Apr 092012

Adrienne Love teaches yoga, travels a lot and writes like a dream about men and women and their amorous relations. She is currently a student of mine in the Vermont College of Fine Arts MFA in Writing Program. This fact (you’ll see what I mean when you read the following story) makes my life as a teacher a breeze (well, almost). In “Crash,” Adrienne evokes the dramatic culture clashes of a Westerner in India, which clashes (mini-crashes) complicate her heroine’s love affair with a man who doesn’t even know her name (another mini-crash). And over everything hangs the pall, the guilt, of an earlier crash, some sad history left behind in America, still to be faced again. “Crash” has drama, sex, exuberant language, hugely energetic scenes (including wonderfully evoked crowd scene) and beautifully detailed images of India. It’s a pleasure to present Adrienne’s story on NC.  This is her first publication. (Author photo by Jessica Sweeney.)



I tucked my head back into my shawl and covered my mouth as the wind on the beach woke up, arousing the garbage.  The man they called Kostya Verr pulled me between two crumbling buildings, out of site of the mob.  We faced each other, panting, and I was acutely aware of the proximity of our bodies.  Electricity seemed to zap between us.  Everything in me wanted to press against him–dissolve into him.  For weeks I’d watched him, willed him to notice me.  Finally, here we were, together.  But, “Wait here,” he said, and disappeared down an alley I’d never noticed.

Disappearing all my skin into my shawl, hoping I’d be mistaken for a local woman with my hair covered, I waited, nervous, for Kostya Verr  to return.  Perhaps he wouldn’t return at all.

I didn’t dare peer back out toward the beach, to where the mob of craft sellers was still pursuing us like two criminals, waving their mangy goods and hollering.  I could hear them.  But Kostya came back fast, Thank God, with two motorcycle helmets, one white, one black.  The white one he fit over my head as I emerged from my shawl.  “Good idea,” he said, laughing.  “Hot season’s coming.  Tourists are gone.  Locals are starving.  I’d take them all home with me if I could, but I can’t save India, you know?  I’m just one man.”  He pounded his closed fist against his heart for emphasis, Just One Man.  Then he secured the buckle under my chin and shook my helmet to make sure it fit.  “Ready?” he asked.  But he wasn’t interested in my answer.  Was I ready?  For what? Absolutely, I wanted him, but that didn’t mean I wanted to go away with him.  He didn’t even know my name.  Having no idea where we were going or why–having had not even a moment to consider before he’d taken me by the hand again, I melted into him when his fingers took mine, let him mold me like hot wax or wet clay.


The sand flew up around us, assaulting us in fistfuls as we ran, the first of the monsoons threatening, but he led us anyway to what would be a beat-up old scooter in America, but which was a luxury motorcycle here in Kovalam.  He kicked the stand with the back of his heel. I noticed he’d changed into long pants–jeans–and boots.  I melted looking at him, it was so hot.  Pausing just long enough to press the protective plastic panel over my eyes, he started the engine with three thrusts of his boot. Afraid I’d never get another chance to go away with him, I climbed on and threaded my arms under his.  We sailed away into the nascent night, honking and dodging traffic crazy enough to make you cry.


The next morning I woke up in his bed.  From the moment I opened my eyes I knew exactly where I was and how I’d gotten there.  I also knew we hadn’t slept together.  It wasn’t at all the kind of thing where the hangover rushes in and pounds you on the head as you peel your eyes apart and quickly squeeze them closed again when you realize you’re naked and you don’t know the man beside you and you shove your hand between your legs for evidence:  Did you sleep with him?  Who IS he?

