The Last Last Time

It was the sound of her boots on the sidewalk that buckled me. God damn her. Coffee. Seemed innocent. “Let’s talk,” she said, as if we could manage that without the sudden swerve and crash. Big fucking joke. Every time I saw her face, I thought, “Too much damage,” and then fell right into the middle of it all again. Over and over. The swerve. The crash. All that damage.

We sat there. She stared at her coffee. Poured too much milk and too much sugar in. “Candy coffee,” I said, like I always said, and kicked my own goddamn shin under the table for saying something I always said. I drank my tea. Fuck her and her coffee. She mumbled. I had to ask her to repeat herself. She’d stare up at me, sad eyed, and mumble something about how things were good with her and her new girlfriend. And I’d think, “Fuck you and your fucking girlfriend,” and say, “That’s cool. I’m good too.” And then she’d stare back down at her coffee and maybe stir it and sip it a little and wipe her mouth. She wiped her mouth after every sip. Every bite. I used to think it was adorable. Now I wondered what the fuck was wrong with her.

We held our dialogue close to the script.

“How’s your job?”

“It’s stupid. It’s not my real job.”

“Are you quitting?”

“Yeah, I need to quit.”

“But are you looking?”

Silence. She looked out the window pretending that she recognized someone which I knew was just a bullshit way of avoiding the question.

“Fuck it. Find something else.”

Silence. A sip of coffee and her napkin across her mouth.

“I’m serious. You hate that job. You should find something else.” I kicked myself again. What the fuck do I care? I’m not her goddamn mother. I’m not her girlfriend.

“I’ll work it out.”

It went like this. On and on. Pointless. Irritating. Me saying shit I didn’t really want to say. Her avoiding my stupid questions.  Rubbing our raw wounds up against one another. Stupid. I got another cup of tea. We sat there mostly silent. I tried to remind myself why I was sitting here. “Let’s stay close,” we decided, “Let’s not be stupid and ignore each other and pretend this never happened or feel like we have to hate each other.” I was so sick of that bullshit. The scene was too small for that crap. So many people you had to call up before a party and tell them, “So and so, your ex, will be there,” and blah blah blah and then phone call after phone call about what a shit this or that person was and how they can’t stand her anymore and won’t be in the same room and fuck that fucking crap. Fuck it.

Right. Okay. That’s why I agreed to go sit down over coffee and watch her stare silently and mumble about her new girlfriend and pretend that we’re all casual with each other and it’s cool. I blew out my breath and ran my fingers through my hair. I leaned way back in my chair and spread my knees wide. Butch to butch. Here we are. We can be buddies, right?

I cleared our glasses and we headed out for a cigarette. I hate smoking but I always smoked with her. It seemed sexy. Still does. I liked the way we walked down the sidewalk together. Side by side. Boots hitting the pavement hard. Jeans slouched down resting on the curve of our asses. Her vintage shirts. Her perfect cuffed sleeves. I usually had my jacket on. Zipped up tight. Shoulders hunched. We walked in silence. Smoking. I crushed my cigarette out under my heel while she lit up another. I jammed my hands deep in my jeans pockets and nudged her with my hip. She laughed. I looked at her. “C’mon,” she said and jerked her head towards one of the dozens of bars open in the morning in the city. Our city. The city that felt like ours, together, because we met the first week we both lived here.

It felt so good, so right, to drink those beers together. It wasn’t 10 in the morning yet and I felt the buzz hit me half way into the bottle. We didn’t say anything. We drank and read all the words on the coasters, the labels on the bottles, the signs behind the bar. She turned around and leaned her back against the bar and looked at the empty tables and the one old man sitting there with his drink. She stared at him when she talked to me, saying, “Listen. I’m glad we’re going to do this. Stay friends, I mean. I don’t know what I’d do without you.” That felt like bullshit. She started fucking some other girl and dropped me without warning weeks ago. I’m pretty sure what she’d do without me is exactly what she was doing already. But I didn’t want to lose her either. “Yeah,” I said, “Me too.”

