Saturday, March 29, 2014

A Certain Man, XII

It's not his.

And he knew right away. How his face fell; glum and grey and lips the colour of nightshade. And I couldn't help but shiver to no end, when he bent over and said, "Looking forward to meet you, little one". How he could be so cruel in his kindness was beyond me.

We had another boy, a plump and healthy bundle that had to be forced into the world, ripped out of me and thrust into cold, indifferent hands. And whenever he looked up at me with large blinking eyes, I could almost swear he knew. He would sit there and judge me in silence, like his father did before him. I had thought my guilt would somehow dissolve and subside with the birth of my child. That he would serve as the final stage of my repentance, but instead, he was the fruit of my sin, a constant reminder of my most terrible of mistakes.

But how I adored him. How I adored both my sons. It often startled me how quickly they were growing, and because of that, I had this crippling fear of somehow losing track of time, of turning away for a second and finding them grown and gone. It always felt like they were running, flying miles ahead, and I always fell back, unable to keep up.

They were so very different, my two boys, and so much like their fathers that I began to wonder if I managed to pass anything at all to them. My eldest was the sun in its warmth. He felt with such openness, such abundance, as if love was only ever meant to be given, and not received. And my youngest, like the palest of moons, cared silently, inwardly; but so severely, that at times it would overflow, trickle over the edges and stain the crown of my head with shy, uncertain kisses.

My two boys. How I wished, with all my heart, I could pluck each and every star and hang them over their heads. To capture the world and lay it at their feet. They would never want, never need; not while I live and breathe. Not once would they feel unloved, unwanted, or ostracized. Not once would they stumble without someone to hold on to. Not once would they seek validation in the warm embrace of another. Not once would they kiss without feeling. Not once would they love out of obligation. And most importantly, they would never, not even once, feel alone.

My two boys.
May they never be their fathers. May they never be their mother.

Friday, March 14, 2014

Soured Milk

He said his name was Svengali; a lie, I'm sure, but one that I let him have. He said he was looking for someone like me, and when I asked what that was, he said, "A mouse to keep."

I don't know why but from that very first lie I felt inexplicably drawn to him. He had a strange aura about him, an amorphous essence that seeped through his limbs and into the air like miasma; thick and dark and full of hate. And he strung me along so effortlessly; a flick of his wrist and I was on my knees, and instead of pulling me up, he put his foot on my shoulder and pushed me further down until I was at his feet.

When I look back at it all, I can't help but feel regret. I don't regret the path I chose, but rather, the way I chose to travel along that path; hiding so comfortably under the pretense of coercion. I liked the idea of being the helpless victim; an impressionable young girl who's only crime was a weakness to a man's charm. In reality I was very much aware of what I was getting myself into, and I needed nor trickery nor deceit to do it.

I wanted to be his mouse. I wanted to be worthless and to revel in my insignificance. I wanted to live in filth, to be as vile and morbid as I wished to be. I wanted his anger, and I wanted his hate, and I craved the pain. I wanted all of it, and he, the mighty Sven, would give and give and give.

And there was no end to what I would take.

Saturday, March 8, 2014

A Certain Man, XI

If absence is meant to make the heart grow fonder, then my heart must be bursting, because I've come to depend on his substance like the air that I breathe. I would humor myself that he felt the same way. That I could feel it in the way he touched me; hands shivering as if he was stirring from within, fingers buried in nimble pairs into the confounds of my walls, and later, left arm sneaking in, settling deep in the base of my back and pushing me further into him, or him into me, or both into each other.

I'm not saying it wasn't wonderful in its own wayhis companybut it never quite felt like it did before. That feeling of finally being whole, shivering from the core of my being, as if being momentarily at peace was more troubling than comforting. I didn't feel whole because I wasn't empty to begin with. I wasn't his blank canvas anymore; I was a mother and a wife and all too filled with happiness and regret to surrender myself to him. I didn't feel whole, but I was filling up, overflowing, and it wasn't long until I reached a tipping point.

And all along I couldn't help but laugh at the ridiculousness of it all. What was I feeling guilty for? For that man I so dutifully called my husband? The man I found melting beneath his momentary indiscretions? What a man he was, and what a man he proved to be. I remember that lump in my throat, whenever he bent over and kissed my swelling belly, whispering our child's name over and over again. What a man he was, what a man he proved to be.

"Do you want something to eat?" his voice came in slow and unassuming, sinking me further down my haze of post-coital guilt.

"Why do you always insist on feeding me?"

"Well, we are a hospitable people."

"No, really." I protested, but failed to press further when he leaned in and kissed the small of my back. He always kissed me in the strangest of places. I asked him about it once and he claimed it wasn't on purpose. Still, it makes you wonder, doesn't it? About men that kiss you on the stomach, and those that kiss you on the very end of your back.

"You know what I've always wondered? Whether you've been with other women, since..." I trailed off, not quite sure where I was going.

"I have."

"It's so strange to me, you and someone else. I just can't picture it."

"Jealousy doesn't suit you, miss."


He smiled, a strained stillness looming over his face. Usually the color of icy waters, his eyes were now almost black, with pupils dilated nearly double in size. I couldn't help but marvel at how his eyes said so much, when once they said so little. Had the years really changed him so much? Or had I simply been blind all this time? What secrets have you told with those eyes, I wonder, and what secrets have I failed to hear?

"You hate being here, don't you?"
"I do."

"Is he any good?"

"Good enough."

"Off you go, then."