All that I could ever own…

She sat next to me, quiet, reflecting on life or maybe lost in the words of ‘Wet Wet Wet’ either of these were possible. The ‘wetties’ were favourites of hers and many years later I was to notice in one of those alone late sad nights watching MTV with a few beers to the worse, that me and Marti Pellow were vaguely alike… but this was yet to come.
She toyed with her salad and I watched mindless in my own ways as she speared limp tomato to brown edged lettuce. Her knee brushed against mine as she turned and asked for a cigarette. We smoked outside with other social lepers, her face smiling now, though some gritting of teeth betrayed tension. I don’t want to say her name, these petty crucifixions totted up still wound deeply, but to continue with she, her, would only create further salted wounds…
Gill smiled, through gritted teeth, sucking deeply into lungs, exhaling as fiercely to distance herself somehow from the smoke. Asking if I knew ‘that little shit Chris?’ Chris was some ginger haired buffoon who lurked on the periphery of my consciousness, I was aware of him as a person who played ultra safely around the movers and shakers that formed our teaching group. He skulked in the way that those who will stab you in the back do: smiling with extreme unction and needling for gossip to repeat later with your name attached to it.
We went for a beer and missed yet another tedious lecture on the merits of ‘experiential learning’ by yet another failed academic that loved such ideas but held no clues as to how it could be done. The ‘whys’ had obviously impressed them but they hated with low dirty passion those who could work in these obviously arcane ways.
I couldn’t drink at lunch time for far of snoring later during some other learning session. This was considered bad manners, though I felt that we had already begun wading through that muddy stream by the rudeness of their ill preparation and delivery. Gill drank slowly, teasing out tastes and wherever it was she was with this Chris character. They’d been having a gentle affair but now he’d told his friends and she was pissed off with being found out. Chris was to be gone: flea in ear and no more nookie. I was amused, for who really cares of these things except those who aren’t getting enough? Those were my feelings then and maybe, just maybe there’s been a slight modification since. I told her of Hunter S. Thompson and his “slap him around like a red headed stepchild” quote and she began to smile again but this time with lip-sticked mouth wide and open, no strong teeth locked in dis-grace.
She asked me if I lived nearby and we went there. My house was bachelor pad at this time, female proofed: newspapers wherever they fell, music in every room and a one plate, one cup system, which I ate/drank from and washed immediately. The toilet was clean, not as clean as gay bachelor pad but clean, there being no tampon wrappers to hide behind the pedestals or discarded-but may use make up to fill up shelves.
We kissed like I knew we would. Lips locked and tongues gently probing, testing for weaknesses, defences, any holding back. I could hear her breathing shorten and deepen, feel her heart as she pressed my hand against her breasts. Then we fell onto the bed, struggling to find buttons, zips and anything else important. Her breasts were firm, roundy with lighter brown nipples that I sucked as she wriggled beneath me, her hands finding my cock, squeezing tighter, tighter. This woman knew.
She pulled me on top of her, lifting her legs to guide me in and all too soon I was deep into her. I stopped, looking into brown eyes staring back, no shame, no fear, only joy that I hope was part of my creation. Then we began to push together, me in amazement at how wet she was, I could feel her heat pulsing along my cock, feeling her pulling me in deeper, deeper, crushing me into those wonderful breasts. This was how sex should be, nothing held back, no quarter given. I could feel her climax building, feel her body relaxing then straining toward release, this I’d never felt before. I’d been with sexy women who told me they loved a shag, had fucked others with tongue and cock until they too had come, but this was different, here I felt part of the action, part of the mix that was moving this woman toward fulfilment. I read this now with customary ambivalence, sad that this was the first time this had ever happened but joyful that such an experience had happened for me. I came as she did, feeling joined in the experience almost in some mystical manner. Afterward I lay, soaked in her juices, both avoiding the wet spot created by us. She holding me, cuddling me. I was falling asleep in her arms and nobody minded, nobody criti-cised, only warmth and security.
That afternoon passed us by, we talked of life, lovers and husbands, though in this last she was slow with information. He was a jogger who needed to run, would ar-rive back to tired to fuck, to adrenalised to talk, too sweaty to sit and be.
She knew I was sleeping with another woman, another married woman on our teaching course, but had figured her for a total bitch and so considered me fair game. She was right of course on both counts. Jane fucked me whenever she felt like it, our sex I’d considered good until this afternoon and Gill, well Gill was happy to see me occasionally and this suited me fine. I was weary of commitment at this time, Jane the drama bitch queen sapped my energy with her psychological needs and the last time I’d lived with anybody had been a total disaster. Airheads and men who want to ‘do’ things or ‘be’ somewhere never mix… good sex and occasional weekend flings meant that I got to share the bed with myself. Meant that I could go for beer with the boys, fart around and generally hang out with no thoughts of others. Still sounds like bliss…
I would meet Gill wherever and whenever, I knew the rules for married women: the phone goes, you answer and meet for great furtive sex in woods, friends flats and back seats of cars. You come home. They go to their home and how they explain their absence permeates later conversations. I knew that I was expected to keep our trysts to myself, the ginger haired boy lay back by the wayside. I knew that to fall in love was stupid and would spoil the relationship but intelligence is precluded by getting into these relationships anyway eh?
