My first relationship in years with a gorgeous man, a story unto himself, went from an intensely colorful circus to inexplicable apocalyptic debris in less than a year.
He came. He saw. He conquered. He left.
When I saw myself in the mirror after we broke up, I didn’t see the vibrant person who used to laugh without a care before he arrived. I didn’t see the person who was confident, who was strong, who walked light footed and was in all ways a fun and pleasant person to be with. It began to tilt upside down and I couldn’t recognize the face with the dark circles around her once lustrous eyes. I couldn’t relate to the unhappiness I was being forced into.
I decided not to let this happen. I decided I’m okay about not taking this very well, at all. I didn’t want to pretend that life was perfect. I didn’t want to judge the person I was becoming, no matter how “other” she was, in a world all her own creation.
I wanted to deal with it gently.
I decided I would be true to myself, allow myself to feel whatever I was feeling. I started keeping a break-up diary to observe what I was going through. What I discovered lead me to the strangest, bravest part of me…where, far from unhappy, I was incredibly alive and joyously creative, rewriting my story all over again.
It has been three days since that evening. The hours have been rolling into languorous evenings, heavy with need. All good things must come to an end. I feel the need to forget, the need to move on and the need to break away. But I also feel an equally opposing need to love and be loved. It keeps calling. The simple need to be held in your arms. The shameless need to feel your eyes on me. The relentless need to find myself at that moment again, before we ever kissed and wishing for time to stop there.
I try hard to follow the silent protocol of a break up—to forget that anything ever happened. There is an implicit understanding that “nothing ever happened” is the story we will tell even ourselves, in a few months or years time. Memories do change.
The beauty of it all, the tragic beauty of it all hooks into the flesh of my heart as I rise in the morning and the first thought that loops itself into my mind as I squeeze toothpaste on my brush and bring it to my mouth is whether you’re already up. Has he had coffee? He must be on his way to work. Gee, if we were living together, if we were married, I would get up earlier. I would probably have enjoyed early morning cuddles with him and made him coffee.
The clock’s hands drive my body into programmed poses for the shower, for putting my clothes on, for adjusting my hair, for driving to work and sitting myself at my desk. The clock’s hands reassure me that time is doing its job. But it can’t be hurried. Thankfully sooner than later, an hour has become two and I have grown further apart from that evening. But not from the memory of that evening.
The screen opens up, I log in to Facebook and observe how well we lie. How well I pretend that nothing whatsoever is seething underneath the surface. I glance to the right of the screen. I see that you are online. I click to open up a chat window with you. I let the cursor blink for the next 15 minutes. I type nothing and I stare, poised with my hands on the keyboard and thoughts racing. One of them screams out aloud.
It is you. You’re on top of me. In my memory now, I hear my pre-orgasmic moans close to your ear, followed by me running my tongue over it and gently moving to your lips and staying there, clothed in your soft kissing. My mind plays with that moment and steals the raw beauty of it as it happened. It has added now to raw. I feel aroused.
“Hi.” Someone else has opened a chat window to me. I go offline.
I imagine that you slap me hard across my face, because I disrupt the story we are supposed to tell ourselves and tell you instead that I’m wet and I want you inside me. I cry. You kiss me. I kiss you back and feel you harden and press yourself against me. I’m aching for you inside me, and my thighs twitch as I part my legs.
I open my eyes and see the mirror staring back at me and hear the water running in the faucet.
“Will you be in there very long?” says a voice.
I open the door and come out of the restroom, apologizing. I’ve been in there for 20 minutes.
I’m running out of places where you don’t exist. And then I laugh at the irony of it. I step out for a coffee. I smile. I feel dirty. I want to be a whore, if that’s who gets to be glamorously sexy and unapologetic about it. I want to be your whore, because I can’t be your wife. I try to imagine having a conversation about it with you and realize I never will.
You’re a boy, regardless of how grown up you believe you are, I say, as I imagine climbing on top of you, lying on your bed. I’m a woman. There’s the difference. And I pretend that you are curious to know what I mean and that you demand an explanation. I imagine that you caress my breast as you say this and that you begin to arouse me. I answer by telling you how I observed that desire overcame you the first time, that evening, and I imagine your hands go everywhere, gentle but a little greedy for pleasure and eager to please. You stop and smile, somewhat wounded by what I said. I reach for you down there and grasp you in my hand.
I add that you came too fast. You have stopped listening. You watch me lower my head down beneath your navel and rest my head there. You feel my tongue caress the tip of your penis as I hold it in my hand and move up and down slowly…and you breathe out hard. I move my tongue all over it greedily myself and suck on it. You run your hand over my head and ask me to go slow. I lick you in what seems like forever, going very slow and I begin to relish exactly what I’m doing, like I want you engorged, pliant and tasty in my mouth.
My body responds to my mind and I feel myself tingle all over with pleasure. I’ve noticed that you are silent even in the grip of an orgasm, but this time, you moan. I stop. I don’t want you to come.
I realize you’ll never come and the play on words makes me smile again, but in the next instant, a sudden tear drop wets my chest and catches at my throat, making me feel uncomfortable. It sends me into a fit of mad laughter and in the next instant, the why and the how of what is happening to me stares at me, through my soul.
“M’am, your bag.”
“Oh, thanks.” I leave the salon. New haircut. Check. New wardrobe. Check. If all the magazines are to be believed, I’m only one step away from total break-up recovery—only a weekend away, in which I’ll drink up as much as I can in Goa, roam around the beaches, talk to random strangers about the awesomeness of being in Goa and forget that anything happened. I’ll return having let it all go. I’ll be new, I tell myself.
I find myself staring at the moon on the roof. It is night.
