ears

He had his back to me and I was curled up against it like a pill bug. The blanket was down below his waist and he’d taken my arm and draped it over him instead. I felt like a child, nestled there against him, and it was delicious and strange. I was awake, and I wanted him to be too.

Held there in a comfortable kind of stuck, I had nothing to do but stare at the back of his head. I decided my nose was to be my weapon. I poked him with it. Prodded. Tapped a little beat. There were half-grown hairs at the nape of his tan neck and they were tickling the space above my lip. I nuzzled into them, partly to wake him up and partly because I wanted to know what it would feel like to do so. They tickled my face and I giggled into his skin. I felt his silent laugh and pulled my head back, waiting for him to turn over, to wake up. But he didn’t. I frowned and tilted my head to the side, wondering if yelling “wake up and play with me!” would be too direct of an approach.

That’s when I saw it, a little tiny freckle behind the cartilage of his left ear. I couldn’t help it, I gasped in delight. He inclined his head toward me, curious.

“Did you know you have a freckle on the back of your ear?” I whispered.

“No,” he said, voice raspy with the first word of the day.

“Well, you do.”

He laughed, with sound this time, and rolled over onto his stomach, peering up at me with one eye, face squashed into the blue pillow. He watched me as I lay there, looking for freckles on his other ear. There was one right in front, but I was sure he’d seen it, and that wasn’t nearly as fun as the one unknown. I couldn’t help but wonder if someone before me had noticed it and simply not told him, or if it had gone unnoticed for years. Or if he had just gotten it and I was truly the first to see it. I smiled at the thought, and felt his eyes brighten on me.

The morning light was coming in through the sheer curtains, lighting up his face. I glanced down, met his gaze, then glanced away again. I’d never seen him in morning light before, and firsts always felt too big, too full, to hold. I was afraid that if I tried to, it would tip over and spill out and be gone.

There were new colors in his eyes and all I wanted to do was look down and meet them, hold them and know them. But I kept my gaze on his ear, his neck, the side of his face, deciding to start slowly, with freckles.

 


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knuckles

One day, I was walking by myself and thinking about freckles, and I decided to ask him if he had any. He replied that he had a few, on his knuckles. I pictured his hands, dark and smooth, and asked if you could see them against his skin, because I’d seen his hands a hundred times and never seen any freckles. He thought that was funny.

He also told me once that I only liked him because he was the first intelligent black guy I’d ever met, which was not only untrue, but highly offensive. I never forgave him for it, but I liked him all the same.

 


nose

It was there on the tip of his nose, three shades darker than his dark skin. It was right in the very middle, and the symmetry was so unnerving I just wanted to stare at it and stare at it until it either stopped being perfect or I went blind.

And he was always grinning. Add a grin below a perfectly centered nose freckle and what do you get? You get me wanting to steal it and put it in my pocket and take it to class and look at it all day long and say fuck you, phonology worksheet, this freckle wins.

 


i don’t actually eat them

Just to clarify, I am not a cannibal. I don’t actually eat people’s freckles. Yes, I may lick them from time to time, but I do not literally ingest them. So if you came here looking for a how-to blog about cutting freckles out of people’s skin, or are expecting tips on the best way to include them in your favorite morning dishes, you’ve come to the wrong place (and you may want to seek professional help). Although I will admit that it’s a grotesquely interesting topic and someone should make a horror film about it.

So no, I don’t eat freckles. But I see them, I touch them, I absorb them. I take them into my memory, into myself. I consume them. Freckles are fascinating things. You can be born with them, you can acquire them from the sun, you can develop them as you age. They can be a multitude of shapes and sizes and colors and not one is exactly like another. You can connect them into lines and shapes, create constellations and works of art. They carry a certain importance on their tiny freckly shoulders. Whether you hate them and want to burn them all off your body or love them and want to build a shrine to worship them, they’re a part of you.

No, freckles don’t define a person. On the contrary; you might know someone extremely well, know almost everything about them and yet you may never know all of their freckles. They’re easily overlooked. Have you noticed your best friend’s freckles? Your mother’s? Your girlfriend’s? Can you tell me where they are and what they look like? Maybe a few of them. Most likely not all. But that doesn’t mean you don’t know the person. There are many ways, big and small, to know someone, and freckles are some of the tiniest. That’s what makes them special.

I like knowing people. I like learning details. If I consciously acknowledge and remember one of your freckles, I know you in a way that differs from knowing your favorite color or the name of your childhood goldfish. I might know your life’s story, but knowing a single freckle on your body is a different thing entirely. Freckles are another layer, on the surface but often looked over, and they signify intimacy.

Which brings me to breakfast. To me, breakfast is the most intimate meal of the day. I wake up with dreams tumbling through my mind. I’m a very vivid, often lucid, dreamer, and nine times out of ten I wake up remembering my dreams in their entirety, or at least in large segments. Breakfast is a time for me to sit and mull over my dreams. I sort them, releasing the ones I don’t want to keep and repeating the ones I do, running them over and over in my head until they stick. And if I don’t have any dreams to ponder, I use this time to simply think. I don’t like going out to breakfast. If we’re having breakfast together that means we woke up together, which means I probably know a few of your freckles. And I’m probably going to mention them here.

So no cannibalistic cooking tips, no morning recipes, just intimacy, connection, dreams, reflection, and a whole bunch of other things that I couldn’t possibly have foretold when naming my blog.

Without further ado, welcome to Freckles for Breakfast.