“You’re my best friend, you know,” she said and I shoved her hard enough that she fell off the barstool and had to grab the spinning seat to keep from landing on her ass. “Fucking jerk,” she said and we laughed. I ordered us two more beers and two whiskeys. Fuck it. We were going to get drunk enough, I guess. We deserved it. I didn’t think we’d fall out like we did. But we did. Fall out of line, I mean. Fall out of our senses. Maybe I should have known. I just didn’t think she was still into me in that way. So I didn’t look for it. Or maybe I did. Maybe it’s what I had planned the whole time. Sitting there with my knees wide and my hand resting between my legs. Sucking on the bottle good and hard. Looking stoned. Looking dead to everything. Hard and stiff. Just like she always liked me. Just like I wasn’t.

“I need to piss,” I said and slid off the barstool, walking slow towards the bathroom, knowing my ass looked great in these jeans. I had a drunk smile on my face when I pushed the door open. I stood there to take it in. I love dirty bathrooms in bars. I love them. The sticky floor with wadded up toilet paper jammed into corners. The tiny porcelein sink that would pull right off of the wall any day now. The floor was tiled with square inch black and white tiles. Filthy. The toilet bowl permanently stained with a rust colored ring. I wanted to stand to pee but I’ve never been good at that and especially not when I’m drunk. I squatted over the toilet with my jeans held at my knees. “Maybe we’ll fuck in here before we go,” I thought. Stupid idea. I shook my head to rattle the thought out of there. The water in the tap was hot. Really hot. I cupped my hands and splashed my face over and over again. I ran wet hands through my hair until it was all slicked down. I combed through it with my fingers and wiped my face on my shirt tails. I looked at my teeth. “I’m stalling,” I said out loud and turned to go back.

“Rudolph Valentino,” she whistled at me. I slicked my hair with a smile. “Errol Flynn,” I answered. I never liked Valentino. She never remembered anything. Why was I sitting here strutting for her. Preening. Fuck her. Nothing was right between us when we were going out. Nothing. The fucking was great. It was everything else that was a total disaster. But when the fucking is great. When you hook up the way we did. Lost little puppies in a big new world. Well, the fucking can get you pretty far. The fucking was unlike anything I’d ever known before. Jerk my pants down, bend me over, spit covered fingers shoved into my holes. That kind of fucking. Nothing about sweet kisses and polite little pets. No more fawning about how soft each other’s cheeks were. This was fucking. Like boys. Our tiny little cocks. Ramrod stiff. Stiff jeans. Shiny boots. Thick belts. Slicked hair. Fall in line, little boy, because this is how you show it here. I fell in line for her. Or she fell in line for me. Or we both fell in line because that’s what you fucking do.

The fucking. The way we fucked. Tossing back and forth. You fuck me. No, you fuck me. We both wanted to be fucked. We both wanted someone stronger than either of us. Or weaker. We both wanted something that was more opposite. Maybe. I don’t know. I don’t think she knew. How could we know anything? How can you figure anything out when the fucking is so good and you’re both new? I remember the time she grabbed my stiff, black comb out of my back pocket and held it against my neck. It hurt like a knife. It felt dangerous. I didn’t feel like a kid playing dress up. I felt tough. Dangerous. How I wanted to feel. She cut my back with that comb. Raking it across my shoulders, she let it bite into me. Jagged red lines.

I felt the booze swirl around in my brain. The warm rush in my belly. I stared at her with my wet lower lip hanging open. A dog. She was telling me some story. Something dumb. She was shaking her head and laughing and telling me about some asshole on the bus. Something about makeup. Or maybe a pregnant lady. I wasn’t listening to her. “I want you to fuck me,” I said, too loud, in the middle of her story. She looked at her knees for a second and then grabbed my arm and we headed out the door.

She walked ahead of me, still gripping my arm, and led me to her place. She stumbled off the curb once and nearly took us both down, but she never looked at me. Not until we got inside her apartment. When the door closed she turned around and shoved me up against it. She grabbed my crotch and spat her words at me. “You want me to fuck you? You don’t hate me yet?” she hissed. The words stung. Prophetic. I am going to hate her after this, I knew. It didn’t matter. Or maybe it did. Maybe that’s why I wanted it.

I moved slowly as I turned around and put my palms flat on the door. My boots slid apart as I stuck my ass out for her. I closed my eyes and opened my throat when her arm snaked around me, her hand grabbed my belt. All the anger left me. All the frustration and hurt melted. I had her. Now. Right now. She wanted me and I was right here. Any thought of how she didn’t love me disappeared. All my tortured images of her fucking someone else vanished. Whatever pain I had would be made physical.

