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Keeping watch, twenty years later


This is not safe sex

by Jen Cross

This is an allegory: a historical record transmuted by fiction into a truth -- with just enough imbrication, and obfuscation, to make everything clear.

Now, imbrication's about repetition and overlay, and obfuscation's about muddying the waters. But sometimes, if you tell your story like that, with just the right clouding and spit-shines of metaphor, doesn't it say everything just right?

It was like a rock, that's what it was: a rock through the glass of me when I laid my eyes on you. And it was exactly the wrong time. But isn't it always? Whenever does someone throw a rock through the glass of you and it's a good time? The moment I met you is frozen like that in the vault of my memory. When you turned around, nonchalant for all the world, and put your eyes across my face -- lashed your eyes to mine -- when you pulled your face away from whatever person was consuming your attention and agreed to be met by me, I was smashed open. It was that kind of an assault. You were the stone. I was the glass, shattered right through to the bone thrust open.

And, tell me, when is it ever a good time for that to happen?

The shards pierce everything all my internal organs all my practiced manifestations everything so artfully constructed the glass house I live within that keeps me beautiful and keeps me from being touched. I wasn't looking for oblivion I wanted the body whole and sealed shut: the perfect presentation without any sensation. I knew how to look the part but you took that apart when you looked at me when you turned around and tossed a Molotov cocktail into the center of my life.

Outside it was moist and weirdly hot, the heat that comes with humidity of implacable spring that rises up commensurate with the concrete and stone walls of buildings, heat that's inconsolable, that makes you turn your face in confusion to the sky while tentatively removing sport coat or sweater; you almost don't believe that if you breathe deeply you'll get a lungful of spring rather than piss and rotten food, but that's just how it was. After a day of cool mist and scattershot rainstorms, thick grey clouds of ocean fog hovered like obstinate aunties, and the heat claimed me as I walked up to the front of the club where my friend was DJing. I wore the atmosphere as much as the too-long satin-veined throw about my shoulders. Everything smelled like rain and possibility, transition.

As I walked from the bus stop, my thick nylon stockings that reached just to mid-thigh swished audibly beneath the full skirt of my halter dress. Inexplicably, the midtown street was otherwise silent: no car traffic, no howling strangers. The only noise audible was the heavy reliable smack of my wooden heels against the cement, accompanied by the nylon sheathing rubbing up against itself -- my own private soundtrack. My arms, white to the elbow in opera gloves, swung free; I had to keep them moving so I wouldn't be overly conscious of having nowhere to put my hands. I carried nothing: no umbrella, no purse. My money, ID, and a single tube of shimmery bronze lipstick were all tucked between my breasts -- a further blessing of the push-up bra. I was a little bit drag queen, whole lotta femme, and a bunch of need dressed up like trouble.

Earlier in the evening, I pulled the razor up over each calf, down along the flat of each thigh. I laid a stroke of dark rose over each toenail, drew my hair up into a loosely-bundled upsweep, pulled a thin band of black along the base of each eyelid, and let the brightly-flowered dress fall over my girdled torso and garter belted waist. I slid my feet into thickly-heeled white pumps, and...I didn't feel it coming. These preparations were like any other evening's, and when my pussy plumped under my satin drawers, it wasn't in any particular anticipation, but because she so loved any preening, liked to fluff up into her surroundings like my breasts and hair: she never liked being left out.

The next day, everything would be different, and I would retrace tonight's dressing, the way you think back after a tornado, to see if you can remember the instant the sky changed from dark blue to green; to see if you can say you could have seen it coming, if only you'd known what you were looking at. But there will be nothing in the choosing of a particular set of glass beads to fall from my earlobes, or five instead of the usual four bangle bracelets to clatter at my wrists.

As I approached the club, which was marked by a blister of dykes that clung to the doorway like barnacles, you were off to one side with a friend, bent over a cigarette, and stood with your back to the street, like it didn't matter who or what might approach because it wouldn't possibly be anything you couldn't handle. You were buttoned down, flattened against the night's wisdom like you had nothing else to learn, were burnt into your friend's eyes like the textbook definition of butch, the finished version, prepared for lacquer. The sheen of your presentation is what caught my attention as I slowed my roll on the upstream, coming into your airspace, but what was under the surface took me home.