What it was like instead was this. I awoke out of a nightmare that was so real it was a carbon copy of an afternoon, back home in California, weeks prior.  In a courtroom of angry people, I’d been submitting testimony and they’d shouted and pounded me with their never-ending questions: Was I reckless?  Did I always make poor decisions?  Did I drink and drive regularly?  I’d sobbed.  Previously a private person–hermetic, almost–my life after the accident had belonged to the grieving.  They’d needed someone to blame.  Even after I’d been acquitted.  But suddenly, in my nightmare, I knew I could escape.  I forced my eyes open, lurching myself out of my nightmare and into the stale Indian morning air.  Fumbling, I searched for something real.  Kostya’s foot was a brick baking in the sun, hot, heavy, and scratchy, on top of the woven blanket.  But once I found it I held on with both hands like it was a lifeline tethered to a boat and I’d been thrown overboard at sea.  What would I say if he woke up and asked what I was doing?  It didn’t matter.  I needed him.  I gripped harder.

“My name is Kostya,” he whispered, hot in my ear, waking me from a dead sleep a few hours later.

“Why are you so slippery?” I asked.

He cracked that smile and I was drunk on him all over again.

“Why is your head wrapped in gauze?” I asked.

Before I knew what was happening he was sliding around on top of me, over my t-shirt and panties.  Hot red oil reeking of peanuts and fennel rained off his body onto mine.  My hands shoved their way under the gauze and into his hair.  They recoiled when they reached the sticky mass underneath.  I held my hands up to the sunlight in the window.  The red cotton curtain billowed like a warning flag.  In the light my hands were covered in a thick opaque film.  They smelled of butter and pepper, and burned.  “I don’t understand.”

He opened his mouth wide over mine.  It was hot and his grizzle scratchy.  His tongue was a beast that shoved mine around.

So this was how it was going to be, I understood perfectly.  No answers to my questions.  Ever.


In India, on the edge of the hot season, you sleep a lot.  Everyone does.  Canine, human.  So it shouldn’t be surprising that later that afternoon, on the edge of dusk, I woke up for the third time that day in my t-shirt and panties in Kostya’s bed.  This time he was gone.  The bed looked like a crime scene.  I was wound up in the sheets like I’d been strangled with them.  Everything was covered in red oil.  It looked like blood.  What IS this stuff?  I waved my hand at the last of the daylight.  The red flag billowed, agitated, in the hot wind.  I heard voices chattering in Marathi outside the bedroom door. Kicking out of the sheets I made my way onto my feet.  Crusty, dirty gauze crackled beneath my toes and I slid on the tile.  Red oozed everywhere.  I needed a shower.

In the bathroom was a spigot about two feet from the ground, like the kind we have in gardens in America for hoses.  There was a bucket next to the toilet, the kind you use for flushing and wiping here in India.  My hotel, geared for westerners, had had a real shower.

The bucket was filled with a substance that looked like dirt.  I turned the spigot on to wash out the bucket, but it frothed like soap.  Searching the bathroom, I found nothing else that resembled soap.  And no shampoo.   Nothing to use for washing but a decrepit old hand towel hanging on the handle of the spigot with stains that looked and smelled like the frothy dirt in the bucket I was holding.  Guessing, I bathed with the hand towel, mopping the dirty liquid all over me, cleaning away the red ooze.

Hungry, having gone the whole day without eating, I wandered out into the hallway after my shower in Kostya’s robe.  A makeshift sign painted on the wall read Dr. Peter Sambhu B.A.M.S. Ayurveda & Panchakarma Clinic.  There were more words I couldn’t read, Marathi I assumed.  Kostya had told me he was staying in a clinic, but I hadn’t thought much about it.

