Twenty odd years after our first rainy afternoon together in a single wide mobile home northeast of a small city in Colorado, said refuge part of a short row of such homes at a boarding stable, so that we had met in the course of horse matters--
Twenty odd years after the three spent as a couple in and out of love, the sap flowing, so that I am 64 and he is 71, today he caressed me, driving me mad with his long fingers over my breasts until I took his hand down and shamelessly begged for it--we have connected or begun to connect or want to connect in the flesh again.
Or is it only I who craves it? Who is to say and how can we tell...My fears have a powerful collective voice beneath how thrilled I really am.
For I have longed for and lived for this man for all of this time, sometimes distracting myself with other people but always homing to him. He has been my rock and broad shoulder.
What has happened to him in the twenty years includes a breakdown over a Hemingway short story which became a colossal unmanning, the end of a teaching career, other things I am not part of in his story.
Sometimes the truth isn't evident. Sometimes it presents itself unbidden.
His touch was sublime and erotic and delicious because I have longed for him and I have maintained a private auto-erotic life so that I know my capacities..Until today and a bit of our yesterday, I have not been made love to in seven years.
But where I wore a top easy to send the twin explorers of the hands beneath, and guided his hands and fingers to my breasts and nipples, he wouldn't take off a single article of clothing, not the boots he had been wearing to deal with two feet of snow, not the new Levis that hug his still apple-muscled buttocks, not the plaid shirt with long sleeves over the t-shirt--beneath which I have felt his still -strong arms. It would not be for hours that I realized how this affected me, although I did ask him, and ask him why, hungering for us to be skin to skin.
There was no point in telling him that it is all such a surprise to my body and being that I couldn't just let go with him and scratch the stars, or that after he left I fit a silky new condom over my objet du plaisir, broke out the new bottle of Astroglide--I had given him some to take home--and for the second time in twenty-four hours, slid that facsimile of him into myself with estrogen cream on the end to try to undo the atrophy within me.
Or that alone, relieved of the pressure to be beautiful and exciting, I was able to be those things unto myself as has been the case for so long.. While I circled and massaged my clitoris I could pulse and grip that which was within me and sate all of my hunger when I came.
While he caressed my breasts and sent me into orbit so that I pulsed in the hollow and became softened and wet, I kissed him, breathing my gasps into his ear, his hair. Kissing him everywhere but the mouth for now, wanting him to want me, needing him to want me as I want him--needing him to want and need my touch just as I crave his.
I cannot kiss him like a lover because in my despair at my life and what happened to me in 07 I had given up on my teeth, on my beauty. I have needed to recover from being shamed by dentists about being afraid, and needed to overcome my own fear.
Fear and Satan are synonymous, are they not? He, on the other hand, my lover, doesn't have that fear; he has other ones, and beautiful strong teeth.. And that he has taken a step toward me, touching me and wanting to give me pleasure seem miraculous to me.
We each have things to take care of; he came to me and said he would see the doctor although my Rx is that we take a little more time.
I had a lover years ago with whom there had been a long saga of joy and pain. After a two year separation during which I married and divorced, he came out to see me, all the way from Minnesota, on the bus. He was a Puerto Rican and Italian attorney, and he was the great love of my thirties, seventeen years older than I. He came to me out of the dream of the past and the thicket of complications of the present, and when we lay down together, he came into my arms and whispered to me, "I am yours."
I was a child in a woman's body then. Those words terrified me. But how I crave them now and how deathly hard it is to hold out for what you deserve after years of selling yourself out.
I have sustained my relationship with my beautiful Texan for twenty-three years. I feel so badly for us, for the things that have befallen us. Pick a category of disaster. He had two small strokes three years ago I saw him through, sluicing him off in the shower and calling the ambulance.
When I fell from a horse and fractured my leg he was there. And in rehab, when the leg collapsed later and they said they would have to re-break it and I fled, so that I live with a half-usable leg.
We have forgiven each other a host of things--his calling the police for a stand-by to get his things and their throwing me in jail. My loss of my temper and putting dents in everything-- especially his trust.
But--but-- the exulting voice reiterates: his fingers moved over your breasts at last, and you pulsed and clenched and sang his name within yourself, aching and needing.. He said he would see about a testosterone supplement. He said he would see about the little blue pills men his age take. He said he would "work on" taking off the shoes, the socks, the jeans, the belt, the shirt.
And I am afraid. I am afraid of more heartache and more impossibility, here in the deeps of the night alone in my apartment with my dog and blanching a plethora of free vine ripe tomatoes for the freezer.
So here we are then, the woman, comely, who won't smile because it betrays her self-neglect, who has said she will get the horrid stones in her mouth, her means of self-torture pulled and asked him if a bridge would turn him off. He said it wouldn't. But she already said, you will not kiss me when I have this. We will not kiss, not full on the mouth, though I sterilize it four times a day.
The woman, who if they do lie together as men and women are meant to lie together, will put the always swollen, painful right leg out of the way on a pillow, the leg that for years was the one a lover lay on in the face to face position, that worked so well-- and she will put the left over his shoulder and he will have access to the gates of paradise and she will soothe and rub the bird's head while its wings pulse..
And the man, who has known only three women, in all of the years. Who came out of the Bible Belt with a passion for books and flying, and the West, and horses, and beautiful women. Who is invisibly held back by a belt of fear around his loins and heart that we perhaps have an opportunity to loosen and slip off together.
For as should be the theme of a poet who is burning down like a cheap match, we are running out of time. We have an allotment of days, mere hours of rapture and living to join company with the bees, the singing things of the early spring, that searching onion tendril in the kitchen that has gone looking for the light.
I think I will die of rapture when he is within me; I have said as gently and lightly as I could, that it is about being filled by him, that deep and delicious filling we crave. Can you imagine loving a man and not having that from him, all this time?
Persephone has been released from Hades and has rained down upon Gaia and the Spring and the heart sings, aches and trembles with fear that the bouquet lying on her bed is an illusion.
Prega per noi....tu che legge questi parole...