Around 11:45 on a Thursday night a man is steering me by the waist out onto the sidewalk, placing me in the passenger seat of his car, and driving me to his house.
“Would looking at my ID and sending my info to a friend make you feel more comfortable about going home with a stranger?”
I can’t quite tell if he’s teasing, but I realize I’ve been biting my lip – something he must’ve mistaken as anxiety, or fear, maybe.
Eyes on the road, mister.
I do not tell him it’s not the first time I’ll be spreading my legs for someone I don’t know, and I’m not counting the time ten minutes ago when he slid his hand up my dress and pushed my panties to the right to test just how ready I was to go.
I do not tell him I’ve gone to bed with worse men – ones I knew well.
This man I just met, whom I do not know at all, is a better man than anyone I’ve ever loved.
I know I should be more afraid, but I’m not. Truth be told, I don’t know if it’s him or the potential danger that turns me on.
Inside his sleek car, the air is heavy with desire, want suffocates me; if I don’t release my bottom lip from my teeth soon, they will pierce through.
Shamelessly, I slide my thighs apart and finish what he started under the bar, as he navigates through the city streets in the night, counting down the stop lights until he can get me inside and watch me unravel again.
It’s sweet that he thinks this is the first time I’ve put myself in the hands of someone whose voice I only ever heard for the first time sixty minutes prior.
“It’s been decades since I’ve seen that,” he had called out three stools down from my left.
I looked up from my writing frenzy, broken out of my reverie by a deep husky voice with a beautiful chiseled face to match. I didn’t know what he was referring to, but his voice set my veins aflame faster than the drink in front of me or the ones before it had. I thought, I could cut my tongue across that jaw.
I raised a single eyebrow.
“A patron writing at the bar,” he explained, answering my silent question. “Or working? It’s just that I assumed,” he motioned towards my leather bound journal.
“Do I look like a writer?”
“Was I right?”
“You look like a few things,” he remarked, making his way to sit at the stool immediately next to me.
“And what would those be?”
“An enigma, for one. And someone beautiful trying to kill the muse.”
“He’s long dead. I smothered him. I buried him deep. There’s no muse here,” I lied through my teeth.
“I don’t believe you.”
“Because I loved someone too. She was cold. And heartless. Nothing like I would imagine you to be. I watched you for a couple of minutes, and that look on your face as you were writing – I know that look.”
He ordered another Stella for himself, and another gimlet for me, as I sat there shocked at his audacity and his candor, but a little touched, too.
“Does it ever go away?” I asked.
He took a sip out the green bottle, remained silent for a few seconds before answering, “Think of it as a scar you forget about, only sometimes you look down and see it there, and it’s alive as ever. Silent, most days, but never really healed properly.”
“And some nights you choose to open those scars. Because it’s only with that pain that you can feel love again,” I said, surprised at how much I had just divulged to someone whose name I didn’t know.
Under the dim bar lights, a candle flickering between us, we toasted to my muse and to his ex-wife.
To quote Lana Del Rey, I pray your life is sweet, you fucker.
No. Damn you. I hope it’s killing you
This man lives only a few minutes away from the bar, coincidentally in the same neighborhood and only a couple of streets away from a different man I’m currently fucking on the reg.
They’re interchangeable, I think, as his mouth makes its way from my neck to my breast, and I don’t mean the way he touches me, the house, or the zip code, but the fact that they’re both emblematic of my loneliness. I close my eyes and welcome the dark.
Race, class, age, sex, it’s as coincidental as the address.
It’s all the same. He could be anybody, I wouldn’t be able to tell the difference.
I’m looking for warmth. Or maybe I’m welcoming in the cold into summer.
“Open your eyes,” he whispers.
He slides my dress down all the way to the floor. Kissing his way up my calf, my outer thigh, my hip, my rib cage, my shoulder, to the dip below my throat, he wraps a hand around the back of my neck. Without taking his eyes off me, he uses his other hand to violently rip my panties, the delicate lace surrendering, cutting into my thighs, my hips, my ass, my wet pussy. Shreds in his large fist, I whimper.
I am exposed to him, but only in flesh.
He is taken with my convincing brand of charm and light and vivacity and mischief and sex.
He thinks he knows who I am.
His tongue is my delectable undoing.
We fuck and fuck and fuck. I’m desperate for water, desperate for air, desperate for a shower. I make my way out to his backyard and jump into his pool, desperate for a swim. He follows, turning on the lights.
“No. Keep them off,” I call out.
Under a black polluted Houston sky, he fucks me again in the water. The stars have gone into hiding, there is no one with me now.
The deep empty is here again. Or maybe it never really left.
Back in bed, it ambles on, ruthless, lethargic, and unforgiving.
His mattress, white waves, an ocean so vast as I lie next to his sleeping body, I hardly notice it’s there.
