Saturday, September 4, 2010

I'll Feel This For Days

by Catherine Leary

It’s gray. The sky, the water, the sullen drizzle. The air, cold and biting. We’re sitting on a rail overlooking the sea. The moody water. The roar of the wind. Water has beaded up on the glass, tiny droplets like sweat. They run down the windshield.

You’re holding my hands. Not because you love me, but because they are numb with cold. We are both wrapped up in thick coats. The wind ripples at their soaked skins, pours inside all the vulnerable places. Despite my love of winter, I’m always cold. My fingertips have taken permanent leave. It’s like they’re angry at me.

“I could breathe on them,” you say.

This makes me smile. So you do it. You look in my eyes, a slight smile. The hot velvet of your breath wraps around my fingers. It is ephemeral. As soon as you inhale, the heat leaches away. You exhale again. I admire your knuckles, how big and raw they are. Like knots in a tree.

“Why are we out here?” My teeth are chattering.

“You were tired of being inside. It’s been a long winter.”

“I thought that was you.”

“You wanted to see the ocean,” you remind me.

It’s true. Warm memories of sitting in front of the space heater, fingers and toes offered to its steady flow of heat. Reminiscing about the water. It’s close enough to smell sometimes, sitting on my front steps. The salt gets blown through by weather fronts. Just last week we stood in the driveway, spellbound in the dark, sniffing the air like hounds. Yet by car it’s almost fifty miles. I wish for the space heater, or rather my hands wish for it. My toes, too. They’re getting chilly despite my Siberian boots.

“I know,” I say.

“So here you are.”

“So here we are.”

You try breathing on my fingers again. A strong gust blows my hood into the back of my head. I’m blocking the wind. My back is to the restless ocean. The smell of salt is strong, pungent in my nose. Like it’s been fermenting. Growing old since summer. Dying. You rub my fingers between your palms, trying for friction. I want you inside me. You’re busy. You’re focused. The warmth of my hands is all that stands between my life and your death. I look at your face, trying to catch your eyes. I tell you.

“All right,” you say.

“But I want your hand.”

We walk back to the car. The gravel is soft beneath our feet. We climb into the back seat and slam the doors. It’s good to be out of the wind. It’s cold inside the car, too. You offer to wiggle between the seats, reach with one long arm, jam the key into the ignition. Turn on the heater. I shake my head.

“No, it’s okay.”

We kiss for awhile. You unzip my parka. Your fingers navigate through layers of clothes. My nipples poke through my bra. You play with them. I do a little exploring of my own. You gasp a little at my cold hands. Long moments glide by, punctuated by breathing. A fine scrim of fog encircles the windows. A bank of it envelops the rear windshield.

“Are you ready?”

I nod. I take off my pants, and immediately my skin prickles with gooseflesh. My teeth renew their chattering. It’s okay, though, because your fingers are hooking into the only part of me that’s warm. Hot. Melting into the cigarette-scarred upholstery. You use the heel of your hand on my clit. I suck in a deep breath. It’s cold, but I can take it.

You work me. I smell like the water, but sweeter. Like the sun glimmering on a green wave. Like summer. This is the smell of life. You lean over me, concentrating on my cunt. I shudder a little. I love this feeling, this focus of yours, narrowed into such a tight beam. Chafing at such a sensitive place. My thighs are pushed apart. Your breath warms my face. You start to twist, thick knotted knuckles pushing in. You’re the only one who can do this to me without lube. I gush and gush. I’m soaking the seat. I’m making way for you. It hurts. It’s magnificent.

“You’re amazing,” you whisper. “So strong.”

I’m entering the wordless place. You brace a hand on the door and start to push. Slow and steady. I’m concentrating. Willing myself to let you pass. A grunt, and then bared-teeth cry. I start to pant. All the windows are glazed with moisture, all the views to the outside are blurred. You are breathing with me. I’m straining toward you. In my mind everything is red. There are entrails. Time lies somewhere, broken and bleeding. The birds are falling from the sky. A victorious scream, the cry of a warrior. Your hand. Your wrist. Your fist. You are inside me.

You are filling me.

I come like a natural disaster. Like the wind is ripping me apart. Like you have ripped my heart out through my cunt. I jerk like a fish. I gasp.

You kiss my cheek.

Long after you’ve withdrawn, I’m still laying there. The condensation has fattened, grown into snail-trails. The steely sky winks through them.

Later we’re both back in the front seats. You’re buckling your seat belt. The car is running, the heat cranked up to full blast.

“Thank you,” I say.

I’m tired of the sea. Gray sky, gray water. I’ll feel this for days.

Catherine Leary
lives in New England with her cats, aging parents, and a whole mess of books. Much to her mother's chagrin, she is exceedingly fond of the word cunt. She is an editor and co-founder of Freaky Fountain Press.

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