The tile was lukewarm beneath my feet.  The sun was setting and the approaching rain dissolved some of the heat.  Through a tiny window in the hallway the sky was red smeared with brown.  Tile climbed all the way up the walls to the ceiling.  So many doors!  I pressed one of them open.  Inside was something resembling a massage table, only it was solid wood and there was nothing soft about it.  A giant hay colored rope wrapped in a film of black hung from the ceiling, and a wooden box, big enough to hold a human being, with a short stool inside and a hole big as my head carved out of the top panel rested in the corner of the room.  Along the walls were perhaps a hundred bottles–maybe more.  Some were filled with liquid, some with a substance that looked like butter.  The room smelled of peanuts and fennel, and when I pressed a hand on the thing resembling a massage table it came up covered in that same red ooze.  I wiped my hand on Kostya’s robe, leaving a smear of red.  On the opposite wall was a tiny window and beneath it a table with two burners and several blackened sauté pans.  Somewhere in the clinic a door slammed.  And the fan overhead started spinning.  The rain started.  It slanted into the room in sheets and I rushed to fasten the wooden shutters to keep it out.  How many rooms with open windows? Tightening the robe around my waist I backed out of the room and closed the door.  I pressed other doors open.  Every room was the same:  table, giant box, sauté pans, blackened rope.  Then a long row of rooms like Kostya’s:  bed, mosquito net, buckets in the bathroom filled with dirt, red cloth flapping against the windows.  Not knowing what else to do, I closed all the windows I discovered, until, at the end of the long hallway, I found a staircase.  I climbed three flights to the top before a little local girl, covered in dirt and barefoot, slammed into my thighs.  I looked down at her, but before I could say anything, she was gone.

There was a racket in Marathi from somewhere in the building, and then the slamming of more doors, and then just the rain and the wind and the sound of my own breath as I made my way through the clinic.

On the top floor I found a kitchen.  Several glass doors along one wall lead out to an enormous balcony.  I pressed up against the glass, felt it shivering in the storm, and wondered where Kostya had gone, and when–or if–he’d come back.  My hotel was across town.  The path leading there, along the beach, had been swallowed by the tide.  My stomach rumbled and I started rummaging in the kitchen.  The cabinets were full of spices, none of which I recognized.  I sat down in front of one of them and dropped my head in my hands.  What if it rained like this forever and Kostya never came back?  I’d spent only one night with him, but I’d watched him for weeks and weeks.  For so long I’d wanted him to notice me, and now that he had I felt naked without his attention.  Was he okay out there in the rain?  And what about Gilbert Massey?  Was it raining in California?  Was he alone, or was there someone there with him, sleeping in the blue chair next to his hospital bed?  Was his oxygen tube twisted?  If so, would the someone asleep in the blue chair next to his bed wake up and untwist it?  For a moment I felt my mind slipping back into my nightmare.  In the distance a door slammed.  I jumped.  It occurred to me I’d never been so alone in my whole life.

Swing low, sweet chariot–someone was whistling.  I sat in my heap on the floor of the kitchen as the whistling grew nearer.  And then Kostya appeared, in the doorway, soaking wet in shorts and a sleeveless shirt, bags dangling from his long arms, his veins wrapping them like ribbons.  He stopped whistling when he saw me.  “Hey,” he said.

“Hey.”  I started to ask where he’d been, but decided against it.  “I put on your robe,” was all I could manage.

“I can see that.”  He lifted the bags onto the counter.  “Hungry?”

I nodded.

“Empty these while I change?”

I nodded.

I started peeling the wet plastic bags apart as he walked toward the door.  But he stopped short of it.  He turned around and came back to me.  He lifted my hands from the bags and put them down by my sides.  Without looking at my eyes he untied my robe and pulled it apart so it hung open.  He stared at the sliver of my naked body for the first time through the open slit.  He ran two fingertips in a line from between my breasts to the top of my pubic bone, letting them linger, as if telling us both where we wanted to go.  I’d expected to shiver, but I barely felt him.  He walked away.


We had dinner on the floor of the kitchen.

“I prefer to sit on the earth,” Kostya said, and he nestled onto a cushion beside the glass balcony door.  Thunder exploded outside, and when lightning flashed I saw him mopping food into his mouth with his hands just like the locals.

