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Susannah Indigo


Many Kisses

In my secret heart of hearts I dream over and over again that I am in a terribly hot climate and there are roses everywhere. I'd like to think it is Australia, but somehow I know I'm in Arizona. It's hotter than I ever knew it could be. There are lights strung across a rolling lawn, wonderfully tacky party lights shaped like little lemons and limes and oranges, hundreds of them. My sundress is red and strapless and swirls around my ankles. I wear no shoes; my only decoration is the silver necklace that Russell brought me from Mexico so long ago.

There is dancing. I don't know the music -- it is hot and sultry and jazzy and makes me want to move my hips in spite of the heat. An old man in the corner playing the dobro says my name over and over -- "Illona. Illona.... Illona..." He gets it right. I like the idea of having a name that nobody can pronounce easily. It makes people pay attention, and attention is everything. I don't know why the man keeps saying my name.

Everyone moves slowly. It is too hot to be dancing, even this late at night. But it is late enough to bring on wonder. Who are all these men? How can the roses thrive with no rain? Where is Russell? Doesn't he remember that he promised to take care of me? The tall blond woman in the corner picks roses with her bare hands and laughs when she gets pricked by the thorns. Her name is Amy. I know her -- she chose my dress and brought me here, saying only "trust me." She didn't tell me we'd be the only two women, but it doesn't seem to matter in any important way.

In my secret heart of hearts I dance every night no matter where I am. I dance the flamenco as I learned it from my beautiful teacher Delores; I tango with a tall, dark man who seems to adore me; I waltz in my long full green ball gown as though I belong at Tara; and I dance the unnamed steps my gypsy mother taught me before she stopped dancing.

When Amy brings me my rose I know that it is time. Amy has no secret heart of hearts -- everything she is shows on the surface and she likes it that way. She may be the most honest person I have ever known. I haven't known many. She wears her skirts short enough that men try to follow her home all the time and she likes that too. Sex and laughter, she always says, make the world go 'round. I don't know that she's right. I thought love was in the mix somewhere. But I don't know that she's wrong.

The men and Amy surround me and point me toward the display.

This is the beginning, Illona, they whisper. We know what you need, a man says. There is a simple and ancient triple counterpoint for a shattered heart: many kisses; the sound of your name; new colors for your dreams. Can you imagine how many kinds of kisses are described in the Kama Sutra, Illona? We will each give you one hundred kisses of every kind tonight after you receive the light of the new colors. We will repeat your name a thousand times. This kiss, the man says, biting down hard on my neck, is called vipidita, the insistent one.
The colors flash before me and the sparks dance in the air just above the far rose bushes: Dragons' Tears, Jade Flowers, Climbing Pandas, Dancing Butterflies. Streaks of blue and gold rockets mix with cascading silver embers. Everyone watches; no one says a word except for Amy who is hypnotically whispering name after name in my ear while she strokes my shoulders with the rose: Silent Snakes, Golden Razors, Black Tigers, Exploding Joy.

Copyright, Susannah Indigo, 2000, all rights reserved.


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All material is copyright, Susannah Indigo, 2001, all rights reserved.