Thursday, August 29, 2013

Shards To A Whole: Chapter 193

McGee-centric character study/romance. Want to start at the beginning? Click here.

Chapter 193: Poems and Dragons

Long, lazy Saturday at home.

Tim sat as his desk, paper in front of him, pen in hand and started writing.

For Kelly:

You are:
love made breath
desire given form
ecstasy set free to walk the earth
From joy you came
and joy you return

He’s staring at it, tapping his pen against the paper. Not really loving the last bit. It’s the right idea, the circle of joy, how it was their joy that made her and how she brings joy to them… but it’s still clunky.

It also doesn’t look right.

He crossed out You are… and spent another moment staring at it.  Better.

And joy you bring


He snagged a new page, wrote Kelly at the top of it, and circled the other lines around it. 

Okay, that looked good. Began and ended with Kelly. He’s still not loving the last bit.

There needs to be something about joy in there. But it needs to be parallel construction with the first four lines.

love made breath
desire given form
ecstasy set free
hope made joy

He stares at that, nodding. Then grabs another piece of paper and writes it in a circle. Yep. Much better. Still not right. Too many mades.

love into breath
desire into flesh
ecstasy into mind
joy into life

Nope. Maybe not enough mades…

love made breath
desire made heart
ecstasy made mind
joy made life

Closer.  Not mind… But mind is important. Yeah, but not for this. Breath, heart, life are intangibles. So’s mind. Not the same sort of intangible. Really, heart is less tangible than mind… Okay, not intangible… feeling type things. They’re all feelings into physical representations of feelings.

Ecstasy made soul…

love made breath
desire made heart
ecstasy made soul
joy made life

He wrote that in a circle and looked at it for a long minute, almost… not quite there.

love made breath
desire made heart
ecstasy made soul
joy made Kelly

He circled that around, looked at it, tapped his pen on the side of the paper, and decided he liked that a whole lot.

He found a paintbrush, warmed up the dark chocolate fudge with sea salt ice cream topping, and found Abby.

“Can I borrow your tummy for a few minutes?”

She looked up from the Journal of Chemical Forensics. “Okay. Do you need the rest of me as well?”

“Wouldn’t hurt, but you can keep reading if you like. Really just need Kelly.”

Abby eyeballs the small paintbrush and the ice cream topping in his hand.

“What are you doing?”


“In fudge on my tummy?”

“I could do ink if you like. Thought the clean up on this might be more fun.”

She smiled at that. “You got it on paper or in your head?”


“Tell it to me. I might want it on my skin for more than a few minutes.”

He sat next to her, lifted up her t-shirt and laid his fingers three inches above her belly button. “It’ll go in a circle, here.” He traced the circle on her skin. “love made breath/desire made heart/ecstasy made soul/joy made Kelly. Once written on there, I figured I’d get some pictures.”

That made Abby smile. “Get a Sharpie. I want to keep that. Can I add to it?”

“What do you want to add?”

“Not sure. Let me see how it looks, might be inspired.”

He’s nodding as he heads off in search of the Sharpies.

It’s true that Abby has a five by eight by three jade box that lives on her dresser. It’s true that in that box is a collection of poems Tim has written her. It’s also true that the majority of those poems are words on paper written by hand from him to her. But not all of them. Some of those poems are photos of his words written across her skin.

Some in ink.

Some in chocolate.

But if it’s a photo, the actual poem is also written on the back, pen on paper.

Since they got back together again in October of ’12, he’s written forty-six of them.

They’re overwhelmingly blank verse, though there is the occasional haiku, and one sonnet. They range from very good to okay and sincere to silly. Some have made her laugh, others cry, and they’ve all made her smile.

She loves all of them. And though Tim doesn’t know this, there is only one thing she wants to be buried with, and it’s those poems.

If the house is on fire, the baby and the poems are the two things she’s carrying out.

So, a while back, he’s not sure how far, Tim saw The Pillow Book. He doesn’t even remember why he saw it. But somehow, he ended up watching it.

And it turns out that it was a good choice.

He really liked that movie.

No, he couldn’t tell you what the plot was or the names of any of the characters (though he vaguely remembers Ewan McGregor was in it). What he does remember was how hard the idea of slowly, carefully stroking someone with a calligraphy brush made him, and how much he really wanted to do that/have it done to him.

