The blinking monitors mounted on the walls throughout the train station all said that the train was delayed.  She would be late arriving.  I looked around for a seat in the cavernous, outmoded lobby, but rejected them all.  I did not like crowds, not even thin ones.  I decided to wait outside, let the cool night air clear my head.

Over the past few days, I’d asked myself the same question over and over.  “What if …we don’t like each other…we don’t get along…she’s disappointed by my physical appearance…she’s a homicidal maniac?  Of course, my friends had encouraged that last one.  They figured that I’m such the quiet, naïve type that for me to agree to meet someone I’d met on the Internet was just plain crazy.  I mean, really, what could I possibly know about someone I’ve never seen before, some stranger that lived way up in Nowhere, New Hampshire, and just happened to be coming to New Orleans.

Never mind that we met, not in some dirty little “chat room”, but through a listserv for lesbians of African descent, a group that included some very prominent figures in the feminist movement of the late 1990s.  Never mind that we had been talking on the phone daily, or nightly to be more precise, for over a month.  Never mind that our families were from the same small hometown in Louisiana.  Never mind that we probably had more in common than most couples that have been together for years.  Never mind that love was an indiscriminant little bugger that crawled and bit where it pleased, whether it was convenient for the victims or not.

Love?  My friends definitely thought I was out of my mind.  I, who remained calm through even the most threatening of situations and the heaviest of love scenes, could not possibly be the same person that constantly rattled on about this woman I was talking to every night until near dawn.  I, the always rational and often skeptical one, could not seriously be intending to host this woman in my own home, then drive five hours through backwoods Louisiana alone in a car with her.  “Well, at least leave us some emergency information so we can explain to your mother why your remains were never found.”  What are friends for, huh?

I was in love.  I thought of her constantly, wanting to tell her about every little thing that went on in the course of my day.  I could hardly wait for 8:00 pm to come so we could talk and I could let all the little conversations that I’d had with her in my head finally come out.  We talked as if we’d known each other all our lives, and still there was so much to share.

I don’t know who made the “first move”, but suddenly we were no longer just friends.  One night, she had been lamenting that she did not have a full-length mirror.  My already feverish mind envisioned her standing before the mirror, a pale cream silk nightgown flowing over her petite body, lace brushing warm brown calf muscles.  I saw myself slowly walk up behind her.  I enfolded her in my arms, feeling her soft body yield into me.  My lips found the warm curve of her neck, as I kissed and licked her sweet fragrant skin.  Our bodies slowly began to sway together, a mutual dance of desire.  Our eyes smoldered in the mirror as my hands began to caress and explore her voluptuous curves.  My palms slowly moved across her abdomen, enjoying the soft roundness, moving down her sides to lightly brush full thighs.  Her light moans reverberated inside me with each caress.  As my hands rose up her sides to cup her breasts, I felt her back arch slightly, pressing her bottom into me.  Her moans of pleasure echoed my own as her already erect nipples hardened in the palm of my hands.  I was mesmerized by her smoky stare, her parted lips in the mirror.  Then she turned in my arms and we were face to face, hot, sweet breath mingled as our lips met in a ravenous kiss.  I felt the cold glass against my arms as I pressed her against it, my body needing to touch her entirety.  As my hungry lips traced the curve of her neck and jaw line, my voice suddenly breathed into her ear, “God, I want to fuck you!”

Abruptly, I found myself back in my bedroom, curled up under the comforter, holding the phone to my own ear.  I hadn’t realized I’d spoken any of those images out loud until her sharp moan on the other end of the phone line.  I felt so embarrassed and began to apologize for my forwardness.  I must have sounded like some deranged sex maniac; I just knew she was going to hang up on me and change her phone number immediately.  But a husky sigh caressed my ears as she whispered “oh, yes”.

Detailed fantasies soon developed into a heated love affair.  She had somehow snuck in behind my prudish veneer and loosed a sexual muse in me.  As we spoke our lovemaking late into the night and early morning, we found only temporary relief as our desire for each other threatened to devour us.  Her tongue proved to be as honey-dipped as my own had become.

Our relationship developed over the course of the next few weeks.  I was in the middle of a move to a new apartment when she informed me that she had scheduled a visit to her parents in upstate Louisiana, and that her train came to New Orleans, where she would normally catch the Greyhound to her final destination.  She wanted to meet while she was in town.  I decided I was due for a visit to my own family; we could drive up together.

Now the final hour had arrived.  After sending me her itinerary via email and through snail mail, then reiterating the fact that she absolutely hates to arrive at a terminal and have the person picking her up be late, I had hustled to get there early and she’s the one going to be late.

I went back outside and waited at the front of the station, crouching down in a psuedo-sitting position. From here I had a clear view through the glass doors, and could watch the train passengers spill into the terminal from the opposite end of the lobby.  As I watched, I played with my locks, still wet from a hurried bath.

