The book of course will have many sex scenes, because I write that, but I wanted to show you a place in the book that I am very happy with from yesterday. A kiss. The first kiss. From my novel, the chapter is “Silverscreens”:
Maybe there was music. It seemed to go off inside her head that afternoon when John Sandman pressed himself against her, by the side of that white van. His lips met hers and a thousand sparklers flared into the first one he planted almost shyly, before his tongue crossed the threshold of her lips.
It was the kind of thing that you would never expect to happen in the strangest location in all of Los Angeles, and yet, it was magic. The kind of magic where you hear a thousand musical notes go off at once in your mind.
Natasha hadn’t seen it coming, like the millions of other things she would never see coming with Mr. Sandman. He kissed her with an artist’s kiss, the way that only an artist can kiss a Muse. The sun flowed gold over the two of them, standing in the dust and little flurries of wind that rose kicked up by the afternoon heat. Soon his arms were completely around her, and her face tipped up to meet his lips, over and over and over again. There isn’t a way to describe what a kiss like that feels like really, unless you can write a poem about it.
That is something Natasha would learn to do later, as if she could capture him in the tiniest fragments of writing and somehow hold him close to her forever.
She had no idea that he had a whole other life, or a life he intended to keep secret from her. In fact, she didn’t even know he was married. It would never have occurred to her to ask because he wasn’t wearing a ring.
Kissing was something the two of them spent hours at, with each other. Hours and hours and hours and hours, and that’s all they did. When they weren’t making photographs together. I guess I should try and tell you about each one as it unfolded, the way Natasha explained them to me once.
She said that kissing John Sandman was the most romantic thing that had ever happened to her. And that, no one had ever kissed her like that again. Not ever. Not the way that 1,000 fireworks go off at once in the sky all around two people or that the sun seems to balance with the moon in the same sky out over the ocean, or that butterflies danced around them when they moved or that much later people would say “Come up for air,” because they would be so entwined around each other.
That’s what it’s like when you fall in love.
If only I could have stopped her. But I couldn’t. I didn’t want her to get hurt. I loved her myself, but it was from such a distance. We were so young then, Natasha never would have looked at me twice. I wasn’t her type that way.
Love in Los Angeles is something that happens under a dusted moon veiled with the obscurity that only a night in the city can provide. A million strangers have a first kiss under that moon, every minute. The city crawls with people lost like ants in a colony streaming upwards toward the light. City of anonymity. City of a thousand or a million unlucky star crossings. It happens every day, that two people’s paths might cross. You see them everywhere in the shadows if you look. Leaning against parked cars in old lots, tumbling over each other on blankets spread in parks, their bodies twinned in rapture. Watch long enough and you might get an understanding of what drives the whole cosmos of being. That first thrust of a kiss, the two tongues meeting, that longing of the body, empty of the other, and that endless need that lights the night like all the finite celestial bodies that you can’t even see because the haze hangs so low in a sky where even the stars have stopped breathing.