Part 3 — Reflecting
We don’t see things as they are; we see them as we are.
– Anais Nin
“So you’re all set?” he casually asked as we stood at the entrance to Blackheath Station.
Snubbing his gaze, I scanned the electronic display for the next Brighton-bound train: Platform two/fifteen minutes.
Stepping away, I answered with pretend assurance. “Yes, I’m fine. Had a lovely time. Thanks for driving me to the station.”
Trying unsuccessfully to avoid eye contact, I struggled for something else to say. I knew about good manners but never anticipated this particular situation. “It was nice to meet you,” I added, managing an unconvincing smile.
On some level, he knew I found eye contact vexing. An hour ago, I had drawn him down to me, had kissed him so I could shut my eyes against his steady gaze.
Intimacy, I reminded myself, was not part of the bargain, so now, like then, I diverted my attention, this time, by looking away.
It was late, and things had gone well beyond enough. I found his need for this final familiarity hypocritical, as it was not likely we would see each other again. I wanted to escape, to have time to piece together what had happened during the most surreal afternoon of my life.
I did not live this way, at least not until now. Yet, here I was, politely acting as if the afternoon’s fucking had not happened. My confused feelings were getting the better of me, and I wanted him to leave.
“Well then,” he said, plainly wanting to hurry things along. “I’ll let you go. We should do this again sometime.” He leaned toward me, and I accepted his kiss with a civil chill, his stubble scratching my sensitive skin one last time.
“Sure,” I replied, “give me a call.” The second I said it, I wished I hadn’t. He would not call, would he?
My overly hasty exit from his bed made it doubtful, and I was convinced he viewed me as a complete bitch. I was not sure I cared, however. I had gotten what I came here for, and so had he. Stepping onto the escalator and thinking I would wave, I cautiously glanced back. He had gone; it was over.
Ten minutes later, just another solitary passenger, I listened as the big machine rumbled noisily through the darkness, its squealing wheels churning as it negotiated curves along the way back to Brighton, the end of a day of emptiness, one I had created.
I saw the journey as a time to spread out the pieces of the day’s grand puzzle, to lend form to the picture, to reflect.
It was late evening, and I sat the way people sit on trains, my upper body rocking in disharmony to the carriage’s tedious swaying motion. Like everybody else, I evaded eye contact with everybody else. Instead, I stared out the window, which I did not like as it made me feel like everybody else.
While everybody else read their phones, my gaze fixed on the opposite window. Unlike everybody else, I thought back to a peculiar afternoon whose schematic I had meticulously orchestrated in days recently past.
The carriage’s interior lights shone brightly, blinking from time to time and making it hard to see out. I glimpsed nameless villages whose ghostly snow-covered profiles appeared fleetingly in outline against the blackness of the night.
Thinking back, I smiled at how flawlessly my plan worked. In two weeks, I searched, found, met, fucked and, left a man whose name I had not said aloud. It was so simple, and now I would ride off into the night, back home to solitude and a scorching shower to wash him away like Original Sin.
However, with the passing miles, my lustrous marble surfaces, polished and gleaming with self-confidence at the start, began to crack. Simmering doubts crept into me, and I feared all might not be as black and white as I hoped.
To complicate matters, I was tired. Clutching my now half-empty Diet Coke bottle and not wanting to think more, I closed my eyes and leaned my head against the window. Instantly, I felt her presence, my instant thought, ‘Can’t she just this once, leave me alone?’
Through the better part of today, I endured a strange man’s weight and power. Free now, and with room to breathe, I will deal with Mira, my conscience and grand inquisitor—Mira, who lives rent-free in my head. She is the last thing I need, but she is here, watching me from the opposite window.
Displaying fangs of defiance, I hissed at her: “I won’t be intimidated, Mira.”
My plan had worked perfectly, bahis firmaları had it not? What could she say? Steeling myself, I lazily opened my eyes, blinking in the bright light as her hazy form took shape in the window on the other side of the aisle. Rarely had she appeared so intense.