She punched at my clit through my jeans. Her head pushed into my back between my shoulder blades. I could hear her crying. “Shut up and fuck me,” I said. I needed her angry or desperate, not sad. She shoved my head against the door. Pain shot through my head. We were both suddenly struck as if by lightning. She unbuckled my belt but left my jeans buttoned as she scraped them down and off over my thighs. My underwear was pulled down too. She left them just below my ass. The elastic bit into my thighs. One hand held my head against the door and the other jerked my ass back against her. She slammed her hips against me. Slamming her jeans, her cunt up against my bared bottom. Without warning, her fingers jammed into me. Her other arm gripped me tight around my middle. Her head sunk against my back. I heard her boots scraping the wood. I heard her grunt. “Fuck me,” I spat out anytime I wanted to say something else.

I rolled my ass higher for her. I wanted her to see how I craved her fingers deep inside me. “Don’t you want to fuck this ass?” I snapped. She pulled her fingers out of my pussy and grabbed my neck, starting to drag me down the hall. I straightened up and stumbled toward her bedroom. Shuffling with my pants still around my knees. I crawled onto her bed without being led and pulled my jeans down to my ankles for her. “This,” I said and wagged my ass at her on all fours, rolling my back. I heard her open the closet. Her box. The glove snapping onto her hand. The wheezing sound of her nearly empty bottle of lube. “This?” she said hoarsely and I felt her in my ass. “Yes,” I said and now my own big fat tears rolled down my face. I buried my hot, shameful face in her blanket and brought my fists to my chin. I pounded my ass against her as much as she slammed into me. “Harder,” I spat through my teeth, “Harder. Harder. Harder.”

I wanted her to hurt me until I couldn’t feel anymore. None of the pleasure was there. Nothing left of the way it feels when you’re in love or think you’re in love or at least aren’t in that category of ex, lost, already used. That’s how I felt. Already used. The empty wrapper of something that tasted good a long time ago. I was crying. She was yelling. No words, but something animal. Something hurt.

This is what I needed. This last fuck where everything felt desperate and wrong. The one that would remind me not to do it again. This is what I wanted. I don’t know about her. I didn’t care.

She fucked me hard in the ass for a long time. I finally reached down between my legs and jerked my aching clit off for an orgasm that hurt like a pulled muscle, a deep cramp. I doubled over on my side and held my knees to my chest. I felt the snot dripping on my upper lip. I didn’t care. She was on her back in front of me. Her chest heaving up and down. I saw her smile. Her wide grin. Her eyes open and darting around. That clean look she gets after she fucks me.

I fucked her too. Her knees thrown up by her shoulders. All of my fingers and nearly my whole hand inside her. I leaned my weight onto her shins. She held her knees. I fucked her hard and fast. Nothing mattered but her feeling the ghost of me in her cunt after I left. The raw places on her skin.

She holds her breath just before she comes. The veins bulge in her neck. I watched her. I waited. It was time. She jerked her whole body and nearly knocked me off the bed. I slid off the mattress onto my feet, pulling up my pants. I didn’t say anything as I turned to go. “Wait,” she started to say but the word cut off halfway, “Yeah, nevermind,” she ended.

Walking home, I lit a cigarette and took a deep drag and very suddenly felt more drunk than I thought I was. My stomach pulled back into a tight ball and I knew what was coming. “Just get home,” I said to myself. A mantra I chanted block by block until I turned the key in my door and ran to the toilet to throw up. “Fuck,” I said to myself, my head in my hands, and let the tears cleanse my sweet face. I was okay. I really was. I knew it.

eLust #82

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Photo courtesy of Teachers Have Sex

Welcome to Elust #82

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Take Me

How Do I Love Thee:On Comparing Relationships

Asking all the questions…

~ Featured Post (Molly’s Picks) ~

Erotic Fiction: Fishnet Queen

I Manage My Expectations

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Sex News, Opinion, Interviews, Politics & Humor

Maybe I’m not a pervert after all
Bad Excuses
Engaging with Sexuality: A Personal Perspecti
I wish there were more porn
Cock Size: Does it matter?
Blue is not a “boy color.”

