I undressed her for the first time at four a.m., after I’d said good-bye and left her apartment and
wandered down the hall. On impulse, I turned back and found a
little wine-marred animal collapsed at
the base of the triangle formed by the door and its frame.
“Can I steal a kiss?” I actually asked.
She pulled me inside, just like in the movies and we fumbled with each other down the hall
and into her bedroom, where she kept peacock feathers in a vase and an extravagant stuffed bear and
a rack of barely there silk dresses in all the shades of Gatsby’s shirts.
My mouth went hard at her, our tongues thrusting, and when I lifted her — defeating gravity
with a smooth press, my knees flexing like Nuriev — she wrapped her legs around me and squeezed
cunningly, seemingly to let me know I had in my arms a brisk intelligence, a witty parodist of
cinematic sex. We tumbled together onto her bed and I pushed up her soft fuzzy sweater with the gold
threads woven through it and cupped her breasts in my hands, noticing the particular friction of my
palms against her satiny resistance.
I seriously doubt that I’d ever really hit on a woman in my life. Usually it was all I could do to
smile and shrug my shoulders. I tried — if I tried anything — to get them to approach me, and if
I’d had some erotic success I guess it was due to the fact that I am an utterly safe,
non-threatening human being. Sometimes, apparently, that is enough.
I understand that I was not bad-looking, that I retained a little of my athletic bearing. I
wasn’t one of those beer commercial narcissists but I took care of myself and — largely because my
parents had always provided well for me — I dressed better than my salary. I had managed to avoid
the aura of loserdom that often attaches to young, unmarried Southern males of my class; I had not
succumbed to the charms of alcoholic dissipation or dangerous sex. It was not inconceivable to me
that I would end up with a woman like her. I had fucked a few girls who wanted to marry me and none
of them were charity cases.
She was compact and, as the Brits say, “flash”; a legitimate size four who looked a bit like a more
petite version of the singer in Blondie. She had a short upper lip and a tight-balled ass and small
breasts and that wonderfully archaic, Katherine Hepburn mid-Atlantic accent.
I introduced myself and it just broke lucky — she knew my name; she remembered a book
review I’d written in which I’d mentioned Flaubert and Humbert Humbert.
After Bryn Mawr she had the usual smartgirl/richgirl flirtations with glamour jobs; she had
modeled, been a featured extra on a TV series; she was trying to become “a journalist.” She wanted
to write. She desperately wanted someone who could talk to her about what she determined to be
important and I decided to become whatever she wanted me to be.
I thought it was magic. She seemed calibrated to my carnal specifications. And damn, she was
“Are you sure you want to do this?” She mumbled through a thicket of teeth and tongue, even as she
began to tease at the buttons on my shirt.
“Mmm hmm,” I hummed. I had her sweater off and slid my hands beneath her bra. I felt her
nipples stiffen as my thumbs worked in small light circles. I buried my face like a hatchet in her
neck, and licked her under the chin, in her small plastic ears. She pushed me back a moment, reached
behind her and released the bra strap, and her apple-sized, blemishless breasts jounced a bit. She
reached for my belt and I for hers; she unbuckled me as I unbuttoned the top of her jeans and
greedily grabbed for her pubis, fitting my hand to one of her preternaturally sharp hipbones as she
unzipped my fly.
My hard dick lurched pink from the gap in my boxers and suddenly she was on it; seizing it
in her small white teeth, enveloping it in her warm red mouth. She maneuvered me around so that I was
lying across her bed, and she was athwart me with her still-covered ass in my face, her head bobbing
at my penis. I peeled down her jeans from the back and pushed my face into her white Jockey For Her
panties. She made a slobbering, protesting noise, a guttural kind of “uh uhn,” but I licked at her
crack through the cotton and tasted brass in my mouth. I closed my eyes and pushed my face into her
ass, smelling her, soaking her bottom with saliva.
Within a few days I came to understand that she was inconspicuously wounded, that when I held her
wrist my finger left behind small, slight unenduring marks — they lingered blue and then vanished.
She had books and stories, and incorruptible story-worlds and sometimes she gushed tenderness and my
tin heart flooded . . . her accent stunned me, and her blond hair blazed . . . she had a long
crooked scar on her right side from some obscure, near-fatal operation she’d had in childhood.
She was unlike anyone I’d ever met; she was exactly like me.
