I wondered how will it be. How she will be. How us will be. If there still was "us". But I knew somewhere deep within myself that there wasn't. But in my rationally unrational mind there still was "us". Or at least some pathetic resemblance of it.
She had moved on ages ago, even before I sensed something was wrong. Women are like that – they just present you with the facts and puff! – they're gone. Once they make up their minds, it's useless to convince them otherwise. Best thing to do is to get on your feet as soon as possible and go your own way.
I wish I had known that sooner...
There she was, standing erect like a statue, at the exit of airport arrivals building. The car stopped, I stepped out and we hugged, as we always do.
God, she smelled differently! That wasn't her scent at all. As if she'd come back from another world. Well, in sense she had...
Brief smiles and even briefer glances. Yup, she is different, just as I feared she would be. Us? Us crumbled to tiny fragments like a window glass that falls down from the 89th floor.
"Was... was there... anybody?"
There, I finally managed to say it. It had been bugging me for too long and even though I knew it was none of my business to delve into it – not anymore, at least – I just had to ask it. She knew why I posed such a question. She understood.
Still, she hesitated for a fraction of a second.
"Why do you want to know?"
"It's important to me."
"Just answer, please. Did somebody show an interest in you?"
Pathetic part of me still clang to the logic that this still doesn't mean anything, so another question had to be asked.
"Was there anybody you liked? Liked enough to have him as a lover?"
Thinking back this choice of archaic words seems funny, but at that time I couldn't include word "sex" in context of her and not ME being her lover.
"It's not good for you to ask things like that."
"Was there a lover you had?"
"Are you really sure you want to know?"
I saw she genuinely cared for my well-being and even though her evasive manoeuvres should be enough of an answer to me, I really really wanted her to say nothing happened during her three weeks trip to Mexico.
"Yes, I am sure."
It felt like being hit by a cannon ball for I knew very well what that pause meant.
"I. Really. Do. Have. To. Know."
"Yes," she finally said. "I had a lover."
My world collapsed.
I really was over.
Just as she told me countless times before. But only now I heard it for the first time.
It was pitch dark. I was lying on my back, blanket up to my neck. She was talking about her trip, lying on the bed next to me. Ever since we were a couple no more, we would often have night talks. Something we never done before, but – I know that know – we should have.
"How did it happen?"
She instantly went silent.
"How what happened?"
"Your lover. How did it happen? I want to know everything – how you two met, how did it come to happen. Tell me everything."
"This isn't a smart thing to ask."
"I know, but I really want to hear all of it."
"Why are you torturing yourself like that?"
By the sound of her voice in the dead of night, I could tell she was again worried about me and the state I am in.
I turned in my bed and faced her. She was less than one meter away, but I couldn't see her in the dark. I could feel her, though.
"Don't you worry about me. I know we are through. But I would really like you to tell me the whole story."
For a few seconds, she didn't say anything. I think that was the most personal and intimate moment we ever had so far, including five years we spent as a couple – which tells a lot about the kind of relationship we had. No wonder it ended in such a disastrous way.
She was always so distant when it came to emotions. Some people said she was cold inside that her kindness and warmth was just an act. I was like that too – I could never ever really, and I mean really connect with somebody, not even her. I didn't even know such a connection is possible. I thought being couple meant going out together, living together, sharing all material things and have sex from time to time, although screw would be a better word.
She knew better, though, and now I see countless occasions when she shyly came out of her armour and revealed her true, scared self to me. Me, being a blind dork, didn't notice anything. Eventually she stopped trying to connect to me.
No wonder she dumped me. I wouldn't date me for two months, even less five years! We were never really committed to each other. But were together, but at the same time were worlds apart. We only occupied same space.
This insistence of mine, to tell me everything about her sexual encounter in Mexico (there, I could already think that word), was – oh, the irony – single most intimate moment we ever had so far. I knew she was aware of that too and I wondered whether now that I am finally ready, whether NOW she will open up to me or have I missed my last train for good? Is she still willing to trust me that much?