Erotic Non-Fiction

Watching My Wife With Another Man Story
Afternoon Cunnilingus & Birthday Sofa Sex
Why You Should Shave Your Partner
Oct 2014 Session – Mistress Claire
Two Days Later
Roping a cougarling
Divining Rods
Dorabella’s pink-velvet spanner

Erotic Fiction

Puppy Love
Quick & Dirty
She Says My Voice Changes for Her
THE BLINDFOLD – fear of the unknown
U is for undress…
Stay Baby…Stay.
kink of the week–glasses

Thoughts & Advice on Sex & Relationships

Slutfest Reflection
Love and Fairness
Winnowing
V is for……..
My heart turns blacker: the new rules

Thoughts & Advice on Kink & Fetish

Blast from the Fetish Video Past
The whole person approach to Submission
Down on my knees
Dominant Doppelgangers, Dominant Opposites
Four eyes
BDSM and Depression: Therapy or Self-Harm?

Poetry

Eden, Revisited: A Lusty Limerick

Writing About Writing

Stepping Stones
Centering Disabled Characters in My Erotica

 

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Quick & Dirty

Something quick. Something dirty.

…………………………………………….

The day I came home from work and saw her on the bed, face down, squirming in just a bra and panties. I dropped my coat on the floor and took a few steps towards her. I saw the cuffs on her wrists. Her fingers gripped the headboard. A large pillow was tucked under her hips. No, not a pillow. An indulgence of mine. A large black leather bolster. Her hips rocked against it.

I spanked her bottom.

I spanked her through her panties. I pushed my fingers against the side of her face. I needed to push her deep into the mattress. I spanked the backs of her thighs. I pulled her panties down to her knees and spanked her bare ass, sliding my hand between her thighs. Feeling.

The spanking lasted for only a few minutes before I climbed on top of her, clawing my way closer, tight against her. I needed to jerk off. This was for me. A display. Perfect and beautiful. A picture I’d had in my mind. Maybe I’d told her about it one night.  Maybe she just knows me.

When I climb on top of her, when I wrap my thighs around her and grind against her hip, she moans to me, happy. “Oh baby, yes,” she says.

…………………………………………….

I like to jerk off in the morning. She wraps herself around me. She tugs at my chest. Rubs the back of my hand through my underwear. She cups my fingers lightly, feeling me. She breathes against my ear or my neck. I look at her cupping the bulge my hand makes under my briefs. She tells me how handsome I am. I feel her tongue on the tip of my own. I come while she pets me. I come in her arms and let her hold me until my breathing slows.

…………………………………………….

Tonight I want to strap on a dick and fuck her. Slowly. Pull in and out. Over and again. For a long time.

I don’t want to tease my way in. I want to push her back and pin her against the floor. Pull her pants down, her panties. I want her to feel her bones against the hardwood. I’ll let the lube drip through my fingers. I don’t mind a mess. Lube on my dick. Lube on the lips of her cunt. I’ll push my fingers inside her. It starts rough. Aggressive. Impatient.

As I hold my dick in my hand and push it inside her, everything stops. Slow motion. I want her to hear how hard I’m breathing. “Put your hands on my back,”  I whisper. What I want is not her holding me. What I want is for her to feel how hot I am. The sweat already surfacing around my spine. My palms are flat on the floor on either side of her. My dick is inside her. I don’t want to look at her. Let me feel this. Everything. My belly. Hers. The hot sweat between us. Her thighs shifting open. I want to be deeper. I want to lift her hips.

Nobody comes. Not like this. I’ll kneel on the floor and pull her up onto my thighs, pushing my dick back inside her and grunting at her to jerk off. I like it when her fingers shake.

An Old Favorite

I was always kicking something as a kid. I’d find a rock on the sidewalk and stay with it. Half listening to whatever my friends were saying, I focused on kicking that rock. I liked rocks. Cans are too noisy and I didn’t like to litter. I was a kid who obeyed the rules. Rules made me nervous. I was too scared to try breaking them.

When I got older, it was the brass pole under the bar. Sitting there with my drink. Looking around. Kicking the pole or the wood with my boot. Or my heel kicking back against my barstool. My knees are always bouncing when I try to sit politely. I wipe the side of my thumb across my upper lip as a habit. I’m nervous. Jumpy. I’m never sure what I’m supposed to do. I like knowing what’s expected of me. Give me the rules. Give me a script and I’ll follow it.