I used to dread going to bed in the days just after our break up. It felt lonelier than ever. I wanted to sleep that sweet dreamless sleep that comes after good soul invigorating sex.
I begin to admonish myself for letting myself become so depraved. So emotionally volatile. How in hell did I become this? I think about how clinically sterile and clean your mind probably is. I frantically proceed to saint you, and tell myself that you’d never fantasize about a girl you just broke up with. I accuse myself of being unfit for you because of how dirty my mind can get.
I tell you that you deserve better. You deserve a nicer girl. Young, untainted and light-headed. A girl who would do as you say. Not a woman with a trail of mystery and stories. And deep, dark sexual needs.
Usually, you would correct me and tell me that you are with me because you like me exactly as I am.
But this time you agree with me. You tell me that you would feel better with someone younger and more light-headed. My eyes fall and my face becomes pale. You laugh cruelly, seeing how I’m crying inside at my own expense. You enjoy yourself watching me cringe at the folly of my own words. I turn to leave you and go away. But you grab me and nail me to the wall and begin to kiss me furiously. You snap my bra open and take my nipple in your mouth and suck. I begin to melt and reach for you as you get hard.
“So do you have any suggestions for re-working the idea we discussed yesterday for this client?”
“Ummm…Sure, we’ll work on exactly what the client has asked for…we’ll come up with something they’ll like.” I reply.
“Are you okay? You seem a bit distracted.”
“I’m fine. Great. I’m thinking about our collective strategy on this. Let’s get the design team involved.”
I lie. I deflect. I get away. The clock’s hands show me progress, it is moving according to the story we are supposed to tell ourselves. We’re moving on. It’s the end of the day. It’s the end of more than four months since that day.
I watch the boy fill gas at the petrol station. I hand him the bill amount and saunter away into a road full of cars honking and pedestrians behaving as if there were no cars on the road. The traffic light informs me that I’ll be waiting for 106 seconds.
I turn off the ignition and find you standing in the kitchen. I complain about the price of onions like every other wife and you complain about the price of petrol like every other husband. We have been married for five years now. I’m cooking up dinner as I do every day at this time and you are organizing your week as you do every day at this time. You answer some calls. I ask you to taste for salt. You taste and wink that it is good. I set the table and turn, to find you looking amorously at my butt.
“Honk! Honk! Honk!” I shift in my seat and move into gear. Then I realize I need to turn the ignition on before I can move. I drive into the street where I live and park. An hour later, a shower later, I examine my bookshelf. I have read and re-read everything in it. I turn the TV on. I let it talk.
You fish for the remote out of my hand and pause closer to me. You begin to kiss me and run your hand up my thigh. You ambush me in an embrace that makes me feel like I’m inside a big whale. I tell you this and you smile. You kiss me again.
I tell myself to shut up and stop fantasizing. It occurs to me that it could be some kind of psychic infringement on my part to make you do the things I make you do in my mind. I think about whether you know somehow. This makes me blush but I tell myself there is no way in this world a man would ever suspect that a woman is capable of such erotic fantasy, instead of pining for love like a fragile doe just after an emotional break-up.
The thought makes me smile like a thief.
Then I ask myself if I’m ever ashamed. This is the first time my mind is playing such tricks on me. So I’m in doubt about exactly how to take it all. Then I look my pillow in the eye and say No. I’m not ashamed of being erotic and playful.
“Don’t ever change. I love your spark.” I hear you say. You have come up close behind me, at the dinner table. You ask me to hold the chair, while you lift my skirt and pull my underwear down, in two very ready moves. I say the dinner will get cold. You say you’ll heat it up again.
You reach for my breast from behind me and caress my nipple. I moan softly. I’m excited and I’m eager to find out if this position will work. I put one leg up on a chair to allow you in. It’s a bit tricky to do it this way, standing, and I giggle like a schoolgirl at the antics. You enter me and the giggling stops, as if I grew up suddenly. In its place are adult moans, soft and husky, and I feel like a timid prey in the grip of a beast. A hungry beast.
You inch into me and in this position; I feel it intensely hitting the spot deep inside of me. You tell me that you love the initial getting into because I’m very tight as you go in. I begin to get louder as I moan and tell you that I like it too when you suddenly grip me hard along my hip and squeeze when it gets intense for you. I fall into silent ecstasy for a moment when you do this, and then I furiously reach for your hair, run my fingers through them and pull at them gently. You turn my face and begin to kiss me.
We lock ourselves in the most reassuring, comforting and blissful rhythm, as you go in and out of me. You thrust harder and harder and I feel you almost coming. It drives us both insane with pleasure. Our knees go weak and everything drives itself toward a glorious collapse, shooting jets of electricity into me. We come together in ecstatic collision of intent and you bite me to stay the joy of this orgasm of the body mind soul in love. We fall on the bed, exhausted. We find ourselves amused, smiling first and then laughing.
“I’m really hungry now,” you say. We kiss again.
At dinner I tell you that that was the best sex we’ve ever had. I tell you that your methods are a little crazy but I like crazy. You smile.
Day I think I’m over you.
I wake up to the alarm. It is another day. I move lazily to get up. I squeeze toothpaste onto the brush. I get dressed. I drive to work. The day goes by without a single fantasy to distract me. I smile. No playing the husband and wife who can’t get enough of each other. No sudden flights of fantasy into the bedroom. Or on the kitchen table. No thoughts of you at all.
But at the end of the day, on the way home from work I stop and buy myself sexy black lingerie and drive on taking the turn left, to your apartment.
I know the beast, I tell myself.
Author: Swa Sri
Editor: Catherine Monkman
Photo: Mitya Ku/Flickr