It’s three AM and I am pulsing, a rhythmic hum like current flowing just beneath my skin. If you touched my fingers, the ends would spark, static electricity, small bolts of lightning, a shock, a charge, a moment.
I remember, and in remembering, I live and relive the experiences that brought me here to trembling ache on the darker side of dawn.
His hands on my skin, the first time he wrapped the rope around my chest and I leaned back instinctively as his arms circled, passing rope from one hand to the next and the hint of breath hot on the back of my neck. I exhaled deeply against the compression and ignored the creeping shivers where his fingers grazed and gripped: my hips, my thighs, finger-test the tension where the pressure of the rope pushes his skin against mine.
Partial and full inversions I didn’t know my body could hold. One leg up in a Guatemalan and laughter through pain that built in a way my body could take. But it’s that spark in his eyes that holds my attention. He steps back and looks at me and I forget that I am awkwardly configured around the sharp bite of an unforgiving tie as he contemplates and smiles at what he sees, pulling the rope this way and that to watch how I respond. There is a part of me that wants to keep this tie going if it means that he will look at me like that just a little bit longer.
I can’t forget his face, that silly smile that comes right after the words: “Wanna do a thing?” I want to laugh but my throat isn’t working; what comes out sounds far too nonchalant of a, “Sure!” to come from the same place as this storm swirling in my gut.
Leaned back, lithe, ready to spring forward. I’m not ready for the sheer mass of muscular strength of impact as his body collides with mine. Pins and taps, starts and restarts, heavy breathing and the slickness of sweat against the mat. I don’t know who kissed who first, but I remember the pitch of his body under mine, the strength of his grip against my hips as he pulled me into him. We built tension up like a fire, kindling laid just so to catch the spark when it flared up.
I held my own, more than I thought or believed I could. I let the burn of Maker’s Mark wash down my throat, accelerant poured on smoldering embers and when I kissed him again, it was full of intention and desire. And when we fucked, it was its own collision of juxtaposition: serious and silly, fervent and slow, uncertain and eager. Intuition wins where words fail, and his hands dance without hesitation, curving up and hooking deep within me to pull reactions from my lips in incoherent gasps.
Once, twice. I’m greedy for wanting more and yet, there’s that smile again, the one that pulls me in, like a hand outstretched, an invitation, an adventure. The kind of extravagance that allows the freedom to say yes because I want to and also, because why the fuck not?
So we tied, again, but something in both of us loosened with each knot. His hand around my throat echoing the light chuckle reverberating in his. I’m holding back but gauging him, watching his face as his eyes shine, giddy as his hands move rope, malleable and cruel, hooked around my toe because he could- but it’s necessary! he said– and my body responds to the pain as I bite my lip to contain desire inside my body.
And it rained, pouring down cold and clean and giving reason enough to stay, huddled up in a camp chair and starting to second guess myself but-“this chair won’t hold both of us,” I say, and he laughs and says, “no, but the air mattress will.”
And this time, I crawled inside his tent, and knew that I couldn’t run away when I started to slip and let emotions come bubbling up, like the ones that make it far too clear that I like being around him more than someone should want to be around someone they met a couple days ago. Sleep is a good cover for inconvenient feelings.
If I was greedy before, I am edging on selfish now, but when I name what I want in the quiet hours of the morning, I hear his name between the cracks of words. I am the best at fooling myself (but that brief moment when he held my hand and I felt calm and I uttered expletives under my breath because, fuck, I do not have time for this shit) but I always knew this is what I signed on for and this is beyond my control now. It is a sense of waiting, and the double-edged sword of hoping without reason to believe that there is cause for something as extravagant as hope.
But there he is, and this is the one I cannot forget: I had forgotten until now, but I meant to get these shorts cut off of me, and maybe rope, and maybe something sexy in there but the first part is all that made it out of my mouth, and he pulled out a knife and said, “We can make that happen.”
And when he wrapped what was left of those shredded up shorts around my face and tied them, my mind went calm and I floated into sensations of hands and vibrators and the sound of his voice and the whisper of wind and the cut of the bark so that when I came down, I collapsed in a pile, incoherent and motionless, sinking into the sensations of pine needles cutting into my knees and the excess rope dumped haphazardly across my body. I don’t need my vision to know what I look like now; I can picture every bend of my limbs and the tangle of hair and rope and messy, graceless form that somehow comes together into something beautiful.
When she told me I wasn’t touching the ground, I smiled. She wasn’t wrong; I was soaring on adrenaline and the specificity of culminating desire and existing in a place where I could let myself fly inside my skin without worrying whether my wings would scorch the earth.