The Limits of Possession

the Tortuosity of Burden

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.

  24 comments for “The Limits of Possession

  1. Julia
    February 22, 2011 at 3:27 pm

    This was utterly beautiful to read. Your writing is so vivid and evocative. I love it, thank you.

    • February 22, 2011 at 3:35 pm

      Thank you for the comment. I find that people are very willing to jump in and discuss my non-fiction posts, but much less the prose. Many thanks.

  2. Marc
    February 22, 2011 at 8:08 pm

    Your writing is exceptional, i think we all have similar memories of a past lover whom we call upon in the wee hours of the morning when distraction is needed, but seldom has it been so beautifully articulated
    Marc

    • February 22, 2011 at 8:52 pm

      Wow. Thank you very much for the comment. I think we probably all have them. We remember, we get aroused and we cringe at the same time. We’re glad it’s over and sick that it’s gone.

      • Lee
        February 15, 2017 at 11:53 am

        “Why won’t you let anyone in?” he said, with a pained look.

        She tenderly brushed the tear from his cheek and said:

        “Because these moments,
        as beautiful as they are,
        are evil after they have gone”

        <3 RG

  3. February 22, 2011 at 9:03 pm

    Devastating.

  4. Candida
    February 22, 2011 at 10:35 pm

    Your ability to draw such emotion from the reader is exceptional. I love this piece of writing. Love it.

  5. February 23, 2011 at 1:35 am

    Marvelous and true. Kept nodding and thinking ‘been there, been there, been there’ – as well as admiring you beautiful turns of phrase.

  6. February 23, 2011 at 2:04 am

    Wow…I missed this earlier. Stunning, RG, as always, but in a way that steals breath and pulse for seconds at a grasp before handing them back to stumble over one another.

    Gorgeous.

  7. Absinthene
    February 23, 2011 at 2:21 am

    Chilling obsession and dark, red-hot passion… This piece made me both squirm with unease and shiver with memories evoked… Eloquently written.

  8. MausuZ
    February 23, 2011 at 3:35 pm

    I love that when I read what you write I can see it. Usually when I read something what I see in my mind is in some way at odds with what is written. This isn’t a problem with any of your writing. I have no problem seeing what you write as you write it, in fact lots of times it’s almost as if I can even feel and hear it.

    You have very enviable skills with words.

    • February 23, 2011 at 3:41 pm

      Well, I’m hoping, Mausu, that it’s not my skill with the words I use, but with what I leave out that is creating this effect. For me, the very best writers leave spaces, in fact, they somehow invite my imagination in to fill in the details that made the interior scene really vivid, alive and realistic for me.

      See, it might be that you just have a really rich and active imagination. 😀

  9. Foxy
    February 24, 2011 at 12:54 am

    Wow. You have a way with words that creates such a vivid image in my head. I can imagine myself right in the midst of this scene. It’s really breathtaking. Kudos babe.

  10. February 24, 2011 at 10:43 am

    This bit:
    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.

    Delights me to no end. Lovely.

    • Clover
      March 31, 2015 at 2:13 pm

      I agree! I re-read the line about men breaking about 4 times. Made me ponder how the consistent “weakness” – or openness of emotion – that women (or more specifically anyone who regularly allows themselves to feel and express their emotions) *tend to* demonstrate somehow actually enables us to be more resilient and flex with things. Like a building that is built to withstand earthquakes, to sway with them rather than be rigid and crack and crumble when the shaking becomes too much, or something.

  11. Angharad
    February 24, 2011 at 11:08 pm

    Wonderfully, agonizingly beautiful. You have such a hand with your words, even when you’re telling a story that is so painful. My only difficulty is deciding whether to be swept away by the beauty and pain in it, or to be grieved over it. it is beautiful, and it also strikes right to the quick of anyone who’s lived through something similar. you’ve captured that counterpoint of pain and the emptiness it leaves behind so beautifully well…

    (it doesn’t hurt that the picture you chose to head it is evocative of the lady porn discussion over the last few days…)

    (you know, sometimes i suffer for lack of adequately superlative adjectives, and mostly it’s when attempting to describe your writing. hmm…)

    – Angharad

  12. Ashes
    March 1, 2011 at 9:29 am

    This one aches within. That ghostly ache that causes the gasp for that last moment. A fish floundering for it’s last breath perhaps…

    Bah no phrasing I put here would ever illistrate how awesome I found this one.

    The photo is a perfect lead in. I think my favorite phrase is ‘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.’ Maybe that makes me manipulative but that is the phrase that struck me.

  13. Anastaria
    July 5, 2014 at 6:13 pm

    i wish i could write something as beautiful to my husband

  14. Kim
    September 13, 2014 at 1:12 pm

    This is pure poetry-as spare as the lineaments of your protagonist’s lover’s frame. I’ve probably read 2/3 of your short stories now, and am still blown away by your ability to convey the inner workings of your characters as well as your precision in describing physical appearances and physical/emotional settings.

    As a gentle, unconflicted person with little emotional “baggage” I’ve never exactly understood the appeal of BDSM, but your pieces have helped me see where these types of desires come from and the kinds of needs they fulfill. At the same time I totally appreciate how you capture the ambiguity of so many erotic situations, both from the perspective of the participants and the reader. As you have said, we are all captivated by the unknown…

    I’ve been on a quest for well written erotica by women on the web. So far your work is the only thing I’ve found that I would call literature. Your stories, like Joseph Conrad’s, capture the human condition “en extremis” but get their power and tension by engaging the reader in the psyche of your characters.

    I’m not surprised that you have found commercial outlets for your pieces, but wanted to thank you for sharing so many of them with the rest of us. You deserve wider recognition for your amazing work!

    • September 13, 2014 at 5:06 pm

      Thank you so much for reading and for your erudite comment, your generous praise.

      Commercial outlets are few and far between. I don’t sell many books, but that’s fine. I always knew that what I wrote wasn’t easy to read, or always pleasant to consume. My best work is, in my estimation, my short stories, and they will always be here.

  15. Cheri
    October 2, 2014 at 6:07 pm

    So true, raw, beautiful. Why must he stay so guarded. Reguardless of his front of no feelings and pure sex, the groans, the breath the release says it all. My six week amazing reindroduction to the beauty of sex was just like this. I know how he felt because true passion cannot be hidden. I’ll never forget the unabashed beauty of this man. Thanks for the words!

  16. David
    January 6, 2016 at 8:40 pm

    Wow! What can I say? At sixty two I have just retired, and to consume my time, I write, only as a hobby at present, and it is limited to short stories for my grandchildren, and my biography, however having stumbled on your ‘Limits of Possession’ I have been inspired to stretch my horizons, your command and the use of the English language is enviable your use of words is both eloquent and evocative. I look forward to reading more of your work. Many many thanks for your inspiration, I will definitely be adding a chapter in my Biography in relation to this, yet another pivotal moment in my life. Thanks again, or as they say in Portugal, where I now live, ‘Muito Obrigada’

  17. Seldom
    September 11, 2016 at 6:16 am

    So clever RG the layers?,spiral?,sides? of possession… A glimpse of the dance that draws the possessor closer to the possession. The vividness of the physicality of possession entertwined with the subtlety of the emotional possession. The lingering memories of the pleasure and ultimate pain of possessing and being possessed.
    Is this what we put ourselves through just to sate our physical needs? Would the experience be as rich without the emotions?
    So many layers so much to ponder…

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