Some of us need to be boxed in a little. Some of us need something wrapped around us a little tighter than the rest. I needed her warm hands on my face making me look her right in the eye. “Hush,” she’d say, “I’m here.”

I liked working hard and not talking. I worked in the yard. I hauled orders to the waiting pickup trucks. Bags of cement. Stacks of plywood. 2x4s. I came home smelling of wood. Sap stuck on the hairs of my arms. Early spring meant railroad ties and the smell of creosote. I hauled the loads and set them in the backs of waiting pickups. Laid everything out nice and neat. Stacked it all perfectly. Nodded to the customer when it was all there and walked back for the next load.

I didn’t have a girl at home. I didn’t have a girl waiting at the bar for me. I didn’t know how to find one. I went home alone. Ate alone. Opened a beer in the cockeyed metal chair outside my front door. And then another. The street light was right off my porch and shone too bright. I could see the raw skin on my hands. Too rough. “I look older than I am,” I thought, “I feel older than I am.” I didn’t mind. That’s just how it was. I felt old. I was pretty much done. And like I’ve said, I didn’t mind.

My story isn’t sad. Not to me. Don’t think I was sad. I knew what it felt like. Everything. All of it. I knew and that was enough. I didn’t want to bother with anything less. I’d tasted it. I would never forget that. She was everything.

I met her when I nearly ran over her kid. I was in my truck, cutting off work for the day. I rounded a corner and slammed on the breaks when I saw this kid, maybe 5 years old, standing in the middle of the road looking down. He had his back to me. I jumped out with my adrenaline racing, angry. I scooped him up roughly and tucked him under my arm to carry him over to the sidewalk. As soon as I let him go, he kicked my shin and ran back to the road. It was then that I saw the cat lying there. Dead. “Poor kid,” I said out loud. I walked over, more gentle this time. “Hey,” I said, putting a hand on his shoulder, “That your cat?” He nodded. “Okay,” I said, “I can help you out. Go get your mom.”

He ran inside and I grabbed the shovel out of the back of my truck. He came back with his mom. She stood there with her hand over her mouth. She was already crying hard. Gulping air. “I’ll take care of this,” I said, “We can bury her in the back.” “Him,” her boy said stubbornly, “That’s a he cat.” She put her arm around her boy and they headed around behind the house. I waited until they were out of sight before scooping the stiff cat up with my shovel. I went back to my truck and found an old towel to wrap him in. I left my car there in the road while I carried the sad little bundle of dead cat around to the back.

It was quick work. A shallow grave under a half-dead tree in their back yard. I stood off to the side, out of earshot, as they said goodbye. The boy ran over and hugged me after. I stood with my hands up in the air like someone had a gun pointed at me, not knowing how to comfort him, not feeling right about it. He ran inside and his mom wandered over to me. “Thank you, stranger,” she said. “My name’s Cyd,” I answered, “Don’t call me a stranger anymore.” She looked me right in the eye for a long time after that and I didn’t look away. It was different for me right from the start. I’m taller than I should be and tend to shuffle my feet and stare off in the distance most of the time people talk to me. But not her. I looked her straight on that day. From then on, she always made me look her in the eye. It wasn’t easy.

I remember that first day in crisp detail. What follows gets a little blurry. And the end is totally lost to me.  But that first day swims in front of me like a movie sometimes. An old favorite.

Maybe I should have more regrets about the whole thing, but I don’t. I did the best I could. I was never meant to keep a girl like that around. I count myself lucky to have had the chance at all. She was younger than me by six years but I’d spent so much time in the sun and smoked so many cigarettes that I looked a lot older than I should. We looked far apart. I know people talked even if they never had the guts to say it to my face.

She liked to dress me up and go out to the movies. I’d clean up after work, shower, she’d have a shirt waiting on the bed for me, pressed and ready to go. I’d grab my wallet and make sure I had enough to get us in and we’d go out the door, her arm in mine, walking to the cinema in the cool night. She loved the movies. Those nights, her kid would sleep at his grandma’s out in the woods. We’d come home to the house and have a good time. Drinking, fucking, she was all over me up the stairs to our bedroom. She liked to fuck before we got to the bed. Get me to fuck her on the stairs. She’d stop halfway up and bend over. I watched her kick off her boots and jerk her jeans down. Her ass pushing towards me. “Come on,” she’d snarl at me, “I want to feel it.” I’d stare at her knuckles gripping the banister rails while I jammed my fingers inside her. I couldn’t stop for anything. I’d piss my pants if I had to but I would not stop. My fingers felt rough inside her soft, wet hole. I could feel how her pussy pulled at me, wanting more. My leathered, wrinkled hand felt too bony, too skinny for her cunt, but I wrapped an arm around her and fucked her as hard as I could.