"All right," her voice finally came through the dark.
And then she started talking...
The sun was slowly going down on the beach of Yucatan peninsula. Sky was purple-orange, dotted with clouds here and there, resembling wet cotton patches.
Beach was huge and summer at its peak. It wasn't crowded, but not deserted either. Children were running around, screaming, splashing, adults were sunbathing or just swimming.
I sat down on the sand, folded my legs up and embraced my knees. Everything was so beautiful. Being a drifter for limited periods of time could be great, if it weren't for that always present existential fear of what to do with your life.
Soon I felt somebody standing next to me. When I looked up I saw a tall blonde guy looking down on me. He smiled and sat next to me.
I didn't want company, but being too polite person as I am, I let him chat him up. He turned out to be nice enough to accept his offer for a drink.
"What is this?" I thought I to myself in the darkness of our bedroom.
The drama we are, or should I say, I am going through already resembles some cheap pulp soap opera way too much – and now this? Lonely girl sitting on a beach, gets hooked up by a stranger? I know her too well that this couldn't have happened.
"Do you? Do you think you REALLY know her?" a voice at the back of my mind said, but I thought it away.
Surely, there must have been something more to it than a beach, sunset and a stranger.
During drinks he proposed sex and having a one-shot affair during our stay in this city, whichever city we were in.
He was from Canada, by the way.
It was a sexual proposal in usual manner, the kind every woman gets dozens of in her lifetime. Nothing wrong with it and I suppose I should have valued his sincerity, but all I could do was to say "Thank you, I am not interested," and then I got up and walked away.
I was walking the busy streets of some town I don't even remember the name of anymore. Anyway, it was located right next to the Yucatan beach. Actually I should rather say I wasn't walking the streets, I was more like drifting through them, aimlessly, watching people, countless stores, children, wondering what to do with my life. I wasn't simply loitering through streets, I was loitering through my life.
It was old – the town, I mean. Old town with young people making living off tourists. I felt the same as the town: old.
I sat down behind a table on some street terrace. I kept watching the torrent of people, mostly loud tourists, pouring past me. I was starting to get used to being utterly alone and disconnected in a crowd. I didn't know what to do with myself – and oddly enough, that was fine by me.
"Hello, there!" somebody said.
When I turned around I noticed a man, at least 10 to 15 years older than me, looking my way.
"I bet you are a tourist."
I nodded and so did he. Then he invited me over to his table.
"Come, have a seat with me. I'll share my dinner with you."
Somehow I felt he didn't have any ulterior motives. He was just being opened up and uncomfortably honest. Certainly not something I was used to.
For the life of me, I really don't remember anymore what he was talking about when I joined him at his table. I continued to be disconnected so I didn't feel like talking anyway. He seemed to enjoy it, though. His words were like a constant drizzle. You know, sort of like a background music or perhaps like a warm voice telling you a bedtime story while lying in the bed in pitch dark. You are aware of it, but it is so distant you can't make a word out of it, nor do you care to. It was so soothing, this feeling, that I relaxed and put down my guard.
"What was he talking about?" I asked.
"All sorts of things, I think. World politics and his view of it. The state the world is in and how dislikes it and stuff like that. He said he plans to have a cottage in a jungle someday and live there. I liked the idea, because I felt like doing that also."
"Sounds to me, he was just a relentless talker. You know, the kind that could kill you with his ceaseless flow of words until they suffocate you."
"I would agree with you, but somehow I liked his way of thinking. He was saying exactly the things I was mulling over for a long time. That's way I didn't mind him talking."
"What was he, anyway?"
It turned out he was just having a dinner break. He was doing the upper floor of the restaurant we were in. He wanted to show me what he was working on, so I followed him upstairs. The room was completely empty save for his painting equipment. And the walls... they were beautiful. He was painting something that is hard to describe. It spanned the wall from the floor to the ceiling, although only left half of it was done so far.