I had spent the day cleaning my old apartment.  I had finally moved all my junk to the new place, but I still hadn’t had a chance to set my room up.  I told her I was moving and that my roommate was already staying in the new place.  She decided she wanted to come to the old place the first day; she didn’t want to socialize with anyone that night.  So I had the crazy task of getting the place ready to vacate, yet still look presentable for company.  The only things left in the house were my chair, bed, and stereo, all in my old room; the rest of the house was totally empty.  Not exactly as inviting or romantic as I’d have liked it to be.

The hardwood floors were shiny and clean from a good mopping.  The double French doors in the living room were all polished and left open, an invitation to the rest of the house.  The bathroom with its claw foot tub was spotless.  The kitchen was clean but empty; I had already moved my appliances over to the new place, storing the originals on the back porch.

After cleaning the house from top to bottom, I had to hurry and get myself cleaned up and presentable.  My locks begged for a washing after sweating in a dusty old house on a hot March day.  The cool chamomile shampoo felt wonderful against my too warm scalp.  I languished in the relaxing tub a little longer than I had planned. My body ached a little from all the lifting and work, but I felt strong and fully aware of myself in the warm sudsy water.  When I realized how late it was, I had to rush to get dressed, thanking God I had sense enough to iron my clothes before doing anything else.  I put on my wide leg black jeans, thin white shirt, and brown tweed vest, pulled on my polished black Italian shit-kicker boots, grabbed my keys and flew out the door.

Seeing where you are going and actually getting there are two entirely different things in New Orleans.  So, after breaking a few minor traffic laws, I made it to the station and found a parking spot.  This was another reason I waited outside; having my car towed when I’m supposed to be picking someone up, especially someone I’m meeting for the first time and trying to impress, would definitely not be good.  So, here I was…waiting.

I saw the crowd pouring in through the doors from the tracks, and checked the watch I kept in my right pocket.  It was the time her train should have arrived, but the monitors said it would be late.  I knew better than to trust New Orleans info, so I stood up and sauntered into the lobby, just in case.

The woman looked kind of familiar.  I knew that her pictures, like mine, were at least a year old, so we both had changed a bit.  I hate mistaking people so I just nodded, nearly passing her by.  She reached to hug me and I enfolded her in my arms.  She was a little smaller than I expected and my 1-inch high boots did put me at an advantage over her.  Leaning slightly, my lips were level with her ear as I coolly said, “What’s up.”  As we pulled apart, she broke into a laughing smile and shook her head slightly.  She looked me up and down.  Then she surprised me with the first words out of her mouth.  “I would look great in that.”

I noticed her struggling with her large green duffle bag and, being the gentlewoman I am, I offered to carry it to the car for her.  The bag was almost as big as her and probably heavier than us both together; needless to say I was glad I’d parked close.  As I began to pull out of the lot, she asked if the bouquet of flowers in the back seat were for her.  I stammered something incoherent about not wanting to be forward, and then said that they served a dual purpose, to welcome her and to christen my new place.  I clutched the steering wheel with both hands and didn’t dare look to see her reaction to that bit of nerdity.

I nearly jumped out of my skin when she touched my wrist to admire the black and brown wooden beaded necklace I wore woven around my right hand.  I quickly recovered from the bolt of electricity that coursed from her finger, and hardly reacted at all when she buried her hand in my locks to caress the shorn back of my head.  I apologized that my shirt was so wet from the heavy hair resting on my shoulders.  I nearly lost it when she put her hand on my knee.  I knew she was amused, and surprised, by my nervousness after the intimate conversations we’d shared on the phone.  I am not a touchy-feely person, and it quickly became obvious to me that she was.  I do not know how we made it to the house safely.

She sat in the wooden armchair and scanned the restaurant section of the Gambit, the free local community paper.  I stooped next to her, peering over and pointing out places I knew.  I was fully engrossed in my own thoughts until she said in a husky voice, “Your voice sounds so sexy.”  I promptly stood up and moved to a respectable distance, then continued to describe restaurants I’d been to.  She finally told me to just pick a nice place that I liked.

I parked the car on the dark, deserted back street.  She slipped her small hand into mine as we walked around the block.  I pointed across the street to the old U.S. Mint behind the stoic iron fence, looking austere through the tattered curtains of Spanish moss hanging from the trees.  I also mentioned that gays and lesbians who inhabited the French Quarter and By Water neighborhoods often frequented this area, the wide tree-lined median of Esplanade St. forming the border between the two communities and serving as a favorite place to walk dogs.

