Fingers, tongue, words, needles, teeth, cock, nails, fists, lips, blades, ideas, images. It’s not the way he penetrates her that disturbs her; it’s the way he withdraws. Because she knows he yearns to leave with the Polaroid of someone ruined and discarded firmly clutched in his fisted hand. That, she will not allow.
When he leaves, she bathes.
She lies back in the warm water. She smokes. She flings one leg over the edge of the bathtub and examines the pattern of his bite, the abrasions on her knees. She contracts the muscles of her cunt and feels the sting, the emptiness, the formless ache of congress that always leaves in its wake the echoes of the fuck. The rosy marks of his fingers on her upper arms and hips. The angry contraction of her nipples in the water’s heat.
Sweat beads on her face and runs into the rawness of her lips. The places on her skin, like stretches of dried riverbed or barren ground, where his cum has dried and crackled, are reconstituted in the water to viscous again. Cuts unclot. Bruises bloom. She licks her lips to soothe the salt’s sting and tastes his saliva again. She revisits her small, peculiar triumphs.
Back in the presence of his caustic hunger, wound tight on the creaking pin of civility. The awful tension of that string doesn’t make her reconsider; it’s what draws her. To where he is a man always on the edge of being an animal, that bright and tender place of constant calculation of where the line might be drawn or broken.
There, what has made him doesn’t matter. Nor what conspires in her to call her to that place. She has tasted the sour premonitions of all the things he might render her long, long before she arrived at his doorstep. Past the post of good judgment, like any good traveler, she becomes a fatalist.
In that no man’s land, he casts her in whatever role gets him hard: as deceiver, as whore, as pitiful victim of his dishonorable machinations, weak-willed, soft-hearted, half-witted fuckdoll or lovelorn dupe. In that place, she is whatever hinges his jaw, sharpens his teeth, draws out his claws.
For her, he is all the abysses she fears to look into, the monsters she cannot face. Every insult, every humiliation, every loss of agency she believed she could not bear. All the pain she thinks she cannot tolerate.
She can and she does. She endures because it is all she needs to know about herself: that she endures, that she can walk through his fire with her eyes on his, and not lose sight of the fact that they are who and what they are, in spite of what they do to each other.
He may not leave savouring the spectre of her regret. That is the one fantasy she refuses him.