Sunday, April 17, 2016

Chapter 34: A Simple Kiss

Amazing how one's life can change over a kiss. A simple kiss and everything I ever believed I would never do... I did.

"I'm going to kiss you."

Five basic words spoken while we sat in our office, insanely trying to rationalize the tension between us.

Is it wrong if we kiss? He wasn't looking at me when he asked this; he was feigning interest in his datebook.
I think so. My throat was so tight that I was surprised that the words even came out.
Do you want to kiss?
Is the Pope Catholic? Is the grass green? Is the sky blue? Haven't I been wanting this since the day we were first introduced? Didn't I look at him that day with a jolt of absolute awareness that I couldn't recall ever having felt before? Yes! Kiss me! Somehow I kept my voice steady: Yes.

Yes.

A word as powerful as his. Bending, bowing, giving in to my wants as well as his.

Yes.

Not ten minutes later, after a too-long period of silence and thought, after I began to reconcile myself to never knowing what he tasted like or what his arms would feel like around me... not ten minutes later my "yes" was accepted.

"I'm going to kiss you."

And feeling his mouth on mine... while I sat, submitting more then anything, and disbelieving. Unable to fully respond as I thought I would have. As I had intended to, should the opportunity ever arise.

Who would have thought that I'd be here? Eight months ago, I would have laughed. Liam? Want me? You have to be kidding.  I'm just a little nobody, someone who hangs out in his office now and then. That's all. I probably amuse him, nothing more.

Two days after, I found myself in a bookstore reading a slim little text on affairs and marriage. It's purpose was to talk about a relationship surviving adultery, but to me it was a primer of sorts. I read it with too-obvious interest, I suspect, but didn't particularly care. My mind was elsewhere, learning the differences and similarities between a serial affair and a fling, a romantic affair and a long-term one.

"I'm going to kiss you."

I didn't buy that book. Instead I picked up Kate Chopin's The Awakening, reading it cover to cover that same night. Reed came to me, making an attempt at intimacy, but failing. Somewhere in there he murmured something about "owning me," about my "being his little girl." For the first time ever, I (silently) disagreed and rebuffed him with a lie about it being that time of the month.

I had to turn him away. It wasn't because of Liam himself, it wasn't because I was feeling guilty or unworthy or even exultant. It was because of the fact that just a hours before I was in another man's arms, ready to give to him what I had always thought of as Reed's: me.

I'd been ready to welcome Liam, to let him make me his. It had been on my lips that night, that invitation: "Make me yours."

That was what had really stopped me -- the realization that I was simply going to transfer ownership from one man to another when, really, I needed to revoke all rights and revert them back to their rightful owner: me.

You can't give what you don't believe you own. My mother often said that no man ever owned her, that was why it was so easy for her to slip from bed to bed. In my own way, a fact I'm slowly awakening to, I believed -- still believe? -- that if I let a man stake his claim, I won't be like her. If I let him be the traditional controlling male, I'll be the well-behaved docile female and never cave to the same forces that ruled my mother.

"I'm going to kiss you."

So much for that theory.

Waiter, I would like another glass of wine. Pouring it myself, I stared out the back window.  So much easier to think with a little vino in hand.