“Gin and juice?”
“Yeah, gin and juice.”
I filled a glass jar with a heavy pour of Canadian Gin and orange juice with ‘Lots of Pulp’. Mars collected what we later found out was 40 pounds of luggage and sat them outside on the stoop, like the gentlemen that he always is. We kept locking eyes and throwing each other tight-toothed smiles, probably in disbelief that this was all actually happening.
We piled into an Uber to join a gentleman who willingly drove us to Newark Airport. I completed my next two weeks of work on my lap top, while Mars streamed videos and listened to music. We both used our free hand to simultaneously pass our road soda back and forth without getting caught, using the dim glow of a Mac Book Air to navigate.
With an empty jar in hand, we pulled up to the Emirates terminal and made our way to the same shitty airport restaurant my brother Eric and I had dined in just 3 months prior. This time I substituted a Ceaser salad with 2 glasses of Jameson. It was an Irish themed restaurant.
Perhaps a tad too drunk, we still managed to decipher the cryptic signage of a New Jersey airport, and found ourselves successfully tucked into our own row on the most luxurious plane either of us had ever been on. Televisions, eye masks and – wait, is that a tiny tube of toothpaste? Even the LED lights on the ceiling were somehow more mesmerizing than any starry sky that has ever blanketed Philadelphia.
After 10 hours of tangled sleep, I was wiping my own drool from the nape of Mars’ neck. Fortunately though, it was on vacation, a place where embarrassment fails to exist.
Our first night was spent in Athens, on the top floor of a beautiful apartment tucked inside of a quaint and quiet neighborhood. It was Sunday and we quickly found out that nearly everything had already closed, or at least never even opened for the day. We found a modest wine shop on a corner, where an English-speaking man on flip phone tried to advise us on which bottle of wine to choose. Little did he know, our favorite kind of wine isn’t Assyrtiko, Chardonnay, or even Merlot, but more simply just “cheap”. Our first victory: buying booze.
At night we shared an incredible dinner in a warm garden, passing plates of steak, potatoes, eggplant, and the best homemade sausages we had ever tasted. Despite the incredible food and ambience, the moment was so special solely because it was our first time enjoying that sort of thing together. We had been friends for so long prior to our relationship, that we had skipped the generic dating experiences and went straight to bigger leaps, like flying across the globe. So though a romantic dinner is ordinary for most, it was magic for us. And of course without saying, so was the latter.
Back at the apartment, we polished off two bottles of wine to our favorite songs on our roof that overlooked the silent city. We spoke mainly about politics and the debilitating oppression that exists in America; because when we’re drunk we like to keep the conversation light-hearted.
The indulgence didn’t stop there. Mars needed that leftover sausage.
As he searched for a frying pan, I snuck off into the front room, closed the doors, and slipped into the first piece of lingerie I would ever wear for a man. Black velvet and lace stretched across my torso, while the thick black straps of my heels snaked up and around my calves. I’m normally a modest woman. The kind with just just enough humility to keep me far away from jeans that sit lower than my belly button. But on the night of September 10th, I would have spent the rest of the evening lost in a mirror if the most beautiful man I know wasn’t burning a sausage in the other room. I had never seen myself look like this.
I slowly made my way down the hall to poke my head around the refrigerator and cleared my throat to get my lover’s attention. As Mars turned around, I placed my heels together and shyly joined my hands behind my back, feeling slightly embarrassed that I had suddenly forgotten how to be sexy. I knew I was still doing okay though, because soon the oven was off and my legs were wrapped around his hips. Just the way they were the next morning when he came back from the bathroom and found me asleep with the lingerie still on.
And then we ate the rest of that sausage, which was conveniently left right on top of the oven, ready to be reheated.