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.

-C.

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