Lisa Carver and Nerve.com, Inc.
Note: Lyle had only had sex ten times in his entire life when I dragged him into a bathroom stall at a club; he thought copulation was for animals. It was my goal to have more sex with this troubled soul than he’d had with all the other women he’d been with put together. I stalked him all over the country, and even up into Canada once. I’d met Dave and was drawn to him too, but you know how it is when you have a goal. At the time of this entry, Lyle was coming to visit me in New Hampshire and I’d told him on the phone that we wouldn’t have sex this time, we couldn’t. It was transparent reverse psychology, but by this point it was the only trick left.
August 7, 1998
I’m leaning against the Portsmouth bus station’s brick wall waiting for Lyle, pretending I’m one of his cigarettes. I imagine Lyle’s E.T. fingers plucking me (half-used and squashed out) from the ground. He flicks his lighter on and brings me closer and closer to his giant face. The little flame touches me and it moves through my whole long body as slowly, thoughtfully, he sucks all the waiting out of me in the form of smoke.
Then I hack and cough for five minutes straight. To facilitate my imaginings, I’ve borrowed a real cigarette from one of the smokers who seem to spend the whole morning holding their paper cups of coffee and looking at the sky. I never smoke. Lyle never doesn’t. I want to be Lyle, or be in his mouth. I haven’t seen him in two months. On my second cigarette, I begin to enjoy the process of bringing it to my lips, sucking, holding, blowing and every third suck or so flicking. Once I forgot Lyle’s name. I remembered the pulse in his neck though. Do other people’s necks pulse? They must. Why haven’t I ever noticed? I always notice Lyle. I can see him clear as day, twisting on that stool with the rusted metal base and the cracked plastic top, making it squeak. At thirty-one, with a master’s degree, he works behind the counter in a record store. He likes to sass the customers, rest inside crossed forearms on the counter. Smoke. Rest. If Lyle were a woman, he’d be the kind whose children get taken away. He likes his relationships intense and protracted. He’s like a forest or Mayan ruins or Los Angeles something that goes on and on without me. He doesn’t notice me. Last time I was in Columbus (third-worst place for a woman to find a man in the world, according to the Princeton University Office of Population report), I chased him from bar to bar while he laughed and twisted on stools and flipped pinball flippers and occasionally soliloquied but mostly said nothing just put that tense longing into every regular old loser activity he did, and made it look like the most crazy wonderful thing anyone ever did, and then the longing was in me. Every night around three, we ended up back at his one-room pad, where he’d explain that he wanted to fly a plane or some other desperate revelation (funny I can never remember his actual words); somehow that was an excuse for not having sex with me. But what can I say? I’m the one chasing him.
I’m lying in bed frustrated, Lyle’s arm under me, thinking this whole thing is stupid. Then out of nowhere he gets all fierce like I’ve never seen before. “C’mere, Protestant girl,” he growls, and leaps on top of me, mauling my lips and holding my wrists down. At last I’m free to writhe, moan, do whatever I’ve wanted to so badly for so long now. I break one wrist free and feel up his arm that is bracing his body above mine, feel baseball muscles . . . I think about dirt and boys and caps slung low over boy-eyes, bat in hand, and I think I’m going to come just from thinking. Lyle runs the side of his hand up and down my clitoris sort of rolling it between his fingers at the end of each run. Dips the fingers inside to make them more slippery. More pressure I jam against his palm each time my hips come up. Grab his cock it’s wet.
He stops. I look at him: “What happened?”
He says, “You in a hurry?”
He broke the chain of events kiss, grope, enter, come and now I’m aroused and conscious at the same time. Usually I go into a sort of ancestor mode when fucking like it’s not even me, but every female who came before me; I’m just following the laws. With this break, it’s as if adult, alert me entered the room of Sex-Lisa. I feel new and uncertain. Lyle does nothing. Then his fingers are inside again, curving to the front. Ah, he’s searching out my G-spot. Ow, that’s strange. It almost hurts, or almost makes me queasy. I like it at the same time. He’s vibrating some flap or something inside. I spit on my hand and stroke his penis in perfect sync with his fingers going in and out. Imagine him fucking me. Cling onto his whole body. So good, so good. Sink down.
“I’m happy,” I say.
“Me too,” he says. But when I reach to touch him, he doesn’t want me to. He didn’t come, and it’s still hard and quivering. But he’s done. He says, “That was really exciting! Don’t be offended, but I like it better this way.”
“I just enjoy it. Don’t you?”
It feels like the core of the earth is starting to cool, and slowly it spreads up to where I am. I’m offended! What keeps me hanging on is the chance that it still could happen, that this man, this jittery and improbable creature, might change his mind, and decide to pick me up after all, and suck all my waiting away.
2000 postscript: Believe it or not, I lost track of how many times we did it, and I don’t know if I made my goal or not I got so involved in the pain I temporarily forgot to be predatory and calculating. I believe it was either seven times or eleven, depending on what “counts.” I still think of Lyle every time I have a cocktail in the afternoon, which is approximately once every two-and-a-half months, and I call his number and it just rings and rings and rings.
Lisa Carver and Nerve.com, Inc.