She opened the door, nude, my drink in hand—bourbon, three fingers, neat. As instructed. Good. She was a knock out, but that was beside the point. I wasn’t there to judge a beauty contest.
Turning forty had led her to consider the crossroads of approaching middle age, between the vicissitudes of the past and the potentials and limitations of the future. It had been a while since her previous long-term relationship; she had preferred a measured solitude in ordering her life from the relative chaos of her youth. She marked this transition in life’s passage with an elaborate tattoo empathizing an elemental grounding. Now, with her body artfully manifesting years of cerebral reflection, her mind moved to sex, and specifically, to kink. That’s where she found me.
I took the cup from her hand, closing the door behind me. Sipping bourbon, I kept my eyes on her face as my right hand caressed her body, cupping a breast, touching a nipple, tracing her waist to her hip and thigh. My fingers found her wet. I slipped a finger into her, then a second, then a third. Three fingers, neat. I lifted her to her toes. She swallowed a gasp as I walked her, backward, into her home.
We had worked out the details of this first meeting via email. She had access to this blog and to photographs of me. I knew only what she told me. I asked that she send me no photographs and keep her name to herself. One so rarely has an opportunity for anonymity, I said; let’s enjoy it while we can. In fact, I suggested, let’s conduct the date without words. I reserved the option to give direction, but she was prohibited from speaking—although, obviously, she could disregard that prohibition if needed. She liked the imposition of silence.
I hadn’t anticipated that her silence might accompany the absence of quiet. She had installed a noise machine near her front door, to prevent our sounds from reaching the neighbors. More privacy was afforded by a wall of sound: Tom Petty, cranked loud. She was an American girl, currently perched on the hook of my hand.
I took another sip of bourbon as I scanned the room. Removing my coat would require removing my fingers from her body. Instead, I stepped from my shoes and guided us into her living room. I sat in a cushioned chair. I placed the cup on the floor, and, with my free left hand, loosened my belt and unzipped. She got the idea and reached for my cock. I retrieved my fingers as she slid my pants from my body, one leg at a time. “Let’s not neglect the socks,” I suggested. My socks were folded and placed on my pants, also neatly folded.
I offered her my coat. She took it, looking around for a moment before vanishing back toward the entry. I could hear a door open and the rattling of clothes hangers. Resourceful, I thought, adding my shirt to her neat laundry pile.
She returned to find me nude and waiting, nodding to the beat. I suggested she crawl to suck my cock. She lowered herself to her knees and slinked toward me, her eyes on her prey. She took my cock curiously, and then, hungrily.
My eyes lighted on a clock. We can spend an hour at this, I decided, reaching for my bourbon. Tom Petty has a deep catalogue.
She no doubt wondered how long she would be sucking cock. I offered no time frame for the first half hour, and then observed, “You should plan on cocksucking that duration of time again.” Her brow furrowed as she calculated her endurance. Her hips swayed to the music. I propped a leg on her wagging back, giving myself to her attentions. Her body fell still. Only her head moved as she took me.
The hour passed. I raised my empty cup. She sat back on her haunches, confused before understanding my unspoken order. She raised herself on uncertain legs before disappearing back to the entry.
When she returned, I took the cup from her hand and filled my mouth. I put down the cup.
A moment later, she was on the floor in hand cuffs. I bent her hips firmly back as we fucked.
When we were spent, I swallowed my drink, dressed and left. I sent her an email commending our first date and offering to meet for more. She readily accepted.
On my next visit, she opened the door, nude, my drink in hand—bourbon, three fingers, neat. I moistened my fingers and slid them inside her, leading her backwards to the designated blowjob chair. Prince had replaced Tom Petty. Otherwise, our itinerary remained unchanged.
And so it went, as winter passed into spring. Same rules, same time frame, same wordlessness. Sometimes I brought a cane, sometimes a flogger. She always had bourbon and she always chose a single artist’s playlist.
