Love & Sex

Losing It

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 PERSONAL ESSAYS
getting around

 

Christopher tastes like cheap whiskey, and his mouth is so open that I graze a bit of tonsil with my tongue. I turn my head and the sandpaper of his five-o'clock shadow chafes my cheek. He kisses my neck, his hand finding the place on my thigh where garter meets stocking.

"Ooh, strappy. I love strappies," he says, kissing my ear. The sound of teeth scraping metal breaks my trance.

"If you choke to death on my earring, there will be so many awkward questions," I tell him. South Park plays on the television in front of us. Mr. Mackie is explaining why you should never say "fuck."

As I sit next to Christopher on the sofa, I am thirty-five years old and a virgin. I used to weigh 600 pounds. When you weigh that much, you don't get a lot of offers. I didn't want to fuck creepy fetish guys. I also felt ashamed of my body, trapped by all the layers of fat and hanging, bulging skin. Letting someone else touch me would have ruined the illusion of normalcy I clung to, despite the evidence of mirrors, scales and size-ten-XL granny panties (white cotton, ordered online from a specialty store). I lost over 300 pounds, had some skin chopped off, and now I'm ready for love — or some similar entanglement.

His hand finds its way under my skirt, a black plaid number I chose for the special occasion of "watching a movie" at Christopher's place. I wore the cute skirt and tight sweater, not to mention a black bra, matching panties, and a black lace garter belt with stockings. I liked knowing I had them on, knowing that he'd notice them the second he put his hand on my thigh.

He breathes in my ear. His lips find a spot just over my collarbone. I flush. He kisses me and I taste whiskey. His hands move under the tee, the sweater having long since found its way onto the floor.

"Do you still have a bed?" I realize I've spoken the words aloud. Christopher is moving, and his apartment — a cracker box of no particular architectural style — is all bare white walls and empty stretches of beige industrial carpeting.

"I do." He leaps off the couch and leads me by hand to the bedroom. The room, empty save for a king-sized bed with no headboard, has all the charm of a cheap motel, except that it hasn't been sanitized for my protection. Before I've stepped fully into the room, Christopher is naked under the covers.

Letting someone else touch me would have ruined the illusion of normalcy I clung to.

"Darkness is good," I say. My body needs work, though I'm constantly exercising. I swim laps until my shoulders ache. I dance alone in my apartment, arms up, thrusting my hips. I can dance for forty minutes without a break. My body feels very good. My thighs have smooth skin and nice, tight muscles. My skin has absorbed gallons of Satsuma body butter. I have soft, curly hair and a plump pouty mouth.

But too much light ruins the illusion. You don't see muscle or softness or smooth skin. You see hanging flesh on my legs where all the fat used to live. You see stretch marks and broken veins, scars on my shins and another from the edge of one hip, cutting through my pubic hair and exiting the other side. My torso has a line down the center, round at the top, shaped like a spoon. I have extra skin on my back. My breasts hang a bit (amazingly, not so much more than you'd expect for a woman my age). I haven't got a navel. They incinerated that along with the forty pounds of skin the surgeon sliced away just four months ago. Darkness is my best friend. Christopher snaps the light off.

"Do you have condoms?" I ask.

"No," he says. "I can pull out."

"I've got some in my purse," I tell him. "I stole them from my mother." I can make out his expression, despite the near-darkness. He looks confused. I don't explain. I retrieve the condoms (banana-flavored Durex, lubricated) and close the door. I hand Christopher the condoms and have my own clothes off in about ten seconds, garter included. I dive under the sheets. My teeth chatter. Christopher drapes himself over me. I feel the heat of his skin, the roughness of hair and the heavy muscle in his shoulders. I feel his warm body, but continue to shiver. I can't remember ever feeling so cold.

           

 

 PERSONAL ESSAYS

              

"I don't know why I'm cold," I tell him. "I usually sleep in a cave full of icicles." Christopher touches me everywhere. I allow it, but can't seem to move any part of my body.

He has my big toe in his mouth. I gawk at him, tensing.

"This doing anything for you?" he asks, much as you'd ask someone if they'd like you to change channels on TV.

"No," I say, the word suddenly acquiring multiple syllables.

"Cool." He repositions, lying on top of me, kissing me with his whiskey maw. I turn my head so that he's kissing my neck.

"You don't like kissing much," he marvels.

I don't like kissing you, I think.

"You smell so good," he breathes in my ear. "How do you smell so good? Your skin is so soft. You don't even know how sexy you are." He nibbles my shoulder.

"I smell like lemon verbena perfume and Chanel No 5," I say. "Chanel from a tester at Sephora. I use lots of orange body butter." He doesn't really want my beauty tips; I decide to ask the question I've had on my mind for the last few days.

"Why do you own the full box set of Sex and the City?" I told my friend Bill this fact, and Bill started referring to Christopher as "that gay guy."

"Why do you own all of Sex and the City?" I told my friend Bill this fact, and Bill started referring to Christopher as "that gay guy."

