Wednesday, July 05, 2017

Chapter 52: Personal Narratives

We all have our own narratives.  We all frame our stories a certain way.  Design them and casting ourselves as the stars.  The world revolves around us.  People worry about our opinions.  About our wants and needs.  That's what we tell ourselves, anyway.

There's nothing wrong with it.  Nothing abnormal.  It's all quite human, actually.  We need to create a schema that works for us, something into which we can assimilate everything that the world hurls at us and try to make sense of it.  Sometimes it works well.  Sometimes not so well.  

Liam's dead.

Five months ago, he realized that his narrative no longer worked for him so he took a running leap from the roof of his very expensive condo and landed on Liberty Avenue with a very unceremonious splat.  He ran out of ways to spin what he was doing.  It turned out that the documents from the Fox Project implicated him after all.  

The days after were a blur, as the stereotyped reaction goes, as I tried to understand the man that he was rather than the man I thought him to be.  

I'd let him kiss me.  Let him convince me that his greatest fear was that I'd be taken down by the files I had.  He didn't want me to turn them over to anyone.  He wanted me to hold onto them and do nothing.  "For now," he always said.  

In my narrative, he loved me and was trying to protect me.  In his, I was an afterthought.  

Our narratives can get away from us sometimes.  We can lose control over things that go unsaid and others can fill in the blanks, assigning us roles we have no intention of playing.

After Liam's suicide, I fell into another's narrative.   It's an interesting one, though I don't know where it's taking me quite yet.

Monday, July 03, 2017

Chapter 51: Undone

He re-buttoned my shirt when we were finished. I don't even know how to explain the intimacy of such an act.

Any man can undress a woman. So long as he has the skill, he can seduce her right out of her clothes. She's left, then, when it's over, to re-dress and right herself. Re-do what was undone, all without his help. Prostitutes to wives cover themselves when the men are finished. Some might lie about first, indolent and sated, but even they draw a sheet up over their breasts... or so says Hollywood. We're taught to cover what the men uncovered, as if our nude bodies would offend once their purpose were past.

He re-buttoned my blouse. I didn't ask; such a thing never crossed my mind. Why would it? I've been covering myself since the first time, and no one else ever offered otherwise.

Of everything else that transpired, somehow that's was the most delicate of moments, the most intimate. Tender. Gentle. Soft.

Those are the intimacies I ought not enjoy. They're the ones that lead to thoughts of things I'm not even sure I have let alone want sometimes.

He buttoned my blouse. Somewhere an author mused over the word button and how it came to suggest undone and undoing, two words that are tied to closely to sex and lust. He was my undoing. He undid me. Took me apart then put me together. For all appearance's sake, re-assembled just the same. I went back to work and no one was the wiser. Though for as buttoned-up as I was, I felt undone for the rest of the day. Sitting in meetings, talking to clients... I was undone. Un-buttoned and offered to my lover just a few hours before, now wondering what they'd think if they knew that the office's ice princess -- yes, I knew about the nickname -- had spent the morning coming un-done, melting you might say, in broad daylight in the backseat of a car.

Un-button, undo, unleash. Release. Free. Open. Uncage and unchain. The scene from Their Eyes Were Watching God comes to me, where Janie lets her hair down -- undoes it -- when her husband passes.  When she re-does it, tying it under her bandana, she does so because she chooses to, not because he always commanded her. Un-doing on purpose; re-doing by choice. Throwing the shutters open and heralding the man's death, a trumpeting cry of freedom. Secret, though. No one would approve otherwise.

Friday, June 30, 2017

Chapter 50: Baubo

From a distance, it looked like they were just talking. No one could see -- from that distance -- that the lower buttons on her blouse were undone and his hand was inside, feeling the warmth of her belly where her fire lay.

