He always called me Toy.
Even in public, it was Toy. That one dismissive syllable defined me. I worried about people hearing and judging, but that was short-lived. It was as if the general public was deaf. He noticed my discomfort, of course. He noticed everything. At first, I just figured he was preternaturally aware.
"People hear only what they want to hear, which is nothing," he said. "They are too busy thinking of what they're going to say when you're done speaking."
The shadows are creeping up my leg as I sit here, trying to rip a memory from my head and put it on paper. I light a lamp, exhausted from my attempt at recall, and those six little words rise from deep within me, bringing it all back—the touch of his fingers, the caress of the whip, the keen smell of leather—all in eight innocent syllables.
I would do anything for him.
That's not hyperbole. I abased myself in so many ways. The first day we met, he bound my thin wrists behind me with his cheap canvas belt and fed me green grapes. His calloused fingers slipped each smooth-skinned fruit between my plush lips and onto my tongue.
Once that first grape passed my married lips, I was newly labile.
"No teeth," he said mildly. He was rarely stern. He knew severity was unnecessary. He held a napkin in front of my lips. That's the way it would be with him; he would come just so close and leave it up to me to move those final inches—breach that final barrier to humiliation.
That day, I clumsily leaned forward and dried my lips and chin. He smiled, and it would have been beautiful if not for a chipped incisor that made his every grin sardonic. He never mentioned where he'd lost that insignificant piece of himself. I certainly never asked. At that time, I feared the answer. I dreaded his past as much as I did my future.
"Now, Toy, I own your mouth forever," he said through that grin.
I felt a double-gush of desire somewhere in my core. Once at his words and again at the thought of how he'd claim my other holes. His other holes.
To what can I compare being with him? I am metaphorically inadequate. An epiphany? Rapture? It felt like it on the days he picked me up in his car. I'd wait on cold, anonymous corners, wearing shift-like dresses without underwear, legs spread to welcome the chill like it was a living creature.
We'd drive to the nearest empty lot. I guess I can only equate what followed to standing on a mountaintop during an earthquake. My body would rock from his onslaught, screaming and biting his shoulder as my dirty feet left footprints on the inside of his car roof.
It was on our penultimate day together that he told me who he was. We were in his grave-cold apartment, where strips of paint—undoubtedly lead-based—peeled from the walls like old, impotent tape.
I was splayed on his sprung mattress with his greased fist burrowing slowly toward my womb. A flattened tube of KY lay like a dead soldier next to me. In between countless orgasms, I told him my vagina was a python swallowing prey.
"Oh, my God, who are you?" It wasn't a question, just a celebration of the fact that fate landed him in a room with me.
He unfurled one finger and tickled me from the inside. My cunt released a Fourth of July extravaganza of pleasure rockets throughout my body, while outside in the inarticulate air only the subtle shadow of his forearm muscle rippling gave away the movement of that extraordinary digit.
"Jesus," he answered matter-of-factly when I had ceased bucking and he was able to effect a slimy extraction.
I looked at his dead-white skin—a prison pallor, he'd called it once. His body was a topographical map of scars that I could not read, but I could decipher enough of it to understand violence lived inside him. I did not ask if he really was in prison. I rarely asked him anything at all. It was enough to watch him breathe and know that he was. But now I was puzzled.
"Jesus?" I pronounced the J as an H, in the Latino manner, even though he had not. I turned my body toward him. The shift allowed air into my gaping pussy, and I shivered.
He flashed his broken-toothed grin. "Jesus. With the J. As in Christ. My name is Jesus Christ."
It took me a couple of minutes to realize my lover was saying he was the Son of God, but in my defense, I've always been rather obtuse after an orgasm.
"But aren't you a masochist?"
He met my disbelief with a smile and stood. In the half-light of his gritty apartment in a neighborhood that, before him, I'd only known enough to give wide berth, clothed, he was skinny. Naked, he was a statement of masculine dominance. When he moved, he was captivating, the play of his muscles illuminated like a star under a microscope. Seeing him take off his shirt was like turning a dim corner and being surprised by the lights of Times Square.
"Well, you fuck like a god, at any rate," I said, trying to soften the disbelief on my face.
Would he beat me for my impudent skepticism? I hoped so.