I don't know what he was painting, but it was some sort of mosaic, except it wasn't. It was an old Mexican or Mayan or Aztec style, I wouldn't know exactly, but somehow modernised. It's hard to describe, except that it was beautiful and very detailed. Just the part he has done so far must have taken him a long, long time (which he later confirmed). I was completely taken aback by the seer beauty of it.
"So, what happened next?" I asked, anticipating things to get hot, even though the whole set-up so far still didn't look like something that would make her have sex with a stranger. Something was still missing.
We sat down on the floor and this time we really started talking. Both of us, not only he. As I said, he was a painter, somewhere in mid-forties, alone, in love with his job. He was a very gentle person and I think he must have felt very lonely, because he soon started trying to hug me and kiss me. Apparently he found me very beautiful, very attractive, inner light and all that usual stuff and wanted me to become his muse.
"Typical artist's pick up lines," I thought but decided not to say it out loud. Instead, I asked:
"And how did you react?"
"Everything would be tolerable, the light and the muse thing and the compliments and all, but for his repeated attempts to hug me and give me a kiss. I was getting tired of pushing him away. He did manage to kiss me on a cheek, though.
I stood up and was about to leave. That's when he apologised, although he wouldn't have to – I didn't feel violated in any way. I said it was OK and I will return to my hotel and leave on a plane next day (which was true) and that I didn't want to start anything I wasn't prepared to deal with.
He was really sad when I walked out and away, and I didn't even have to look at him to know it – somehow I could feel it. He was enormously sad about it.
"Yeah, I know exactly how he must have felt," I thought to myself. The guy was clever enough to see both her inner and outer beauty and so badly wanted to have her. Oh yes, I could relate to him alright, also his pain. That's the effect she has on men – those who fall for her, fall really hard.
"So, nothing happened?" I asked.
"Nothing." Next day I took a plane back to Mexico City and returned to my friend's house where I was staying.
"OK, if nothing happened, then I must inform you that you are stretching this story a bit long. Actually too long, to tell you the truth."
"I know, but that's how it was."
"So there was some third guy then?" I said a bit bored already.
"No, it was the painter. The story doesn't end here. Do you want to hear the rest of it or not?"
"Sure I do."
"So shut up and listen."
"OK, I am all ears."
On the plane back to Mexico City I realized something. As much as I resisted his hugs and kisses, something in me DID respond to him. I don't know what it was, but I realized my body reacted to that kiss on my cheek. It was a very gentle and kind kiss, just as he was. As much as I tried to deny it, something stirred inside me.
After few days in Mexico City, I found, to my amazement, that I liked his kiss, that I – oh, my god – was attracted to him. Or better said, my body was attracted to him. I was thinking about him more and more, and found myself wanting to see him again.
My friend, at whose place I was staying, noticed I was different ever since I came back from Yucatan. After some persuasion I spilled the beans and told him everything.
"And what was his reaction?" I asked?
"He just smiled and said he has just the book for me."
"A book? What kind of book? What for?"
"According to him, whenever he was has doubts about something or is confused like I was, he would open that book on a random page and read the first sentence his eyes would fall upon. Therein he would always find an answer to whatever was troubling him."
"So, you two had a peek in that book for you particular case?"
"Yes," she smiled.
"And what did the book say?"
"What do all new age books say?"
"Let me guess: follow your heart, because it knows best what is good for you."
"Well, the book didn't say it in exactly those words, but essentially that was it, yes."
My friend and I looked at each other and started laughing.
"Well, my dear, it seems you have a plane ticket to book," he said.
And so it was. I flew back to Yucatan, checked in to a hotel, found the old town and went up the same street as before. All this time I couldn't rationally explain why am I doing this and for what? Doubts started to creep in. I only knew I had to see him again. It wasn't love, I didn't feel lust, not even an interest, nothing. As if my legs carried me there by their own free will.
I soon found the restaurant, but he was nowhere to be seen. I went inside and asked the owner about the painter. He just smiled, went to the stairs leading up and called:
"Hey, one of your friends has come to visit you!"