Something about the ease of your shoulders and the quality of your companion's smile made me think you two had been chuckling, but I heard no sound. It was just the clack of my heels, the secret swish just preceding that held the gaze of my inner ear. I was six feet from you when you turned around, not hiding your intention: you wanted to see who was coming. You heard Girl and you were all set to appraise, to glare over me with the brightness of your desire shrouded in studious evaluation and then, most likely, return to your conversation, uncaught. Who could impress one who'd seen it all?

But wasn't I ready, in spite of the fear that stood up in me and shook out its tired shoulders? Eyes front like a whore who knows how to make her money, I scanned your face, sanding off the surface coating to see what soft dizziness lived underneath to see what you liked before you'd even gotten me in focus.

And then I saw it. OK, it was just an instant, a secondary flutter of involuntary responses: the startle response of the predator caught. I cocked my head into that shock in your eyes, and saw that you knew I had seen you, crouched down and hungry. We were done then, in that moment. Did you feel it? My belly dropped with the plunge of you, and there was a rush of noise that consumed me. The diamonds in your need tore at my surface tension -- couldn't you already feel me clawing my way through that gabardine to your skin?

Your eyes caught me, but what reeled me in was the grin and slight shrug, that thing that looked like nonchalance on the surface but was really a plea not to tell what I'd seen. And how could I, when I had secrets of my own? You see, there was damage I needed to have done, and in that second, when your eyes got wide, more in my peripheral vision than direct, when your mouth dropped open but only in my dreams I knew you could handle all the breaking, the breaking open, I had for you to do. I knew my need to be split was nothing you took for granted as your right, your due -- but rather some sort of gift you'd pretend to ask for and I'd pretend to grant, as though I didn't already know that when you touched me, I'd be helpless. Already my pussy had slipped away from her preened and perfect pose, gotten red in the cheek and pearly slick where the lips met, pressed between my tightening thighs.

Do we come to each other out of desire, or a need to ensure that no one else ever hears these secrets, the things we are unable to keep from one another?

You leave your friend standing there by the wall like it makes sense for you to do so. She watches you with the eyes of someone used to evaporation. There's something very hard between us, there on the sidewalk outside the club, that's not your cock or the boning in my foundation garment, nor how I will explain to my friend why I never made it to the party. You slide your right hand along my waist, firmly, then over my lower back until it comes to rest just above my ass. I force myself not to fold immediately, hand over all the cards. Then a hint of pressure: a test you're presenting me with: am I sensitive enough to follow your suggestion of a lead, to be your princess? I turn into you a shade, and it's enough to make you smile so hot that it registers as nothing but flame in my memory now.

You don't ask me to come with you. You just start walking with your arm around my waist, and I allow you to grace yourself with the idea that you have taken me. And when you finally speak several blocks later, after you've kissed me with my back pressed into a thick tangle of overgrown wisteria vines, it's not to ask my name, it's to tell me that you needed our first kiss to be somewhere as tangled & gnarled & untrainable as you figured I probably was. These words, issued from the oversaturated redness of your lips, and flavored with your ability to see the wildness I keep bound so tightly beneath clothing and hairspray, tap my pussy open just a little more.

Later, your cock in me is the point of the process, the secret back room deal negotiated behind the curtains of our performance. What kind of dyke am I who undoes nothing but my own buttons, relishing the feel of your broad hand on my bare back after you slowly pop the fasteners down the length of my girdle and release me, release me.

I wanted someone who could take all I had to give the way I had to give it, which was to receive And you received my taking, you took me open and closed the door

I shudder, begin the process of unbecoming dyke and not dyke, something unidentifiable the geyser of my pussy becomes lips pursed for the drinking, me the fountain and nourishment the sweat on my belly & breasts is yours and mine both of us dripping, liquefying both of us releasing ourselves from the strictures outside this broad room. The mattress accepts our shed skin like our shed clothes, no longer butch, femme; we are nothing but your hardness dissolving in the bath of my cunt.