He just turned to face me squarely. I watched his cock, still suggestively tumescent, strain toward me like a divining rod toward dampness. Jesus—or whomever. I wanted him again.
I painstakingly maneuvered to my knees atop the bed. I was sore everywhere. He watched with patient hunger, making no move to help. He forbade me to stand in his presence when we were alone. A week ago, I'd forgotten and walked to the bathroom. I spent the next four hours standing with my hands clasped behind my back while he frigged me within a razor's edge of orgasm, bringing me back each time by finger-painting candle wax onto my clit and nipples.
I found purchase on the old mattress and crawled to him. He, of course, made no move in my direction. My lips brushed his cock.
"Earthly pleasure, my Lord?" I murmured into his peehole.
The corners of his lips twitched, and he made the slightest of nods. I proceeded as he'd taught me, opening my mouth wide as I could and descending upon him.
When he poked the entrance of my throat, I clamped my lips shut. He loved it when I shocked his penis like that, sequestering a gulp of it inside me. I stared up at him. His nostrils flared as I drew my head back and slid forward again, my tongue connecting dots on the underside of his cock as my hands took hold of his sharp hipbones. He was close, I knew that. After fisting me to several crashing orgasms, he must be.
I struggled forward, spluttering, for that final half inch. It had proved elusive so far. I had never tasted his come because I had failed to take his entirety inside my mouth. He will not allow me to taste until I do, until I can breathe his pussy-damp pubic hair and rest my chin against his balls.
This rule had actually made me cry in frustration, but this is what got me wet, having clearly defined and ruthlessly legislated erogenous borders. They kept my need sharp and achy. Instead of coming in my mouth, he usually exploded on my tingling breasts and did not allow me to wash it off. I'd sit on the subway afterward, my blouse clinging to me, sticky from ropy tendrils of my Master's come.
I gagged and jerked back, and he stepped away, his cock exiting with a blush-inducing pop. I looked up in disappointment.
"You didn't earn it. I'll probably just jerk off when you leave. Goodbye, Toy."
Toy... an epithet, or careless remark, never a saccharine endearment. I wanted to cry. I needed to come. Again.
He allowed me to stand while I dressed. "Thank you, Sir."
I stared at the floor so I could pretend ignorance of his cold gaze, pinning me. I felt swollen, a graceless dirigible as I stumbled into my heels. Enough orgasms disrupted my equilibrium, I'd recently discovered.
I opened the door to walk out but turned back.
"Please, Sir, can you tell me your real name?"
"I did," he said.
He ripped the filter from one of my cigarettes and tossed it in the ashtray. I heard the tobacco sizzle. He lit it with the same candle he'd made dance like a firefly a hands-breadth above my strawberry nipples an hour ago.
"Why do you doubt me? Have I lied to you before, Toy?"
"Well, then why can't I be Jesus?"
My brain spun. I repeated what I said before about him being a masochist.
He laughed. "I am what I am," he mocked.
"Look at you!" I shouted. I didn't appreciate being made fun of. Humiliated, fine, but mocked by this broken-down fringe character without the money for a haircut? "You're beaten down, you're poor, and, and scarred, and mean!" Rage is always a thief, stealing my vocabulary and reducing me to a Dick and Jane reader.
I took a breath.
"You make me do disgusting things and crave them. You are cruel, Jesus isn't cruel."
He had been lazing in the bed. He bounced up without using his hands and loomed in front of me. I flinched and felt a surge of desire. He was pure, naked animal.
"You cannot imagine a cruel God, Toy? Perhaps not, perhaps cruelty doesn't exist on the Upper East Side. You cannot fathom a deity who supplies what you need, but makes you hate yourself for needing it?"
"But..." I looked around. Squalid was the only word for it.
"Where should I be? Rodeo Drive? Park Avenue?" He was chiding me gently now. "Should I be where fat men and bejeweled women are eating caviar and sipping champagne with their lapdogs in the restaurant seat beside them? Or should I be where mothers have hands calloused by mean work, and children's bellies grumble through the night?"
This is impossible. This whole discussion. I stepped through the open doorway to depart forever.
I never made it. My knees shook as I looked down at his fingers gripping my sore nipple through the thin material of my blouse. I wore no bra.
With a desperate glance behind me, I slid helplessly to my knees. I tried not to think of what might be crawling on the hallway floor, or the fact that any of the winos or junkies trudging—or peeing—in the hall could see me. But then his cock stiffened and my mind emptied of all but subjugated lust.
