Sometimes (all the time) I get scared that men will want something from me.
Something heavier, more hidden, than my attention, my time.
Something that will require I give an explanation.
Even when I have nothing to say.
Sometimes (all the time), I believe this. You either get me or you don’t.
“But all I want is to protect you, take care of you,” a man-in-courting once said.
At which point, I took a telescope and looked out at a future in which I succumbed to a life with a man such as he. And in the cross-haired distance I saw myself lost, feeble, dispirited, dead.
“I don’t want that,” I told him.
“Every woman wants that.”
He was challenging me, I suppose, but I was quickly going blank. Eventually I shrugged, looked away.
“Well, then, what is it, exactly, that you think you want?” he asked, almost mockingly.
I guess I want nothing (except to be stretched).
Which is probably why nothing is here (and my body has gone elastic).
I’m talking about Caleb, who just gets me.
“You’re sleepy,” he texts today. “Go home and take a nap.”
He’s been sending me messages like these off and on for days.
They stem from a brief encounter we had that apparently established the direction this whole thing would take.
“Leave me alone,” has been my favored response, even though we both know I don’t mean it.
But today my curiosity gets the better of me, and I soften.
“Why? What do you want?” I text back.
“I want to make you feel amazing. Vulnerable in your bed, wet in your sleep, unable to resist when you feel my tongue.”
I stare at the words for a long time before I decide that I am, in fact, feeling kind of sleepy today.
“I’m going home early,” I tell the sweet girls in my office.
They smile. Wish me well. At five they’ll go home to their normal lives.
Sometimes I wonder how I turned out this way.
And sometimes I wonder if I’m crazy.
But if I am, I’m really glad that I’m not crazy alone, that Caleb has come along to nurture me with his sweet mouth, spoonfeed me his twisted reality.
Fifteen minutes later I’m home, my average day gone riot. Thrilled, I turn the music up high. Open the windows. Strip down to my black ruffle boy shorts and matching bandeau. Dance around my house. Drink a large glass of mango juice and vodka. Give my dog a giant bone in the back yard.
And finally, crawl into bed all anticipation and insanity.
“I’m terrified,” I text.
“That fear will turn to lust,” he texts back.
He’s right, but how can he know that?
This man, whose grin I feel like a warm breath on my neck.
“It is adventurous. We both know the attraction is there. I want to be your lover and there will be nothing dull about it,” was the argument that sold me on him.
I’ve hung blackout curtains in my bedroom, and I’m not sure if I fall asleep or simply surrender to the perfect darkness.
In whose possession I come to see how very much I want this.
I’m lying on my side when a sliver of light is cast into the room, dispelled.
As the bedroom door opens, closes.
He makes not a sound.
The uneven rising and falling of my breath beats out its own syncopation of yearning, but everything else is cloaked in the ever-heightening silence of suspense.
Until finally there’s an identifiable clank, as his belt buckle lands on my bedroom’s wooden floor.
I can’t keep a smile off of my face as he reaches through black space and takes one of my feet in his hands, kisses his way up my legs so softly it’s almost indiscernible.
“If I’m scared will you kiss me deep?” I had asked.
Turns out I’m not scared. Not at all. Being alone in the dark with this strange man comes more naturally to me than most things in my life. But when he reaches my face he kisses me deep anyway, for a long, slow time.
Outside it is mid-day. And regular people are going about their days.
But here in my room is a netherworld, a darkened non-place in which an invisible man leaves no part of my cold body untouched.
And asks for nothing from me in return.
I knew there was a reason that the third Caleb arrived.
I knew there was a message that I hadn’t quite gotten from the first two.
And after circling around it with my mind, taking his LOL texts every day, this Caleb finally spelled it out for me.
“I’m here to satisfy your shadow side.”
There are moments when I almost feel I need to apologize for the kind of woman I am. I am not sure why I can’t do the conventional thing.
But I can’t. It steals pieces of me, takes me away from myself.
So unlike the isolated sound of his belt buckle hitting the floor, as I lay there in darkness, waiting, unknowing. Which, for no reason at all, fills my soul up to overflowing.