“Okay,” I said, and followed him with my bowl.  I didn’t mention that we were on tile, not earth, nor that we were three floors above ground.  He was shirtless, in long flowing pants.  I was still in his robe, my clothes ruined by the red ooze.  Tomorrow I’d wash them out and hang them to dry, I decided.  We ate in silence, and I swallowed my questions–Where was he from?  Where had he been today?  What was he doing here in Dr. Sambhu B.A.M.S.’ Ayurveda & Panchakarma Clinic—knowing he wouldn’t answer me even if I asked.  He finished eating before me and then sat back on his elbows, watching, until I emptied my bowl.  After my last bite, he took my bowl.

I wanted him to lunge forward, to pull the knotted cord from around my waist and peel his robe off me.  Or I wanted to climb onto his lap, and pull the robe off myself, throw my head back as the lightening crashed and lit up my naked body before him, feel him enter me.  I wanted to bite him on the shoulder.  Lick the rest of his dinner mess off his fingers.  But something stood between us.  Something hard and intangible.  Something like hate, but that was impossible.  Or was it?  We’d barely spoken a handful of words.

When he stood up I followed, and he guided me with his hand on my back out of the kitchen, toward his room downstairs.

“Come,” was all he said, as he pressed open the door to his room.  The floor had been cleaned, no more red ooze, the bed freshly made with a new set of linens.  Even the bucket in the bathroom had been refilled with more brown stuff.  Swing low, sweet chariot, he whistled, as he laid out several sets of women’s clothes on the bed.  Gesturing toward them, he said, “Choose.”  He sat on the tile by the window, in front of the red curtain.  I gathered the clothes and headed for the bathroom.  “Here,” he said, and I understood he intended to watch me change.  This is the opposite of disappearing, I thought.

I might have said no, it was so vulnerable to be standing naked before a man.  But I wanted to please him.  And a part of me was desperate to be seen.  Not as a criminal.  Not as they saw me now in California– aquittal or no aquittal– but as a woman.  Sexy.  Free.  I remembered riding with Kostya on his motorcycle the night before, gripping him around the gut.  I wanted to get back on that motorcycle with him.  Wanted him to drive and drive and never stop.  Kostya felt like my lifeline, my ticket out of hell.  I didn’t dare disappoint him.  And so with trembling fingers, in a bath of red light from the moon shining through the curtain, I untied my robe and let it pool at my feet.  I wanted him to smile, but he didn’t smile.  He didn’t do anything.  He just watched me.

I settled on a long turquoise skirt with silver tassels and mirrored beads that jingled when I walked.  Now I’d be seen and heard.  A short white blouse with capped sleeves on top.  On the beach I’d seen sun ripened ladies peddling clothes like the ones I now wore.  “From Jaipur,” they’d insisted, as they shook the mirrored beads in the sun.  Backing away I’d cringed.  No mirrors please.

“Ready?” Kostya asked when I was dressed, but of course he didn’t wait for my answer.  He came over behind me, instead, and began combing my hair with his hands.  He braided it, and then let it go, unsatisfied.  I held my elbows and kneaded the skins with my fingers.  Did he know they thought I was criminal back home in California? Could he have read about the trial in some online paper?  He left the room, and I heard him opening a door down the hallway.  He returned with one of the bottles from one of the shelves in one of the rooms.  Unscrewing the cap he flooded his hands with its contents.  “Coconut oil,” he whispered in my ear.  My nipples bristled as he ran his hands through my hair, pulling it softly.  My scalp tingled, as if waking up out of a dream.  He wove my long blonde hair into a braid and fastened it with string.  He looked at me again and then disappeared again.  This time I didn’t worry as much, trusting he’d return.  When he came back, he held little white flowers in his hands.  He pinned them into my hair, letting his fingers linger on my neck when he was done.  “Just like the Indian women now,” he said, and kissed my shoulder.

He pulled a red linen shirt from a drawer and buttoned it around him as it flapped in the breeze.  When had the rain dissipated?  The windows been opened?

This time, when we folded ourselves into each other on his motorcycle, he slipped my skirt up over my thighs and pulled me in closer to him than the night before.  Without helmets, we drove away into the night, the mirrors of my skirt twinkling like stars in the moonlight.