Your moans are as oceanic as mine, as tidal & its cliché, but what else with which to explain this sudden wave of non-being, wave of self against the inside of my skin, my breasts molten between your teeth, my hips roiling, you groan some incantation and I find you can shift me like feather weight while I spread heavily beneath & around you marking all of you mine scraping sharp-tipped fingers along the ridge of your back as you plow and quake the seed within the soil of my emerging.

Before I put on a dress in the interest of parading my own flesh rather than parody I used to be a perfectly reasonable dyke, I used to have the right kind of sex, which wasn't any sort of danger to anyone's identity, especially mine sex of the rightest softest sort, sex of the reifying kind; after me, a woman knew she was a woman: I took those bodies and molded them properly into breast and pussy, hips and ass perfectly pouted glowering mouths pours of need, agonizing for more I took in lesbian and made woman: everything concordant, concomitant my body safely tucked behind clothes and skin traced but untouched, devilish in its repetitive precision, in the way I stayed fully formed, unchanged.

But look at this now this puddle on the floor I became under your exquisite touch: the demonstrable power of water under you tenderizing the stone of your aching and entering all the places I wasn't supposed to be in each of us. Your fingers ripple across my skin, lavalike, my flesh becomes pale and reflective, all of me undulating there in my perfectly sensible post-orgasmic repose I become ravenous wanting to take you inside like a nuance, a minuet of hope.

This is not safe sex. There is something liquefying in the way you touch me -- where I was supposed to be hard, I become dark matter, striving to take all of you pulling toward my center something incomplete never complete until you.

Unsafe to know that sort of completion. Makes me want more, which is counter-intuitive, isn't it? But I'm only full for a second before your touch empties me out again, calls me back to begging.

It's not safe. Okay, we use condoms and gloves -- you're precious in your protection of my pussy from fingers and cock -- no dams though, somehow your face absolved from filth, from the need for the thin promise of latex your face an impression of my body fit into me distinctly mouth nose chin cheeks all of you there needing all of me open and wanting but, okay, otherwise we play safe so why do I feel so unsuccessful in my boundaries, so somehow delighted with the demolition when you hold my legs open, rock your cock inside, jostling and slicking the length of your tool against my flesh, easing your lube into mine taking time to gauge friction and viscosity, even as I am urging Please my hips already rolling in your hands my breath in gasps collapsing, tightening Please, Please but you roll your eyes at my hostility & urgency forcing me, us, to wait craving as much but gauging the pull of my tides drawing me out severing me from the mercy of myself you make me wait until I am undone unlaced the bondage of my body freeing me as muscles loosen throat engaged unhinged laced and lashed with moans and strychnine there's a dying here a murder of the surfaces that protect our holy incompletion you unleash this killing we unleash it, let it run roughshod over our bodies til we are purpled my pussy flesh and lips your back and shoulders, thighs bruised at all my digging and grabbing hard fingers and heels thighs yanking you forward & down & in in wanting more of you inside it's not just cock I want but you you see? The taking of one inside the other, the letting in, the damage, the body aching with the desperate beauty of release, the exhausted sleep as one body reforms around the other as we reemerge from the deep the captors of our own ancient selves as we solidify as we take on our skin again.

You look at me and run a hand along skin that puffs and bundles where it's not supposed to, untamed and unmanned. I run my hand over the round place of dark collarbone no longer marked by your tie, we watch for wariness as we finger through the pieces of history still gathered on the bed between us we notice the gentleness, the lack of disappointment, and I reach for you again, wet and sullied at my borders, full of what I've left behind.

©2006 by Jen Cross

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Jen Cross is a Bay Area based writer and erotic writing group facilitator. Her stories/writing appear (some under Jen Collins) in such anthologies as Best Fetish Erotica, Glamour Girls, Blood Sisters, and the forthcoming Nobody Passes and Best Women's Erotica 2007. She is an advocate for the transformative power of smut.

Oysters Among Us bookOysters Among Us -- erotic tales of wonder

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