We slipped into the slightly less dark interior of the Thai restaurant, the narrow entrance hardly noticeable from the street except for the tiny balcony and the little red rickshaw on the sidewalk.  The young Asian waiter seated us at a small candlelit table, his subtle gayness a comfort on this awkward first date.  I ordered Thai tea for myself and suggested she try mine first to see if she liked it.  She was fairly new to Thai cuisine, so I described some of the menu items.  I already knew what I wanted.  I told her about my first experience here at Siam’s; how I actually cried over the Garuda noodles because they were so good.  I was a bit embarrassed admitting this, but she was greatly amused by it.

I was beginning to relax a little.  We were getting along just fine, sharing little stories about our childhood, just like when we were on the phone.  As we talked and laughed, I began to study her features, her mannerisms.  She was dressed in a stylish pantsuit, small black and white checks. The shirt had a solid black front with checked pockets at the hip and a tieback.  Her jet-black hair was combed back onto her shoulders.  Laughter animated her entire body, and I could tell she liked to laugh a lot. While tasting the tea, she studied me.  She asked to see my necklace and I removed it to pass it to her.  As I dropped the silver moon face in the palm of her hand, my fingers tingled from the brush of her skin, and we seemed suspended for an extra moment before parting.    She smiled at me before observing the amulet.  She said she liked the simplicity of it and especially the ying yang on the back; it fit me perfectly.  She handed it back to me as the young man served our food.

We talked and giggled through the entire meal.  I felt myself falling in love all over again, her playful eyes seducing me in between audible moans of appreciation for the intricate tastes and fragrant spices of each dish.  I shamelessly watched as she slowly twirled the tip of her tongue around the spoon of melting mango ice cream.  I wished I were the tiny wrapped banana dancing in the hollow of her pink mouth, her full lips glistening with the sweet honey glaze.  I had eaten my fill but she was stoking another appetite in me.

After dinner, we drove slowly through the busy city streets.  She asked if there were any parks open at night, so I drove to City Park at her insistence.  As I warned against the dangers lurking in a dark public place full of trees, I found myself speeding through the quickest routes and soon we were back on the main road.  I felt bad that all she’d really seen were big eerie trees draped in grey matter instead of the beautiful majestic giants adorned with lacy moss that graced our city.  I did not feel bad enough to go back, and I quickly forgot about it as she laughed at my over-cautiousness and firmly planted her hand on my thigh.

When we arrived back at the house, I turned on some music and began to put sheets on the futon.  I had picked out a new pair of sheets just for this occasion.  They were the most expensive set I’d ever bought but they were 100% cotton and I wanted them.  The dark grey fitted sheet contrasted beautifully with the white flat sheet, both with thin light grey stripes like twine.  The designer called them matrimonial sheets, but I tried to forget that.  I sat on the corner of the bed, my legs folded on the floor, and listened to her talk about her train trip down here.  My back was to her so I didn’t realize that she was undressing until I looked over my shoulder and saw her pulling on a pair of boxers under her oversized T-shirt.  I quickly turned around and put my head in my hands; I felt a headache coming on.  She laughed softly as she crawled onto the low bed behind me.  Then she requested I play the cassette she’d sent to me in the mail.

We listened quietly as Sade’s sultry voice danced through the room.  She began to trace small circles along my back and I said, in my best sarcastic voice, “If you’re going to do it, do it for real.”  She laughed again as she kneeled close behind me and began to massage my shoulders.  The song switched to “Turn My Back On You”.  As her fingers brushed higher and higher up my neck, I felt the tension fade and the excitement rise inside me.  When her hot mouth opened on the curve of my neck, I stiffened then melted in her hands as a long moan escaped my lips.  Her tongue left a trail of flames as she licked and nibbled my skin.  The years of celibacy quickly washed away in a flood of desire, as I turned to devour her deep kisses.  We both drank thirstily of the long passionate kiss that took us beyond the point of return.

When we finally parted, she sank down on the bed and I turned back to the wall.  My mind was blank; what do I do now?  Two years was a long time to be on my own.  I liked the calm, the absence of heartache, the serenity of no more arguments.  I wasn’t sure I was ready to give all that up.  But that wasn’t really love, was it.  That turmoil was not like this.  This was friendship; this was long conversations that never want to end, laughing at stuff we shared growing up, deep discussions on political issues, a shared understanding of the need to forge working friendships with the ex’s out of the hurt that threatened to destroy us.  This was good.  This was more than possible; this was already happening.  This was already love.  What now?

I snapped back to reality, when I heard her voice ask if I was going to get more comfortable.  I was still fully dressed, my boots safely on my feet.  I could still escape… but I didn’t want to.  I excused myself to the bathroom where I slowly changed into my favorite black cotton PJ’s with the big jogging pockets and the zip-up top.  I washed my face, braced myself, and walked out into the bedroom.  I slipped under the cool covers and lay down.