I stared back at her but knew it was futile. My vain attempt to make her uneasy had zero effect. We locked eyes; I was in for the worst. Gawking, she blinked when I blinked, frowned when I frowned, looked askance when I looked askance.
I hated her. “You’re a second-rate imitation of me,” I scoffed. Pulling at my tight black leather gloves, I nervously clutched the lapels of my equally black jacket, cinching it tightly at the neck. Sensing my discomfort, she ventured a smile but said nothing.
I opted to meet her disfavor head-on, and I spoke up: “Something you don’t approve of, Mira?” Ignoring the question, she continued her scrutiny, her eyes wandering my body as she took in the messy residue of my faultlessly planned but chaotically executed afternoon of coupling.
Locking her eyes to mine, her smile broadened. “Why, Taryn Asher, you’re wearing black and white; show me everything.”
I was not fond of her mild sarcasm. She knew how I was dressed, and I looked good—messy, but good. With the same assuredness I used on him hours earlier, I opened my jacket, shifted my white silk scarf to one side, and displayed my tasteful if rumpled black cardigan. Then, as if to say, ‘Enough, you bitch,’ just as deliberately, I pulled the jacket closed.
Though annoying, Mira wanted the best for me. She asked a second question. “Is your black and white apparel, an outfit, or a philosophy of life?”
“…those sexy stockings—black—a nice touch. But my, my, they’re a bit bunched around the ankles. In your rush to get away from him, you left your new garter belt behind. He has already found it. He thinks you left it at his place on purpose…”
“…you’re a smart-assed bitch!” I snapped. “Don’t you think I can feel my baggy stockings?” I had a headache, and Mira was not helping. “Why,” I asked, “don’t you just go away and leave me alone!” Meant as an order, it sounded more like a second-rate lawyer’s flimsy pre-trial court pleading.
I throttled my coat more tightly at the neck and turned in the direction of some women sitting close by. Well worn, I thought, they reminded me of my mother, attractive in a tired way, much as I was at the moment. Most had their hair up or cropped short like mom’s. Each carried a touch of worry, as if having learned too much about life, and unlike me, refused to hide it.
I thought about my mother and toyed with the silver cross at my throat, the one she gave me for my eighteenth birthday. She was hundreds of miles away and alone now; I needed her—a girl needs her mother. Had the cross protected me from everything except myself? It felt that way.
“Tell me something, Taryn,” Mira, in a businesslike tone, asked, “when your mom gave you the necklace, did she imagine you wearing it as you struggled beneath what’s his name? She’d be appalled.” I stuck my tongue out at her, and of course, she stuck hers right back.
“Just what every mother wants; for her little girl to grow up to act as you did. Anyway, it’s too late to consider what her reaction might be. It’s done now.”
Mira’s nonchalant sniping stiffened my resolve. But to complicate matters, she was right. My new stockings were bunched at my ankles. I had left his house in a god-awful hurry, stumbling about, pulling clothes back on in a clumsy attempt to retreat to pre-fuck sanity I was not sure was even sane.
Furthermore, my new garter belt was an issue. I had left it behind, and, by now, it was in the hands of the stranger. How would he interpret it? Will he think I want him to call for a follow-up fuck? I had worn it because Anya believed a girl should wear real stockings, and, admittedly, I enjoyed their sexy feel. A confidence-building thought, it prompted me to tear into Mira. “So what if I’m thinking about mother?” I asked belligerently.
“Don’t get testy with me, young lady,” she calmly replied. I turned my face from her, my attention drawn to the smudged window. “Do try to remember who you’re talking to,” she went on. “I’m not one of your slutty girlfriends, you know.” Retreating to dignified silence, I put my fingers to my lips, still swollen from the relentless blowjob I had given him.
“Are we going to talk about kaçak iddaa any of this, Taryn? Or are we going to pretend Diet Coke makes the taste of his cum go away?” Mira’s questions were symbolic since she already knew the answers. I sat silently but continued watching her in the darkened window, a window smeared with kids’ fingerprints.