In India, you hear festivals before you see them.  By the time Kostya parked the Yamaha and helped me off, the pounding of bare feet into the dirt earth created a deafening percussion all around us. Any words we tried exchanging were snatched away by the noise.  Kostya guided me through the crowd, his hot palm on the space of skin above the waist of my skirt.

We pressed on through the crowd, past an enormous bejeweled elephant with a headdress and two boys riding on its back.  They were about Gilbert Massey’s age, before the accident.  My eyes traveled the lengths of their pubescent limbs, the soft skin, the narrow shoulders.  They were healthy, unbroken. For a moment, I felt myself slipping back into my nightmare.  But Kostya’s palm, hot on my skin, called me back.

All around us the faces were brown, the hair almost black.  As if rebelling against that monotone palette, saris and dhotis, in every imaginable color, surged, a great painting bursting to life.  At the base of a crumbling stairway, a brown arm reached down and took my hand.  Kostya nodded, so I clasped.  The hand, sweaty, rough, and strong, lifted me upward.  Kostya steadied me from behind.  At the top, I turned and offered my hand to Kostya, who accepted, and we dissolved into a great train with the villagers, all helping each other climb up and up into the sky.  Eventually, our great mass reached a rooftop, where we hovered above the sea of color below.  Pressed shoulder-to-shoulder and knee-to-knee, we stood at the edge of a rooftop, our elbows scratching on the crumbling wall that barely kept us from tumbling over the edge.  Children sat on the edge of the wall, swinging their little brown legs.  The lights from the festival, fires spinning, candles and torches burning, danced in the reflections of their enormous black eyes.  My heart, lonely and broken for so long, filled up on their innocence.  For a few fleeting moments, my heart beat exactly in time with the rhythm of the crowd as it stomped into the earth with a fury and persistence matched only by my passion for the man whose hand played with the edge of my shirt.

Suddenly there was a roar from the crowd, and all around us hands flew up into the air.  Craning my neck I tried to see through the crowd, curious.  But Kostya pressed his hot hand underneath the base of my shirt and sent it forward and up.  He took my breast in his palm.  I thanked God I hadn’t worn a bra as he fingered my naked nipple.  The crowd jumped and hollered and Kostya pressed hard against my back with his whole body.  Giving into his weight, my hips slammed against the wall, and my elbows scraped its hard surface.  How long before this all comes crashing down? I wondered.  The wall seemed to crumble away bit by bit against the press of the crowd.

Later someone will tell me it’s illegal to kiss in public in India, and I’ll wonder whether that’s true, but that night, as Kostya explored me, his hot mouth open against the back of my neck, as the crowd surged and yelped and clapped and stomped, as Kostya sent his other hand beneath the elastic waistline of my skirt and cupped his palm between my legs, as he sent two thick fingers to work their magic inside me, it was as if the crowd was there for the sole purpose of celebrating our passion.

How long had it been since I’d given myself to a man?  Since the accident, I hadn’t allowed myself any sort of pleasure.  I’d wanted to hurt.  How many times had I prayed to God to let me please trade places with Gilbert Massey, who lay motionless in a hospital in California, kept alive for years by machines?  Kostya flicked his fingers.  How long had I waited for Kostya?  I writhed.  Could I have known I’d find him here?  In India?  Had I escaped across the Pacific not to become invisible, but rather to wake up out of my nightmare?  To be alive again?  He flicked again, and bit down on my neck.  He pressed me harder.  My hips bruised against the wall and my elbows sliced against slivers of shattered glass.  I opened my eyes and saw my own blood painting the pastel wall.

