I broke my promise to myself to not initiate contact because it’s who I am: I reach out, I make connections; it’s wired deep into my bones. He replied warmly, “Sure! Any ideas of what to do?”
I insisted we go out in public because I was getting my hair done earlier in the day and didn’t want to waste it on my only him and my dog. He laughed and agreed it was a good idea. We settled on dinner and bowling — because bowlers love some fine looking hair, naturally.
He’d stopped by a number of times this past week — after being oddly, and infuriatingly, unreachable earlier in the week — without invitation or provocation. I was pleased to feel ambivalence and pleasure at each little visit. After our talk on Sunday I was left feeling at first pummeled and then empowered. My anger served to brighten my path through this: I knew what I had to do and it was to say goodbye, right?? Things weren’t just happening to me anymore. I had found my voice.
His visits, though often very brief, were still sexually charged. He’d touch my breasts or let his gaze linger on my figure, the dip in my waist. He’d look at me and say with surprise in his voice, “You look really pretty.” I’d show the puppy that we don’t bite The Neighbor when he comes over, but we “stroke him like this, ” and I’d rub his giant flaccid penis through his slippery gym shorts and feel it grow.
We were slowly repaving our connection.
Thursday night his knock woke me up and after yet another distantly flirty exchange I walked him to the door where I was simply going to let him out, but instead he grabbed and kissed me passionately.
The thing that’s most important to me about this week is that I recalibrated. I became Hyacinth again: the fully grown woman in charge of her feelings once more, unashamed of her sexuality, her motherhood, her body, her vices, or her needs. I told him he’d pissed me off with his distance. He apologized and said he’d make it a priority to change it. Telling someone they are displeasing me is tantamount to pulling out my fingernails, but I survived. And he responded in spades, promptly returning texts from there on out.
At dinner last night we talked about those metaphysical things people do when they’re still getting to know each other: our navels, the universe between our ears, our days. The lighting overhead outlined my nipples as I gestured and jiggled with my enthusiastic tales. His distracted stares and breast- and sex-related non sequiturs were flattering.
No one’s ever looked at me like that before.
After dinner the sultry night and cool breeze begged to be enjoyed. “I feel like walking around,” he said as he guided me to his car, “you up for that instead of bowling?”
“Definitely. Have you ever been to Jester’s Bridge?”
“Then that’s where we’re going.” I pointed at my high heel wedges as he closed the car door behind me, “But I have to go home and change out of these first.”
I felt strangely at ease with him as we planned the rest of our night. It was all so relationship-y, but now I knew I didn’t want to be with him and the comfort and companionship felt all the more enveloping for it. Letting go of some nebulous idea of a future with him freed me to fully enjoy the moment with him instead. Every laugh, every touch, every innuendo sunk deeper into my cells; I was no longer hindered by unrequited love because, I realized, there might possibly be no such thing. To love is love itself. I love this kid and that’s it. The act itself is restorative and fulfilling and, therefore: love.
While he let the dog out, I threw a blanket, my leftover wine, and a flashlight into a backpack and changed into flip-flops. He came back up panting and laughing, leash in hand. I suddenly didn’t feel so alone.
“‘K, let’s go,” I smiled.
We drove with the windows down and the sunroof open, his shiny, black, fancy-pants car hugged the curves of the dark road. Headlights wove patterns across us and cliffs cropped up like cast-iron shadows. We talked about dildos and DVP and he wanted to know more about what it felt like to be double-stuffed in my pussy. He took my hand and put it on his bulge, warm and firm in his shorts, as I bared my sexual soul a little more. I was happy.
We parked just north of the bridge at the base of the limestone cliff and started the short, steep hike up. The breeze had picked up and my sundress swirled around my knees and up my bare legs. At the top there was a clearing of rock with a petrified tree on its edge and below it the dark river meandered under the rust-colored bridge. To the east the city skyline glowed like Lite-Brites.
“Wow,” I heard him say as a burst of wind swished us around.
“I know. I haven’t been up here in 10 years.”
We walked to the edge near the tree and looked out. Headlights from boats occasionally floated by and my stomach flipped a little as I looked out over the ledge hundreds of feet down.
A group of drunken teenage boys reached the little summit right about then laughing loudly and declaring their drunkenness. “Come on, there’s more over here,” I said and grabbed his hand and lead him to a narrow trail into the brush. He trustingly followed behind me and the little flashlight.
Twenty-five feet down the trail I saw an outcropping on my left, secluded from view from others, but with a clear window to the river, bridge and city below. I walked out onto it and the wind whipped at my hair and dress. “God, you’re so beautiful right now, too bad you aren’t naked,” he said with a twinkle in his eye.
I looked at him and simply pulled my dress up over my head for a few seconds. His breath caught as he took me in, bathed in moonlight, hair streaming, breasts and belly and thighs bared. And then I brought it back down with a wink. “Here, let’s sit.”
And something happened up on that little rock high above the river. We were symbiotic. He held me and kissed me as we passed the wine bottle back and forth and silently watched the world pass by. He took my nipples into his mouth and buried his face in one breast as my other was caressed by the breeze. We ignored the rustle of passersby on the trail above and the background soundtrack of rowdy, drunken boys.
