Back during my divorce summer, when I swam away from Sweetie and came to the realization that what I really wanted was a husband, what I wanted more than anything was a man to play with me in the waves. Wherein Sweetie was grumpy at the prospect of fighting the surf, I wanted someone strong and vital who would change into the water the way I did. I had a vision of being picked up and carried and kissed in the water. This night came so close to that picture that no wonder I ended up diving into him.
When we got back from dinner, it was dark and a huge orange moon was rising over the pretty/samey houses on view from his back yard. He’d told me many times that I didn’t need a bathing suit, but I’m still in my privacy phase. I wore my pretty blue one printed with hydrangeas. I am at my heaviest right now so I felt a lot of worry that he wouldn’t be attracted to me anymore when he saw my thighs. We sat at the edge of the pool with our feet in the water on the little swim-out seat.
He said, “I think you’re scared of what’s gonna happen after this.”
“After the pool?”
“I’m scared too. I’m out of practice.”
“Me too, high five!” I may be more shy in some ways, but at least I’m still a high-fiver. “What I’m really scared of are the bonding chemicals that are gonna come afterwards. Because science.”
He didn’t seem to object to the bonding chemicals. Honestly, every step of the way, I was sure that he liked me. I still kind of am, though that doesn’t explain how things turned out. When I stepped into the pool, I put my foot down weird, so that the edge of the seat smashed me between my toes. My middle toe hurt so badly that I wondered if it was broken. Nonetheless, I jumped the rest of the way into the deep end, a little conscious of the nondainty splash I probably made.
After a few minutes of watching me swim (I loveloveloved when he watched me swim. I love the satisfied way he admired me—it’s been a long time since I’ve been looked at like that.) he jumped in too and it was like something I’d already lived, like I was fitting into one of my life’s puzzle pieces. The water was cold and it was a breezy evening, but the shivers came from somewhere down deeper. He held me and kissed me gently until I said “I’m torn between being really turned on and really cold, do you want to go in?”
I borrowed his shower to rinse off the chlorine and he lent me his scratchy grey robe. I wished I had nice warm pajamas to change into, but instead, I had nice warm him.
It hurts to remember how right our bodies felt (one of my poets wrote in a poem once that bodies are the easiest ways to fit), how well he kissed me, the softness of his skin, the scratchiness of his beard, the strength of his arms. More than anything, I loved remembering how sometimes sex just runs itself, how at first we knew what to do with each other like it was destiny, and in its own way, it was. I’ve never been more ready to have someone inside me, never this sure that what I was doing was real. I felt free to look in his face, in his eyes, and saw only kindness there. The barriers I’ve almost always felt to connecting with men were not there. It felt solid and sweet.
There were hardness issues at first, which he explained by saying that he had trouble with condoms, that he wasn’t used to them. It seemed bonkers to be talking about not-condoms at this (or any) stage of things and I felt a little surge of impatience. I was kind of like “Well, welcome to my world” but sympathized/rationalized that maybe he was just missing married sex. It tugged at my heart strings but at the same time I was (in my head) like dude, just grow up.
The hardness issues worked themselves out in good time, he lost all tentativeness and hard and long and perfect—that feeling that’s so delicious that I can’t even deal with how much I want it, how much I miss it. He pulled my hair and pinned me down and went deeper and I looked up at him and saw someone who was mine, not somebody else’s boyfriend whom I’d have to turn in at the end of the night like in the poly days. In that teensy spate of time, he belonged to me, there was nothing and no one else, and the inside of me was (just for right then) sated and quiet.
This happened a few more times until we ran out of condoms, at which point he mentioned again that what he really liked going without. He said that, although he didn’t like blow jobs (You guys! Was I really willing to give up blow jobs for someone? Yes, I was.) (Also, did he really not like them or just want a bargaining chip? Gross line of thought.) he might “Let me try it,” but I said no thanks, there were plenty of things he was enthusiastic about for me to do. (This turned out to be perfectly not the case in the end, but we’re still several posts away.) Because he kept perseverating about the no-condom thing after I’d said no a couple of times, I told him I was scared of him again. I asked him about his fantasy of being sleep-ravished, he wouldn’t do that to me, would he? “Not if you don’t want me to,” he said,
“Because then I wouldn’t be able to say yes…” I honestly wasn’t sure he saw the problem.
I slept badly. He snored and my body was so far beyond awake. Although he’d brought me an ice pack for my toe, it was throbbing. If it had been up to me, we’d have stayed up fucking and snuggling and chatting all night. I tossed and turned and apologized for tossing and turning. I got him to turn off the radio and all of the devices that beeped at random intervals.
I had maybe two hours of sleep and was awakened at six AM by an alert-in-every-way J. listing off the things we could do about being out of condoms. “We can not have any more sex today, we can go without, or we can go to the drugstore and get more condoms. Are you coming with me?”
All I wanted was to be asleep and I had this creepy obligated feeling-- he was treating his morning wood like a contract I’d already signed, possibly in my sleep. And I was PISSED that he mentioned going without again. I was beyond trying for patience and snapped “Not unless you want BABIES,” knowing he didn’t. Now I can’t help but wonder—did he not know how this thing works? How could he be married with kids and still seem like he skipped seventh grade health class?
“Just because I said it doesn’t mean it’s a real option. I honestly don’t think not having more sex is an option either.”
I jumped out of bed, found his robe, and ran down the steps. “Help me find my glasses, I need to get out of here now.”
“Wait, what? So you’re not going to my U.U. fellowship with me?” (Oh for Christ’s sake, just fucking call it church!)
“I’m not going anywhere with someone who says I have no fucking choice.”
I was too tired and upset to drive home so I lay down on his couch in the scratchy robe and cried. His golden-eyed black cat came over to see me, rubbed his ears against my hand. J. didn’t even bring me a blanket until I sniveled for one. He went out to get me some coffee and I simmered down.
When he got back, we talked and somehow made it back to cuddle mode. I had to give him credit for staying calm and weathering the triggers—I still couldn’t be sure if it was him or my baggage causing them, probably a combination of both. We went and got condoms, a picnic breakfast, and a toothbrush for me so I could make myself more comfy. We fucked through the morning and then dragged ourselves out of bed to go jump in the pool. It was a sunny, dazed feeling of fear, judgment, and bliss.
I wanted to accept him, to embrace him without fear, to honor his (sometimes) generosity and the eagerness of his gorgeous penis, but I couldn’t stop finding reasons to be afraid.
Next time: My heart opens and I let him in.