"ONE of his friends?" I smiled.
"Yeah, don't ask. Apparently he had lots of friends like me," she replied.
His head popped up at the top of the stairs. You should have seen his smile, when he saw me standing there. He motioned me to come upstairs, so I did.
When I walked into the room, he still couldn't believe it. He was so happy, he was shining with happiness, like a little sun. We sat down on the floor, and he was just looking at me, his smile as big as a saucer plate. He was so happy that he was completely lost for words. Me, I didn't know why on earth have I come to this room again. I felt so out of place that I wanted to disappear.
"You came back! You came back!"
That was all he was able to say. He was repeating it like some sort of mantra, transfixed, as if unable to comprehend a miracle that just happened right before his eyes.
"Youcamebackyoucamebackyoucameback..." And with that he leaned towards me and again tried to hug and kiss me and again I pushed him away. I didn't know what I came back for, but it certainly wasn't this.
It seemed he didn't even notice my rejection. He was blind to everything else but me. He started to caress me, all over my body, starting with my hand all the while ceaselessly repeating "...youcamebackyoucameback..." Everything felt too strange, too absurd, too abstract.
"I think I'll go back to my hotel now," I said and stood up.
"When will you return?"
"I don't know, probably in the afternoon or evening."
Back in the hotel while I was showering, feeling water pouring down my body, I again got this strange sensation. His caresses... they felt nice. Tender and soft. Again, I wished to more of them. Actually I started to crave them. What was happening to me? Why is this feeling happening only when I am away from him?
Whole situation was too absurd to keep trying to rationalise it. I just gave up, went out of the shower, towelled myself, got dressed up and returned to his place.
When I sat down on the floor again, we looked at each other. He was still beaming with happiness.
"OK, now what?" I asked.
Again, he leaned forward and tried to kiss me and again I pushed him away.
"No kisses, please," I said softly.
He nodded. Then he put his gentle painter's hands on my shoulders and slowly, very slowly laid me down on my back. And then his wonderful caresses started again. They felt so.... good. I just closed my eyes and let myself go. It was pure magic, I tell you. His touches felt almost ethereal and it would be impossible not to give in to them, even if I wanted to. My body responded, all right, and it felt too good to start resisting when his hands got inside my legs and slowly spread them apart, just few inches, only enough for him to get access to my pussy. When he started caressing it, I thought I was going to die – it felt soooo good. I think I must have had an orgasm within minutes, right there, through my jeans. I never knew it was possible – at least not with me.
I tried to picture her, the beautiful Nina, with her long, blonde hair and deep blue eyes, having an orgasm, fully clothed, laying on the floor, slightly spread legs, with some almost random guy working on her pussy and watching her come. There is nothing more beautiful in the world than seeing a beautiful woman sighing in orgasm. I had to hand it to him – the guy was really an artist.
When I came to and slowly opened my eyes, my mind still reeling, I saw the world around me as through the fog – as if I didn't belong in it at all. And at that moment I couldn't care less.
He didn't stop, though. For him, that was just a beginning, while I already felt at the end. Once I come, I lose all interest in sex and I don't want to do it anymore. But when I felt him undressing me, I didn't have the energy to stop him – besides, I didn't even care to. I was just lying there, exhausted, body dead as a tree trunk.
Within a minute or two I was lying on the floor naked, as bare as in the moment of my birth, in front of him, all exposed and vulnerable. But I didn't care, for all this time he never stopped caressing my body. And it still felt nice, even better than before. It was like million fire ants crawling over my body. When his fingers got between my legs yet again, I was instantly ready – this time I spread my legs myself, he didn't have to do it. Without clothes to be in a way between my pussy and his fingers, he worked me up in no time – I never felt aroused so quickly after one orgasm. Usually I need hours sometimes even days, but now... I don't know. He was amazingly good with his fingers. He was a true master at it. He knew exactly what to do because I came a second time within two or three minutes. To this day I can't explain it in detail what he was doing, I only know my head exploded and I think I lost consciousness for few seconds.