One day, my offer of a date received this reply:
I’m really unsure about seeing you again . . .
I’m clear about what I will not be and that is only an objectified sexual plaything. More unclear about what I am willing to be, but have a sense of wanting someone who can take in the whole of me and who is open to a deeper level of connection and sharing.
A reflection on our time together; I was longing for someone to show up . . . getting glimpses, but mostly felt in the presence of a detached artist, who is absolutely fantastic at his craft but completely unaware of his medium.
My hope is that you’re open to a conversation/negotiation around what I’ve mentioned here, where your willingness lays and the possibility of meeting again.
I look forward to your response . . .
I replied in the moment:
Very good response! Thank you for saying what you think. This is like the moment Charlie returned Wonka’s everlasting gobstopper.
And yet, we did not.
I continued to arrive to find her nude, my drink in hand—bourbon, three fingers, neat. The Stones, The Police, The Pixies. Sex, spankings, silence. Abrupt departures, no words.
Perhaps we were in a rut. But this worked and anything else would be a change.
Finally, she wrote to call it quits This had been fun, she said, and no hard feelings, but it wasn’t what she wanted now. Besides, her work schedule was going to blow up soon, and she thought solitude might be better for her. I replied with my good wishes and suggested we stay in touch.
Despite my intentions to comply with her request, to reveal more of myself and to get to know her, I was, in that moment, feeling my self slip away. The edifice of the chocolate factory no longer held. Reality, in all its brutality, was crashing everything to the ground.
She followed me on social media. She saw that I was melting, melting. She contacted me to ask if I was okay. I replied that I was the opposite of okay. She said that if I wanted to talk about it, she would be glad to listen. I said I’d be at her place shortly.
She opened the door, fully clothed. There was no music. I had to ask for a drink.
We sat on her couch and she sat back, listening. I relayed the narrative of my girlfriend’s decision to dump me for another guy, a friend of mine. It’s a long story, and I didn’t yet know how to tell it concisely. Too much was happening. It was all happening too fast. It was still happening.
She nodded as I spoke. When I had exhausted my supply of words, she said, “You’ve told me what’s happening but not how you feel about it. How do you feel now?”
“I have no idea how to feel anything,” I said, finishing my drink. I laughed. “So, that’s what’s new with me. What’s your story?”
“This is the first time you’ve asked about me,” she replied, a bit surprised. She either didn’t notice or chose to ignore my empty cup as she began. She was raised upstate, on the edge of the Adirondacks. When she was nineteen, she was diagnosed with cancer. While she was sick, her five-year-old brother died of cancer. She survived. Her early twenties were a blur, “just really fucked up,” she said. She found her way out of that and arrived in New York, where she is now a psychotherapist and a practicing Buddhist seeking ordination. She recently turned forty. After that, who knows?
She folded her hands in her lap. That was her story.
I sat silently. “You are so much more interesting than me,” I said.
“You’re pretty interesting,” she smiled. “But yeah, that’s me.”
“You survived cancer. Your baby brother died of cancer.” I nodded. “But I’ve had my heart broken! You don’t know what real pain is!”
“That’s one competition you’re welcome to win,” she laughed, pushing imaginary chips my way.
She had expressed such profound loss and tragedy so matter-of-factly, offering a considered assessment of her life to date. Of course I turned it into a joke.
I could not listen beyond my surface noise. I struggled to regurgitate barely digested hurt.
“I was surprised by your posts about heartbreak,” she went on. “I didn’t even realize you had a girlfriend.”
“Oh, I’m sorry!” I exclaimed. “I guess we never talked about it because we never talked, but I thought you knew. It’s in my blog and so on. I didn’t mean to mislead you.”
“It’s not that. I mean, I figured you must be seeing someone. It’s just . . .” she paused. “I had no idea that you have the capacity for human emotion.”
That’s when Charlie returned the everlasting gobstopper.