Anna missed a period the month of high school graduation. There was no mistaking what had happened; Hector had come from his home group to hers; both groups met in the morning after the night of the last final exam. Unlike Anna, Hector had never come close to disaster through his drinking. How he had navigated the double life of a teenage alcoholic and a young entrepreneur was anyone’s guess, and how he recognized that he could have been the next person in his family to come to a bad end through his drinking seemed like a minor miracle. In a display of judgment that belied his family’s predisposition to self-destruction, Hector had attended his first meeting before he had met Anna the previous year, before he knew about the boy at Lago Manuel Avila Camacho, before he ever heard of Roberto the taxista. Hector now had something worth more than money now that he had opened his own taller, and now that he had mechanics working for him who were older than his father. The captain of the Good Ship Hector stood high over the wheel.
So in a combination of boldness and carelessness – some would say recklessness –
“How was your meeting?”
“We had some great drunks tell their stories, but there’s so damn much mediocrity out there – so much mediocrity! – that you can hardly tell the speakers apart, let alone the listeners. How about yours, Thor?”
The Norse god now knew the temperature of the water, and the direction of the prevailing winds.
“Just as you say. It sounds like we went to the same meeting, after all.”
“Did you tell them anything? They hardly know you, yes?”
“They were my first group, before I met you, remember?”
“How could I forget? You were so cool, the way you rescued me from the cura. I thought you were the Superhombre himself!”
It mattered little to Hector that Anna had misunderstood the question. Rather than correcting her, he puffed up his chest so that the ripples in his muscles protruded through his signature thin white T-shirt and performed a drum roll on his pectorals with his fists. “Your turn,” he said to Anna, and emitted a deep laugh as he slid his hands from her bare shoulders down to her hands. He rolled her fingers into fists. Then he bent her elbows and, placing her fists on his chest, began to beat his muscles like a Tarzan until Anna took over the beating.
She picked up the tempo and started playing song rhythms on Hector’s still-flexed pectorals.
“Batatup bup bup batatup bup ba, batatup bup bup batatup ba da ba, bum smack-smack!,” went her fists, opening up into slaps at Hector’s proletarian biceps.
“Oh, no, they say you’ve got to go, go go Godzilla!” sang Hector.
“Very good!,” cooed Anna. “Try this one,” Rrrrrroooolllll, batum, dum, dum, dum, roll, push, and tapping, tapping tap, tap,
“More than a feeling,” Hector and Anna grinned, hers a “double-dare-you-with-a-cherry-on-top” kind of leer, and his, a big WATCH THIS, as he hit the high notes, “That I’m feeling on Sundays (more than a feeling), my spirit’s reeling…”
“My spirit’s reeling,”
“When I see Mary-Anna walk away!” Hector changed the lyric ever so slightly, as he placed his hands under Anna’s arms and turned her gently away from him.
“Try this one! Badada – Tras, tras, tras!” Hector slapped out “All Night Long” by Billy Squier on Anna’s trasero.
Anna gently pushed back. She had always admired the shape of her own hips. Now she had found a fellow admirer who she admired right back – someone who had access to that sensitive and private trasero by birthright. Hector found the threadbare places in Anna’s shorts that were en modo that year. Not finding a seam, Hector resisted the temptation to linger on Anna’s bare ass-flesh. He ran the tips of his fingers first around the curves under the pockets, then up the stem of the buttock between the pockets. He traced the pockets silently, feeling Anna flex her glutes under his fingers. At the waistline, he touched her in the small of the back, and plunged his finger into her shorts. Grabbing the tiny strip of fabric that he found there, he pulled up her thong, and emitted that baritone belly-laugh as she squirmed against the wedgie.
“Hui, cabron!” Anna slapped back at Hector’s left shoulder.
“I let you go for a kiss,” Hector chuckled.
Anna turned around more slowly this time. Hector released the thong, and with his left hand under Anna’s turquoise tank, he guided her body in its gentle pirouette. His right hand met her face and, with a gentleness that belied his muscular mechanic’s paw, stroked her hair back over her left ear. She lifted her lips upward to their greatest height. He stroked her cheek, neck, and ear as he first kissed her with his chest, his chin, his belly, before leaning the much shorter Anna back in an arc and bringing his lips to hers. His right hand cradled her chin as their lips met and parted.
Anna stroked Hector’s rigid thigh and hamstring with her right hand. As she arced backward, she clutched the very top of his hamstring and the bottom of his gluteus. Her left hand rolled the T-shirt halfway up his torso. She held herself up against this man-child who was twice her size by pressing herself to him from her ankles to her tongue. Now, she regretted her choice to wear a bra that morning.
A kiss is a moment in which two people share the sensations of their lips, and maybe their tongues, their teeth, their noses, their cheeks. In this moment out of time, Hector and Anna kissed with their full bodies, enabled by the arc of Anna’s back to be in contact from knees to thighs to hips to chest to lips. There was no question of fondling; that would wait for later. The bodies were locked, fully engaged though, not counting the hands squeezed under each other’s tops, fully clothed.
Hector took a step forward. Anna drew her leg backward. This dance step moved them toward the sofa, where Anna took control. She turned their locked bodies to the sofa, and resting her right foot in its lace-up platform sandal on the pillows, slid her hand up to bare Hector’s chest. His left leg followed. Anna’s hands seemed to move without will as she relaxed into the sofa and lifted Hector’s shirt over his head. Freshly bared, Hector’s left nipple, then his right, met Anna’s lips.
Hector could not remember the last time he was with a woman in this way. Maybe it was the year he quit high school. He had a vague memory of a face, of the hair, a garter – and waking up alone with a real hangover. Was that a girlfriend? A puta? A one-night-stand? As Anna was working his nipples with her lips and tongue, adding light nibbles while running her fingers atop the light hairs on his spine, Hector had flashes of one or two women that he thought he had made love to. Well, not “love,” more like fucking. Those evenings had been lost in a boozy haze; this afternoon, for two people who had spent much of the preceding two years drunk or high the passion unattenuated by chemical influence made the air crackle.
As if on cue, sunlight from the partially covered window warmed their hips. Anna’s left hand had moved around Hector’s thigh to the front of his leg, stroking his sartorius and tying the jeans-covered thigh to the bare stomach. Compared to the mix of pleasure and slight pain coming from Anna’s kisses on his nipples, the barely-there touch on the tiny hair at the bottom of Hector’s abdomen shouldn’t have been noticeable; but instead, he trembled imperceptibly on the outside, but shuddered and pressed his cheek into Anna’s hair. Was that fragrance always there on that sweet scalp? Had she used a special shampoo? Or was it the moment? The next thing that Hector noticed, the snap on his jeans was undone. The zipper was down halfway, and the meetingplace of stomach, hips, and pubus met Anna’s eagerly exploring fingers.
Hector did not wear a thong.
Anna drew Hector’s jeans partially down his thighs, somehow managing not to scrape his most delicate parts with the zipper. Now she deftly pivoted her hips outward, pressing him to the sofa back.
“Ha! Try to get away now,“ she giggled. Hector’s jeans, now around his thighs, made this impossible.
Anna popped out of the sofa, and in a stroke, removed Hector’s boots and slipped his jeans off. She drew back, as if she were God and he were Adam, and she was admiring her handiwork, lying muscular and naked before her.