Your Summer Sex
There’s a rhythm beating somewhere deep between your thighs, and you remember it like the taste of salt on your skin after a day at the beach. You’d let it fade into a whisper during the winter months, when you wrapped your body in all those layers, steeled yourself against the cold, huddled inwardly through the snow. That pulsating, that flavor; those belonged to a different person, one that wasn’t wrapped in scarves, whose breath wasn’t a constant cloud materializing in puffs in front of icy lashes.
But now it’s hot again you can feel it; like drums it starts, catching you one morning when the temperature is already rocketing at 8 a.m., and you’re walking to the subway on your way to work, a thin layer of wetness settling across your face and chest, where it will sit for the next three months, at least. You’re glowing, and the eyes you catch as you saunter down the street glow back; you find yourself suddenly communicating with everyone — complete strangers, even — in the silent language of summer sex.
While the beating at the epicenter of your hips intensifies, your whole body becomes aware; it’s like you’re blind but instead of being deprived of sight, you’re deprived of comfort, there’s nowhere you can go, trapped in your own sticky skin. There’s no reprieve from the heat, and so your other senses intensify. You’re suddenly aware of your body in a way you weren’t before, at least before the weather became this way again.
Every single inch of it, from the skin that envelops you to the downy hairs that stand erect on the back of your arms, is sex. Every movement, every touch, every innocuous action is electrifying, and all of it becomes inexorably linked to sex in a way that it’s not during the other three seasons. It’s your puberty; like a teenager you’re at once as vile and sickly as you are intoxicating; sweaty and profane, that abstract smell of saliva and salt and the animal aroma from between your legs pervades your senses.
Like a child coming into bloom you’re supple, lithe; you’re wide-awake and just looking for something to rub against, because once a year, for this magical season, there is nothing else but rubbing.
Everything you do becomes imbibed with a desperate need to enter, to be entered, to drip your perspiration over someone else’s slippery chest and to lick it straight back off, to touch and be touched and to slide your nakedness all over someone else’s in a pool of all your pungent body stuff. On languid afternoons when you’re held hostage by the heat, laying on your couch, desperately shedding clothing, greedily ingesting cool drinks, it will take the most innocent motion — listlessly brushing your hand across your thigh; your nipple grazing a pillow; your back arching to escape the humidity between your spine and the couch — to make you crazy with sex.
It’s disgusting and primal, how much you think of sex in this heady summer haze. How despite the hundred-degree heat your skin prickles with the desire for more skin. How the thought of perspiration dripping from someone else’s skin onto your chest sets off a groan deep inside you; how that basic human thing, sweat, that is meant to repel you, that you deodorize against for the most part of the year, is the sudden object of all your lust.
How the beating doesn’t stop, day or night; how the hotter it gets, the less you’re capable of cognition outside your constant arousal, the instinctive, irrational urge to sex that seems to grow, to take on a life of its own, beneath summer’s high sun.
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I wish to God I’d had a list like this when I was 23.
Answer phones better than anyone else has answered phones before. Relay messages so brilliant, they bring people to tears. Turn the coffee run into the choreography of Swan Lake. Become best friends with every intern and every underling and every taxi driver you encounter.
I remember taking the pen and notebook from that woman outside the courtroom, flipping to a clean page in the book, and writing, JESSICA IS SAD in big, bold, uncoordinated letters. “My sister is going to be a good writer someday! Look at how nice her lines are!”
To begin, I got totally screwed over in the dental genes department. I was born with a pretty severe overbite and a mouth that was too small.