Falling short
September 13, 2022 - 10:04 p.m.






I'm coming to town, he texts. Would you like a visit?

I would. I wouldn't.

I want to feel the warmth of his skin pressed against mine. I want to feel his coarse carpenter's fingers snagging in my hair. I burn with this longing so deeply it makes me feel hollow, like a void, a black hole, a sucking need devouring every other thought.

My brain is screaming at me like a trapped animal. It is scrabbling backwards, shrieking incoherently.

I know I should offer him a room to stay in. I know if I do, he will wind up in my bed, and I cannot bear to have someone in my inner sanctum right now.

So he gets a hotel.

So I stay with him in his hotel.


Another night, another man.

It is 3am. I am far from my house. I have no money for a cab.

"Why won't you let me get close to you?" he spits after I have to bodily shove him off me. His anger is everywhere. I can taste it in the air like gun powder.

I am on his couch. The moon slants in the window, or maybe it's a streetlight. My adrenaline is making time grind into slow motion.

This is it, I think distantly. It is my turn to be raped.

I never thought it would be tonight. I never thought it would be this man, one of my oldest friends, my dearest confidences.

Every hair on my body follows his movements.

But he goes into his bedroom, and slams the door.

And I stay up for a long time, listening to his movements, waiting for him to be asleep before I even think about laying down on the couch.


"Let's have a bath," I say recklessly, ignoring the gibbering fear in my brain. The bathtub in the hotel is huge, and we both fit easily.

We talk, drink cold beer, play with the bath bomb I made him choose out. Upon getting out of the bath, we discover our pubes are full of glitter, and laugh. He worries about all the glitter that the maids have to clean up, but I assure him it's water soluble, and probably not the worst thing they had to clean up that day.

He takes me to bed, and we just hold each other, flipping channels on the tv.

I try to convince my brain to kiss him, passionately. I kiss him, but fall short of the fire I was going for.

"We can do as much or as little as you want," he assures me, and doesn't pressure me.

I want to. I don't want to. I want to.

Will I ever be able to again?