Slow Burn

There is no sex hotter than the sex you almost had.

We almost had it. But the timing wasn’t right. Time was not on our side. Out of time. Time to go.

So we took to our phones and made up for lost time.

There is no sex hotter than sex you picture for weeks before having it. Months, even. In slow-unfolding sext-a-thons and wandering phone calls. In café daydreams and bathtub reveries. In subway imaginings too carnal for public consumption.

Do they know? Do they know I’m thinking about you?

Do you know?

I’ve considered your body. A body I don’t know well. I’ve considered its weight.

I’ve been crushed beneath you in my mind a thousand times. A myriad of melting me’s, acquiescing in sequence. I’ve looped the mental tape like a well-loved song. Your kiss is catchy. Your eyes, an earworm. Your heart, a hook. And I’m hooked, and I’m helpless.

They say a memory’s not just a memory. It’s stacked with neural residue from each time the file’s been reviewed. Date Modified: Today.

So the image of your touch isn’t really your touch; it’s the ways I’ve remembered it, the ways I’ve reshaped it by remembering it. I wish I’d made duplicates. I wish I had the pristine originals, tucked away in a lockbox deep in my limbic system. But even those, I would take out too often and muck up with dust.

A few days after our first date – that blazing conversation over coffee, and the rough kisses that unavoidably ensued – I texted you, “I wish I had paid more attention, even though I was paying very close attention. I wish I had it memorized.”

“I wish I took notes,” you wrote back. “I wish I had it recorded somehow. I wish I could rewatch it.”

So we replay it in micro-detail, a back-and-forth volley of “Remember when…?” and “Then you…” and “I thought…” We layer and re-layer memory engrams, like neuropsychological Jenga. We fill in every blank for each other until our first date becomes not just a story but a legend. Not just an anecdote but a prophecy fulfilled.

Sometimes you think you know tiredness, because bleary-eyed yawning is part of the fabric of your life – but then one day you come up against exhaustion, and it’s a different beast entirely. Its maw opens unendingly and draws you down, down, down. Habitual tiredness is not exhaustion. You know exhaustion when you feel it.

Just like you know desire when you feel it. You can go through life developing quaint crushes, flirting with people in elevators and bars, and spouting wink emoticons like an addictive currency. But those things are no more desire than a handful of potato chips is a meal. You know desire when you feel it. It knocks you over like a truck smashing through glass.

You know it because you can’t ignore it. There are so few unignorable sensations in the world, so few experiences we can’t tune out if we press our brains to the grindstone. Desire gnaws and needs and needles you. It chases you down neural pathways. It whirls pointlessly in your periphery. Stop, you say, and it laughs and says, Naaah.

I’ve considered your body. A body I don’t know well. I’ve screamed into my pillow while considering it. I’ve grasped uselessly at places where you weren’t. I’ve dragged more orgasms out of me than I thought possible, clinging to the notion of your face. And still it’s not enough. And still I desire. And still, I can’t be still.

I hope to find my mind again someday, when the smog of want has cleared. When this slow burn snuffs into smoke. But I hope – my secret, darkest hope – it stays alight a little longer.

12 Days of Girly Juice 2017: 6 Journal Entries

Once again this year, journaling was a core part of my mood management toolbox. It helped me through countless emotional snafus and cognitive difficulties. In conjunction with cognitive-behavioral therapy and good social supports, it’s probably saved my life multiple times this year. I combed through my Moleskine journals from 2017 and picked out 6 of my favorite excerpts…

March 25th

Feeling casually miserable today. I’m sad about C___ in the sense that mild C___-sadness has been a baseline of my mood for the past year and a half. Wanting him feels like a permanent feature of my heart at this point. And it’s not like I want him passionately, irrationally, like I used to – and it’s not like I can’t be around him with wanting to cry or say “I love you” – but it’s still there. It’s melodramatic to say I’ll always be a little bit in love with him; I don’t think that’s strictly true. But it’ll probably be a while before I stop mentally comparing all romantic and sexual interests to him and finding that he invariably wins in all the ways that matter most deeply to me.

April 15th

Went on a dinner/drinks date with that guy T___ last night. He is a mega-dork, very polite and gentlemanly and respectful. We had a good long conversation, but I wasn’t entirely sold on him; however, then we made out in a dark alcove and I felt… swayed by biology. He just feels good in my senses. He smells and tastes and feels good to me, just his skin and his essence. Ungh.

