Deeper, a short story by StevenHunley. Date added: 2010-03-09. Times viewed: 2201.
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- Intro: Man and Woman fight and make up
We had a fight. We were both on each other's neck for having been with someone else. So I guess you could say it was a fair fight. Each of us had plenty of ammunition. I had to go to work soon, so there was a certain sense of urgency to the matter. That didn't help. I was pissed because I'd caught her red- handed. I suspected she'd had more than that one idiot from the circus in her tent so to speak. She, on the other hand, hadn't caught me in flagrante delicto. Instead, she'd found my journal, which I'd been keeping for my English class. It was written for my eyes only, so it was damning evidence for sure. I never kept much from myself in my journal. Not as much as I kept from her. After this episode I promised myself I'd hide it better next time. But right now I was busy defending myself.
"You know you're the only one for me," I said, "the only one who really matters."
She was sitting on the edge of the bed. I was standing near the brass post at the end. Tears were welling up in her eyes. They weren't in mine, but only because I thought I was a man. It was her turn in the confessional.
"I couldn't help myself," she sobbed, "I just couldn't."
Tears of heavy weight came tumbling down.
The thing here is we knew we had hurt each other with our indiscretions, and hadn't meant to. Because any way you cut it, we cared about each other. And it wasn't as if either one of us was ready to claim the moral high ground with a cry of "victory" either. We were both equally guilty. Both of us were perpetrators, both of us victims of each other's lust.
The clock hand was approaching three. I'd have to be in La Jolla soon. It was time to leave.
"Maybe we can finish this later," I said, "I gotta go."
She'd grabbed my hand a minute before, so it was clasped between hers. I pulled it free.
"I'll give you a call when I get off."
So when I got off at ten I did. There was no answer. I went over anyway.
Racing down the freeway a few thoughts crossed my mind.
"She shouldn't be like that. Women I know aren't like that."
I searched for the name of a woman I knew and came up with one. It was Laura, beautiful blond Laura.
"Laura liked Pasha, and why not? Every woman has to have a first love. But when she made it with evil Victor Komarovsky it was only because he was in a position of power over her. In reality she hated him. That's why she shot him at the Christmas Ball in Moscow. Slimy Rod Steiger anyway. And when she balled Dr. Shivago, it was only because they were so isolated, and because he had such drippy eyes, because of the revolution, because it was so cold and all."
Somewhere there, somewhere on the freeway, I thought I heard Somewhere my Love playing on balalaikas.
"That's how a proper girl should act," I concluded, "how a proper girl should be. Why can't she be more like that, more like Julie Christie? This sexual adventuring stuff should be left up to us men. We're the ones who can handle such matters."
I pulled off the freeway, and turned on to Brooks avenue in Hillcrest. It was late on a hot summer night. I ran up the stairs. I should explain that I had trouble sleeping on hot summer nights. I'd turn the pillow over and over, trying in vain to find the cool side. What I needed was a distraction. What every man needs on a hot summer night is a cool woman. I was no different from the rest. So I knocked.
No answer. Perhaps she wasn't home. Maybe she didn't want to continue the argument. Maybe she'd already made up her mind what to do. I turned and went down about seven steps when I heard the click of the door. It was a lucky seven. I looked up and saw it had opened a crack. It was time to take a chance. I was feeling lucky. So I did.
The lights were off. She'd already gone to bed. So why did she open the door? It didn't open by itself. I entered in silence. I couldn't see much. Outside, cumulus clouds were racing across the face of the moon. Sometimes you'd get a glimpse of the room from the moonlight coming in the large open window. Mostly you didn't. But there was one thing I glimpsed when I had a chance. Strands of her blond Julie Christie hair were making S curves that shined like silver threads against the black-coal darkness of her bed's satin sheets. That was good enough for me. If I couldn't see, then I'd feel my way to her. I was pretty good at feeling my way in the dark. So the lights were off... but the game? The game was on.
I took off my clothes without a sound and piled them on a chair nearby. When I sat on the corner of the bed nearest me the mattress springs made a creaking sound. I started to say something, but was stopped immediately when she pressed two fingers to my lips, setting the rules. So this was how it was going to be. She was taking charge. I would have to trust her if I was to have my way with her. Almost as soon as she touched my lips with her fingers she drew them away and retreated. The clouds covered the moon completely just then, plunging the room into total darkness. I drew up a bit, then pressed my knee into the mattress, inching forward to begin my search. Another creak was heard. It would be the first of many.
I decided to reconnoiter. My weapons were to be my kisses. I figured that it really didn't matter which end of her I found first. I could work my way up from her bottom as easily as I could work my way down from her top. I always ended up in the same place anyway. But, my beloved enemy had plans of her own. That's how women are. Their strength lies in the fact they make you think you're the one in control. In reality, I was the one out of my depth, and she, being a surfer girl, was the ultimate swimmer.
About the time I thought I might find flesh with my fingertips I noticed some warm breath near my ear. There's nothing as nice as warm woman-breath near your ear. Then there was the scent of perfume and the tickle of hair across my neck. That was nice too. She'd snuck up and taken me from behind. So, man or no man, I gave up. I surrendered big time. There were a few more strategic creaks, then more tactical creaks, followed by several creaks in rapid succession. This was followed by the only word she uttered that night. I obeyed, so then it was several long slow creaks, or rather I should say creakings, with some squeaks thrown in for good luck or just for fun. When we concluded, we panted with the breaths of exhausted angels.
No couple sails blissfully the whole distance do they? Nobody I know. That's what sailing is all about; making adjustments, picking the proper tack, being a sailor, surviving the storm. As the Beach Boy's sing in their song Sail on, Sailor, you've got to, "Sail through the sorrows of life's marauders." You do what you gotta do. That's why your lover is called your mate. That's why it's good if at least one of you can swim. Life is sometimes a rough sea.
‘Cause truth be told, I can't swim. I've always been afraid of the water. The next day, when I left in the morning I was heading down the stairs when she told me,
I stopped. She ran back into the room, grabbed an article off the counter, then reaching down, pressed something into my hand, closing my fingers over it. It was like Michelangelo's God passing the spark of life into Adam's hand on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel. It was a gift.
"Don't open it ‘till you're driving away," she instructed me. The woman was good at instructing me.
It was hard to drive with it in my hand while grabbing the steering wheel, but I did. About a block away I opened my hand. To be candid, I already knew what it was by the feel, but seeing it was even better.
It was the key to her place. I guess she'd made up her mind.
Oh, I almost forgot, the word she said that night? It's on this story, but not in this story.
It had been her intent all along to drown me in herself. It worked.
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