his fix. Then, in the reflection of his own stare, off a mirror perched opposite the bed, he lit up and took a long, meditated inhale. He could see himself, his naked body, and the stream of puffy white trailing out his Marlboro. He could hear the sound of dancing leaves lightly rustling against the ground outside, a scene illuminated by the ill-boding moon from above. Through his mind's eye, he saw all that the moon shined upon. The squirrels, the birds, the insects, and he even imagined themselves, Christian and Amira, cuddled together in a tent surrounded by the wild wilderness. He turned his eyes away from the mirror to glance upon her figure. He took a last puff from his cigarette, then, without looking, reached out and extinguished it on a cheap plastic ashtray he knew was resting on the edge of the nightstand.

He traced his finger along the indented passageway of her back. He started from her neck, then to the arch behind her shoulders, down her spine, to her waist. Her legs were bent, and her feet and toes curled. The entire room was damp as sponges, and he felt the sudden urge to ravish her again, over and over, savoring the numbing sensation it would surely cause. But she was fast asleep now. Her chest was slowly pumping up and down, and there would always be tomorrow.

So instead, he crawled out of bed, made his way to the bathroom, and flicked on a light switch. The fluorescents burned him, and the tile floor was wet. Used towels were scattered all over. As if on cue, the ventilation system kicked in with its whirring mumble.

As he entered the shower, the cool water splashed first against his toes then against his heavy chest. He was thinking about the morning, what he would do, say, and how he would act. He should play it cool, or he should joke. He was twenty-one, just lost his virginity. Finally, he thought, and even in his mind he heard the exasperated exhale of the word. Did he love her? No, but could he love her? In the first place, did people ever really know the answers to such questions? Or was it all just an act? He had seen enough television. He had read enough books. He had in fact been watching a movie with her just seven hours earlier, a romantic comedy about a lawyer who fell in love with a doctor. Surely the stuff sold for a reason. People wouldn't be paying if they couldn't relate to the wish-wash and glamor of it all. Love had to be real, he decided, if for no other reason than that it couldn't not be.

He stepped out of the shower, and threw a damp towel to the ground, adding to the masterpiece that was his bathroom's floor. He brushed his teeth. He put on a pair of boxer shorts. When he snuck back into bed, he quickly checked the time, his black alarm clock with its resilient, dark red 3:49AM blaring blazingly.

Just then, her bra tumbled off the lamp, and the room ceased to be pink. That was okay, though. It was fun while it lasted. He turned off the lamp, and the resulting darkness calmed him, even soothed him a little. Outside, the leaves continued to rustle. The moon was still floating in the night sky. The animals were chittering away.

She began snoring.

As he slowly drifted off, his last thoughts were, how comfortable, how cute.

*

She was nibbling on his ear when he woke.

"Okay Amira," he said, turning over to his back and pushing her over just a tad. He shined a smile, worrying for a moment that it might come off as phony, but it didn't. They kissed, a simple peck, then stared into each other's eyes. What now? he thought. They both stared some more, deeply concentrated, as if searching for a nonexistent word in an absurdly large and intricate word search puzzle.

A minute later, he began laughing, and she laughed because he was laughing, and soon they were both laughing for reasons they didn't know. She shoved him playfully, and he shoved her back perhaps too hard. She hit him with her pillow. He breathed in her fragrance.

She noticed, amused, smiling. "Christian, you dirty creep!"

He shrugged, sarcastically. "Probably, but you're the one dating me."

She grabbed the back of his neck and brought his forehead to hers. The ridges of their wrinkled foreheads collided with one another, so warm. There were smiles unnaturally wide and bright. He thought then in extremes, for we all think in extremes when we're emotional, and we truly believe in them too, screw what others could think. He thought he was the happiest man in the world, that he was certainly the luckiest, and that he believed the three words he spoke just then.

"I know you do," she said, and paused ever so slightly. "And I love you too."

It was all pretty gag-worthy, but it's hard to understand from the outside, isn't it?