She lay on her side, facing me.  We chatted quietly, listening to the music.  She moved a little closer to me and laid her head on my shoulder.  I put my arm around her.  As I talked about nothing in particular, I noticed her hand move to my chest, playing with my zipper.  She smiled and began to slowly unzip my top.  I still talked.  She slipped her hand above my left breast.  I still talked.  She cupped my breast, squeezing my nipple.  I looked at her and said, “You don’t waste time, do you?”  She laughed and then took my breast into her warm mouth.  I watched her face as she licked and sucked, eyes closed but eyebrows expressing the pleasure her moans confirmed.  My own eyes glazed then closed over the sensations coursing through my body.

This woman I had imagined making love to was finally here in my arms doing all the things I had fantasized about.  She kissed her way around my bosom, exploring each mound in turn.  She buried her face in between my ample breasts and inhaled deeply.  Her tongue circled each nipple, slowly climbing higher until she reached the peak of each harden knoll.  I gasped each time her hot mouth closed over me then released me from a hard tug to feel cold air rush over the sensitive tip of my swollen nipple.  Her fingers mimicked her tongue as she moved from one breast to another.  She cupped both breasts and held them close, began to suck both nipples, flicking her tongue around and between them.  My body flamed; I had never felt anything like this before.  I was riding a tide of molten passion.  My body strained toward her, my skin needing to feel her every touch.  My only thoughts were of the strong waves of pleasure washing over me. I was drowning, gasping for breath.  I couldn’t stand anymore.

I seized her arms and shifted my body.  I pushed her back and attacked those full luscious lips.  I kissed and nibbled, chewed and sucked my fill.  I wanted to devour those lips, drink that sweet tongue, bruise that honey bottom lip. My moans mingled with her own.  My body covered hers, moving in a wild synchronized dance of desire.  Her hands were buried in my wild locks, holding me close to her.  I explored her soft curves with my own hands, feeling the dip of her pelvis swell into solid thighs.  I wanted her.

My mouth explored her jaw line, earlobes, kissed the line of her neck, my tongue flicking the hollow of her collarbones.  I licked a trail between her round breasts.  My tongue curved perfectly along the underside of each melon.  A moist spiraling path led me to an erect and pulsing peak.  I relished the changing texture of each enlarging nipple, swelling in my mouth like tight buds straining to bloom inside me.  I pulled back to look at her face, saw the intensity of her longing.

I slowly moved down the length of her body, hot kisses trailed by long locks softly sweeping over lightly scented skin.  As I neared the sensitive underside of her lower abdomen, I looked up to see her lips parted, anticipation in her face.  I looked down at the swell of her mound, dark crinkly hair reaching down between slightly parted thighs.  My body tightened pleasantly at the sight of dampness clinging to the hair near dark plum-colored lips.  I traced light hearts across her belly, in the hollows above each thigh.  My body melted in the sounds of her torment.

My hands caressed her waist, my tongue slowly trailing closer and closer to her moist entrance.  I moved down the inside of her thigh, flicking the back of her knee, nibbling chiseled calf muscle, then reversed my way back up again. Her writhing hips beckoned me; I could barely contain myself.  I wanted her.  I wanted to feel her wetness, taste her flesh, and know I caused this.

Grazing the crinkly hair with my teeth, I breathed hot breath over her wet lips.  Feeling her body tighten, I carefully licked the damp hair, enjoying the coarseness against my flesh.  Slowly, my tongue touched the tip of her opening, paused for her answering moan, then slid firmly down the inside of her waiting lips.  Wetness rushed through me as I slid up and down the smooth thickness of her.  She tasted of salty sweet melted butter.  Each stroke of her erect nodule sent waves of heat over us both.  I pushed deeper into her, her hips rising to meet my force.  My eager tongue wrapped around her swollen clit, caressing it to fullness.  The sweet creaminess of her passion flowed over my face as she rode the crashing waves of a powerful orgasm.

Her strong hands held my head still as she fought to recover her jagged breathing.  She pulled me up to a crushing kiss, as she flipped me over onto my back and began to explore my body with hungry hands.  As she slipped eager fingers into my wetness, I felt myself release with a deep sigh.  I was already full of her; I held her hand to my breast and inhaled the sweetness of her breath mingled with the musk of our lovemaking.  As we drifted off to sleep in each other’s arms, I admired the soft honey complexion of her against my own mocha cinnamon skin.  Honey and cinnamon.  We belonged together.

The next morning, I awoke to find her curled up next to me.  I got up to get ready for work.  Before I left, I leaned over her serene face and slowly licked her full lips.  She awoke and smiled at me with dreamy eyes.  I said goodbye and went to work.

At break, my friends and I sat at the local coffee shack and sipped tea.  They were anxious to hear.  All I could do was smile this silly grin and sigh.  Suddenly, I remembered clutching her back as she sucked my breast, feeling the thick muscles working under my hands.  I shook my head in wonder and exclaimed, “Her back is so solid.”  They fell out laughing.  That was enough for them.  Five years later, we still laugh at that story, my honey baby and I.