I’ve never been able to reconcile her recalcitrance when it comes to speaking, at any level for any length of time, about the subject of intimacy, and her ability to express herself totally in the act itself. We’ve never had a verbal discussion about sex without her covering her head with a pillow and singing out loud so she can’t hear me and more than once she’s simply left without saying a word to keep from having the discussion. She doesn’t want to tell me what she wants. She wants to me discover it on my own. “If it’s worth anything to you then look for it” was as much as she has ever said on the subject and that is likely all she will ever say.
I remember as a teenager making out with a girl who wasn’t going to go but so far, and when I slipped my hand down to undo her belt she put her hand on mine, but didn’t push it away or pull it away. She was caught in between one point and another, between the desire to go further and the pleasure and safety of where we were. Her body was leaning into mine and wanted the jeans gone. She settled for allowing me to explore her without undressing her totally, and you can guess where that led. The slippery slope she had allowed me to ease her onto grew much steeper the more slippery it became. There’s a point of no return where the body takes over where the mind won’t go, and in good truth, there’s a good portion of the mind that has done all it can do, and there’s another part of the mind that takes over. Simple, primitive and effective, all the right things in all the right places, pleasure, and more pleasure, and the whole world be damned.
But this woman, young as she might be, is far from a teen. She has two failed marriages behind her, far behind her, and she doesn’t speak very much about either man, except at the end both of them wanted to be married to the concept of a woman and not be married to a person. There is just so many hours in the day two people can devote to passion, even great passion, before they have to sit down and come to terms with the other person outside of gender.
We hold hands as we walk and I’ve learned to interpret her hands as we approach the house. She starts getting sweaty and nervous if she’s thinking about sex. The downside is if she thinks I am and she isn’t she’ll have a similar reaction. If I put my arm around her and she does the same how closely she holds me tells me something about how she feels. If I put my hands on her as we’re going up the steps to the house I can tell if she’s inviting me to kiss her once we get inside, and if a kiss is allowed then she’s inviting me in.
There are times one match is all that is needed to bring forth a conflagration and there are times I have to have more tinder. There is no reason, sometimes, for the fire not to begin immediately, but the fire is not the point. The point here is do I know how to build the fire, do I have the right fuel, is the heat right, is everything ready that goes on the fire. Far, far, worse, than trying to build a fire at the wrong time is trying to build a fire at the right time and ruining it by rushing the flames to a greater height than they are ready to achieve. I’ve learned that infinite patience yields infinite reward and that no patience yields long and awkward silences where anything I say or so just drives her further away more quickly. She isn’t a tease and she isn’t making demands of me. This is just who she is. This is the person that she lives with and I have to live with it too, or I can live without her. Our relationship is more complicated than it has to be on many levels but there are some things about some people you endure because you realize if they change you won’t have the same person to love.
Her fingers are sweaty as we near the house and I ask her if she wants to go sit beside the pond, and watch the sun come up. She says no, and this is her way of telling me she wants to go inside with me. My arm goes around her waist, gently, and she pulls me close. Expertly, even though I am well over a foot taller than she, we scale the steps, one, two, three, and we slip into the doorway without the dogs waking up. The kiss is more than an invitation. Everything she cannot put into words, will never put into words, she can say very loudly with a kiss, one kiss, and it’s a hurricane, an earthquake, a natural event of magnitude now, the unstoppable lava flow, the building of a wave that will devour everything in the world but one moment.
Later, she lies on her side, on hand on me, smiling, her hair wrecked, her heart beating loudly, her breath coming to her in gulps. I lay back and try to breathe. The once chilly air of the room now feels overly warm and moist. We have reached back in time and pulled a primitive and wetter world into the room, and it’s hard to catch the breath. We watch as the rays of the sun begin to nibble away at the shadows and she gets up. She stands the window, and peeks out at the rising sun that is peeking back at her through the Spanish moss. Her red hair is like the sunrise and it reflects the moss, a tangled sort of redness that is hidden in shadow and doubt, She almost never stands fully undressed and I think for just an instant I’ve captured her in one of the most unguarded moments I have ever seen her in. If I watch her, if I keep my eyes open, she will not leave. The sun gets brighter, I blink my eyes, and she is gone.