"My ex-wife bought them. They were a couple thing. Now I mostly lend them out."

"Good. This means you're totally not gay," I say. He smiles and moves lower. I stop talking for a good five to seven minutes. I feel light and pretty — alert, but not as excited as I should be. I try to reposition his head, and he ceases his effort and moves up to my breasts. His knee is between my thighs. I feel body heat and the prickle of hairs on his stomach.

He rolls over for a second to put on the condom. He makes a face.

"Next time, tell your mother to buy lubricated," he says. I don't correct his misapprehension. He's inside me. Sort of. He's gamely fucking my thigh. He repositions.

"You're really flexible," he tells me. My ankles rest on his shoulders. I resist the urge to tell him about all the swimming and water aerobics.

"I am," I reply. "And not just morally."

He adjusts for a deeper angle and meets resistance in the form of my ancient and entrenched hymen. I feel like he's ripping me in two, and my whole body goes rigid. I try not to cry, but can't help gasping. It hurts so much more than I thought it would. Given all the years of horseback riding and multiple falls onto the bars of various boys' bicycles, you'd think I'd be spared this pain. Apparently, all the abuse has only made my hymen stronger and more determined. It won't die. Christopher rolls off, and looks at me wonderingly.

"So how long has it been?" he asks.

"Thirty-five years, two months and…what's today's date?" I ask. He laughs bemusedly and gathers me into his arms.

              

 

 PERSONAL ESSAYS

           

"You should've done it in high school — insensitive jerks, teenage boys, they don't care about it hurting," he says. We fall asleep. We try again in the morning. Christopher tries. He folds me over like a cheap suitcase and puts the full force of 240 pounds of muscle, bone and flesh into his thrusts. I'm torn. I'm bleeding. I hurt. It's over.

I stand in his shower a few minutes later, rubbing cheap shampoo into my scalp. I watch blood run down my leg and disappear into the drain at my feet. I reach between my legs and feel the wound. I'm open. I dry off and throw on last night's T-shirt, crawl under the covers and curl up against him.

"We have to get married, now that I've given you my special flower," I tell him. I'd planned on saying this long before coming to his apartment for the movie. I'm usually spot-on with timing and delivery, but not this morning. I can't pull it off. I sound too unsure. Christopher doesn't laugh. He smiles and kisses the top of my head.

The next night, I refuse to be designated driver. I want to see what Christopher is like sober. I arrive at his place around nine. We're going to see a rockabilly band at a local bar. I wear a black skirt, and a blue sweater that shows dramatic cleavage. When I step into the apartment, he looks me over. "Take your shoes off. You don't want to track snow on the carpet," he says. So much for compliments.

Christopher and I go to a bar where he eats an entire sausage pizza (minus my half-slice). I dance and he ignores me. I use the ladies' room and flirt with a guy playing with a pile of Legos. He offers to read my fortune if I cast a handful of Legos like you would jacks. One of the Legos I throw stands straight up, red and pointy.

"Something phallic in your future," he tells me. "I hope not," I say, "I'm still bleeding."

"Something phallic in your future," he tells me.

"I hope not," I say, "I'm still bleeding."

Christopher takes me home, and we head to the bedroom. I'm sexy in a lace bra and garters. He passes out, overcome by one hard cider and a gut full of carbs and tomato sauce. The cacophony of noises and sulfurous smells that escape him while he sleeps lead me to the sudden, horrifying realization that I'm in bed with Shrek.

He wakes. I take matters in hand. I perform a good (if not expert-level) blowjob. He tries to fuck me. He has a system failure and runs to the bathroom. He tumbles back into bed. When I curl against him and brush his cock with my hand, friendly-like, he rolls onto his stomach.

"Are you okay?" I ask.

"Yeah. Can you rub my back?" he asks, shyly, like a little boy. I knead the tense muscles in his shoulders and ten seconds later, he begins to snore. I lie awake all night wondering if he needs whiskey to want to fuck me. I know I'm probably the ultimate beer-goggles girl. I know we have no future. I met his friends, and they scared the living crap out of me. I don't want to raise his son. I don't want to have to beg him to use a condom, or to eat my pussy ("I'd like to come," I'd explained. "We all want that," he'd said, nonplussed). I want a man who's smarter and kinder. I drift into sleep and wake a couple of hours later, shivering violently.

In the morning, I put on the cleavage sweater and prepare to do the walk of shame. Christopher got up an hour before me, and I can hear him outside, loading the truck that now holds most of his possessions.

I go and hug him goodbye.

"You'll call me," he says, smiling. In the light of day, fully dressed and clean-shaven, Christopher is handsome and grown-up looking. I nod, but I'm pretty sure I don't mean it.  

           

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Rebecca Golden lives in Toledo, OH, where she is hard at work on her second book, Bulletproof Cherry. Her memoir, Butterbabe, was first released in February by Random House UK.
©2009 Rebecca Golden and Nerve.com