Failing to extract a confession, she went on to say, “Can you defend what you did, Taryn?” An expert in pointing out the hypocrisy of others, her words, like daggers, slipped through the seams of my otherwise sturdy emotional armor. “We can’t escape our actions,” she added.
“Why not?” I asked naively.
“That musky taste; his unique scent; it’s a knife to your throat every time you swallow, that’s why not. It’s following you home, a reminder that you had sex with a man you don’t know and do not care about. Poor thing, you thought when he went away—it would. Well, it won’t. You will taste his sperm as you doze off and will awaken to his hated fragrance in the morning.”
“I don’t care, Mira. And. it isn’t even that bad,” I snapped. “I kind of like how sperm tastes.”
“Oh, really?” she replied. “Remember something, silly girl, what you taste, I taste; what you swallow, I swallow, and at the moment, he’s doing what men do, invading our wits.” She laughed, adding, “What about your friend, the Russian girl?”
“You leave her out of…”
“…she warned you about this, Taryn. She told you, and you didn’t listen. “How did she put it? After a girl sucks a man, he owns a part of her forever. That you disregard my warnings is one thing; not heeding your conscience is your stock in trade, but I thought it was different with her; you trust her judgment, and unlike today’s sex partner, the Russian girl loves you. By the way, he came close to ejaculating in your mouth.”
I found the thought revolting, even pictured it; me, on my knees in front of him, semen dribbling over sore lips, frantically searching for a towel to spit into. The rude image passed quickly, thank God.
Mira was right again. I had no idea what I would have done had he finished in my mouth; I sucked him for what seemed like hours, and he could have.
I should have listened when Anya raised the point weeks ago, but I did not know what to do with it. Having sex, which I desperately wanted, meant sucking cock, which I sort of wanted too. Sucking cock means ingesting at least some sperm unless a girl insists on a condom, which I was not inclined to do for fear he would take it as an insult.
When faced with his erection, I did not know how to get out of it. It was there, I was there, so I drew him into my mouth and prayed to ejaculate proved low on his list of priorities. It is a terrifying moment for an inexperienced girl—maybe it is for an experienced one, also.
“Once he’s in your throat—well, after two seconds,” Anya warned, “you’ll taste cum for days.” I sidestepped her warning, now an unceasing reminder of misguided judgment.
I liked things black and white. I had not considered shades of gray, that in the shadows of my misbehavior, hid a strange man’s hold over me. Might it persist after our peculiar brand of togetherness concluded? His lingering aftertaste, infuriating, implied it would.
I should have quizzed Anya about condoms and oral sex. However, she would have known something was up and would have peppered me with questions for which I had no answers. Besides, insisting on condoms for fellatio might be perceived as rejection—I could never do it.
“How’s your tummy?” Mira asked. I glared at her. ‘Cosmopolitan,’ insists semen is harmless, but I was not feeling very well, my burps tasting of sperm. I blamed it on the wine—that I drank too much.
“Your mind’s a prankster, Taryn. Like microscopic tadpoles, millions of squiggly spermy things swim in your stomach. They’re upsetting you; his taste is preoccupying. Men have no conception of such things; only women do.”
“The Coke will make it go…” She had me, and I hesitated. “Anyway,” I said, changing the subject, “Do we really need to talk about this now?”
“Answer my question,” she demanded. “Or, we can skip it if you like; Diet Coke solves everything.” My fizzed security blanket was doing me no good. I had sucked a too sweet, too musky man for too long and felt sick.
Mira shifted gears again. “Taryn, your girlfriend wondered about you today. She wants to know where you are, why you haven’t called with the day’s gossip as you usually do. kaçak bahis Hope you’re ready to relate your exciting little adventure to her.”
“I will not explain myself—not to anybody,” I shot back. “It’s my body; it’s my business, Mira.”