She would sigh and brush her hair off her face before walking the rest of the way up the stairs and heading into the bathroom. I’d stand there with a shaky feeling inside me, hoping she had come, not knowing for sure. Either way, she’d want more. Always more. And that made me feel good. I felt good being wanted like that. I liked the way she led me. She taught me how to fuck. Some nights, she whispered what she wanted. Told me to be rough with her. I never questioned any of it.

I’m trying to tell you so it’s clear. So you understand what this meant to me. Nothing in my life ever made me feel comfortable in myself. And it’s not that I felt at ease with her. But I never questioned. And that made all the difference. That was easy. She could tell me anything. Ask me to do anything. It was easy for me to follow instructions. It calmed me down.

Some nights, after she put her boy to bed, she’d come walk between me and the television. I’d grab her wrist and pull her to me like she liked. She’d play fight a little but it was easy pulling her knees apart. Easy to hold her still while I touched her. I could hold both her hands behind her back in one of my hands and unbutton her top with the other. She’d toss her head a little like she wanted to get free, but never struggled hard enough to make me think I should stop. She had to show me how to be in charge, but I followed easy. I felt it deep inside me. I felt her tap into who I was meant to be, who I would have been under different circumstances.

I thought it meant I was supposed to be raised a boy, but I know better now. I just needed people to let me be. She wanted that for me. She was sure I could get out of my head one day and just do what I wanted, get what I wanted. I didn’t want to disappoint her, but I knew it was too late for me. I never knew what I wanted. My mind was locked up and that key was so far gone I wouldn’t know where to look. What worked with us was how she could make me forget that sometimes. If I knew what she wanted, if I had the instructions, I could do anything.

She liked to be spanked. She liked me to take her over my knee and pull down her pants. She liked it when I’d drink too much and get a little rowdy, carrying her up the stairs and throwing her on the bed. My whole life I’d stooped and felt ashamed of being so big, but with her it felt like I was shining bright. I was big enough to take care of her. She’d melt in my arms. I knew how to hold her down with one hand and get everything else done with the other. I didn’t like to play the boy with her, strap on a dick. I know a lot of butches like that, but it just made me miserable. I’d fuck her with my hands. If she wanted something more inside her, I’d hold onto whatever it was I fucked her with. I didn’t need a dick. That felt too close to something I never wanted to be. I struggled all the time with figuring out what I wanted, but felt sure I already had it inside me. I didn’t need to change who I was, just figure it all out.

That first year was perfect. I’d come home after work and shower. I’d play with her boy in the backyard before supper. We’d all take long drives on weekends and go to the river or the woods. She’d pack sandwiches and I’d bring beer. I taught her boy to fish. It felt like we were any other family. The only difference was on birthdays or holidays they had to go without me to her parents. They had to go without me all the time to this or that. It was a regular reminder that we weren’t a real family. That was how it had to be. We couldn’t be like that. Somewhere else people might think I was her husband, but not here. I never tried to fool anybody. The whole town knew.

Her brother’s drank. I drank. She didn’t like to get us together. Mostly we stayed apart. Mostly she and I went our own way, nowhere near her brothers. Nowhere near her dad. But I guess we kept feeling like we were a family as much as anyone else and it made us stupid.

I don’t remember everything. I don’t remember a lot of things. But I remember that last Homecoming. I remember going out to the football game. I remember her sitting next to me, tucked under my arm, on the cold metal bleachers. I remember the whiskey in my flask keeping us both warm. I remember how she cheered seeing the Homecoming Queen wave at the crowd. She knew the girl’s family. She wanted to go see the lighting of the bonfire and warm up before we drove home. I wrapped my arms around her and felt that big fire warm on my face. I felt a little drunk. Happy for a minute. But the next thing I felt was a big hand on my arm, jerking me away from her. I heard her screaming. I saw everyone stare. And I ran.

