I waited for you
by the river of time
but you didn’t come.
Is it impolite to fuck someone because I’m sad and tired of being sad? I don’t know. Perhaps it is. But the rain has started and it’s a long way back to my hotel. His is closer and more expensive.
He’s middle aged and Russian, and has a bald spot like a monk’s tonsure. There are fine golden hairs on his knuckles; they glint in the watery light as he smokes cheap Cambodian cigarettes and fondles his weeping glass of beer like an old lover.
“A game of chess?” he asks.
So we play for a while as the rain buckets down and spatters the board with mist.
I stood by the river of time
and waited for a word
but none came.
These days, time stalls like a cranky engine. On this sodden afternoon, when minutes are hours, Sergei opens with a classic Spasky sequence. I’ll let him beat me because he probably will anyway, and why draw out the inevitable? I’m a good loser, being so practiced at it.
“Check,” he grunts and grins.
How can you deny people the little things that mean so much to them?
I sat by the river and wept,
and let you float away,
because there’s no fighting
this mother of a river.
She’s too wide and too deep.
The boy behind the reception desk stares at me as if I’m a ghost. All the whores he’s ever seen have been Cambodian or Vietnamese.
The Russian kisses me in the cramped elevator. I suspect he feels he ought to – which is odd, because whores don’t expect to be kissed. Perhaps the colour of my skin, the shape of my eyes have him confused as well. His thumb finds my clothed nipple, hard in the chill of the aircon. He takes this for arousal and a prompt to kiss me again with extra passion.
I’m not aroused. I don’t like this man or the taste of stale beer and cigarettes on his tongue. It makes my stomach churn. So, you might ask what I’m doing watching him turn the key to the door of room number 418.
I knelt at the river’s bank
and weep into its heartless brown waters,
carrying my salt out to sea.
It’s just like every other mid-priced hotel room in Phnom Penh, with a creaking, rattling air-conditioning unit and manufacturer’s stickers on the bar fridge. I eye the gaudy bedspread and ignore Sergei’s murmurs of unfelt but apparently obligatory emotion, while he pulls off my tank top and pushes down the cups of my bra.
Where the fuck did he learn the word ‘succulent,’ I wonder, unzipping my skirt. I don’t want all this preamble. I’m simply hoping that he’ll fuck me hard enough to jolt something loose inside me. That this raw act will uncouple me from the agonizing attachment I have to you.
The Russian stands there for a moment, his erection distorting the front of his rain speckled beige chinos. If he thinks I’m going to undress him, he’s wrong. I may be a fucking whore, but I’m not *that* kind of a whore. If he’s getting laid for free, he can take off his own pants.
“Got a condom?” I ask.
“Sure. Of course. But I’m clean.”
I manage to stop myself from rolling my eyes. “Yeah? Me too. Put the bloody condom on.” Because he’s not going to have anything to complain about friction-wise.
As he tugs me down onto the bed and attempts to enter me, he gets it. I haven’t had a cock in seven years and I’m not wet. The tightness makes him hesitate. He wrestles an ugly hand between us and tries to change my frame of mind via my clit. It’s not going to make a difference.
“Just fuck me.”
“But you don’t seem,” he searches his Russian brain for the word and comes up with something ESLish. “Interested.”
“Listen, asshole. Just fuck me.”
I lay down beside the river
and begged her to take me
away from here,
away from now,
away from me.
I don’t scream at that first inward thrust. He’s big but not that big. Instead, I lie there with my teeth clenched and wait for my body to remember what to do. Sergei paws my breast and groans. His cock is only halfway in and the stretch hurts like a sonofabitch. But in that moment, when he thrusts again to hilt himself inside me, the world turns. He changes into something cruel, just as I become something acquiescent.
“Is this what you want?” His voice is a croak. The hand on my breast tightens painfully.
The thrusts are punctuated with questions that at first I don’t feel the need to answer.
“And this…and this…and this…?”
Until the fury of it makes me gasp. “Yes.”
Because this is what I want. Because I feel the hinges of my heart creak under the strain. The violence of it nags at the bolts that moor me to you. Boards rattle, tear-rusted threads strip and shriek.
“Harder. Can’t you fuck me any harder?”
He makes a noise like a wounded dog and closes a hand around my neck. “Shut up, you bitch,” he hisses.
I smile and close my eyes. Good to know we’re on the same page. Even better to know this new paradigm has done nothing to quell his ardour.
I dipped my hand into the river
and felt the warm, silt-laded water
gritty between my fingers.
So much of the world
borne away on the flow.
My body inches across the bed under the pounding. As it produces enough lubrication to protect itself, my cunt stings. What traitorous things our bodies are. I still don’t feel the least bit aroused, but I’m wet anyway. And I don’t much care if I never get up off this bed, but still I gasp and claw for air as his grip tightens around my throat.
Poor Sergei, I muse. I hope he doesn’t kill me. It would be a bitch to get rid of a white corpse.
Not that I’m too worried about it. All I know is that the wood inside me is splintering, the brackets snarling loose in the wrenching storm. The structure of every dream I’ve ever had about you is coming down around my head. And the Russian is going to come any second now.
I push you out with every hindered, rasping gasp. My cunt muscles are spasmed shut, my back arches and my spine locks. I’m coming. Because it’s easy enough to do when it’s not you I’m holding inside. When it’s not you whose touch I imagine. When it’s not you fucking me. Sergei collapses onto me like a beached whale. His pale flesh twitches in the afterstorm of his orgasm.
I turned my back on the river of time.
Let someone else sit, wooing it uselessly,
someone stronger than me.
I always knew you’d make me wait too long.
The Russian gives a small, embarrassed chuckle and rolls off. “You,” he says, wagging a fat finger at me, “you’re quite the puzzle. But I have figured you out. You’re like another woman I used to date in Moscow.”
“Really?” I sit up and begin to dress, adjusting my bra, pulling on my shirt.
“Yes. A Georgian girl. Very beautiful. Some kind of refugee.”
“Funny, ” I say, standing up and stepping back into my skirt. “So am I.”