Gaslights and Fog (Tanger, III)

We wake up tangled on the third day, twisted like corpses in the tight notches of the hospital corners. I have had a restless night with dreamy vignettes and fell asleep locked and tense, remembering, vaguely, her voice singing in my ear to coax my brain to relax, ease up, let go.

When I rise, somewhat jerkily and abruptly, the sun streams in through the French windows, dotted with stars and colored glass, my knee a brilliant splash of green-blue on red thighs, and I breathe. The budgies and canary flutter outside the window in their cages, and while The Connection sleeps, I peek outside. A wild bird is hovering outside the cages, causing a flurry of activity, and I watch them for a little while. It aches my heart to feel and fall so easily for it all, the terrifying knowledge that I could just as simply slip into a life in Tangier as Paris or as Amsterdam, that no one place feels truly perfect. The flip side is that it will never be imperfect, that I can spend my whole life wandering and end up on top.

On Passover, we duly intone our roles as wandering Arameans, we emphasize the “I” and the “was” and the “wandering” and the “Aramean” each word repeated and flexed around its pivot to work our jaws through whatever the real meaning holds—that we are still wandering, that we were, and that we will not admit that we are lost.

With this in mind, I crouch on the edge of the bed a few moments longer and watch her sleep, and soon, the crystalline perfection of the moment shifts and we get ready for breakfast and another long day. The Connection has caught my fever and I have regained my wanderlust. She is tired and congested, so we spend our morning at the breakfast table and perched at a café outside the souk, clutching our hot mugs of mint tea, meaty and strong and sweet.

We wander, we relax, we discover that our hammam date is canceled. Tant pis, c’est la vie, forced syllables of affection as the realization occurs that three days will either make or break us, but we are still holding hands and our nerve hasn’t faded, so after that, we’ll have to see what the world can bring. It is an endless, dizzying day of sun and amorphous schedules and I am lost in the briefness of such a familiar place. In the late of the afternoon, with the sun streaming in, the riad loses power once more, and we take advantage of this temporary plunge into darkness to shut the door and linger in the silence of our sex. Today, she is unstoppable, tomorrow, we will be in flight.

But now, I try to remind myself, a jerk around my throat, she is mine, and the anxiety ebbs for me to focus on the rest. The louvers cracked, a pane of sunlight scorches down her body, a single pixel of a line of a tooth and a sneer and a nail crushing skin. I zone in on this thin crack of light in a grey-toned room.

“You are a filthy, dirty slut.” What was once a question is just a statement, and I blanket myself in how true and stark it is in my ear. She is at the nape of my neck, a knee in between my shoulder blades, and I sink into that feeling. For me, the submission is just another way to translate feelings, to avoid getting bogged down by malentendre. To let her see me at my most physically, mentally vulnerable is a struggle, but one that I can easily express by literally giving her the control to do so. In its temporary, exaggerated nature, I can communicate so much more than merely attempting to scratch that inward battle with clunky witticisms.

She works her big toe into my gaping, full lips and I suck around her, the skin full and taut and persistent, jamming inside of my mouth. I feel her bend at the knee and stretch and extend, her other toe probing in between my thighs. Instinctively, I freeze. I have never played like this before. It toes the line (so to speak) of my curiosity with feet, with her feet, and experience with worshipping her body. But she is giving me her pleasure, letting me know that she knows this intrigues me as she slowly extends her ankle, pressing her toes deeper into my pussy. She abandons words and fixes me with a gaze. I love how she looks at me, how her concern can shift to cruelty as she pleases. When she stares like that, I find that I can hardly meet her eyes, so deep and abiding is the vulnerability I shed for her. But when I do look up, all I see is love.

As she moves her legs, she is further away from me, impossible to touch. I am pushed against the green, rusted headboard of the bed paralyzed with lust. She wriggles her toes further and I can feel myself get wet, stiffen at first and relax to the touch. I moan into the cool fabric of the pillow and she pushes further. I am sucking on her toes again, but she is harder, going faster. My jaw stretches to fit her foot and I can feel myself drooling down my chin, my eyes pressed closed and my pussy so, so wet. Being fucked by her is dynamic and time-stopping, like drawing a rose-scented bath and putting on Steely Dan, and then throwing a toaster in for kicks. She is an electrifying presence and in her curves, her softness, is a core of iron determination.

That little shift can come at me like a wave, or it can be as simple as a small push. Today, it is when she looks at me and shapes her lips around that syllable, that toothy, hissed punctuated slap of a word, “Slut!” and I am gone and away, clenching around her toes and hand around my throat, my tongue velvet thick in my mouth as I swallow my orgasm so that the world does not hear my euphoria, my fear.

We breathe heavily, in tandem, in the dark.

The lights and radio flicker on shortly after.

In a matter of minutes, we are sitting on the balcony of yet another abandoned gilt-choked luxury hotel, gin and tonics and Moroccan beer ice-cold and sweating in our palms. It is sunset, the sky pink-edged with the beginnings of a storm in the western corner encroaching, and the sweet call to prayer echoes across the sky, neverending, surrounds me like the static comfort of an endless radio.

“I can’t take your jacket with me,” she says, sipping the head off her beer. “I’ll miss you too much and wear out the sleeves.” She leans in closely, confiding in me secrets I can already predict. “When I need to smell you, I will walk into a church and close my eyes.” Secrets and incense and absinthe and sinless, godless women in the middle of the night makes me believe that a church would be perfect.

In any event, I give her my coat.

We are snide, but we are close. We place bets and move our chairs closer, sneak food into the overpriced bar and fight for the last blanched almond the waiter places down. Love me, she says, lavish me, fuck me, have my babies, pay for everything, she opens herself up and drops the key down my throat. The power to seize it all rests on my tongue, metallic and sweet, and for a moment, my mouth waters with the power to swallow. She is so very, very tempting, and I am so, strangely small.

When we leave, the sky is dark, and our glasses still sweating with the touch of our lips and the brush of our fingerprints disappearing into the night.


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