The morning we left for the Mojave, we danced together naked to Van Morrison in the kitchen of the Shoebox Room. He made love to me on the mattress on the floor, and as I moved over him, my body warm and wet and fast, he pushed my shoulders back. “Let me look at you,” he said, just like always. He gripped my hips hard, light washing through my skull as I cried out. I opened my eyes to a moth, clinging to the lower left corner of the screen.
Afterward, we lay on the sheet, our bodies pressed together, breathing softly, the damp wreckage of all we’d done to one another, the wrong turns and the fuck-ups of ten years. “Don’t go back on Monday, D,” he whispered, “Stay.” I turned to look at him, sure that he was joking. His eyes caught my breath, so green and darkly shining, laid open, almost free, like the clean shade of the woods he had grown up in. “Stay,” he said again. I reached out to touch his face, the raised worn scar at the edge of his left eye where his father stabbed him when he was nine.
From L.A., we take 10 East to 605 North to route 210 — then 15 North to 40 East. Exit onto Kelbaker Road. Nicky and I are in the back, Rafe drives and beside him, his girlfriend Cally, a moody knockout — 22 years old and 5 months pregnant — lithe body, dark ringlet curls, her belly sits like a ball in her lap. Rafe met her in his yard one day. She’d been out for a run and stopped to plunge her face into the wisteria vines that swathed his soon-to-be-ex-wife’s house — she dragged in deep on the smell. He took one look and invited her to audition for one of his films. She wasn’t cast but by then it hardly mattered. In a few months, their baby will join the growing menagerie: Juju the Beta Fish; Cat, the eleven pound Balinese; and sweet little dog Loki, who has leapt from her place next to Rafe in the front seat into the backseat next to me.
“A Basenji,” Rafe tells me.
“Central Africa. But they were on the steaele in the tombs of Pharoah.”
“You’re ancient, Loki,” I say, and she turns to me with her soft eyes, long pointed nose, pricked ears. I’ve seen her jump off her hind legs as high as my chest, and charge across the grass after a ball. She is quick and sweet and the only thing I have noticed Rafe to love.