They look impossibly soft, your lips. Cushiony silken velvet. They beckon me when your mouth forms words. I know you are speaking to me, I’m listening, truly I am. And my eyes will flick up to yours when I answer, when I move the conversation forward, then they will drop to your lips again as you speak to me some more.

I’m hypnotised by the movement of your mouth, the glimpses of your teeth, the slight curl on one side, the sudden flash as your mouth splits into a smile. I smile back, all the appropriate noises happening between us.

I finally reach out and touch your cheek and your half-sentence trails off, unspoken letters swimming out into the ether. I touch your bottom lip with the pad of my thumb, you are suddenly self conscious, unsure what to do. So you wait quietly, awkwardly.

I realise quickly that my thumb isn’t sensitive enough to appreciate the tender softness of your lips. I use my index finger instead, crossing the delicate expanse of your bottom lip. You swallow, I see the movement, can feel your mouth purse a little with it. I pluck at your lips gently, as if there might be an eyelash resting there that I want to retrieve, but really I am just marvelling at how they feel. I gently follow your lip line to the corners of your mouth and around. You open your mouth just slightly, inviting me in.

I pet your lips tenderly, you close your eyes, instinctively making a soft kissing motion. I’m reminded of the way that puppies will paddle their little legs if you hold them above water. The thought makes my heart ache a little. I use a fingertip to stroke downwards, your plump bottom lip following, opening, I glimpse the smooth pinkness inside. You swallow again, your tongue slips out quickly to moisten the inside of your lips.

Later I will want more, much more, of your lips, and I will not be so gentle in getting it but for now I just want to read them as Braille.

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