After I made him come he got up to smoke.
He stood by the bed looking torn. “This is my best chance to quit,” he said, pained. I put my arms out toward him and he came back to bed. He curled up in my arms and I held him, twice my size, as tight as I could. I rocked him and stroked his hair, his back, I told him how proud I was of him. He buried his head in my neck and didn’t say anything else. I wanted to protect him from himself, from the same addiction, the same mortal coil I had finally shuffled off after decades.
We googled “liquid nicotine”. And, to my utter dismay, we confirmed that it is highly toxic and very dangerous if absorbed directly through the skin.
I’m alone again but this time I imagine him sucking liquid nicotine off my tits to help him quit smoking, him coming to me with his cravings, unbuckling his belt, unbuttoning his Carhartt’s, each time needing me, wanting me more than a cigarette, unbuttoning my blouse, even though I’ve only worn anything with buttons, let alone a blouse a handful of times this pandemic. I fantasize that he is cupping my small breasts in those big hands of his. Black lace, pink silk under stiff cotton blouses. Or loose silky blouses. Whichever. I want him to undo all of them.
“Him” is a tall man from college I hadn’t seen in almost twenty years. Icy wolf blue eyes. His dark hair had gone completely silver fox since I last saw him. Of all the volatile men I gravitated towards in college I always steered clear of this one. Fire was one thing but he was gasoline. I was happy to burn back then but I knew better than to go up in flames.
He was tormented. Not like the standard-issue guitar-playing poets and brooding photographers I was dry-humping back in the day. This one was broke and broken and wanted to break the whole system. He was angry and niche-focused and made even drunk college kids uncomfortable, a teetotaler who drank coffee by the pot at craft beer bars.
Two decades and a plague later he private messages me out of nowhere while I’m dumping an Argentinian bartender for hanging up on me during video sex — because his mother called him. And he “had to” answer.
I never could’ve imagined my life would look like this — Whatsapp-ing with a chubby younger man furtively looking out his window while trying to talk dirty to me. Not from his bed — from the window that overlooked the street. But there I was, glued to my phone, half-naked in my bed. I suspected the Argentinian was lying and had a girlfriend, and that “me llamó mi mamá” was the most blameless excuse he could come up with when I asked him what in the actual fuck happened. I informed him that hanging up on a woman in various stages of undress is inexcusable. Was there a fire? A bomb threat? No? Wait. Your mom?! The fuck.
“Que te puedo decir, ella es lo más lindo del mundo,” he explained as if that excused anything. This, of course, made it worse. When a woman is on her way to naked and describing the BDSM fantasies a supposedly interested man begged her to share she does not want to hear about another woman — any other woman — especially your mother. Jot that down, pickup artists. Free advice even for you misogynist fucks.
And this degenerate? He hung up on me, one-armed in a merlot lace balconette while I was trying to demonstrate how I wanted to be pinned down— while also trying to hold my phone above me in the other hand. Then we lost connection. Or so I assumed.
Yes. I soared when he called me mami. Yes, I’m that kind of white girl. But as they say, I own my truth. I won’t be ashamed of what turns me on anymore.
And no. I do not want to role-play anyone’s actual mother, (no kink-shaming), but I damn sure won’t be dropped instantaneously because your real mom calls. If it’s not an emergency … voicemail, motherfucker. Voicemail.
This is what adults do. If you fuck me hard enough, yes, I will run my nails down your back and call you Daddy. But if my actual parents call while we’re doing anything naked, it’s going straight to voicemail. In fact, I won’t even know that they called because my ringer would be off.
Four entire hours later, instead of apologizing, or admitting that his girlfriend came home, or falling on any sword whatsoever, the Argentinian sends me a video of himself jerking off on the toilet, blue board shorts puddled around his ankles, his hairy Hobbit feet hobbled together gripping the base of the toilet. His shaft is the same length as the head and I know this will not go deep enough for me. “Perdón, perdón,” I hear him panting as he comes, “pero no aguantaba más.”
If you couldn’t take it anymore you could’ve stayed on the phone and finished *with* me.
