Running my fingers through Meeko’s hair, the breeze coming through the window had the scent of cherry blossom to it. When it met my lips, it was a strawberry kiss, and as I placed that kiss on Meeko’s whispery, pink lips, she said something under her breath—a mumbled word or two in Japanese. She only ever spoke Japanese in my presence under two circumstances—either when we were arguing, or when we were about to make love. It signalled to me that she was opening up; like a flower coming into blossom, her petals would shimmer and hum as if to tell the world she was ready to taste the bittersweet beauty of pain. If there was one thing in this life that made the heartache worthwhile, it was to see Meeko at her most vulnerable. To see her as God intended—the soul behind the skin—the girl inside the woman. Leaning her head back, she dangled her arms limply by her side, and as her fingers scraped the kitchen floor, I leaned in and kissed her neck. My kisses were slow and deliberate, as were the movements of my hands as they slid beneath her baggy shirt. As they wrapped around and pinched her supple hips, she spoke more words in her native tongue, words I would more than likely never know the meaning behind. Sucking on her pale flesh, I left a love bite. Moaning as the blood vessels burst beneath her translucent skin, I left another, and although she claimed to hate it, she willingly gave her neck to me, and so I kept bruising her as if I had no choice. On the windowsill, a blackbird landed. Watching us with beady eyes, it titled its head and chirped its song—a song that came in a short and shrill burst, both beautiful and exotic. When it fell silent, Meeko turned her head and spoke to it in her secret tongue. As the words spilled from her mouth, the blackbird responded by spreading its wings and dancing before flying off into the ocean of sky that stretched in every direction, its song rising to touch the yellow sun.