I pulled my attention away from Kostya for a moment, to wipe my elbow, and as I did the child next to me stared into my eyes, and then watched Kostya’s hand moving under my blouse.  I blushed and started to smile at the child, whom I could not be sure was male or female, but whose face was framed with the most luscious waves–precious waves like Gilbert Massey’s. For a moment I remembered pressing those soft waves from Gilbert’s forehead as I’d rocked his lifeless body beneath the Weeping Willow tree.  But Kostya’s body against mine wouldn’t let me stay there with Gilbert under the tree.  I hadn’t realized my eyes had closed.  My body whimpered and quivered.  My voice whined, but the crowd drowned it out.  I felt myself bursting, and when I opened my eyes, the child with Gilbert’s precious waves was still there, watching.  Slightly ashamed, but too ecstatic, I smiled at her.  There’s so much magic, I wanted to say.  You’ll see. I drifted back.  My body bucked.

But then Kostya ripped his hands from me, and I was thrown hard against the wall, knocking the child.

There was brawl behind me.  Not a brawl with fists flying–not in India.  But a brawl of words, and shouts.  I flew around in time to see Kostya pulled away from me by a pack of brown men, most of whom were half his size, but still, there were so many of them.  Too many for Kostya to fight off.  Then–

Everything.  Slow.  Motion.

My heart fell out of my chest as the crowd hushed and a high-pitched scream exploded.  No!  I turned back to where the child had been watching me, but the space on the wall was empty.




Launching myself toward the edge of the wall, almost tumbling over, I stared down at those precious waves dancing through the air.

I wished for the power to stop time.  The child, falling, feet first, arms outstretched, she–I’d later learn her name was Sita–seemed to be reaching up, reaching for a hand, for my hand.

Knees cutting against the glass on the wall, I leaned all the way over the edge, reaching, reaching, trying to give her my hand. Down, down, I reached.  Until I fell.

Had I wanted to fall?  Perhaps it had been the only way.  How could I have possibly walked back down those steps, having knocked Sita over the edge?

Falling through the air, my blonde braid flapping against my spine, Kostya’s white flowers fluttering up past my face and then, up, up, up, I had time to think, So this is how it will end.  I deserve this.



In the air, I forgot about Sita.  But Gilbert Massey, crystal clear, soft, unharmed by the accident, appeared, falling with me, but he was smiling.  It wasn’t your fault, he said.  It wasn’t anyone’s fault.


I saw myself sitting beneath the Weeping Willow holding Gilbert’s lifeless body, both of us painted in blood so brilliant it almost wasn’t real.

Behind us, the cars smoked in a tangle of metal and broken glass.  Shaking furiously, I rocked him.

There was no sound, other than my whimpering prayers.

Braid flapping.

Gilbert smiling.

And then warmth on my back.  I was certain it was the earth.  I’d feel the slam of it any moment.

But only a bounce.

And then I stared into their eyes.

A sea of hands had caught me. We stared at each other, me at the villagers, the villagers at me, disbelieving.

Bloody, shocked, and disoriented, I was carried to a dirt floor somewhere near enough to the festival to hear the celebration resume and continue into the night.  In candlelight, an elderly woman in a heap of skirts and bangles, with a red dot beneath her widow’s peak, and a chain from her ear to her nostril, wiped my forehead, pressing my blonde wisps to one side as I’d pressed aside Gilbert’s waves under the Willow Tree.

Staring up at her, searching for answers, I wondered, where was I?  Was this my grandmother, dressed for some costume party?  I’d never known my grandmother.  But perhaps she’d come back now that I needed her.

Something, a whining, was pulling me back.

The old woman closed her eyes and hummed a song I couldn’t understand.

Again, I was rocking Gilbert’s body beneath the Weeping Willow, as his father’s soul left his body, which had been smashed between the steering wheel and the destroyed windshield of his car when our cars collided.

Then more whining.  It grew louder and clearer.  There’d been no noise under the Weeping Willow.  That, I remembered.

A child whined.  I gasped!  Where was the child?

My body convulsed and I cried out, certain the child had died, and cruelly, I’d been spared.  The old woman puckered, her eyes misty and hard.

