On importance….

On importance.

An honorable human relationship– that is, one in which two people have the right to use the word “love”– is a process, delicate, violent, often terrifying to both persons involved, a process of refining the truths they can tell each other.
It is important to do this because it breaks down human self-delusion and isolation.
It is important to do this because in doing so we do justice to our own complexity.
It is important to do this because we can count on so few people to go that hard way with us.

-Adrienne Rich

On bleeding out, on going the hard way.

Red has a phobia of blood. Coincidentally, I had been bleeding after our more vigorous fistings. We agreed to stop for a while so that I could heal. It was discouraging to have sex removed from our lives for a little while, because it seemed like it was my fault. Appearance notwithstanding, I’ve rarely questioned the solidity of my own body. It has comforted me when I have felt less confident about its appearance, as I have, time and time again, seen and known its resilience so intimately. To have this happen shook my foundation, shocked me a little.

But yesterday, after breakfast at the diner, she asked me to come over. It has been a tender week, rife with emotions and redefinition. We’re trying to be present. I don’t get the sense that it is as much of a conscious stretch for her as it is for me, that ache in my fingertips and tightness in my chest when I read about the death of a family friend, or peruse the anonymous listings late at night and wonder if I’m committing my twenties away. The presence isn’t what scares me, it’s the lingering emphasis over words like ‘future’ and ‘time’ and the realization that I want it all, but don’t know how to filter it out.

There has been conflict. Crimson and Clover, two queers in the area, expressed an interest in fucking me in April. Now it’s July and we’ve finally planned a date. I wanted to ask Red to join, and she isn’t sure if she wants to or if she wants me to. The dynamic, written, at least, between C&C and I has been moving dynamically in a potentially entertaining way, but I’m hesitant to will over that submission that Red has worked to earn. I’m not sure that I want to. I’d have preferred to fuck them, do something amazing in the shrouded air-conditioned tomb of a hotel room and then leave as the light of day radiates my cheeks clean, writing about it later. But this is drawn out. And I can’t disregard the respect I have for Red.

It scares me to have my fun slip away. It unnerves me to lack the complete, full autonomy of discretion, of fucking and leaving and documenting it from the sanctuary of my hardwood floors late at night. It’s not them – they’re a married couple, they’re kinky, they’re fun. They represent the ideal of it, though, the fear I get when someone sets their sights on me for more than a few hours. I want love. I want lovers.

But it goes without saying that Red is the most balanced person I’ve been with in a while. She’s good for me, she’s emotionally nutritious. She understands me, she focuses me, helps me fine-tune myself. I step outside of myself more and more when I’m with her, and as a self-centered person, that might not be the worst thing I could do. She makes me feel lucky, gratified. Simultaneously, in every relationship I enter, I can’t help but feel a grapple from the onset between the other and the self, the union and the individual.

Right now, I just can’t afford to step out completely.

We go back to her apartment, a refuge from the sticky, damp outside, brush past the reeds and foliage of the yard, and sit on the bed. We are both naked, we are both equal, on the same corner of the mattress. She asks me if she can fuck me. I respond by kissing her, relishing both the meet and the break of our warm, petal-lips together. I am sunken closer inside of myself than normally. I take a while to warm up, my nerves less close to the skin than they typically are. She goes slowly but rears up, assuming the position of control I so dearly lust. Lush, poised control in the palm of her hand and she works her fingers deeper until I feel the bones in her wrist compress to fit the velvet of my cunt.

As she fists me, I think,

This is an exercise in being still.

This is an exercise in being calm.

This is an exercise in being still.

This is an exercise in being calm.

When she takes out her knife, I clench myself but never move, the graze of the blade across my skin snagging the deeper the breaths I take. And so, I stop breathing, I envision the worn wood floors of my apartment and the aloe vera in the fridge, the photographs yet to be taken on the walls and the juicer. Anonymous. Minimal. Mine.

It means nothing without company.

I’m at the door to my own life, pacing outside, fearing the lonely indoors. But it’s what I need.

She breathes in my ear, “you are mine forever,” and that’s when I come and when I cry. After that, I am flat. I’m distant, I’m locked behind the door, breathing heavily at the keyhole, scratching at the knob, but I’m away and heavy and I feel weighted. The emotional depth of the past few hours, the baring over the scratched formica table has caused me to collapse in on myself, and I wilt.

The smallest curl of blood blossoms underneath me, and I wrench myself up, wash myself clean.


On finding a place to sit.

Red and I went to the falls yesterday, over the river and through the woods with a picnic lunch and tea in hand. She accompanied me to business in the city, replete with flogging and fanciness and a forgotten vibrator in the pleats of the cool cotton sheets, so we spent the 4th in her favorite space. The falls were stacked below houses I would like to own and a bridge with my birth year on it, bracketed by the sounds of the CD I made Red (Walter Becker, Belle and Sebastian, Blur).

I am still uncomfortable outside, but never unwilling. I am out of my groove when I am naked to the elements, I realize, the more clothes I shuck off proportionate to the exposure I feel, surrounded by rocks and water and people, dirt on my lily-white feet, translucent where they have been worked the least. My bathing suit still doesn’t feel right, still bulges in places where I need it to curve, still curves where I’d prefer it to be straight. I feel more comfortable with the stippled line of bruises left over from our scene across my muscled shoulder than I do with the rise and fall of my breasts in the cold. It strikes me as sad to see Red so joyful as I dip my toes. My own insecurities outshadow my ability to appreciate what it is that my lover sees when she closes her eyes and imagines beauty.

But still, I get accustomed to the falls, especially where the current is the heaviest. I have to lay low and feel my way around the rocks to find a handhold and then grip tightly, let the rest of my body go along with the water. The foam and my hands are the same color, blending white and cream and bubbles in the rush. It occurs to me quickly that it is difficult to fight it, and far easier to find a place to sit or recline and move along with it. Accommodation is the name of the game, and I hesitantly take comfort in the strength of the rocks, larger than my lanky limbs, buffeted by the water. I’m clumsy.

Time slips by.

When I emerge from the pool, I am scrubbed dirty and she tells me I glow.


Over dinner, Red brought up my hesitation with face-slapping. Secretly, I was hoping she would, but I wasn’t sure how to discuss it. Our play surrounding that has been jerky, more like a fight than a dance. I’ve had less mental ease in accepting them from her since the issue I’d had back in May. Briefly, I was slapped unexpectedly, chipped a tooth, and have since been somewhat gunshy. I hadn’t written about it at the time, sacrificing brevity for levity in the interest of a more graceful termination of the arrangement, but in doing so, I neglected my personal needs and processing in ensuring I could play better with future partners.

I take a certain risk and awareness in indulging in kink, and I ultimately accept responsibility for anything that I ask for or receive with the prior arrangement of consent ahead of time, but this scenario had all the wrong means of communication written across it, and unfortunately, I suffered consequences social, emotional, and physical. It didn’t ruin it for me, not by a long shot, but it’s tough to get back on the horse. Red asked me to trust her. I want to, but I need to trust myself, too.

It’s tough.


The State of the Union is sad and small. Sometimes I drive around listening to the mixes from The Query and realize that they were more intentionally arranged than was implied. I received a short message from The Painter. She asked for her earrings back. The Brit is either depressed or angry, and through layers of text and shrouded irritation, I can’t tell which way is up. I have the slightest sense of weightiness on my chest, like we’ve faded into different planes.

E is engaged.

But I’m engaged, too, I guess. With myself. Moving into my new apartment later in the month, moving away from this strange, sad palace.