fiction: Liminal State

She was languid in the passenger seat, seat back reclined, one leg stretched out and the other bent, knee resting against the door. She could see her still limbs reflected brightly in the windshield, trees on either side of the freeway streaking through the image. When she wasn’t dozing, she passively observed the countryside and sky.

He drove in silence so as not to tax her with conversation. It made him inscrutable; she supposed the reverse was true as well. He had woken early (awake again, at a time when he was more likely to be awake still) so that he could meet her at the airport and bring her home. His home, at least.

It was warm in the car. Drowsily warm. He mostly left her to herself but occasionally he beamed at her and murmured a few words. Sometimes he squeezed her knee ­– to demonstrate his affection to her; or to reassure himself of her presence. Or both.

She’d been travelling for most of a day. It began when she had checked her luggage and gone through security and, though still in her city, in a way was no longer really there. Then the flight to a larger centre. In and not really in that city. In and not really in her country. Schrodinger’s airports. The interminable flight, the time zones. Just a few hours since takeoff and already it was hard to make sense of the time displayed on her watch. Neither here nor there.

As a seasoned traveller, being on a flight didn’t feel so far outside her normal life. Landing at the far end, she knew to expect that oddly familiar feeling of unfamiliarity: How is it possible that I’m really here? How can this place actually exist outside of a photo?

Passport control, that rite of passage. Then trundling her luggage cart through the double doors of frosted glass…

…And beyond, spotting him almost immediately, closing the distance quickly. Arriving safely, into his arms and care. Fait accompli.

Except… not quite. There was still the drive home. His home, at least.

On the flight, she’d imagined the exchange at the border: Business or pleasure? Oh, pleasure, for sure – sex, actually. She had smirked at herself. But it wasn’t just that. She had come here to see if she could trust him enough to submit to him, if she had the strength to allow herself to do that. Trust as an act of brute will – was that even possible?

She was almost sick with the vulnerability of it.

Something would, probably, change in the atmosphere between them after she arrived at his house. That was a big reason why she was here. They were already lovers. He could have started the game during the drive but he hadn’t and didn’t seem likely to now. But the closer they got to his house, the sooner she would be thrust out of this liminal state into… something else. She was weary and had no desire to prolong the time between herself and a proper bed, but by this point, being in the car was known and therefore comfortable in its way and she regretted just a little bit that it would end soon, because then what? When would it start? Or would it start at all? Would they pass the entirety of her visit in light amusements, without even a glimpse of the depths?

He turned from the freeway onto a city street, and the altered tone of the engine was enough to curdle her vague worries into a knot in her stomach. Six minutes later the tires crunched onto the gravel driveway.

“Here we are.”

NYE with Rosa: a coming-out story

New Year’s Eve, a day marking an arbitrary end point on the yearly cycle, doesn’t mean a great deal to me. I didn’t expect it to coincide with a real ending and new beginning.

I went out for coffee with my good friend, Rosa, as we do about once a month. We’re surprisingly alike in the sense that I think we were both surprised to have found someone so much like ourselves. We’ve shared a lot with each other, which is something that neither of us do readily – we’re both introverts, highly sensitive, cautious, self-sufficient, etc.

I’ve told her plenty about the family difficulties I had a few years ago that led to serious personal growth and ultimately (though indirectly) the creation of this blog. I told her about the blog itself (its existence, not the URL) at least a year ago and she treated it as a total non-issue. (She has never really asked me about it which I’d interpreted as disinterest, but now I wonder if she has refrained from asking about it because she’s leaving the decision whether to share entirely up to me. She’s like that.)

She takes privacy and confidentiality very seriously and is as much of a dead end for confidences as I am so I knew that I could trust her with the information.

I’d been thinking about telling her about Jaime since I’d told her about the blog, if not before, because, frankly, Jaime is much more exciting. But caution, as always with me, prevailed. I suppose I worried that she’d judge me as “cheating” on Wolf.

At some point my reason for wanting to tell her had gone beyond “hey, something fun is happening in my life” to “this relationship is really important to me and not sharing it feels inauthentic, like I’m cutting off a part of myself”. The last couple of times we met up, I’d been actively thinking about telling her. The same was true this time and it popped to mind from time to time while we chatted.

After a couple of hours Rosa looked at the time and announced that we should probably think about leaving soon; it was in fact the time when we would ordinarily leave, but we’d gotten there 30 minutes later than usual so I wasn’t ready to go yet. Also, for the previous 10 minutes, I’d been thinking seriously enough about confiding that I had begun to feel nervous. Fuck it. I took a deep breath, smiled and stared off into space somewhere beside her head while I tried to figure out what to say.

I’d thought so much about the fact of telling her but I never considered the words themselves. I don’t really remember what I said ­— something about having something I wanted to tell her but wasn’t sure how to say it — and when I paused to take a breath she said, “I’m all ears!”

So I took another deep breath and, by way of preamble, told her that this was something that no one* knew about, except for Wolf. But … I was also in a relationship with someone other than Wolf.