And then I saw her, the child.  Sita–I’d learn–she giggled and cooed, accepted something shiny, from a young woman, probably her mother, hovering over her.  Oh my God.  The old woman patted my head. Racing, I explored the length of Sita’s skin with my eyes.  Not a blemish.  Not a scrape.  Not a bruise. The woman standing above Sita waved the shiny thing again and Sita threw her head back, a smile erupting. Her soft waves were innocent and safe.


My plane climbed up, up, into the sky, leaving India and Kostya and Sita behind.  I pressed my forehead against the window and watched the massive subcontinent grow smaller, smaller.  Tears stung my eyes.  My heart hurt.

I’d stayed in my hotel a few days, sitting on the balcony, watching the waves crash against the cliffs below.  I hadn’t gone back to the clinic.  I hadn’t gone back to Café Kovalam where I’d watched Kostya for weeks until he’d noticed me.  I’d hoped Kostya would find me, that he’d arrive at my door and press himself against me the way he had at the festival, that we’d tear clothes away and throw them out the window, that we’d exist forever naked and sweating together in my hotel bed, hidden from the world, protected together.  That’s why I’d stayed after Sita fell off the wall.  But Kostya had never even asked my name.  How could he possibly find me?

In the end, it had been right that he hadn’t.  After almost a week of watching the waves crash against the cliffs, I decided to go home.  Home was where I needed to be.  But this time I, I decided, I wouldn’t hide.  I’d go see Gilbert Massey in the hospital.  I’d untangle his oxygen tube if it twisted.  I believed in miracles.  Sita and I had been saved, after all.

 The movie screens dropped and the stewardess ordered us to close our window shades, so I closed mine, and pressed my head back into the airplane seat.

I thought about Kostya, about his smile and his smell, and that red ooze in the clinic.  Had it really been red?  Or had it just seemed red because I’d been thinking about the accident?  Was it possible that he loved me?  That I loved him?  And what might have happened had I not crashed with Sita over the edge of that crumbling wall?

I closed my eyes as we climbed higher, higher.

In my fantasy, on that rooftop, the night of the festival, the crowd had eventually dissolved, leaving Kostya and I to make love in the sky.  He’d left my turquoise skirt with the mirrors on, but tucked the hem of it into the waistband, so it became a mirrored blue sash across my hips.  My shirt, he’d pulled over my head, and his hands held onto my breasts as we made love for the first and only time.  In our fury, he’d bitten my lip, drawing blood, and he’d pulled away to tell me loved me, licking my blood from his own lips.  Though the crowd had disappeared, the lights from the festival had danced in his eyes.  He’d sat me in his lap, his spine against the crumbling wall, and when he’d entered me the rush pierced me so deeply, I knew I’d never again wish to disappear.  For a moment, Sita had appeared, swinging her legs on the wall, eyes full of confusion, but no fear.  Kostya still inside of me, I’d turned my head away from him, and whispered in a voice only she could hear, I’m sorry.  The next time I’d opened my eyes, in my fantasy, Sita was gone.  Kostya had pulled away again.  “You’re beautiful.”  He’d stopped to tell me.  “I watched you for so long, afraid you’d never have me.”

I’d wound myself into him and pressed my face into his collarbone, as we heaved.

And when we’d finished, I’d told him, “I have to go.  There’s something I have to do.”


But I’d pressed my fingers to his lips.  “Promise you’ll find me.”


Adrienne Love is a yoga teacher, writer, world traveller, and lifelong student (currently in the MFA in Writing program at Vermont College of Fine Arts).  She currently lives with her main man, Frank-the-Cat, in Sausalito, California.


  6 Responses to “Crash: Short Fiction — Adrienne Love”

  1. This is so beautiful. I want to read more from this author.

  2. Been away from this site for a while. What a lovely welcome back.

  3. Wonderful storytelling, and Ms !ove captures the atmosphere in India so well. Would like to read more…

  4. Amazing vision!! Soaked with passion & life!!

  5. This work was a powerful and visceral experience for me. Adrienne Love has great ability to bring the reader deeply into the light and darkness of want, love and longing. Thank you

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