For the IndieInk Writing Challenge this week, The Last Astronaut challenged me with "...he replied: "what took you so long?"" and I challenged trencher with "'I just feel it as it goes. I do whatever I feel is right for me at the time.' -Johnny Cash"
[Author's Note: I don't know why I feel like I have to do this, but this story is a little NSFW. There is a bad word in it, and it implies that married people have sex. Be warned. This is also the third in a series of response pieces. My piece starts it off here, and my pal Runaway Sentence wrote a companion piece/follow up here. This is, I guess, the third piece, although it doesn't necessarily require that you read the first two.}
Her weight on top of me was pleasantly familiar. It never gets old, her hard pelvic ridge finding that perfect resting place, that familiar feeling of skin pressing against skin, her warm hairless thighs, taut from hours in the gym, pressing against the roughness of my short brown hair. Without my noticing, she had stripped out of her bedclothes, so I shifted around to match her nakedness.
It was comforting, knowing the smells, the curves and hard ridges and soft belly skin that I knew as well as my own. It was a communion, the simple need to be close to her, that feeling that you couldn't be close enough, that feeling that even if I could climb inside her skin, it wouldn't be enough.
"What took you so long?," I said. I looked up at her face, watching the surprise register, shading into anger.
"What took me so long?," she said incredulously.
"Well, I've been laying here," I said smiling. "I know you find me irresistible, so it was only a matter of time-"
Her face broke into a smile. "Oh DO shut up!," she said. "You're so obnoxious!"
"But you love me."
"Yes. Sometimes against my better judgement," she said, smiling wider now, a less wholesome, more mischievous one. "But I do."
I arched my back slightly, pressing against her in a way that spoke volumes. "Do you want to?"
She smiled that smile again. "I can. Do you?"
"I always do," I said. It was true. She wasn't 19 any more. Neither was I. But two kids and twenty years on, I still wanted her like a horny teenager. "But that's not what I asked you."
"I'm tired, honey. You know that. I'm pleased that you want to. Thrilled that you still look at me the same way you did when we were in college. But we can't act that way anymore. You have to work tomorrow, even if you are going to quit. I have a meeting with Nate's teacher, and I have to bring snack to Matthew's."
"Plus you have work to do."
"That too, yeah. But I can," she said, moving her hips against me suggestively.
"I don't want to force you," I said.
"You're not forcing," she said. "I'm volunteering. I know you like it, and I don't mind. I like giving you pleasure."
"But you don't want to."
She leaned back, her weight now more on my thighs. "Honestly, Michael? No. I'm tired. And I want to go to sleep. But like I said, I don't mind. We've started something, so I don't mind if you finish it."
"It's not worth it if you're not into it," I said. "If that's all it's for, I can do that by myself. You're not an object for my amusement."
"Jesus Christ," she said. I felt the eroticism drain out of the moment like water from a leaky squirt gun. "It's sex, not a hostage crisis. This drives me crazy. Sometimes you have to do something, not just think about it and ruminate forever. Michael, you've always put women on a pedestal. Me especially. And believe me, 98% of the time, it's great." She drew her legs up, folding her arms across her breasts. I stared at the way her calf muscles bunched up. "This is the other 2%. I'm a grown woman. I know when you met me, I was a scared little girl. And you've always tried to protect me. And like I said, it's nice."
"I feel like it's my job," I said.
"I know you do," she said. Her voice was edging into a hiss, the tone she adopted when the kids were home. If we were alone, she would be rattling the windows. "And that's your father's influence, and I understand it. But I'm a grownup. I can do things for you, I can make sacrifices, I can voluntarily do something for you that isn't a hundred percent my idea. I can even carry two children for you."
"And I appreciate it."
"That's just it," she said a little louder. "I know. I know. I know you appreciate the sacrifices I've made. Just like I appreciate the ones you have made for me. For us. I know how hard you work, how much you do, how much you gave up. At times, do I regret it? Do I wish I had my 20 year old body again? Do I wish I was still a barista at Starbucks, flirting with coworkers and giving blowjobs in the parking lot? Of course I do. It's part of being human. But I can't go back. Nobody can. And on balance, are the sacrifices worth it? Yes. Jesus, yes. I don't regret marrying you. I don't regret having the boys. And sometimes, you have to let me sacrifice for you, and don't hit me with your bullshit guilt trips."
She got up, snatching her bed clothes with one hand and a pillow with the other. She managed to open the door angrily, leaving it open behind her. I heard her footfalls down the stairs, and the distant tinny sound of the television coming on downstairs. I stared at the darkness, listening to the noises of the house. It was never clear whether or not I should pursue her at moments like this. Sometimes, she craved her own space, and other times, she would be sitting there lonely and scared, wanting me to talk her down. Somewhere in the distance, a siren wailed. I wondered, like in the old Don Henley song, if someone was going to emergency, or to jail.