Its not like I'm obsessed. I'm not! It's just a thing; that's all.

I mean, it's not I'm like a stalker or something. I haven't followed her home or anything like that.

I never knew I liked girls...this much. I've thought about it, okay, I'll admit it. What woman hasn't?

It was never like this, though. In dreams, women are nebulous. They're like smoke and softness and they're only as solid as desire. All you have to do is climax and they disappear, like a magician's trick.

Maggie's as solid as a mountain, as the tide.

I first saw her singing at a wedding reception my work partner invited me to. That's me- Insta-Date. David was so cute, pleading me to save him from the fate of being the "extra guy". "Show up alone at something like this just once, and you get to be every cousin's blind date for the next three years." It was fun making him beg. I also got him to agree to do all the filing and research reports for the next three weeks.

So, I ended up on his arm in a converted warehouse dancing to cutting edge music. Was it my imagination or was he holding me closer than he really should have been? I only got a minute to wonder about it, before the whisper of the crowd, "Mags is going to sing!" There was a shift, an electric rush as everyone turned to watch the band.

I know now that it was a big deal. Mags isn't asked to sing at wedding functions. It's considered bad luck, since all the love songs she knows are sad or unhealthy. David's cousin (I think she was his cousin) wanted the notoriety of breaking the jinx.

The men in the band sang in low, rich voices as she moved forward. She wore velvet dress, her shoulders and throat rising like a sea of white from a midnight blue shore. Her dark, dark hair was knotted up, folded at the base of her skull. Her hazel eyes were dark ringed and softly smudged. When she lifted her hands to the mike, I could see that they were hennaed, covered with dozens of tiny sepia patterns. She leaned towards the mike, smiling faintly. Her mouth caressed the first words of the song like a kiss. She drew each word out slowly, lovingly. Her fingers were light and gentle on the mike. I found myself wondering if she touched a guy's cock in the same way. Her eyes half-closed when she sang the words, "release me." In that second, my breath caught, and I realized that I was wet. I shivered slightly, my mouth was moist, and I wanted her more than I'd ever wanted anyone or anything in my life.

I continued dancing with my friend, made small talk, and even ate a piece of cake. All the while, my brain struggled to remember the words of the song, and her incredible voice. I saw her dancing with a man later and saw the tattoo on her back. It looked like a bat or a bird, gracefully flying on the base of her neck, spreading towards her shoulders. I watched a man's hand touch her back, lightly, perfectly proper and felt chills in my stomach.

David took me home, and kissed me on the cheek in thanks. He smiled that beautiful smile that has made me wonder about the two of us, but not tonight. I locked the door behind him, tore off my dress and threw myself on my bed. My hands bolted between my legs and I thought of her hands, her face, her voice and I came again and again.

I was horribly embarrassed the next morning. It didn't keep me from thinking about her, dreaming about her. It didn't keep me from doing it again.

At work the next week, David was back into 'office' mode and never seemed to notice that I was a bit flushed over the next few days, or that my eyes were a bit brighter. Of course, he has to have two cups of coffee before he can even manage complete sentences. Plus, he had all that extra report writing to concentrate on. It's confounding sometimes, that he blows hot and cold. Well, lukewarm and cold, to be perfectly honest. Sometimes I had thought of showing up in the office just wearing Victoria's Secrets under a trench coat, just to see the expression on his face. He did bring me a flier for Maggie's next show, after I mentioned that I really liked her music. That was how I found out her name. Magdalena ni Dugain, Mags or Maggie to her nearest and dearest. After a subtle bribe of Starbucks special roast in the coffee machine and some roundabout questions, I was able to get a little information from David about her. Maggie lived locally, above a dojo in a converted house in the old section of the Heights. She was a dedicated musician, and had studied in a music conservatory in Berlin. She sang in a lot of small clubs around the Warehouse area. She'd made a couple of CDs, done a few radio appearances, and some small touring. "And, get this," David told me in lowered tone (after being plied with a chocolate croissant), "She has love affairs with men and women."

"Really?" I really was surprised.

He took a bite of pastry. "Yeah. She's notorious for it. But she's a really great girl, real good-hearted, from what Emma's told me."