“Como y te zhamo,” he almost whispers before the video ends. I’ve gotten used to his accent but I do not understand the need to eat first before he calls me back. He’s apparently unconcerned about whether or not I can take any more tension. The come globs in his left hand as he works the last of it out.
I didn’t respond.
But I do write volatile college guy back. We text all night. He makes me smile. He even made me laugh. It was sweet and completely unexpected. I told him he made me smile and laugh on a very tough day. He said this made him happy. I was charmed. I couldn’t believe that this calm, peaceful, gentlemanly man was the same guy who made me so uncomfortable all those years back. People do indeed change.
He calls me the next night. He has a smoker’s laugh now. And in a dry-drunk avalanche, he tells me everything. Where all the anger and drama came from when we first knew each other. It is so, so much worse than I could’ve possibly imagined. I’m devastated. Laid out by the litany of his childhood trauma. It’s more than I can bear in one breath but he doesn’t stop.
No part of me had any idea how to respond to a single one of his stories, let alone this compendium of trauma. “I’m not professionally qualified for any of this,” I keep thinking to myself. But I can be kind, I can be safe. I try to stay calm.
When he finally seems to have exorcised all of his trauma he starts telling me how much worse his childhood best friend had it. I finally break.
“I can’t breathe,” I tell him from my privileged place of significantly less trauma. But I’m spinning.
“Please. Just let me sit with all of this for a bit before you start telling me about people I don’t even know.”
“I always knew you came from a good family,” he tells me like it made me dirty somehow. He sounds sad and approving and resentful all at the same time but changes his tone quickly.
“I had a lot of helpers,” he tells me softly. He sounds more peaceful now after the one-man exorcism of demon story after demon story. He is grateful for the safe ports he found throughout the storms. The occasional aunt or neighbor or friend’s parent. He had reprieve along the way but it seemed like he never had a home. He never truly belonged. I don’t want him to have to comfort me and my shock. But before I can attempt to comfort him he tells me he’s already processed all of it.
“I don’t want pity,” he says defensively. I can hear the unoiled creak of old wounds, it is unmistakable, and I don’t blame him.
“OK,” I respond gently. “What about compassion?”
“No point in arguing with ghosts,” he trails off.
I know how this world compels you to play strong, especially when you just want the freedom, the peace to be weak for once, to rest for a bit. To recover. He wants to sound strong. Something stirs in me and I start to want to hold him.
I have so much to give.
Three months later he knows everything about me, who I’ve become after twenty years. Every mistake. Every insecurity, every failure. Every fear. Every fantasy. Like a lot of people, I am a fraud. But he seems to hold every story I tell him like a warm cup of tea. He is unperturbed. He sips, and keeps listening.
Sometimes he sends me pictures of his hands — holding a lighter, his new straight edge, his hard dick, the pale blue travel comb he took from my console and forgot to put back before he left town.
Now when I imagine him reaching for me, I’m always wearing a front-hook bra for him. Or I’m braless in a drape-front camisole for him to undo or part the soft fabric to get to my bare skin, the sensation he craves even more than a deep drag. He is either lying in my lap while I cradle his head to me and stroke his long hair or he takes me by the waist and tells me to straddle Daddy’s lap and puts my tits in his face himself. Either way, it is always the cupping, the unbuttoning, the undoing, the revealing — him needing me that makes me wet before I even imagine him licking and sucking and pulling what he needs from my body, what I can give to him. He trusts me. We can be vulnerable together. He will let me nurture him this way — the way cigarettes have taken care of him since he was a teenager on his own. I thought I wanted to take care of him.
He came to visit me for a long weekend.
He was sweet and eager and I was hoping beyond hope that the spark would be there. But it just wasn’t. As easy and real as our connection was on the phone there was little chemistry in person.
Our first night he passed out in my arms while we watched TV on the couch. I was both charmed by how comfortable he was with me but also wishing that he would hold me too. And that he wasn’t already asleep. But he works brutal hours doing labor-intensive work so I stroked his back, tried to make sure he was sleeping deeply.
