That’s how I remember you: losing it. Your dilated pupils like obsidian mirrors in the chaos of a neural storm. Dark strands of hair plastered to your forehead, wet with the sweat of your labours and the stifling heat, still smelling of the shower you took in an effort to cool down before you fucked me.
Those salt rivers, silvered in the sodium streetlight stabbing the thick darkness of the half-shuttered room, born at the hollow of your neck, channeled along the meridian of your chest, detoured around your navel and disappeared into the dark nest of hair at your groin.
There, between my legs. I remember you.
It haunts me now like a sharp pain to the womb, the delocalized cramp that sometimes follows a very strong orgasm. I lie on my back, staring up into the blackness and breathe in time to the auditory hallucinations of those last few desperate gulps of air you took before you came. You sounded like a man drowning. Fighting it, but drowning nonetheless.
Part of you always fought it. Some fragment of your personality could never sink peacefully into that limbic abyss. It snarled and kicked and resisted the dissolution of the cool intellectual order of the world. It folded your shirts with obsessive care. The one whose electronic calendar looked like the log entries on a web server, neat and dry and devoid of the weaknesses of desire or impulse or emotion.
You fought so bravely not to let me in, to keep me from infecting your bones. Acutely vigilant against any breaching of your battlements. But it was so easy to get into you, love. The very rigidity of your armour betrayed you. All it required was a well feigned, matched disinterest. The more I didn’t want you, the more I insisted on my own isolation, the more I rejected any nuance of emotional kitsch… You broke open like a newly laid egg. Your emotions a rich, yellow yolk held together with a micro-thin skin of translucent mortal fear.
They say women are the emotionally vulnerable ones. That may be human history’s greatest hoax. Because when men break, they are just so damn broken. There’s no limiting the infinite ways in which they need to posses what they’ve fought so hard not to attain.
There’s no denying the sheer smug pleasure I felt as I wriggled under your skin and into your bloodstream. There’s no denying the pride in knowing it was my heat, my moist manipulative flesh that coaxed you past the gates of your own reserve.
I remember the engorged veins of your forearms, snaking across the nut-brown skin, as you propped yourself up to watch yourself sink into me. Visual proof of possession. Why is it that we keep perpetuating the lie that only men are visual? The sight of your cock, glistening with my wetness is seared on my brain like a brand. I watch you looped, disappearing into my body over and over again.
I wanted you because you frightened me. You wanted me because I made you feel safe. Safe enough to throw back your head and bare your neck as you twitched and exploded, jettisoning your essence into the close, secure obscurity of my cunt.
All the effort, all the control you’d once expended to keep me out became the mammoth project of keeping me in. The once-a-day phone calls that became hourly. The clothes in my wardrobe you began to hate. The friends you bullied into espionage. The passwords you hacked to look into my inner world.
I fool myself that I can remember the moment the worm turned. When I changed from a thing that could not breathe outside the atmosphere of your presence to the thing that could not get a single lung-full within it. It’s a lie. I don’t recall when I began to gasp for air or dream of a space devoid of you. I only know that I did.
And still, with ten years and ten thousand miles between us, I can’t escape the midnight slideshow of you. The mechanism clicks and whirs and splashes yet another lurid image on the inside of my eyelids. Of you, muscles quivering, collapsing down onto my body, pushing your sweat wet face against mine. Your breath hot against my cheek and the sad, ragged sigh of a man who has arrived home, to a familiar prison.