I kept the flyer and took it home. I must have looked at it a thousand times.

I wasn't going to go. This wasn't like me; this wasn't like me at all!

Then I dreamed of her stroking my feet. In the dream she was holding my foot, gently stoking the instep with her long fingers. I woke up breathing fast. I was so turned on I had to take one of those extra long mental health showers. I was late to work, but it was worth it.

When I think of making love with women, I home in on hands. Hands and fingers fill my brain. It's seems dumb, I know. Women don't make love with just their hands any more than guys do with just their dicks. It's just the first thing I focus on. I could understand dreaming of her hands, but my feet? I never have had a foot thing before. The only time I think of my feet during sex is to make sure they don't get tangled in the covers and twisted into odd angles. This was bizarre, but compelling. Every time I closed my eyes that day, I could see those long hands with the mhindi patterns petting my foot like you would a cat. After a day of that, I knew I had to see her again.

Which is how I found myself in a tiny club called the Rat's Nest, surrounded by bohemians. I nursed a glass of wine, and waited for her act to start. This was a bit ridiculous, sitting around mooning after a sexy singer with an Irish name who didn't know me from Adam's housecat. I mean, what was I doing here? This was her place, her haunt. I didn't belong here, was I out of my mind? I was so nervous I was starting to feel a bit sick.

And then the lights dimmed.

The sound of footsteps filled the room and I heard a door shut. The soft, rhythmic sound of a woman humming. She was suddenly framed in spotlight. She wasn't even on the stage. She was standing on top of the bar, well, actually crouching on top of the bar. She looked like an animal ready to pounce, humming the notes. She drew herself up, a vision of night. Black jeans, black halter, sable cascade of hair flowing over her left shoulder, silver jewelry winking like stars. Her voice filled the room as she walked down the length of the bar; the song gaining strength with every movement she made.

She jumped down of the bar, and swung her body in time to the music. I saw her tattoo again, a hieroglyphic of flesh, she moved again, and it was lost from my sight. She walked toward the stage, still singing, each line flooded with emotion. She passed by the table I was trying to hide at.

God, I could smell her. Jasmine, roses, lily of the valley, rosemary, wine, every scent that could rock the senses flowed off her to me. I wanted to breathe it all, let it coat me and sink into my skin. She was more than beautiful, she was strong. I could see the muscles of her body flow with her movements. Every movement done with precision, a self-awareness that created a symphony of grace. It was beyond beauty, it was touching something primal in me.

I was caught by the music, ensnared, my consciousness reeling. I was falling into her songs, her image, everything about her. Everything about her swirled around me. She wasn't singing to me, I couldn't say that. No, it seemed as if every lyric she sang somehow was me, had come from deep within me, speaking of emotions that I'd never dared name. It was raw, liberating and exposing. I didn't know where to find myself. It was if I'd never known me before, and she was showing me a portrait of myself that she'd drawn out with her voice.

During the set break, I rushed to the bathroom and splashed cold water on my face. I don't know what I had expected. I think a part of me hoped she would be less beautiful, less exhilarating, in her own space. Perhaps deep down, I'd hoped I could ground her off, let her go and return to feeling in control again. Let everything go back to the way that it was before.

I heard a sound behind me, and I looked up in the mirror. The door to the stall behind me was open, hanging slightly askew on its hinges. A dark haired woman was pressed back against the wall, one of her legs raised and braced on the top of the toilet. Her skirt was pushed to her waist. She was wearing a garter belt and stockings. I don't know if she just didn't wear panties or if she'd taken them off, but they were gone now. Another woman was kneeling in front of her, her knees on the damp and not terribly clean tile. Her hands were on her lover's thighs, holding them open as she sucked and licked. Her lover, (her acquaintance, who knows?), pulled her hair as she moaned with pleasure, I wondered if it hurt. I stared, mouth open. I couldn't have looked away if my life depended on it. The dark-haired one caught my gaze and gave a small, wry smile as she pressed her cunt forward. Her hand was now twisting her lover's hair into a chestnut rope, as she gasped. The lover sucked harder, lashing out with her tongue; wanting to take her higher, take her over.

I couldn't breathe. If I waited, I'd see her come.

