[CREATIVE NONFICTION] Young Bat Love
Walking through Cherry Park at dark, you clasp my hand so tightly that the webbed flesh-curves between each of our fingers kiss. I watch you—honey-skinned even under unnaturally bright street lamps—wrap your thin lips around the tip of an amber-filtered American Spirit, smoke and laughter in your tarred lungs. I don’t mind. I have straddled you outdoors on a cracking, wooden chair while a cigarette, wet from your tongue, made its home between your teeth. I rode you hard enough to force splinters into your white thighs, your eyes bright with amusement and amazement in the moonlight, and you bruised the bones of my knees with your thumbs while you smoked expertly out of the right side of your jaw.
I don’t mind. Hell, I think I even like it.
I see a long-winged black bat dip low under a Spanish-moss dressed tree where the sidewalk bends. Where there is one, there is usually another. We look for its counterpart while it zips over blades of St. Augustine grass and between gnarled tree limbs.
“There,” you whisper to me with your tobacco leaf lips touching the small lobe of my left ear. You point to the second shadow swooping through your smoker’s smog. We watch this smaller bat chase the tail of its coveted lover in silence until you say aloud to, I think, yourself, “Young bat love.”
I smile as you take another drag. You’re every punk rock t-shirt I ever had—a little ripped, parts of you burned, obscure in your desires unless you’re singing about girls. You want to make me coffee in the mornings, but my heart just can’t take it, so you buy me cereal so I have something to do while you sip your hot java brew and I look at you, you with smoke spiraling out of your nostrils before the rising sun has even struck its chord with the sky and balanced the light in the yellow way that makes us call it morning.
It’s barely daybreak, and you’re addicted, but I don’t mind.
“I hope he catches her,” you say as we continue on our way, a trail of smoke following us like the back of a mountain train. Young bat love. I bring your hand to my mouth and lick the stained pad of your pointer finger. If it were anyone else, I would mind and in this moment I just might tell you, but I’m paused by the offer of the stub after you flick your wrist and shake embers onto our shoes. I take a puff, and I think to myself as we listen to the second bat quietly coo from afar at the first: It makes fine sense that you think he’s chasing her, but who’s to say it’s not the other way around?
Lexi Senior is a roaming writer with an MFA from University of Central Florida. Her work is forthcoming in Paper Darts, and has appeared in Gravel and Cheap Pop. Find her writing impulsive poetry on Twitter @discoeternal.