We’ve got almost five days together, I told myself. And I’m certain that he will be present, affectionate once he’s a little better rested. I had already confided everything I love, everything I crave. I tried to imagine what it would be like in his arms, to be surrounded by a big man again. It had been so long I actually lied there under his dead weight and did the math. Six years, I realize. It’s been six years since I was close to a big man. But that big man did not love me. He did not hold me. I didn’t love him either and that redwood of a man ended it the morning after I went down on him. At 5 something in the morning, handing me a cup of coffee while I was still waking up in his bed next to his dog. It was still dark out while he explained that he didn’t want to hold me back from my dreams.
I try to fall asleep under college guy but I can’t. I want to relish every second of Covid-negative intimacy but we are not actually cuddling — he is unconscious. I am basically trapped under a human-shaped bookcase that fell on top of me. It takes considerable effort to excavate myself out from under him. I go upstairs and go to sleep alone.
The next day this tall man, re-emerged from a past life, passes out after I make him come. I catered to every moan, reacted to every ‘faster’, every ‘harder’ until my elbow was on fire and I felt like my arm could immolate.
I literally cry out in pain. Some part of me decides not to hide it. Finally, he comes in pulses, small waves lapping on the shore of his ultraviolet white stomach and I’m afraid it will be rancid with nicotine. I lick off the tip of his dick and my lips and tongue burn a little. It is indeed a little rancid. He says nothing and I start to fear that he won’t turn to me, that he won’t take care of me too, that he won’t touch me. He’s sunk back into my orthopedic pillow and not moving. I lie down next to him and think about that chick who inadvertently fucked the dead guy in Clerks. I let my burning arm cool at my side.
It seems this is the logical outcome of asymmetrical sex. He comes. Not a word is said about whether I want to or how to make me. I was disappointed and embarrassed and resentful.
“Um,” I venture. “Are we done?” I ask the seemingly lifeless man-shaped pile next to me.
He is kind and apologetic. Ish. He sluggishly murmurs that he just needs to sleep and then he’ll be good to go again.
“Sleep?” I ask him, taken aback. Not rest. Sleep. “For how long?” I ask him, not even trying to hide my disappointment.
“I don’t know? Two hours?”
I am hot. Sweating. Wet. And crushed. Two hours?? The fuck? I thought we were fooling around. Together. I didn’t realize I was hand-jobbing him to sleep.
I try to imagine how any man with an erection would feel if he made a woman explosively come and she rolled over and went to sleep while he sat next to her with his hard dick waiting.
If you know it takes you two whole hours, at least 120 minutes to recover from a climax, maybe make sure your lady comes first and then you can pass out together. That sounds like a much sexier Saturday. And remember, you don’t have to have another erection to make me come. But you do have to stay awake. You do have to give a shit.
I don’t make him come again for the rest of the weekend. He doesn’t make me come at all.
Dear Reader. I don’t think he is maliciously selfish in bed. He took what was freely given. It just didn’t occur to him to give freely as well. I suspect he is starved for affection. For goodness. For kindness. For anything that looks like love or feels like home, any home. He is longing to be touched.
But I think to one extent or another, in this complex, wretched, and beautiful life, aren’t we all? Can’t I long for all the same things he does?
He knows almost everything I like in bed. He knows I’m not ready for all of it the first time we see each other after twenty years so he had suggested following my lead. But then, and I have no idea why not, he just didn’t do any of those things. At all. And with a boyish Boy Scout smile, he helpfully offers that he “would not be opposed to receiving a blow job”. A thing he very much knew I did not want to do, a thing he knew I had a lot of baggage around. And yet he opened the door to “offer” me that “opportunity” to give him asymmetrical pleasure. But he never asks what I want, what he can do to make me feel good within my limits on our first “date”. He never smiles and says he “wouldn’t be opposed” to doing the things that make me tremble and come and sleep for two hours while he and his erection lie pent up next to me.
Two full days and nights later I give up and park myself between his legs. On our last night together I rub coconut oil into his hands. We’ve moved to a roadside motel for his last night, in a dank room yellowed with decades of smoking. I try not to imagine how filthy the bedspread must be. How many murders could have been covered up in this room. With his back against the headboard and my back against his chest we face the mirror together. I take his hands and grab my own damn breasts with them. I’m not even turned on. I am disappointed and frustrated and maybe even angry. He rubs and strokes for a precious minute or two before flipping me around to lick the coconut oil off my nipples. And even that lasts but a precious few seconds.