It rose in jerks, growing to twice its usual size and more—impossibly large, much, much larger than I'd ever seen it before. Its head, pointed at my face, moved close even though his feet remained planted. It grew as if he'd pressed a button. Then my sight blurred with tears as he skewered my face on his miraculous cock.
He buried half with one thrust, and I could only try not to choke. It felt like a living creature invading my mouth. I grabbed his thighs for balance.
I'm going to puke. I'm going to puke and his penis will shove my vomit down my throat and I will die. My ears roared and drool leaked around his pulsing cock. I felt my jaws crackle as I opened wider, gasping for air, inhaling through my nose as he pushed into my throat where no man had ever been.
He fed me more, impossibly more—oh God, I believe you, please make it stop, this can't be a mortal cock. Then he spoke to me. He didn't use words, it is hard to describe even now. Instead of the coming through his lips, it was as if he had planted a suggestion inside me. It wasn't a voice, but at the same time it wasn't quite my own thought. The best way to describe it is when you go to sleep at night with a huge problem and wake up the next morning knowing exactly what to do. Without the distraction of unconsciousness, I could actually feel it being implanted.
You can take it all. You will take it all.
Thankfully, his direction agreed with the wetness between my legs. Grabbing his ass, I rammed my head forward, taking more of his thick, burning length into my now welcoming throat.
Finally, my nose mashed against his pubic bone. I struggled for air, wondering if I could die like this, when his voice went through me like a glass of water in the desert.
The caress of his voice erased my pain. My throat was open, and I was able to breathe regularly even as he swelled further before spewing down my throat.
I screamed in triumph as his back arched, and he jerked as he flooded me with his come. Even as I tasted the last of his seed, my thoughts turned to me. I was, as he'd pointed out on many occasions, a greedy toy.
I spread my knees wide apart under my skirt and realized the wetness was running down my thighs. I'd met women who thought that could never happen, that consider it a gross exaggeration if not a downright joke. I pity those women, is all I can say.
He knew what I needed, of course. He stuck his bare foot under my skirt and found my source with his toe. He nudged my clit, and I surged forward and blew on contact, screaming around his softening cock.
Through a haze, I felt him pull endlessly out of my throat, which felt abused beyond measure. He abandoned the cavern of my mouth and my jaws hung. They ached enormously.
Slumped outside the open door on my stinging knees I stared in confusion at his saliva-coated cock. Hanging semi-turgid between his thighs, it was once again, at best, a just-below-ordinary-sized apparatus; a Twizzler compared to what I know was cutting off my air supply a minute ago.
I looked up. He stared down with a deep, knowing look on his face, and then gently shut the door on me. I staggered to my feet, doing the best I could to wipe my mouth clean before going home to cook dinner for my husband. On him, at least, the jury was definitely in—he was no god.
Two hours later, all traces of my lover showered, shampooed and toweled away, save for a stubborn resin of semen in my throat that evaded mouthwash, I slid a plate of beef stew in front of Mark. I'd served the same exact meal for the last twelve nights. Each night, he'd absentmindedly ask what it was, and each night I'd tell him something different. My answers always appeared to satisfy him.
He acknowledged the food with a grunt and shifted his Times to a position that would simultaneously allow eating and reading.
Sitting across from him, picking at a small plate of pasta and vegetables, I stared at his furrowed brow. I have a secret, I telepathed. I have a lover who does the most evil, delicious things to me. My jaw is sore from sucking his cock and my wrists burnt from his cruel ropes and my ass is raw from his workman's hand. He claims he is Jesus, and he may be, but either way he is God to me. I would do anything for him, Mark.
I aimed thoughts at him with such vehemence that I was sure he'd look up. But he kept staring down at his paper, his sandy hair twinkling under the chandelier light. My husband is undeniably gorgeous. But unlike my lover's face, which belonged on a Roman coin, Mark's owned the petulant softness that comes with privilege. Deprivation was something he only read about when he laid the newspaper on our fourteen-thousand dollar oak table.
If he only knew how badly I wanted to be thrown on that table and whipped—and never mind if the fucking wax finish was marred—he'd have me committed.
He put down his fork and looked at me. "This is quite good, dear. What is it?"