I couldn't wait. I couldn't see it. That would be too much. I'd shatter into a million pieces. I rushed out into the night. No more, I said to myself on the drive home. No more. That night I dreamed of them, exactly as I saw it. Except the dark haired woman was now me, and it was Mags who knelt before me, who sucked me, who pushed fingers inside me and took me farther and farther until I screamed. I woke up covered with sweat, and my glistening fingers shoved between my legs.

My God this was nuts!

I wasn't going to go back there, honest. I was going to stay were things were safe and rational, and a woman's voice doesn't make your skin shiver like a cold wind blew through you. Where pre-made sexual dreams weren't staged nightly. Some things should be private, dammit.

I was so subdued at work that David noticed. I kept telling him I was fine, but I could see in his eyes that he wasn't convinced. At lunch, he went out to the deli. I asked him to bring me a sandwich, and he surprised me with a slice of Boston Crème Pie. It was such a sweet gesture, I almost cried.

"Wanna talk about it?" He asked, bringing me a Kleenex.

"Not really. I went out last night and it..." I trailed off.

"Nobody hurt you, did they?" He looked a bit alarmed.

"No, no. Nothing like that. Let's just say I tried something and got in a bit over my head." I blew my nose. "It scared me."

"Did you think that it might be a good thing? Sometimes it's good to get scared." He grinned. "Knocks us out of our ruts."

I laughed a little. "Maybe. Maybe, I just need to let go a little."

"Can't control everything all the time." He gave me a hug.

I hugged him back. "You're a good friend, David."

I waited several nights before going back.

It felt like I was drowning slowly, listening to her words wrap around me. Every song touched me more, drew me in deeper, opened my heart wide open.

There was no sex in bathroom, but a guy did kiss the bartender making her blush and giggle. That didn't send me flying out the door. In fact, I made it through a full evening. I bought Maggie's CDs, and still felt out of control, but a little less terrified. I spent all that night listening to them over and over on the headphones, and went to work looking like a zombie. The first of her CDs, "Slowly Sinking," was full of songs of love and grief. It told the story of the year she spent travelling across Canada and the US, searching for information about a friend who had disappeared without a trace. At first it was suspected that her boyfriend had kidnapped her, since he had also gone. Her friend had been found, murdered, lying in a shallow grave wearing a bridal gown with the body of her lover wrapped around her. He'd been burned almost to ashes. Maggie had dedicated the album to them. She was so loyal, caring so much about them. Had I ever felt so much for anyone in my life that I could offer them that much?

I went back to the club again and again, with a feeling of hunger. Like an addict in need of a fix, I had to hear her, experience her. I embraced every scrap of information I could hear about her. Sitting quietly and being observant let me overhear a lot of things. I found out she'd had to get treatment some years ago for cocaine and other hard drugs when she was barely out of her teens. She studied martial arts with a friend of hers. She'd traveled to Berlin on a special invitation and a scholarship.

Her repertoire was amazing. After listening to her for several performances I suddenly realized that I never heard her repeat a single song. She'd share her stage, too, backing another singer. I would feel choked with envy seeing someone able to stand so close to her.

My breath still caught faster every time she came into the room. I still longed to smell, touch, taste her. I still dreamed of her body under my hands.

Finally, I went to the club on a night she wasn't performing, just to give myself a break. I drank a not so bad wine and listened to a man with a guitar play what he called "New Edge", or some such thing. I'm not sure what that means, exactly, but I liked it. I relaxed into it, let myself enjoy it. I let the pressure off, dropped the expectation. I could feel like my regular self. Then I looked over to the bar, tempted to get another drink, and she was there. Leaning against the bar, eyes closed as she listened to the music, holding a Corona.

I stood with shaking legs. I made myself walk to the bar. I handed my glass to the bartender without a word. She refilled and handed it back. I fumbled for a bill. Maggie was so absorbed with the music that I don't think she knew anyone was near her.

I looked at her, her image re-painting itself in my mind. Her hair was up, so I could see her tattoo clearly. It was far more detailed than I realized. It wasn't a bat or a bird like I had thought, but several small intricately woven symbols. Symbols of light, of fire, of life. I saw a Celtic cross, a salamander, the Japanese characters for Reiki; so many symbols, some familiar, some I'd never seen before. None of them were any larger than 2 inches, individually. Woven together, they arched gracefully on her body, like a resting bird. It was exquisite. I couldn't imagine how long it must have taken to do.