According to legend, a woman's fire is in her belly, closer to her thighs then her mouth. When she speaks with her face's mouth, the fire has too much time to cool. When she speaks with her other mouth, the heat remains and speaks much more truly. The little belly goddess Baubo's mouth is between her legs; she represents sexuality, particularly pure sexual humor.

When he touched her, his own body's warmth filled his palm, increasing the heat she already felt. She found herself thinking about that heat within her and how he rekindled it just by being near her. She wondered if he know about Baubo.

Then it didn't matter. His hand inched downwards, touching her intimately, and thoughts of the belly goddess were pushed aside and replaced by a thankfulness that she'd worn the pale pink bra today. He'd told her once that he imagined her in one of his white button-down shirts with the pale pink bra underneath. Today was the closest she could come to meeting that fantasy. When she dressed that morning, she'd laughed at herself for even bothering -- for she was sure that he'd never see it.. A white shirt was impossible, the pink would have been too noticeable. She'd opted for a pale blue shirt and left the two top buttons undone, just for him.

But he took her for a drive, an innocent ride in the park, where they could hold hands and talk without much fear. The tension, though, was undeniable. It sat between them, she noticed, laughing at their frustration.

"Can we park somewhere?" She finally asked, wanting just to be able to talk without his having to focus on the road. She had no other intentions, having promised herself to respect his boundaries -- and help him keep them.

But then his hand crept to her belly, undid the button, and slipped in. And they talked, though she has no memory of about what. What she remembered most, when she laid in bed that night, was the look in his eyes, the absorbed fascination as he studied her hair, her face. She'd never seen that before in a man's eyes, not that she could recall, anyway.

She knew what was coming and, frankly, did nothing to stop him. How could she? She wanted it as much as he did. The kiss, their first kiss, nearly sent her over the edge then and there. The throaty little sounds that she tends to make were automatic and immediate. Usually they're delayed, waiting for the pitch of excitement to kick in, waiting until her body finally begins to respond. He murmured something about "so that's how you sound," but she was too immersed to fully hear him.

They were on an isolated road in the park in the middle of the morning in the dead of winter. If people passed by, she no longer knew. If you asked her about her sunglasses, she'd only be able to tell you how he took them off of her and tossed them into the backseat. If you wanted to know when he unbuckled her seatbelt, she'd look at you blankly, just knowing that it happened at some point. She can, however, detail the feel of his unshaven face and tell you about nipping at his earlobes. Her mind's eye can still see him unbuttoning the rest of her blouse's buttons and, because she actually considered the wisdom of this act, she can tell you how she asked if he felt guilty and then gently pushed him away when he said he did.

"I don't want you if you feel guilty," she said softly, aching because she knew they'd have to stop. It was true, too, as much as it would mean losing him.

He kissed her again, wrapping his fingers in her hair and tugging just so. It was a slightly possessive kiss, it seemed... as if he were claiming her.

Regretfully, she disentangled herself. "You have to make up your mind, darling." Who knew being reasonable and logical could be so awful? She hated herself right then, hated the idea of doing the right thing and not simply seeking instant gratification. Everyone else, it seemed, took and worried later. Not her. Never her.

"Okay," he finally said after a moment's hesitation. And his lips were on hers, this time indeed claiming her. She would be his at that moment, his kiss demanded it. She intended to ask him how he could make his mind up that quickly; she intended to hold onto a semblance of reason even as she allowed herself to drown in his arms. She had to keep some semblance, didn't she? That's what women did. They kept their heads on straight, they spoke from their lips and used their brains. While men could be irresponsible, women like her would be responsible and make sure that no one made a move that could be regretted. She would hold on to reason and let him enjoy. She would. That was her role, after all.

But then his fingers slipped to the waistband on her pants and she could only moan while the fire within surged, charring the words she meant to speak but didn't really believe or want to give voice to. Responsible intentions vanished, ashes in the wind. Instead she spoke with her body, opening herself to him. Those words took no form, but they were the ones he heard.

The little belly goddess, if she were watching, would have been pleased.