by Malaika Booker-Wright

I have been here many, many times. This is the place I come to when I am lonely, fearful, hurt, or angry. I also come here to relax and get away from the everyday stresses of life. Where is my ideal place?

I walk through the arched doorway and down the long, narrow, and steep set of steps to my basement bedroom. I take off my shoes and socks at the bottom of the steps and marvel at the smooth blue plush carpet beneath my feet. The pale blue walls of this room compliment the black lacquer framed seascape hanging on it. This painting of the ocean crashing against some rocks is painted in an array of blues. On the opposite wall of this seascape, there are numerous portraits of family members and friends. All the portraits are different sizes, but in frames of only blue, black, or gold.

Due to my exhaustion, I speak a melodious “hello” and walk towards the two large, square windows. My feet sink into the carpet, like quicksand, as I push back the blue linen curtains, stiff from starch, and look out into darkness. I sigh slightly, then fall into the large black recliner. I remove, from underneath me, it’s blue satin pillow and blue blanket, crocheted by my grandmother, even though the softness cushioned my fall.

A Warm, Blue Place
I smile at the tall, icy glass of cherry Kool-Aid awaiting my arrival. It sits sweating next to a stack of unopened mail on the night stand. I pick up the glass and take a swallow big enough to fill my stomach. As usual, the Kool-Aid is sweet and tangy. I set the glass down and wipe the sweat just before it rolls off the glass and hits the telephone. I notice the blinking red light on the telephone, reminding me to check my messages. I turn on the hourglass-shaped lamp filled with black sand to read the mail.

Across the room, the show, “Change of Heart”, blasts on the twenty-seven inch television. The roar of laughter from the studio audience fills the room. After flipping through the mail, I glance up.

On the desk, I notice the letters of a message dancing across the computer screen. The messages range from “I love you” to “Call your mother” to “You forgot to wash the dishes.” The computer is on and waiting for me to check my e-mail. The black desk and matching chair are a mess. There are papers of every color, shape, and size scattered on the surface. White papers, blue papers, pink papers, red papers, green papers, peach papers, and tan papers flooding the desk. Papers shaped in squares, triangles, circles, and hearts cover the desk. Torn papers and whole papers invade the desk. The gold framed picture of me and my boyfriend is lost under this mess. It’s hard to see the printer, scanner, or mouse.

I decide to leave the mail for the following morning and I walk to the bulletin board next to the desk. This, too, is a mess: messages, appointments, bills, blue papers, red papers, white papers, old papers, new papers, memos, calendars, to-do lists, and much more are tacked to this large board.

Everyday, I say, “One day I’ll clean this mess.”

I begin taking off my clothes; stripping down to my underwear and laying the clothes on the desk’s chair. I pass by the completely mirrored closet and go directly to the long black lacquer dresser and mirror.

Looking in the arched mirror that is trimmed in gold, I see the reflection of all the small glass dolphins arranged neatly on the dresser top. I open one of the six drawers, get out some old, torn jogging pants, and put them on.

I walk towards the five foot chest of drawers. It, too, is black lacquer and trimmed in gold with six stacked drawers. On the top sits the television, VCR, cable box, VCR tape rewinder, and the most beautiful statue. The statue, from England, is a half naked charcoal woman sitting with her legs crossed “Indian style.” She has a sparkling green headwrap and matching blanket across her bottom half. Her right arm is distinctly placed across her breasts and her left, across her stomach.

As I pass the stand holding the video tapes and compact discs, I reach back and turn off the television. Silence fills the room.

The Nook
I stand in front of a space I like to call the “bedroom nook.” I designed it myself. It’s a space just big enough for the queen-sized bed it cradles. At the opening of the space, there are sheer blue curtains drawn to each side. The bed’s headboard is made of shiny black lacquer and mirrored with golden trimmings. Any solid colored sheet set is fitted to the bed. Six full-sized fluffy pillows and two small square throw pillows grace the bed. The unusually low ceiling — five feet and five inches from the surface of the mattress — is decorated with a centered, white globe covering a baby blue light bulb. This globe is surrounded by five mirrored ceiling tiles in the shape of diamonds.

Standing at the opening of the “bedroom nook,” I see him sitting on the bed in any one of his assorted collection of boxer shorts: the white cotton boxers with the black hand print on the butt, the red boxers with the white hearts, the blue and green silk plaid boxers, the all white boxers made by Tommy Hilfiger, the black silk boxers with the red lipstick print on the crotch, and many, many more.

He begins with a stern demand. “Come here!” he says, loud and clear. As his words echo throughout the room, I know this is my invitation to my ideal place. Like a school girl asked to her first dance by the captain of the football team, I explode with joy. However, I humbly accept. Slowly, I begin my journey from the foot of the bed to the headboard, where he sits.

His dark, chocolate brown skin glistens like newly polished shoes. There is not a blemish in sight. His broad shoulders compliment his oval shaped head; a head that embodies the most seductive eyes. These glossy, light brown cat eyes, accompanied by the longest, thickest lashes, always see through my humble facade. His dark, bushy eyebrows lie neatly, but rise in anticipation of my arrival. The diamond in his left earlobe sparkles like fireworks as the light hits it. His neatly shaped goatee surrounds the most perfect lips; thin, even-toned, and caramel colored. Behind his lips hide the pearly white gates into his soul. His bare, hairless chest seems to speak as he moves his pecks up and down. His stomach muscles ripple like still water being disturbed by a thrown pebble. The bulging muscles of his arms flex with every movement of his torso. His legs resemble those of a runner: long, lean, and muscular.

Finally, I reach the top of the bed. I sit to his left or right with my almost bare back against his naked chest.

His chest is as stiff as a board. I can feel his chest muscles explore my back. They massage like a professional masseuse. His stomach muscles feel like a minuscule mountain range with its ridges and valleys. His skin is satin; extremely soft and smooth to the touch. As I run my hand down his leg, I swear I am caressing a cloud. His skin is warm; warm enough to replace the responsibilities of a heating blanket.

I take a deep breath, basking in this space. I smell his cologne. It’s the scent of a baby with all its innocence. A combination of baby oil and baby lotion fills my head. A scent so sweet that when I close my eyes, I think I am in a nursery filled with sleeping infants.

Small Affection Grows
He kisses the nape of my neck. His lips are velvety. The playful sound of the kiss is that of an infant suckling its mother’s breast. He skims my neck with his pug nose, tickling it as if he had used feathers. I laugh the laugh of a giddy teenager. He laughs also. His laugh, deep and muffled, allows a breath of warm air to swim past my neck. The hair on my neck stands at attention like small soldiers going to war.

He whispers in my ear. As the words, “I missed you today” float out of his mouth, I can almost see them go past me. Each word is spoken more softly than the last. I can hear every letter being pronounced as though he were instructed by a teacher to do so. While he speaks so tender and soft, the steady stream of “Winterfresh” air grabs my attention. It’s the scent of a thousand peppermints gathered on an icy mountain top. In my ear, his warm breath feels like the steam from a hot shower, fogging my dangling earrings.

It is time for a hug. He takes his arms and wraps them around me; pinning my arms to my sides. The warmth and comfort of his embrace resembles that of a womb to an unborn child. His strong arms lock slightly to demonstrate the sincerity of his prior words. His large arm muscles dance around me with every contraction and release. As he lets go, he brings one hand to my cheek and strokes it gently. The gentleness of his stroke feels like cotton candy being swept across my face. He lifts my face up and towards his and gives me a gentle peck on the lips. I know it’s almost time to retreat from this place.

Imagine going to the same place, having the same events take place, and feeling the same way every time. Is there any question why my ideal place is right here, with him?