Quietly, I went back to my table. I thought of that tattoo. It must have taken an exceptional artist to do that kind of work. Had she designed it? Or had some tattoo artist picked her to be his canvas. Had it hurt? I shouldn't be silly; it must have hurt dreadfully. But that was part of it, wasn't it? Maybe she had like it, wanted it to hurt. Laid on her belly on the padded table and breathed through the pain as the needles impressed the pictures on her skin. Had she gotten aroused, feeling that needle penetrating over and over? Did the artist speak soothingly to her as he used a cotton square to mop up some of the blood? So many colors set in to place, that sharp point fucking her skin, setting her on fire. I wondered. Would it taste like skin? Or did the taste change with the coloring?

As the song ended, Maggie opened her eyes, set down her beer, and clapped. She glanced around, probably looking for someone she knew. It never fails, whenever women go out alone. Even if you actually enjoy going out alone, you still scan the crowd, watch the door, just in case someone you know shows up. Then she turned towards my table. My heart tripped faster. She smiled. My chest tightened and I surreptitiously glanced behind me to see if she was looking at someone behind me. There was no one there. There was only me. My stomach did a little dance.

Mags smiled again. She had a beautiful smile, warm and welcoming. Her eyes were soft and friendly. I could feel myself blushing all the way to the roots of my hair. Oh God, she's noticed me. Her weight shifted, just enough to set off all my internal alarms. She's going to come over here, oh no. I'm not ready for this, what will I say, what will I do?

A young man saved me, putting his hand on her shoulder and spoke to her. She threw her arms around his neck with friendly affection. He took her Corona and helped himself to a sip. She whapped him one, laughing. While she was distracted, I fled.

I was shaking so much on the drive home that I had to pull over. I hunched over the steering wheel, gasping for air. I struggled not to cry. I had never felt so frightened and overwhelmed. It was like I was standing at the edge of a great precipice and I didn't know whether I would fall or fly if I took one more step.

People had turned me on before. I'd been in love before- even engaged once. Yet, I'd never felt so much, so strongly, so fast before. I wondered how many years I'd spent being numb. I was awake in a way I'd never been before. There was this need to surrender here, to give up to my heart. It was making me so vulnerable, and I was terrified.

I didn't know what I wanted. As overwhelming as this was, my sense were full in a way I'd never dreamed possible. I wanted more, needed more, but how could I have it without risking losing myself? I wished that I had more courage. All my life, I was taught to admire people who chased dreams but not to emulate them. Those were other people, special people, brave people. But Maggie made me want to be special. How could I trust this?

I didn't sleep that night.

The next day, I felt drained. I felt so alone. I sat in the quiet and tried to reason it out. The trouble was that there weren't reasons, only feelings. All these emotions ready to consume me. As beautiful and as terrible as angels. Finally, I grabbed my keys and headed out the door.

I knew where I was going, but I didn't want to think about it in case I stopped myself. I made my way to the club on automatic. The crunch of the tires on the gravel and oyster shell parking lot seemed louder than to me. I looked up at the neon sign; it wasn't even lit. The sun was still up. I got out of the car on shaking legs. I locked the car behind me and walked to the door.

I went inside. There were no customers yet; it was still too early. The bartender was stocking up; she smiled at me, but didn't stop what she was doing. A couple of guys were on the stage, putting instruments and equipment into place. Someone stepped in from an open side door, the contrasting light from the outside making them a dark blur. Then I heard her speak.

"I knew you would come back. I'm glad that you did." She moved away from the shaft of the door and towards me.

I couldn't speak. My lips quivered, struggling for words.

"I really, really wanted to see you again." She stood close to me.

I stared at her with a child's wide eyes. "I'm so afraid."

She kissed me. Her mouth came down on my own and she gently drew on my lips. My every nerve, every cell quivered in response. I let my lips press back, open softly, languidly, and I breathed her breath. She pulled slightly away and looked deep into my eyes. "Welcome to my world," she whispered.

Released, I knew I could fly.