We had a couple of weekends, non stop fucking each other, in the shower, the bath, on the carpet, anywhere that could provide even a little stability. I’m embarassed to say that no long term relationship had ever provided that level of sex, but then this was rationed by time, the prospects of being found out and novelty of being a speciality act: we could be anything, everything and anyone for each other. Such is the joy and special failure of affairs: real needs don’t get met, the needs of companionship, continuity and being boring. If people are never boring to or with each other, excitement must seek newer odder ways to be.
We were discovered, by friends, others like policemen seeking cheap thrills in a woodland car park. Me hiding my cock with my shirt as she struggling to bring her dress down. They ‘kindly’ let us move on. Affairs are unsatisfying as they grow, words like love, care and together are thrown around but carry no anchor to the same words held in commitment.
Our sex seemed to get better and better, certainly my feelings for her grew, Jane be-came but a troubled memory. I experienced all the stuff that new love brings but also slept alone. The highs of taste and colour seen in new lovers eyes and body, the intensity of seeing them again, but with this came the knowledge that they would be leaving soon. Then comes the fateful question of what will happen to us?
Gill had kids, a husband who provided goods and chattels if no love, children who would be devastated in their teen exam years, I could not provide for them or ask her to leave them. I was still struggling to earn, struggling to move on in my own life, to make sense of the chaos that had engulfed my earlier life, I could not ask other kids to go through what I had. But how to end such a bitter sweet love? I couldn’t just walk away. She needed me she promised over and over, needed my support, strength and love to stay where she was. We talked of years to come, the magic seven, when her kids would’ve grown up, my career would be happening, maybe hers too. I believed in this, believed like some magic talisman will stop the plane from crashing, the sea from swallowing young bones. Believed with everything I could muster in the face of too present reality. But as with all belief systems, dawn pops up again with roses and moo cow poo to place the day in context, I could hold on with all my might or face future same as the past. Hope was not a place I could build this relationship on. To continue loving with futures placed only in dreams of another doing ‘the dirty’ on another can only bring inner violence, there’s enough violence completed by strangers, never mind those we know, to do this to ourselves. But I loved those long legs, curve of eyebrows, the sunshine she brought to me. Perhaps I was beginning to grow up, who knows with these things? The play-ground challenge, sticky coke moments in teenage dreams of wanting what another got to hold, maybe this was beginning to slip my grip.
I want to say we split in anger, in explosion of my need for more, only this is never how these things are. We split with me suggesting I had met another, somebody who could give me love and time. This wasn’t a complete lie, I needed to begin to love myself again. I was helping and eagerly with it, the betrayal of another, though I didn’t know him, he had yet to hurt me. I could only in honesty return that favour. This isn’t some moral high ground more of a need to see my own face without blush in the mirror while shaving. I couldn’t invent some row with her, some nit picking huff to fly off on or simply say this no longer worked for me, all of these were untrue. I wanted with all I had yet could never have what I wanted, seven years, seven minutes, seven seconds all mean not now and not now means only a maybe in lover time. I’ve wondered since whether all this only shows lack of patience, shows fear when courage was wanted or whether I was gambling all for her to make seven years later, now, I can’t say. I do know that finally I was sick with hurt and the possible hurt I could cause others by this, what I was beginning to realise as a morbid need to create addictive sex with a beautiful woman who went home to share a bed with another man. To shatter a beautiful thing for one flaw is either artistry of the highest or stupidity, both or craziness of the clear kind. I told her I was attracted to another and wanted to pursue my attraction.
Gill hurt by this promised that if I left she would never answer my call again, never respond to a letter, never acknowledge what we had created. I left though, crying all the way for fifty miles at the thought I could never see her again, hold her, be held, or need to shy away together again from wet patches we had made. Feeling that a major part of my life was finally over, feeling the loss that can come only from having part of self amputated, feeling and knowing that strength would not let her respond again, ever. Some months later when feeling lost and lonely in my woman proof bachelor pad I would’ve given all that I own to be with her again, but we were done, you can never go back, must never go back, it is impossible to go back. But that doesn’t stop me from wondering how she is, who she is now and whether she left her husband and a relationship that gave her space to find love but not to follow it through. This room echoes now to words spoken in love that could not be given only lent, I warm my hands on embers grown cold by time and memories stolen from others but that doesn’t stop regret and what may have been.

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