From there the conversation is even more of a blur. I remember that she started a sentence with “He” and then caught herself — “Is it a he?” — and I said yes, and she continued on with her sentence. How sweet, I thought, that she should be so conscious of not making assumptions about me, and that she has also pre-emptively accepted that I might be bi. But then I don’t expect anything less from her.

Though she hadn’t guessed or predicted it, she said that in a way she wasn’t surprised because she figures I already live a bit outside the box. She didn’t know whether I would take that comment well or poorly, but I found it reassuring. I suppose it’s comforting when someone knows you well enough to expect you to be weird and to be open enough to difference to be OK with that.

She did a lot of the talking and I really don’t remember what she said, though I recognised at times that she was filling the silence with a stream of comforting words to say, “I see you, I (still) like you, and I approve of you.” She recognised that the relationship with Jaime was something I hadn’t undertaken lightly, and respected the fact that I was circumspect about the effects on Wolf and Jaime (and others).

I didn’t tell her a great deal about Jaime — I didn’t even mention his name. I did explain that he’s the person I was visiting on certain of my recent trips. She and I don’t really talk about sex, so it didn’t make sense to lead with that aspect of the relationship but I told her about some other things that make Jaime special to me: that I feel deeply loved by him and that his emotional support is unwavering.

She basically was cool with it all and happy that I was happy. On top of that, she was very happy that I trusted her that much to tell her about it. And she told me she loved me.

Throughout it all, I found myself on the verge of tears despite not being sad or upset. I think it was just the intensity of the vulnerability, like holding my ribcage open for an hour, hoping she wouldn’t reach in and crush my heart.

She shared a couple of personal things with me too, though not so intense. An hour and a half after I launched into this confession, we decided it really was time to leave.

And that’s why I began 2018 feeling happy, accomplished, and even more full of love than before.

 

* I also mentioned it briefly to Lucas, after he first confessed his own BDSM-based poly situation; and to a mutual acquaintance of Rosa’s and mine who I unexpectedly ran into at a play party, after she first confessed her own queer poly situation.

overcoming my fear of cock

For a long time, in my mind “cock = bad”, or perhaps more specifically “dangerous”. I had absorbed the idea that a cock was a source of bad things, including degradation.

When I started having sex, this idea proved to be a bit of a self-fulfilling prophecy. Deep down, I mostly didn’t want sex. My body knew this but my brain didn’t acknowledge it, and so it was uncomfortable or actively hurt (because I was tense and not wet) and it didn’t provide me with any particularly pleasurable sensations. I just didn’t get the point. In addition to the fact that I tend to be a little squeamish about bodily fluids, I was also a little paranoid about cum (and even pre-cum) because that’s the stuff that ruins lives by making babies.

When I was about 10, I learned about blowjobs from a photo in a magazine belonging to my friend’s older brother. It made me uncomfortable and I found it degrading (although I probably didn’t even understand that word yet).

The first blowjob I ever performed was for the perpetually demanding and insensitive Bad Boy. He worked me over and pestered and I eventually allowed myself to be talked into it, but I didn’t really want to do it even while I was doing it. Nothing awful happened (I don’t think he even got off), but being pressured served to reinforce my distaste for the whole business.

The first (and, for years, only) time I went down on my partner was during our early days. I’d bought a flavoured condom for the occasion, which served to make me feel safer even if it didn’t add anything directly to the aesthetic experience. He didn’t pressure me in any way, but I pressured myself. He remembers it fondly — me, not so much, but that’s nothing to do with him and everything to do with me not listening to my gut.

I had always considered it to be an inherently degrading act. When I read That Book and started considering hard and soft limits, I knew fellatio was a hard limit for me, although I appreciated the fact that it was depicted positively. It’s one thing to see this in erotic fiction, but when I began reading women (mostly bloggers, such as Hyacinth) who truly enjoy cock, it was a revelation.

I was not interested in cock, nor did I much want to touch or handle one. If my partner asked and I was feeling sufficiently brave, I would touch him over his underwear. I felt that this touching was something I should do but wasn’t always able to do. The only way to honor his request for attention involved pushing myself. Not good.

But it occurred to me recently that I had an excessively firm boundary about any kind of touch. He had earned my trust a long time ago, but I only realized it recently. When I began deliberately trusting him, it changed the dynamic radically. Instead of fretting about a violation and thus vigilantly policing the boundary (believing this was the only way to keep myself safe), I now figure out where the boundary is and let him know, then leave it to him to respect it and he does. I’ve chosen to remove the wall and be vulnerable and am rewarded with more intimacy. It’s fucking awesome.

I’ve been consciously working on expanding my boundaries while conscientiously respecting my gut. Sometimes I touch his cock simply because I feel like it — he has repeatedly assured me that he will always welcome it, so I don’t fear rejection. If he requests it, I understand that he’s not trying to pressure me. I also don’t pressure myself — if it doesn’t feel right in the moment, I go with my gut and say no. No big deal.

I started testing ideas by fantasizing about them and was pleasantly surprised when these (previously challenging, even distasteful) thoughts actually turned me on, which told me I was on the right track. Now the ideas seem merely “naughty” (and fun), rather than “bad” (and unfun). From touching with lips and cheek, to licking and kissing, I accomplished my first freely and lovingly given blowjob a few days ago. A milestone!