I’m not proud of it, but I ran. I ran hard as far as I could go. I heard them following behind me. I heard people yelling back at the bonfire. I was scared. I jumped a ditch and headed into the sparse woods knowing that I couldn’t get away. Knowing this was only making it worse. But at least out here, this far away from the crowd, no one would see. She wouldn’t see. She wouldn’t have to be ashamed of me. Ashamed of us. Ashamed of who we were together. I got far enough into the woods and stopped, bending over and spitting. I threw up the last slugs of whiskey in my stomach before they caught up to me.

They beat me up bad. I got in a few good hits, but they beat the shit out of me. I was scared to move a muscle afterwards. I lay there on my side with a leaf stuck to my lower lip and felt the lumps swell up. I had held my arms close as they pummeled me and was pretty sure I’d kept them from breaking a rib. But my arms felt bruised and stiff. My eyes felt swollen shut. My face was warm from blood and snot and tears. I half wished they’d killed me and half wish I’d killed them.

She wanted me to call the police but I knew that would break everything between us. Everything we were together depended on a lot of denial. I was broken when she met me and only pretending to be whole. I’d know that the whole time. How could we got back to that? I should have known it was already over but nothing else mattered anymore. She took care of me. I was laid up in bed for awhile. She held my face and made me look at her even when I cried and begged her to leave me alone. When the swelling was gone but the bruises were still visible, she crawled on top of me, staying over the covers and asked me to watch her undress. She made me watch her touch herself. She told me she needed to feel my big hands on her. She told me she missed my fingers. She wouldn’t let me look away no matter how much I wanted to. She told me I could do this for her and she believed that I really could. But I knew it was all gone. It didn’t matter if I wanted to be the same person she wanted me to be. I just couldn’t.

When I could drive again, I’d leave her over and over again. Drinking in my truck out on some farm road. Driving slow on the gravel with the headlights turned off.  Watching the cows stand around in clumps. Scaring them now and again with the horn. Gripping the steering wheel until my fingers ached. I’d come home and stop up the street, letting the truck roll slow up to the house silent, so I could watch the windows without her knowing I was there. I’d drink until I stopped shaking. Drink until I felt sick. I figured she needed to hate me. I figured she’d get there pretty soon.

We still fucked, but now it was heavy and sad. We would fuck and she’d get soft with me. Too tender. Wrap my head up in her arms and pretend she wasn’t crying. I couldn’t grip her as tight as I used to. I couldn’t make her feel small and protected. I couldn’t stand up tall in font of her and close my arms around her. I’d see pictures of all the ways she liked me to fuck her and they’d make me shake inside. Anger would boil up and I’d have to go kick something. Grab a bottle and disappear.

I couldn’t stand being so useless. I couldn’t stand how she had to hold my face in her hands until I calmed down.

I got myself arrested. I did what I was always good at, fucking up. I fucked up driving drunk. I fucked up getting in a fight. I fucked up driving my pickup truck right into her mom and dad’s front yard and ripping up the lawn. I fucked it all up. I didn’t know what else to do. I wouldn’t do it differently now. I’d do it all the same.

We had a good couple of years. She loved me better than I ever thought I’d be loved. We had a nice little family. Me and her and her kid. She made me feel like everything was just right. Perfect. She made me proud the way she looked at me. She gave my dirty thoughts the sweetest place to land. I never felt more normal and right in all my life. It was all worth it. I don’t know how we could have kept going with her family thinking the way they did and the town looking at us they way they did. And maybe some people would leave, start over somewhere else, but I know she didn’t want to. It wasn’t meant to last. Not everything is.

I’ve got no regrets. I’m gone now. I picked up and went further South. Me and my truck and my hands. I’ve never had another girl. Not for more than a few weeks. Not sitting at the supper table with me. But I’ve got the gulf outside my door and a bar down the street and I don’t have to look anybody in the eye for too long if I don’t want. These days, I can remember everything good with her and it doesn’t rattle me anymore. I can jerk off remembering how I felt with her. I can think back on how sweet it all was and know I’ve had that. I know what it feels like. I can still feel it when I touch a girl and I can make that girl feel it for an hour or two with me. I know how lucky that is. And for me, that’s good enough.