“Timid.” I roll the word around on my tongue, trying to grasp at the sensation. “It’s got such a strange texture.” I’m curled up on his chest, his arms around me as I explore the shape and texture of language in my mouth and soak in these dwindling moments before he has to leave. I want to lay here with him. I want to fuck him. I’m caught in limbo and running out of time, and so I sit here, feeling out the tactile tendencies of words and the way they taste in shared air.
“What does it feel like?” he asks, and I furrow my brow, trying to pick apart the sensations. Silky but rough, almost like fur. I say as much and feel him nod. “That’s what I thought; not sure why. But it makes sense.”
Everything is easier when there is nothing to lose. But the sound of my own words echoing against the walls and soaking back into my bed snake their way through my limbs and paralyze my muscles. More to lose, but more to gain. I am terrified of doing something wrong, as though there is a “wrong” in this moment.
“You don’t seem terrified,” he said. I laughed.
“Do you feel how still I am? I’m not moving. Like, at all.” I hear a breath of recognition, the smallest oh escape his lips. “That’s how you know I’m terrified. My muscles freeze. I stop moving. I am unnaturally, impossibly still.”
Passive sexuality is easier. If he wanted to be doing something, he’d be doing it.Conversely, if he isn’t doing something, it’s because it isn’t an active desire. Don’t push it. Enjoy this, this moment, and ignore the yearning ache throbbing and causing your legs to twitch and clench. But my fingers are moving now, a tango of fear and desire dancing along the edge of his belt. I’m looking for a sign, for anything to propel me forward to fighting with that belt and navigating the ungracefully clunky buttons of tight pants. A chuckle, so small it might have been imagined.
“I dislike your belt,” I say, because it’s the closest I can get to saying, “I want to fuck you.” My journal sits by the edge of my bed, unassuming black binding with dangerous words scrawled of the last page of writing: “Why is it easier to say, ‘I love you’ than it is to say, ‘I want to fuck you’?”
Breathe. I have been here before but this is different. Trusting him means trusting myself. He’ll stop me if he wants me to stop. I can trust him which is another way of saying, I can trust myself in where and with whom I have put my faith. He’s watching my face, an unreadable expression, the smallest of smiles. Small smiles, micromovements, unconscious gestures. They are stones peaking out beneath a torrent of uncertainty. Stand here, step here, slowly cross the raging current of “what if?”s and second-guesses that’s threatening to drown me here, on this bed, in his arms. I grit my teeth and tell my brain to knock it the fuck off and start fighting with the belt and the buttons, turning my face away from his. I am warm and red and bashful. The sense of fur in my mouth. Timid.
“I figure I’ll give you ample opportunity to stop me…” I say, fumbling with the heavy fabric and trying to reorganize my breath away from the shallow gasps and back to some semblance of normal.
“You always do,” he says. Whoops. My hesitation hasn’t gone unnoticed. Why, oh why, are these the things he chooses to remember?
I am here now and want to hide. I can’t even name what it is I am afraid of anymore, only that I instigated something, and now I am caught in limbo, fully dressed while he lay there in nothing but a t-shirt and my muscles are starting to clench again. I bury my face inside my hair, his chest, a pillow, anywhere I can find. He chuckles.
“Whatcha doing there?” he asks.
Muffled, laughing. “I’m hiding,” I said, like it is the most obvious, natural thing to do when you get someone’s pants off and desperately want to fuck them.
“I suppose that’s one option,” he says. I nod to buy time to ungrit my teeth.
“What’s another?” I ask.
“You could strip,” he says, matter-of-factly, because that is the obvious thing to do in this moment, of course. I laugh and start wriggling out of clothes that are much easier to get off than his.
“Why not both?” I say.
“Why do you do that?” I ask, laying naked in bed as he is getting redressed, a much more graceful process than my fumbling undressing. He smiles.
“I like watching you struggle, watching your face as you want something and fight with it.”
I growl in frustration. “You did that on purpose?”
Outright laughter. “Of course.”
Fucking sadists. His mind is perfect, of course, because it is more than just a scene; he is teaching me to trust, again and again, in ways I haven’t known how to trust. Desire: his, mine, the ways we move together. I want to explain, to justify: I want you for the right reasons. (Are there wrong reasons?) I don’t feel a sense of entitlement to his body, maybe that’s what I mean. I am happy and content just laying with him and also.
And also. I want to crawl inside his skin and feel him buried within mine; I have not found the words for the sounds he makes, but I crave them, the whimpers that echo desire and the low growls of satisfaction. It’s a language of its own, a scent and flavor of something that resonates in my core. I ask what it means but I already know. I want translations because I trust them but I don’t need them. Close my eyes and let my hands move, there. Remember.
He fucked me ferociously and my hands grasped his ass, urging him forward, more, harder. I want to be inside of him; my hands shift, pull, press against him and he groans, a delicious sound that I could get drunk on, like honeyed mead, an edge in his eyes. That. Something stirs in me, something that responds to something in him and I forget, for a moment, to be afraid.
Backward snippets, disconnected and out of order. Remember, because the memory is visceral and I get drunk on gutteral sounds and the scent of bodies in messy tangles. Remember, because I felt, for once, completely calm and certain and sure of myself. Remember, because the moments where my hands are fighting with my fear and I do not know how to take those first shaky steps toward claiming desire, remember the moments where action superseded thought and my finger pressed into him as I took him in deeper, down my throat, remember. Remember him panting, shaking, incoherent, a beautiful conglomeration of desire and resonance and trust splayed out on my bed, magnificent and tender, hard lines and soft edges. Remember.
Remember that he is exactly who he is, and in being that, has earned the right to see desire in its many complicated, messy forms: the ones where my hands know how to move and the ones where they are timid and unsure. It is both; I am both. We move and shift and adapt to one another in dizzying form. He presses me against the wall: god, yes, please, I gasp. I press into him and his eyes say the same.
Remember, because there are moments when I forget. We come back to where we started: “Wanna do a thing?” he asks and then, again, later: “Wanna do a thing?” It still floors me every time. “Have I ever said no to that question?”
Remember. Remember that who I am, every piece of me is enough and not too much (and not not-enough). I learn and relearn this every time but something is different this time. Less fleeting, less tenuous. Solid. Stable. He knows I am afraid and that is enough.
And sometimes, his sounds taste like honeyed mead and sometimes my words taste like fur. Remember both, because in the space between the extremes that we live from one moment to the next, there is trust there, and tenderness, and the choice, over and over again, to be present together. Even when my hands shake. Even when I am uncertain and unsure. Even when, even when, especially when, remember.
Remember. Because what we are, who we are, echoing back into one another is so familiar and comfortable that it is worth learning how to sink into. Be brazen. Be timid.
Why not both?