Distant Constellations

I have a partner who makes me privy to the vagaries of traveling, of witnessing his reactions to new locales, out-of-homebody experiences, minor anxieties. When young, I viewed males with abject wonder, studying distant constellations through the arm’s length of a telescope as they snapped my bra straps, threw taunts with tipped chins, chipped teeth, wet mouths leering.
Your legs are hairy! Your lip is hairy! Must have been one hairy girl.

But flying to Cuba with boys in tow is a first, two 14-year-olds in my orbit as I crack the language code of disdain – gross, that’s nasty, of universes unfolding – cool, sweet, sick. Then ear buds stay ear-planted from frozen take off to humid landing.

For seven days I plot their all-inclusive course but they drift with indifference within our palm-lined resort, refusing tours – Boys, think about it before shaking your heads no, the family home of Fidel Castro! The crib of Communism! – to order cheeseburgers and slushies poolside
until blood sugars soar blueshift off course.

Their sole gravitational pull is to swim with dolphins dipped in Caribbean waters and led by a rum-soaked aunt whose glass tinkles mint Mojitos, fingers grip Cohibas, Romeo Y Julietas, San Cristobal de la Habanas, hand-rolled dark matter in my foreign fingers.

“Jara likes to be patted but do not touch her blow hole or genitalia.” Jara glides against me until I stroke her grey rubber belly, seek what I am supposed to avoid.

“Where’s that genitalia?” I say aloud. “I don’t want to hurt her. Aww, it looks like a piggy bank!”

Boys – wide-eyed, sputtering, sun glinting off braces. Another interstellar lesson: “piggy bank” is irreverent language for teenage boys who play blood and guts games Advanced Warfare, Grand Theft Auto. The mention of innocuous piggy banks overload their delicate sexual psyches while I, less hairy, view these mini men as distant galaxies apart, black hole borders, impossible to reach, considerably gassy.

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