I fought down the urge to bury my fork in his Adam's apple. "Hungarian goulash, my love, I'm glad you like it."
"Hungarian? Becoming rather adventurous, are we?"
If you only knew. I beamed him what I hoped was a benign smile.
He brought his head within three inches of the plate and shoveled the food into his mouth. It took him no more than two minutes to finish, stand and stretch.
"Thanks, my love." He flashed a polite smile and padded across the thick rug we'd purchased in Ankara last year. At Jesus's orders, I'd masturbated splayed on that same plush carpet three days ago, achieving a wailing orgasm with a candle half buried in my ass, lubricated from his come earlier in the day.
I sighed at the dishes left by my husband. Does he expect them to walk to the sink on their own? I gathered them and dumped them in the sink.
Eighteen years. The Hebrew number for luck, the time it takes to bear and raise a child to where you can legally kick it out of the house, nearly two decades. Eighteen years, the time I've spent in this infuriatingly dull marriage. Even murderers get parole.
I didn't realize how hard I was scrubbing the plate until the stoneware fractured from the force.
"Fuck!" I leapt back in pain, wildly shaking my thumb. A translucent sliver of plate was sticking out of it. That's what I get for not using the dishwasher.
I sucked on my thumb and looked into the sink. The plate was cracked in two, leaving a pair of jagged, seismic edges. Ha. If that wasn't the perfect metaphor for my marriage, I didn't know what was.
I spent two hours in our recliner, positioned in front of the TV but not really seeing the screen. Is he Jesus? How else could he have done that trick with his penis? What an absurd sentence to ever think. I went to bed when my chin refused to stay off my chest.
Mark was already on his side, facing the wall. I donned my sleeping outfit—Princeton sweats and Tweety-Bird T-shirt, and got in next to him. Mark's sole exotic trait was sleeping naked. He also slept like a corpse.
I slid my hand over his flank, then to his bottom. He was muscled like Michelangelo's David from rowing and weightlifting. His body had changed very little from when we'd met in college. Nothing about him had altered since then.
Peevishly, I let my finger drift over his asshole. I pressed lightly. His head came up, and I jerked my hand back as if burned.
"What are you doing, Antonia?" he mumbled.
"Do you know—do you know what, what you want?"
He was quiet so long I thought he'd fallen asleep. Then he sat up and our eyes met for the first time in a long, long time.
"Know what I want," he said slowly. "I want—" he broke eye contact and turned back over, some decision considered and made without a consultation, "I want to sleep, 'Tonia, nothing more than that. Goodnight." The pillow he put over his head was the period that ended our conversation.
It took a long time for me to drift off. I laid there in the dark, thinking of my cold husband, my dying marriage and my sadistic lover who may or may not be the Son of God, and I wept a bit in frustration. My last coherent thought before attaining a fitful respite was that the real tragedy of the garden and the tree of knowledge was the introduction of the dogma that getting what you want meant losing what you have.
The phone woke me after nine. Sunlight streamed through our gauzy curtains, which danced and billowed in the breeze. Mark knew how I loved waking up to this and must have opened the windows. He was often politely thoughtful. The wind carried in the smell of the park and guilt.
"Sir," I said with raspy certainty into the phone receiver.
"Toy." He owned a baritone that never failed to moisten. "Did you sleep well?"
"No, Sir. My mind, I can't turn it off for a second. It's on autopilot."
"Maybe so many years of repression have stripped its gears. Have you been thinking of what I revealed to you?"
"Yes, and of what I want."
"And what is that?"
When I said I wanted him, I could feel his sadness. It only heightened my appeal for his tyrannical touch.
"Do you believe what I told you yesterday, Toy?"
"Yes." Don't ask me how I knew he told the truth, but I did. How does a bird know how to build a nest? It just does.
"Then you must know I cannot belong to anyone, because I must belong to everyone. You almost make me wish it wasn't so, Toy. Besides, you are wrong. I'm not what you want, what I give you is what you want."
"But if you're the one who supplies what I need, then isn't that splitting hairs, Sir? And if you're for everyone, what does that mean?" My voice rose, tinged with hysteria. "You can't leave me, Sir. I'd be lost. I can't go back."
His laugh was genuine. "I'm not in the habit," he said dryly, "of leaving people lost, Toy."