When we looked up, fireworks lit up the sky below the city skyline. Reds, pinks, oranges, yellows, again and again and again. As if to say, we’re sealing the deal, Hy. You two enjoy each other for all that it’s worth. It’s beautiful, but it’s fleeting.
I ached to take him in my mouth, but the doctor had given strict orders: no sex of any kind allowed. I scraped my teeth on the outline of his erection and breathed my hot breath on him. “Hy, why don’t you lay down in my lap? I promise you’ll feel better,” he suggested as I whimpered plaintively at the cock ban.
With my head in his lap, the star-dimpled sky above me and the rolling hills pinned between my knees I relaxed. His right hand blazed a heated trail down my breast, over the plain of my belly and slowly hiked up my skirt. His fingers walked under my boy-shorts and slid down my slit. I was sopping wet. He brought his dripping finger to his mouth and sucked. “You taste goddamned delicious.”
He returned his hand to my mound and his fingers entered me. I shuddered. And when his hand began to move I shrunk down to the basics: the cool, hard limestone beneath my bottom, the wind lapping at my exposed lips, his hot fingers, soft, warm thighs, and the sight of the midnight sky overhead. I felt the climax coming and wrapped my right arm around his waist, buried my face into his stomach to keep from crying out. I spilled over into his hand and felt my juices run down my crack. He bent down and kissed me deeply and I panted and shivered.
He remained my pillow while he fondled my breasts, rubbing my own elixir around my nipples. It was rich and musky. “I don’t know what I like better, breasts or ass,” he suddenly said. “Hmm, I think ass. But I can’t get enough of feeling these,” and he squeezed hard on a big handful of flesh.
I offered him a thigh, but he declined with a chuckle, “Thanks, but I love the difference. I can grab my own thigh and it’ll feel almost the same as yours, but not tits.”
“I know what you mean. It’s why I love hairy chests and broad shoulders, narrow hips. Totally opposite of me.”
“Like being logical!” he laughed.
“Hey! I’m not illogical! I’m just not logical!”
“That’s logical!” We giggled at our own witticism.
I offered to let him lay in my lap next and I ran my fingers through his hair and slipped a breast into his mouth. I remembered breastfeeding my baby in a similar position and I felt a tug on my insides. It was wholly different, but sensual to see him suckling on me so tenderly, eyes closed and held entirely by me.
Then it was time to go and I realized I had a knot in my belly. I wanted to talk about “6 strikes” and I wanted to tell him that my heart was molecularly different now than it was a few days ago, but I was afraid. We hiked back down the hill as more drunken high schoolers struck out for the peak and I attempted a pep talk as I cracked jokes. I rubbed his cock nearly the entire way home. My security cock.
If I want my life to be different, then I have to be different. It’s not going to magically happen to me. And so I invited him to stay a little longer while I smoked a cigarette. He agreed and we sat down, spa-goers oblivious to us up above. I took a deep breath and plunged in. He listened intently as I told him how hurt I’d been that he’d named Peyton and what an awful thing to say that was; I told him to stop talking about the kind of woman he wants to date that I can never be; and I told him that I hoped he never did either to another woman ever again.
I don’t blame him for being a little defensive at first. He said he’d only said those things because I had really freaked him out with what I’d shared. When I’d said to him, “If you told me tomorrow that you had feelings for me I don’t know what I’d do. I’m so hurt, so broken from my marriage I’m terrified of commitment. I don’t know if I could do it, but I’d likely tell you I’d give it a shot,” what he heard was, “I want you to tell me you want a commitment.”
We gently and sensitively worked out the miscommunication, my foot resting on his knee. He had to listen to how he’d hurt me and how he’d fucked up and he rose to the occasion. I was proud of him. I assured him that I had gotten my feelings back under control and that I felt better than ever about us. “I wish I’d said it differently,” he shared, dipping his chin a little with chagrin. “I should have said, ‘Hy, I wish it were different for us, but it can’t be.'” I nodded quietly and smiled.
“I would have liked hearing that. That’s all I want to know. That you feel something for me and wish it could be different.”
“Then I’m ok with that. Truly.”
That quick little cigarette chat lasted an hour. We agreed that we were good for each other and that this was good practice. We were both getting to feel what it was like to have a caring, kind relationship that was capable of making us both feel pretty fucking good.
“I call you my girlfriend to my friends, you know.”
“Yes,” he simply replied. He paused for a beat or two and asked, “How do you know when you want to marry someone? Is it after the first date? The 5th? The 20th??”
I thought for a minute. “The best thing I could say is if you can work through conflict well, and everything else is wonderful, then it might be a good match. You don’t want to make that kind of decision when the relationship has never been tested.”
“I like how you and I work through things, Hy.”
“I know, me, too.”
When he finally left he embraced me at the door, tightly. His lips burned on mine and his hands massaged my buttocks. He kissed me again lightly before passing through the doorway and walking the two steps home.
I’ve been looking at this whole thing the wrong way. I underestimated my own ability to feel and love and then I didn’t know what to do with myself with a man — who I’m mostly convinced now — loves me back, but considers our differences insurmountable. It’s a scenario I’d never considered. And like those fireworks I watched over TN’s head at my breast, high on the cliff, this thing I have with him is a bright and burning show not meant to last, but to teach me something instead.