What I wanted was to relax into his arms as long as my body needed, just like he had relaxed into me. I wanted to watch him watching me in the mirror but instead, I got flipped around back and forth like a pancake, never in one place long enough to relax into him, to feel him, to start to be turned on, let alone finish anything. We took our time with his climax. He comfortably settled into me and took all the time he needed without touching me at all.
I didn’t know what to do with my disappointment.
So now, when I lie back and close my eyes, I imagine a hypothetical man — a giving man, a loving man, generous. I see a big man who loves me, who trusts me, who lets me take care of him.
He rubs my back, deep into my neck and shoulders. My body finally exhales. My mind is relieved. My soul rests. Maybe this could be real? Maybe I can have this too? I start to trust him.
The backrub isn’t obligatory, he just wants to ease my pain. And it isn’t an excuse to get me naked, to accelerate toward sex without intimacy.
I sit up when he finishes, I pull him down toward the bed, ease him onto his stomach and lavish on him a massage so intense, so physically loving that maybe it will ease his emotional pain too.
We fall asleep. We wake up in each other’s arms.
Then he starts stroking and cupping my breasts through the fabric. He looks at me while he rubs in circles, pausing, squeezing with increasing intensity. The more he does it the harder I need it. Grabbing, twisting even. He never stops looking at me while he undoes my blouse. He leaves it on me but pushes each side apart. He knows how to unhook my front-hook bras. He puts his face between my breasts before he does. Almost resting, I feel him inhale deeply as he reaches up and cups them again, rubs his face slowly against each one, all over each one.
Finally, he undoes my bra, opens my breasts up to him. He lies down in my lap and I draw my knees up to my chest, bringing his face up to my breasts. I stroke his hair and cup his face, look down at him with more gentleness, more tenderness than I ever knew I had inside me. I run my finger along his jawline and start stroking his beard. He closes his eyes and starts to suck. Not just with his full lips but with his tongue too. Suddenly everything is wet and soft and deep and sweet and I’m rolling over and under and back over waves of pleasure and sensation and affection and connection. He stops only to switch nipples when he wants to.
Sometimes my mind wanders when I’m alone and tall-man-who-disappointed-me becomes interchangeable with my ex-who-treated-me-worse-than-anyone. My least favorite ex. But fuck. That lying POS used to come home on his lunch breaks just to be with me like this. He would eat in the car on the way home or at his desk when he got back so that he didn’t have to waste any of that precious lunch hour actually eating.
Instead, we’d lie together in the sweltering heat, breathing through the weird smell of the broken air conditioner and he would pull my sundress down, undo my robe or push up my top. Sometimes he would put his head in my lap, other times I would lie on my side while he lied next to me and took what he needed, one breast at a time. It was painful at first. I thought I would need to recover between these sessions. But the more we did the more I started to need it, to crave it. The more bonded we both felt. He talked about it a lot, told me how much it relaxed him, that he needed it at work when things would get stressful. It quickly became blissful, peaceful, like swaying in a hammock together. I couldn’t get enough. He couldn’t get enough. I would stroke and cup his face and feel his jaw working against my body while he just took and took from my body. The more he needed it the more impossibly turned on I would get. He used to put a washcloth or a handtowel between my legs before he started sucking and I would drench it every time.
But now with my vibrator on high, I’m fantasizing that tall man with long hair, volatile college man from my past would love it as much. That he would get off on being close to me this way, that he will crave this kind of intimacy, that being emotionally vulnerable together would be addictively erotic. That we could fill each other’s voids with goodness.
The liquid nicotine is the perfect offering. What if he loved sucking my tits and it could help him quit? Not just sexually and emotionally but chemically and physically? I start to throb thinking about him sucking my tits instead of smoking cigarettes, with the same physical impulse compelling him to take deep pulls, meeting the same chemical need.
I imagine him coming to every time, every craving.
That’s right, baby. You can be addicted to me.