They say you never forget your first. The saying refers to losing your virginity, of course, but the principle is applicable to many more things that that. The novelty of an experince causes it to impress itself on the memory, to be analyzed as a possible threat or benefit; the second time is just the second time. I remember the first time I ever walked down this street, for example; it was in winter when I was twelve, and the sky was that stragne brightness that only appears before snow, and I nearly lept into the gutter to avoid a man in a green coat with a Great Dane leading him down the sidewalk at something upwards of fiteen kilometers per hour. I stopped at this same cofeeshop; I sat down between a woman in a beige business suit and three-inch heels and a man in his early twenties, with hair dyed red and wearing a denim jacket covered in buttons. I could not tell you who I sat down between yesterday, and to say who I am sitting next to right now, I would have to turn and look.
The weather is easy, though. The weather is the same as yesterday, smoggy and a little too warm; the weather has been this way all summer. I cannot help but wonder if the people on either side of me, whomever they might be, would scream and run away if I were to casually inform them that it would be the last summer. Perhaps; perhaps not.
Firsts are rembered, but lasts are forgotton, for so rarely do people understand that is is their last. I remeber the first time I kissed him. The taste of his lips was dry and faintly sweet, like the taste of the lips of a corpse preserved in formaldehyde. There was no tang of cigarettes on his breath. Like so many other posions, literal and metaphorical but mostly metaphorical, it just doesn't taint him.
The last time I kiss him will be within the month. I'm not a dreamseer. I couldn't give an hour, not even a day, but another bit of folklore kicks in here: the smell, the sense, of a man who is about to die. The smell you feel about a perfectly healthy man whom you find out a week later died in a car accident the afternoon after you met him. Another metaphor, but a very reliable one, and I stink of it. It begins to overpower the smell of cigarettes. I've seen a few people give me odd glances in subways or on the streets; sensitive to it, although perhaps unknowingly. Many people are. It's an easy sixth sense to gain, if not a very useful and often terrible one.
I might see it coming, savor it, but if not, it will be no great loss, for I will be unable to care.
The coffee is bitter and black and almost burns my tounge. His mouth is no warmer than his skin. I could tell the first time he kissed me was the first time he had ever kissed anyone; his hesitancy, his soft sound of suprise, all were delectable first for themselves. The first time I made love to him he almost glowed. That was another first, this time for both of us. First and last will be both together, I imagine. He is not the kind of man to give himself away easily, even in so trivial a fashion. Another similarity. We are more similar than different now, I think. Perhaps we always were.
I won't see the last fall. This hot summer weather I walk into now will be the last. If I ever prayed, I would p;ray for rain on the day of my death, or a summer thunderstorm. That is one more last I will otherwise have missed. Already many of my lasts have passed. Last snowfall, last new coat, last visit to certain restaurants. If one wer to take a technical view of the affair, last meal; I have not eaten more than picked at my food for weeks, ever since I began to smell the death following me; I am losing weight at a shocking pace but he doesn't seem to have noticed.
I can't ruin my health that much further.
I'm looking forward to my last kiss far more than my first, and my last cigarette at least won't make me cough and hack and lean shaking against a wall until I no longer want to throw up. But I think the first time I touched him will matter more. I will die touching him, or him touching me. It depends on the definition. I will die in his arms.
First breaths are always hard, and my last will be just as difficult, although ti will be blood pooling in my lungs instead of amniotic fluid, and it will keep coming until I drown in it, or bleed to death. My lungs are already blackened over with cigarette smoke. They won't last long at all.
The taste of his lips lingers on mine long after I kiss him, every time. Perhaps he will kiss me one last time, and let it linger there forever.