So, in 2001 he finally had a real girlfriend, someone who was willing to play with him, and he wanted to try it out. Which was when he found out that if you do not, in fact, actually know how to write with a calligraphy brush, you end up with a VERY big mess, and an extremely irate girlfriend who is monumentally less than thrilled by the black ink you got all over her bed.

Eleven years later, he tried it with Abby, this time on the receiving end, and yeah, he liked it, a whole lot.

But Abby can paint. She can draw. She’s good with a brush or a pen or a marker. And if the scene she drew from his ankle to the nape of his neck was a little smudged in some spots when he wriggled because it tickled, well, she didn’t mind.

When he tried it on her, he made a mess.

Which was a problem, because for him, it’s not just the application of ink to skin, but of words to flesh. For him, the words mattered, and a drippy, spotty, streaky illegible mess wasn’t the end goal he was looking for.

So the next time he tried, he subbed out ink for liquid chocolate, which had the advantage of being tasty and thick enough that he didn’t drip it all over the place. He can’t make the letters as small as he might like, but still, it worked pretty well, and everyone was happy with the result.

The time after that, he wanted the words to snake across her whole front. Which was when Abby reminded him that chocolate might be tasty, but yeast infections aren’t, so anything with sugar doesn’t go anywhere near her pussy.

But she did have markers.

And markers were good, too. He had better control. His letters were small enough he could get a whole poem on her. Tidy enough they could both read the words. All in all for anything with more than 100 characters they would do the job just fine.

Which is why they own one of those massive, every color they make, Sharpie packs.

He snagged it, drug all 100 markers back to the sofa where Abby was reading, and spent a while contemplating colors.

And, like always, he went with black.

Sometimes, rarely, (okay, once) if he’s feeling really into the work, he might add red highlights. He’s seen enough pictures of illuminated letters to know how that works. And it looked okay.

But really, it’s the words. And they’re clearest, easiest to read in black.

So, the ninety-nine other colors hang out in the pack, and he takes the lid off the black one, kneels in front of Abby, and contemplates the easiest way to do this.

“Think you can lay on your back for a few minutes?”

Last week she started feeling like it was hard to breathe and heartburn-y on her back. According to Breena being able to lie on your back for twenty-one weeks is something of a record, but since it’s the position that feels best for her back after a long day standing, having to say goodbye to it was not making Abby happy.

“How many is a few?”

“I think I can have this done in less than two.”

“I can do that.”

He held the marker between his teeth and gave her a hand getting horizontal. Yes, she can still lie down and get back up again without help, but it’s nice, and makes things easier for her, so he might as well do it. Especially since she’s going out of her way and doing something uncomfortable to humor him.

Once she was down, he got writing, fast. Sure, he’d like this to be a sensual experience, but he’d also like to get it done and let her breathe. So he wrote as fast as he could, while keeping his letters clear, shifting around her to get the angles right, and in less than a minute he had a perfect circle of legible black words slipping around her belly building on each other.

He helped her back up and she looked down, nodding.

“You feeling inspired to add to it?”

She shook her head. “It’s done.”

He pulled out his cell and began to take pictures of her.

“How are you going to give it to her?” Abby asks, looking at the markers.

“No idea. Are we going to do baby books?”

“Uh…” Abby looks alarmed by that thought. “Are you expecting either of us to have time for something like that?”

Tim sighs. “Not really. But we will give it to her, when she’s old enough to understand it. Maybe when we become grandparents?” He grins as he says that and sees Abby start to tear up. “Oh no. Nononononono! We’re not crying about that.” He kisses her, petting her tummy and face. “That’s a happy thought.”

“They’re happy tears.” Abby sniffles a little, kissing his hand which is resting against her cheek. “Thirty years from now, we might be showing her this.”

“Yeah, we might.” His thumb strokes over her cheek, wiping away a tear. He smiles again, and scoots back a few inches. “Let me get a few more shots, make sure it’s clear.”

She nods. “You want to get some new ink to commemorate this?”

Tim looks up from her tummy. “Hadn’t thought about that, really. Like what?”

“Not sure.” She’s playing with the sharpies. “We got tattoos when we got serious, got another when we got married, seems like having a baby would warrant some new ink.”

“Probably right about that. Granted, having a new baby also probably precludes spending hours in a tattoo studio or dealing with the upkeep they need as they heal up.”