I remember hiding in her bathroom while she talked to an ex-beau through a chained door. I
remember once she decided not to answer his knock so we lay still on the floor as he tried to crane
his neck around and look through the kitchen window; I remember listening to her end of their phone
conversations as I rubbed her feet with Egyptian miracle mud. There was glory in my body and the
filament glowed and whatever rang in me resonated in her; I remember the small percussive pop of her
aqua-colored diaphragm case and the taste of spermacide. We did what we did and that was making love
or fornicating or fucking like grad students in that white-washed brick building with the paned
windows and we stayed together quiet and filled and mad with some kind of volatile, hurtful
tenderness . . .
When I was about to ejaculate in her mouth, I turned and threw her over — a little more roughly
than I intended — and kissed her sea-salt mouth again. She beat on both of my shoulders with her
fists and arched her cunt up at me. Her jeans had worked down to her ankles and now she used her
feet to pull out of one leg at a time and kick them onto the floor. I pushed her panties down and
she did the same with them, snapping them with one foot across the room, banking them off a window
and onto a radiator.
I rolled off her for a second and she pulled down my pants and gently removed my boxers. She
reached between my legs and gripped my balls and squeezed a little, to keep me from coming right
“Do you want to fuck me?” She breathed. “Do you want to fuck me?”
“More than anything in the world.”
“You want to fuck me hard?”
“I want to fuck your brains out.”
“Oh Will, that’s not so original.”
“No, it’s not.”
She pressed me down and mounted me, with her fingernails reaching beneath me and kneading my
butt. My dick throbbed as she lowered herself, a fraction of an inch at a time, onto me — as
something between a sob and a gulp escaped her throat. I lay still but rigid, pressing up just the
slightest bit, as she centered herself. Her cunt felt like sandy velvet, rich with blood and juice;
she began to rock, rubbing her clitoris against me.
I sat up slowly, as her weight shifted; she followed, I put my mouth on her breasts, I took
each of her nipples into my mouth and sucked gently. She moaned a little, just a little, and I
pushed her onto her back and re-entered her missionary style. She drew up her legs and I shoved the
middle finger of my right hand deep into her asshole. She started; then sighed, then thrashed.
We fucked hard. Dangerously hard, I thought, climbing and spitting and pulling at each
“That’s not original either,” I said.
“Shut up and fuck me,” she said. “I want to be your whore.”
“You are my whore. And that’s my cunt I’m fucking.”
“It’s your cunt. My darling Will’s cunt. My man’s cunt. Fuck me.”
“I want to fuck you forever.” I meant it.
“Fuck me now.”
As it turned out, she had no confidence in her intellect, or in her looks. We’d start to go out, and
she’d be paralyzed, standing before the mirror naked, weeping that she had grown heavy.
She couldn’t hold a job. She was alert to every slight and intrigue and once she perceived
that she had been ill-used, her hurt feelings were impossible to assuage. Once wronged, she was
broken — no use to anyone for weeks. She could be driven to her bed by an imagined insult
She had affairs — no, not affairs, just one-off trysts with the likeliest of unlikely men.
Unemployed actors, radical associate professors of English, orange-haired drummers in punk rock
bands — each and every indiscretion tearfully confessed and catalogued.
I came. Ballistic, but controlled just like in those stupid men’s magazines. I came like a hound
dog, my semen coursing through her, white viscous, vicious milk. Spoonful, spoonful, spoonful. I
She came. A movie coming. A movie actress coming for real. Nails raking my back, a real
show, heart-quaking rattle and murmur.
Her pulse was elevated, I checked.
“I love you.” She said it first.
“I love you back.”
“You love fucking me.”
“I can’t argue that.”
I sunk down on her, biting at her with my lips pulled over my teeth. She came again, while I
had her in my mouth, her hair sprouty and coarse, the only coarse thing about her.
She kicked and tried to twist away, but I pushed on, inexpertly, with my tongue, tasting her
tartness, feeling her rumble, rough and deep. Something gave in her, I felt it, something broke. I
moved up on her, pausing to lick the scar along her side before kissing her lightly on the lips and
pulling her into me, into a deathlike sleep.
A few weeks after we married, she mysteriously wouldn’t sleep with me.
“It feels creepy, incestuous,” she said. “We shouldn’t have married, we should have simply
remained friends; you’re like my brother, my twin.”
“But we slept together before we married, we had good sex, we seemed compatible, you loved
“You think I’m mad. I think I’m mad. I think there will be no end to this but suicide.”
“Don’t threaten. Hush. Think. Have I been so bad to you?”
“Bad? What’s bad? Will, you aren’t stupid,” she said. “Don’t ignore it. You know things.”
“I don’t know this. I don’t know what you’re talking about. This is sick talk. It’s wrong.”
“Must you be so Manichaean?”
I have to smile when I remember that. The worst thing she ever called me was “Manichaean.”
And the worst thing I ever called her was “darling.”
God, I miss her. Eve.