I call these men strangers, but it is not because I didn’t know them. They have all been – to different extents – familiar. If I call them strangers, it is because I have come to realize that I have never allowed them to know me. It was not a question of deception. No, it was never deception, never conscious. But it was – I see now – a withholding. I have always kept who I am to myself, and thus, through these men’s mistaken understandings of my identity I read them, I half-heartedly assessed them, half knowing, half not knowing that we weren’t right. And so I have never known these men as they are independent of the projections I imposed on them. And so these men have remained strangers, because I have never given them a chance… I would like to give myself a chance. A chance at honesty and clarity… I am tired of this withholding. But how can I tell you whom I am without myself understanding? I want to understand what I want, so that you can decide for yourself if you would want this too…
The beginnings are always the same. There is a look. Then there is a gaze. And in the gaze is an exchange. A desire, perhaps, a longing. It may even be a plea, a dare maybe. Whatever it is, it is a question and an answer. Someone says, without saying: be with me. For a moment, for a week, for some time or a long time. And then I do this. I will touch you, and your body will react, will register. I will slide my hand around your waist when you say something with a hint of yourself, when you say something like: I haven’t spoken to my sister in a while… as we sit on two stools at a bar on our first date. And you may think that I have understood something. I will have observed something, and with my momentary touch around your waist I tell you that I know. I know that we have surfaced something that is yours. But touching is overwhelming. It sends signals throughout our bodies, it channels our blood to our sexes, and we like it there. Because if we feel something this strongly, so physically, then it must indeed be something. I have noticed but I have not understood.
I am always the first to touch.
There is the myth about the first kiss. That it is in the kiss. But for me, I think, the search for the it happens in the isolation of the bedroom. The room itself – the bed on the south facing wall, the turquoise computer sleeve on the floor, the third bottom opened drawer, the necklaces that hang on pins by the door, the books on the shelf, and the ones open on my desk – it is my nest. Nowhere else am I more present. I am the bedroom, and I bring you inside. We move through it, make our way to the bed, you shed your clothes and they mingle on the floor with my mess. Or they will lie there out of place, I don’t know yet. But I will judge you from now on. Will you make the walls disappear? Will the shapes and colors around us swirl together in one big white light? Erasing everything. So that my only point of reference to space becomes you. So that your mouth becomes North, your sex is South, the hand that cups my breast is East, and the one pinning me down is West. You must become my only sense of direction. And still I need more from you ¬– it is not enough to make everything disappear.
I need you to teach me how to move.
Naked and unconscious like infants, everything becomes new. Everything becomes instinct. To make my face follow yours when you move it away, drawing my lips to yours with overwhelming thirst; your mouth an oasis in the heat of the friction of our flesh. To make my body anticipate, from the slightest movements of your muscles, from the beat of your breaths, how to orient my limbs. Like two puppets on string, the force that choreographs our dance dictates from a higher, imperceptible place.
You must be nurturing – your kisses as tender as a mother’s on her infant’s soft skull.
And you must be harsh – with your teeth, with your grip, with your thrusts. Make me feel pain, because those who care always do.
When desire becomes limitless but satiable. So much desire, so much pleasure, so much pain. To feel the spectrum of emotions in a moment… I don’t know if I’m making sense.
For it all to be reciprocal…