Back then we could have sex in secret. We weren’t projected onto screens, held captivatingly in shades of blue and white. There was no blog text pix wall comment update reply-all. There was only a room with a door, and sometimes that room was a car. We could still grab the cold metal handle, pull it towards our chests. Steam up the windows for a do-it-yourself curtain. We were inventive back then, not like today. Now you can thumb a ride on the information superhighway. Wear revealing electronic trousers, displaying skin that a few years back would’ve burst into flames with the slightest UV exposure. We wanted to see that skin, yes we did. We saw that skin. But it wasn’t through viewfinders and lenses and night-vision goggles. We saw that skin with our own eyes, felt it with our own hands, the softness radiating, wearing down our fingers with repeated touch, back then, in secret.
We climbed together into beds made for one person; we kept our shirts on but not our pants, our pants on but not our shirts. We took showers separately and dangled thick strands of wet coconut hair into the faces of whoever was lying below, a mouth in a dimly-lit room grabbing the ends and pulling, pulling, bringing our faces closer, into a kiss that tasted clean and dirty at once. Wet hair slid easily through lips, each strand in place. Candles burned on the nightstand, a fire hazard, reason to be on the lookout. We would doze and wake and begin again.
The door was shut. We closed the door firmly, even locked it. No one would have entered. There was only us. One of us, both, checked the latch to be sure.
After, we called or we didn’t. We didn’t call.
Before, there had been only the room and the people it contained. The door slammed upon exit, even if you could picture the inside, the blood-red comforter and Chianti bottle used as a candleholder, even if you remember the particular small mouth and ripped t-shirt and black sweatpants, but can’t envision the face. Even if the room reassembles itself electronically, and in those pixels you see your name and what you did with whom, back when we made use of ourselves silently.
Now we post instantaneous mobile uploads of the Chianti bottle, to prove its existence before proof is called into question. We reconstruct the past into permanent electronic skyscrapers, erecting landmarks which scroll what has come and gone. We wave tattered flags made of undergarments. We create hyperlinks leading to one another’s genitals. We use rudimentary Googling skills to find and find again, clicking easily.
We still don’t call. There are no secrets left for us to share.