“Somehow, that’s what I expected you to say,” she went on. “Still, this isn’t some game. It’s been deadly serious since the moment you started browsing erections on that preposterous website. Since then, you’ve played a dangerous game. No matter your scheming, your browsing, and your reflecting, when it’s said and done, your decisions need to make sense—to you. Does he have Herpes?”
“What a thing to ask!” I protested. “How would I…?”
“…well, does he?” Mira was forever answering her own questions. “You do not know—how could you? It’s not like he’d admit it on his ‘come-fuck-me’ page on CravingYou.com. But then, maybe you’re the only woman he’s seeing, right?”
“I hadn’t thought about it,” I answered softly, taking another swig of Coke.
From the scornful look she shot me, I knew she knew I was lying. I had thought about it and knew my behavior was unsafe. “Anyway, I don’t think he does,” I lied again.
“Oh, that. Well, I’m sure you’ll be fine. But let’s face it, you can’t know, and you did suck him, sans condom, so whatever he has—you already have. And by the way, I’m curious about something. Why didn’t you make him wear one? You’re demanding enough otherwise and aren’t exactly enamored at the thought of getting a mouthful of you-know-what.”
“If you must know, I didn’t want to spoil the mood,” I admitted.
“Honestly? You put yourself in danger of some permanent microbe and worried about mood?” I stared at the floor. “Was any of it even slightly romantic, Taryn?”
“It was in a way, because…”
“…and besides, he didn’t exactly volunteer to wear one when he shoved his cock into your mouth, now did he. No, of course not; men never do, especially if dim-witted girls are willing to suck them off regardless.” Taking another draught of Coke, I glowered at her.
“The drink isn’t helping, is it,” she added flatly. “His taste will only become more lethal, Taryn. It happens when a girl blows a man in the absence of love.”
Clutching the bottle tightly, more for comfort than anything, I admitted to myself, but not to her, that she was right, as the usually bracing liquid was not nixing the sweet stickiness of what had attached itself like barnacles to my frazzled tonsils.
It was more than that. For heaven’s sake, I did not know the man I had fellated in exchange for a bit of tenderness. Though he was nice and showed affection, it happened out of the goodness of his heart, not some attachment to me. He felt nothing for me; it was the deal with the devil I signed up for.
The train decelerated, and I rejoiced—silently, knowing Mira’s image, and the blistering exchange she forced me to endure with myself, would vanish in the bright light of the onrushing platform.
By the time the great iron beast jarred to a groaning halt at Hither Green, I craved relief from Mira’s relentless interrogation. Suddenly, the shadows of the countryside were gone, replaced by glaring lights at the busy station platform and dozens of would-be passengers, huddling against the cold, milled about, waiting for the carriage doors to slide open.
That’s when I spotted her. Lovely in white, Anya was hard to miss. Dressed against the winter chill in a fox roller hat, matching full-length coat, and high heeled boots, she paced nervously just outside my window. Looking distressed, she held the station’s racket at bay by tightly covering an ear with one hand while holding her phone hard against the other.
She was an arresting woman; she stood out in a crowd, and her unexpected presence startled me. Ignoring my phone’s vibration, I hurriedly leaned forward and fumbled with the buckle of my shoe. Pulling it off and hoping to draw her attention, I hobbled across the aisle and madly tapped the heel against the opposite window.
It worked as Anya’s sharp eyes found me just as I withdrew my cell phone from the side pocket of my purse.
“Anya, I’m glad you’re here!” I stuttered. Then, frantically pointing in the direction of the carriage doors, I added, “Quick, get on the train.” Looking at me through the window and shifting her phone from her ear, she shrugged her shoulders as if to say, ‘Taryn, what the fuck?’
Turning about, she made her way through the crowd and into the train carriage. Arriving at my seat and still holding her phone, she anxiously looked down at me and exclaimed, “Taryn, what the fuck?!”
End Part 3 – Reflecting
To be continued…