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________He kissed her because she was horse-faced. He kissed her because her nose, masculine and Greek, was irrelevant when he considered her equally equine figure_____________

________He kissed her because his serpent and nautilus tattoo, his shellback family crest, a two-inched radius drawn around his right nipple, was bared and bright in the ultraviolet strobe. He kissed her because his collared flannel, too warm and smothering in Club Asia's climate control, flapped open on hinges of sweat-matted fabric______________________

_______He kissed her because her eyes, expectant, were buoyed at uneven depths. He kissed her because she was a white novelty in yellow Tokyo, and as such, unique and exotic only in the moment________

________He kissed her because there was no reason to pay for what you could get for free.  He kissed her because the last time he purchased a girl was shore leave two months ago in Manila: a dark skinned teen who teased him, prompted him in a hybrid language, more Spanish than English, and though well-versed in both, he growled and purred to make clear her duties___________

________He kissed her because of a mechanical pencil and a memo pad, both mine. He kissed her because I watched him and he watched my pencil, which danced to the same beat they danced, and he knew, with a kiss, he could make my pencil dance faster______________

________He kissed her because she had made an honest attempt to mask her pockmarked cheeks with expensive foundation. He kissed her because her brown-lined-red lipstick, even as his mouth smeared against hers, failed to divert his attention from her hips__________

________He kissed her because his dance floor, brightened by a disco ball, was far more promising than my sticky table, shaded by an Asahi Beer banner. He kissed her because pouring drinks into his horse-faced Sure Thing was far more ambitious than scribbling words into a memo pad______

________He kissed her because he'd alleybrawled two nights before in Roppongi, bruising two Pakistani jawbones and a breaking a third’s shin. He kissed her because the blue knuckles of both his fists were too sore to do it again___________

________He kissed her because the fog machine was ready for another round. He kissed her because the air again was blurred by the machine's exhale, and the billows in the strobe illuminated like monsoon clouds over New Mexico. He kissed her because it was under one of those electrical storms 'Tilda had given herself to him, glistening naked on a quilt lain inside the McClanneys' abandoned buckwheat shed: "With postcards and care packages, Tucker, I be yours."______

_______He kissed her because--- because, because, because, because, because--- because of the wonderful things he does______________

________He kissed her because he wasn't a jarhead; jarheads were brainless, they were killing machines and faggots -- a jarhead was a Marine, get it straight. He kissed her because he was a deck ape, a damned proud swabby, with a legacy to defend from Portsmouth to Tonkin Bay____

_______  He kissed her because in his long island iced reality she could be the daughter of a diplomat, or an expat violinist, world class, and these possibilities could be improved upon in each recount: told over pools of spillover and coiled lanyards, again while tweaking the bilge pump, in the head, in the bunks, in the galley, fore, aft and evermore__________

________He kissed her because while I could always tell a story, he would always have a story to tell____

________He kissed her because he couldn't read books, only brochures and the inner pallor of a girl's thighs; hers in particular had been included in the sales pitch. He kissed her because the salty recruiter, paternally grounded in a Santa Fe strip-mall, had been ashore too long to remember the detailed impatience, soft and awkward, of her face opposite his own shaven brash mug way back when__________

________He kissed her because his breath stopped short when the frills of her skirt brushed lightly against his father's pride, bundled and buried beneath durable layers of jeans and jockey shorts_______________

________He kissed her because I, his bunkmate, who Tucker said had come to basic training looking for a "backbone and a weight-loss program,” could not. (He kissed he because I,  his bunkmate, having accompanied him, glared reprehensively and nibbled enviously on the black eraser of a mechanical pencil)_

________He kissed her because her tongue shimmered, beads upon beads, like a buckwheat pillow, ready to swallow any line he fed her_______

________He kissed her because he was 5,179 nautical miles from God and Country_______

________He kissed her because loose lips sink ships and he didn't want to sail anymore______