“Good point.” She’s picking out the green sharpies, the black one, and a few blues.

“You look like you might be getting an idea.”

“Maybe. It’d be really big.”

“How big is really big?”

“Your whole back.”

“You want me to wander off for twenty hours when we’ve got a new baby and spend a month rubbing lotion on me while it heals up?”

“You could get it before she’s born.”

“Huh.” Somehow that hadn’t occurred to him. “What is it?”

“Get naked, lay down on the sofa, and you can see what I’m thinking,” Abby’s grinning now, looking like this’ll be fun, and well, he’ll happily be a canvas for her anytime she likes. Not like he’s got to be anywhere in the next three hours.

He pulls his shirt over his head while asking, “So, how big are you thinking? Am I getting naked because this’ll be on my legs, too?” He’s got three tattoos now, so he can pretty definitively say he doesn’t want one on his ass or the backs of his thighs. Anything he’s got to sit on is staying ink free.

“Nah. Just want that inch or two of your back below your waistband.”

“Okay.” His pants and boxers hit the floor next to the shirt.

He lays down, and she drapes a blanket over his legs and tush, which he appreciates because it’s a little cool out. April is rapidly warming up, and real spring seems to have come to DC, but that’s still about twenty degrees cooler than what he considers comfortable hanging out naked weather.

They spend two hours chatting, her drawing, him relaxing. He dozes a little, when she’s concentrating hard, enjoying the feel of the markers on his back. Some of it is a little ticklish, but mostly it’s just a very pleasant tingly sensation. She started the drawing up by his right shoulder and finished it by his right hip.

He started to get up but Abby said, “Stay put, just a little longer. Want to make sure it’s good and dry before you go scooting around.”

“Okay. Take a picture, let me see it.”

She did, showing him his back a second later.

Tim's idea of himself as a dragon
It’s a dragon. European style, wings and claws and longer front legs than back ones. The drawing is a cartoon outline type of thing, no shading or shadows, no scales or real details. It’s mostly light green, with darker green eyes and darker green wings. The head is on his right shoulder, and the tail starts on the left side of his back, curling around the dragon’s legs and ending on the right hip. The wings are down, relaxed, and if a dragon can smile, it’s smiling, looking down, at the very small, mostly light blue (she’s got little green wings) dragon sleeping, head on the big dragon’s tail.

He’s propped on his elbows, expanding the picture so he can see it better, and smiling at it.

“I left room for other baby dragons,” Abby says, sitting on the sofa next to him.

Tim nods, seeing that there was extra tail space, room on the neck, and a spot between the front legs where other babies could be added.

“I love it,” he says kissing her. Then adds, “But I thought I was an Asian style dragon.” She’s been working on the headboard for Kelly’s crib, and there’s a sort of stylized family portrait on there. The guys are all dragons, and he’s a jade-green, Asian-style one.

She touches his face, looking into his eyes. “Your eyes are the color of jade. So they make me think of the carved jade dragons. But your back works better with an European dragon shape. More room for baby dragons to play, too. Either way, you’re still green.”

“Am I dry enough to get up and see it in a mirror?”

She tentatively swiped her finger over one of the spines on the dragon’s neck. “Yep.”

“Good.” He heads into their bedroom, opens her closet door, and hops onto the dresser. One other good thing about the mirrors being set for sex is that no matter what part of yourself you want to look at, there’s a way to set the mirrors in their room to do it.

Up close, personal, and a lot bigger, he still likes it. But it’s not something he necessarily wants on his back for the rest of his life. It’s cute, really cute.  And big. It does cover his whole back, and that’s just the outline version, colored in and shaded and this would be literally days of tattooing. A few hours is one thing. Days of ink work, something else all-together.

Mostly though, it’s really cute. It’s vastly cuter than anything he wants burned into his skin for the rest of his life.

Abby's version of Dragon Tim

“Will you hate me if I say that’s way more work than I want done?” Which is both true and doesn’t hurt her feelings about how cute it is and how he just can’t take that much cute on his skin.


“Thank you.” He kisses her. “But if that ever found its way to paper. I’d happily mount and frame it and put it up in Kelly’s nursery.”

“I like that.” Abby glances at the clock. “Don’t you have bootcamp in forty minutes?”

He looked over, jumping off the dresser. “Yeah. Gotta get dressed and go!”  


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