When I think of loneliness, I think of my mom’s two sisters.
Both have spent their life devoid of that great love.
One took her babies and walked out on him when she realized his hand would always be heavy. She raised better men on her own without anyone’s help. She never let love back in.
“I’m happy this way,” she always beams. She says she likes the space, the independence, the not having anyone to have to report to or explain herself to, the liberty to come and go, a quiet apartment, and a bed she doesn’t have to share with anyone else’s snoring body.
I get that. I do. I know what it’s like to be comfortable alone, to be content in your own company, to need to be around no one to feel sane again. But even with that comfort, I’ve also felt how lonely it can get. How alone one can feel in this world. I imagine my solitary life, I imagine it being like that year after year, decade after decade, and I feel a gaping hole. I can’t help but think that even with all her self-fulfillment and satisfaction and freedom in her life, she must feel alone some nights.
My other aunt met the love of her life a town over from theirs and lived a fairy tale courtship. They got married and welcomed a baby girl into the world in the span of a year. A happy family, picture-perfect embodiment of bliss, before a tragic gun accident took his life the next year.
23, her whole life ahead of her, and she never married again, she never even tried dating again. She said she didn’t feel the desire to. She, too, felt content being single, and in all these years she’s even remained celibate. She doesn’t need any more love than she has in her life with her family, she says. I think the truth is a lot more painful than that.
I remember during a summer I spent with her, waking up to her cries in the middle of the night. She kept saying his name over and over again, sobbing in her sleep. It pained me, a child of no more than 8 or 9 years old, to hear her call out his name in her slumber with such jarring longing, such pain. That memory has stayed with me.
I think she had that one true, big, great love of her life, and she lost him, and he was irreplaceable. I think she’s never looked for love because she can’t love anyone again, not like him.
In his huge, white, soft, marshmallow bed, he rolls over, closer to me, I scoot towards the edge so we do not touch.
I am utterly adrift in this moment.
I ache to know what it is like to want once more.
My lungs feel small, there’s a febrile fire in my veins, a blue jay in my throat; it feels a lot like my longing for you.
I’m trying to convince myself it was never love, that your conviction and my defiance were just organic playmates and I mistook that as meaning something.
Here with the night arrives the quiet, and my mind is as loud as ever. I see myself clearly as who I was to you.
A prey. Only you never swallowed me in one sitting. No. You cut into me ritualistically time and time again, savored me, until there was nothing left except this yearning for something other than the everyday void.
I’m sore, throbbing between my legs, and already I am aching to be filled with distractions again.
I feel a single tear fall down my face, mascara staining his pristine sheets.
I reach out to him, stroke his chest hair, move my hands under his boxers waistband, until I feel him grow in my hand and he wakes up.
I straddle him. He does not let go of my hips.
Later, I drift off to sleep.
I wonder if I call out your name at all in the dark.
I’m leaving soon. I’m giving you Houston. I’m giving you Texas. You can keep the whole South. All I ask is that you don’t ever cross the Colorado state line.
And I want my heart back. I want to give it away again. To no one and everyone.
I want to give it away to the next stranger at a bar with graying hair who takes me home to fuck me in every room in his house. I’m going to give it away to the mountains. I’ll leave it as a tip to the bartender with the sexy smile and the dark violets under his eyes. I want to open it up for a new skyline. I want to throw it in the next lake I submerge my body in. I want to let the pretty girl with the soft lips, who teaches me how to find a woman’s g-spot, hold it in her hands.
I want to give it away to everyone and to no one.
I want to give it away for the poetry. I want to give it away so I never have to write about you again.
The books I read as a child past my bedtime, hiding under the blankets with my Beauty And The Beast portable lamp. The stories I wrote under the same dim light. Scary things. Robberies. His fingerprints. The first time I dug into my skin with a sharp object for release. My first kiss. A widow’s mourning. The strawberry full moon. Night roses, Casablanca lilies, the evening primrose, and dragon fruit flowers. Lightning. The dancing of fireflies in mason jars, years ago in my grandma’s backyard. City lights. Crying. The constellations. The poetry I write. Cutting myself again for the first time in 6 years. Strangers having sex, getting high off those things that mimic home, the loneliness that follows after. The bedding of mistresses. Your loving me. All things done in the dark.
I can’t figure out which hurt more: loving you or missing you.
My root chakra pulses and throbs.
I look out at the rain outside the window. I listen, I swear it’s trying to tell me something.
I’ve become divorced from so many parts of me.
Everything is so grey. I drink a bottle of wine and try to think of new ways to make my world bleed again.
My phone rings.
I grab my makeup bag and plug my straightener in.
I head out for the evening smiling, dying.
I am the loneliest girl in the world.
I can’t wait to get home again.