He’s also a gooooood kisser, which I’ve become increasingly aware is an important thing to me over the past few years. I remember how K___’s makeout skillz kept me hooked even though he was demonstrably a bad-for-me weirdo, and how V___’s overzealous tongue was the nail in the coffin of any attraction that might have been. T___’s lips felt thick and soft, and he alternately cupped my face and groped my ass, and he’s tall enough that I feel towered over but not so tall that we can’t get all tangled up and breathlessly close. (I keep having to take breaks while writing this to sigh dramatically and smile like a goon.)

Occasionally people would walk by and he would stop kissing me because he knew I was uncomfortable with the PDA (such a gentleman) but he would still stand so close to me. “They’ll just think we’re having a heart-to-heart,” he said, and I laughed into his suit jacket.

May 3rd

A New Relationship Energy vignette in point form:

-There are bite marks on my neck, hip, breast, shoulder, and thighs.

-Last night G___ took me to have drinks with some of his friends because it’d be “a good way for us to do a thing together that involves other humans and isn’t sex for a minute. Before we go back to mine and have sex.” I like his friends and we had fun.

-This morning he had me lie over his lap while he gave me a long, thorough spanking. He is really sadistic in ways that I love. It’s so nice to not have to feel like a partner is administering a spanking because I want it, but rather because we both want it. Ahhh.

-We went to the café around the corner, where he made me a soy latte with his impressive and hot barista skillz and then we played Scrabble while occasionally smiling like idiots at each other.

-I was about to get on the streetcar when we started discussing the possibility of making out in a park or an alley somewhere, because neither of us had anything important to do today. We walked by an alley and I said, “This could work,” but he kept walking and said, casually, confidently, “I was thinking we would just go back to my house and I would fuck you.” Uh, he is very very good.

September 24th

Q. What have I gained since my relationship ended?

A. An even clearer idea of how much my friends love me. A print byline in Glamour magazine. My first apartment. A greater sense of independence, and also a greater knowledge of on whom I can actually depend. A new kinda-beau. A new set of nipple clamps. Thousands of dollars, and additional shameless confidence about how much money I make. A huge full-length mirror in which to contemplate my own beauty. More blog readers, Twitter followers, admirers. A ton of smart, funny, insightful writing about what I have just been through. The knowledge, ultimately, that even someone I love breaking my heart cannot really break me; that the things I most fear are never actually that bad. An increased ease of breathing, now that the constant fear of being dumped doesn’t loom over me anymore. Much more time to myself, to write, read, rest, listen to jazz, enjoy my own company, go to shows, go on dates, imagine the kind of life I want. The freedom to ponder, unfettered and unbiased, what degree of non-monogamy I want my future relationships to involve. An increased frequency and enjoyment of masturbation, fantasies and all. Money I would have spent on him, available to be saved, or spent on things that make me happy.

October 11th

It’s been 2 months since my break-up, and over 9 weeks since the last time we had sex. I am plagued by nostalgic sexual fantasies about him. My horndog brain replays all the orgasms and hot encounters ad nauseum and tells me I’ll never find sex that good again, I don’t deserve to. I know that’s bullshit but also it gets all tangled up with nonsexual break-up sadness (of which there is much less than the sexual kind, at this point) and that makes what happened feel insurmountable, still stupidly absorbing, even this long after.

I still – frequently – fantasize/daydream/hope/dread that I will run into him in a public place, that he will be filled with regret and lust and grief and desire, and that we will have sex again and everything will be solved. I know realistically that even if sex with him were to become an option again (which it will not), that I could not go deep into kink and immersively good sex with someone I know I cannot trust anymore with my delicate heart. I desperately miss fucking someone who knew all my buttons and exactly how to push them, but that person can never be him again, and there will be others. I know. I know.

October 18th

Was talking to C___ today about our respective romantic obsessions du jour – his, a cute girl who he fingerbanged after their first date last night; mine, these thus-far fruitless and pathetic crushy pangs toward N___ – and we both kind of cynically half-acknowledged how prone we are to brief, fiery fixations that burn our lives down and then dissolve in a puff of smoke.

This is, I think, one of the core kernels of our enduring friendship: this shared tendency to over-rely on romantic and sexual stimulation for validation and happiness, and a problem staying interested in people once we discover they don’t solve every problem we’ve ever had. It’s hilarious how similar we are in this way. And it’s nice to have a friend in my life who directly understands this quality of mine, unlike people like Bex and Cadence, who (although I love them very much) are too level-headed to really ever take my mega-crushes seriously. (Not that anyone should necessarily take them seriously. I mean, for heaven’s sake, I’m sitting here at the sex shop imagining what it would be like to be used as a footstool by a man I can’t even find the courage to talk to. I am a joke and it’s hysterical.)