Archive | September 2012

Weight A Minute


While I’ve been basically quiet, and not writing much, and feeling, if not saying, pretty blah about life and such, I’ve been doing something else – working on my weight.

Body image is probably the one thing I don’t run my mouth about on this blog and that could be because, in all honesty, though I am overweight and do have health issues relating to being at an unhealthy weight (like hypertension and type 2 diabetes), I don’t feel self-conscious about it.  I hardly ever feel un-sexy.  I sleep naked often.  I dress sexy when the clothes fit ;). And I’m not morbidly obese, just too big for my small frame, and I’m living with another health issue that my larger size doesn’t help – lyme disease.

I didn’t intentially go on a diet, and the easiest way to explain it is that I realized that I consumed three steaks in two weeks and saw how sluggish I was and knew that I needed to detox.  So, for a few days I went with veggies, fruit and water.  I started light, low-impact excercise and began seeing results.

My joints feel better, I’m sleeping better, I feel happier and I’m not craving the bad stuff.  Now, if only I could flip the creativity switch back on.  I really don’t know what’s up with that…

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Tenille…Untamed

I suppose if I took a little tally of my stories to see if more of them were on the tamer or on the kinkier side of things, I’d think they leaned more toward the tamer side.  I could be wrong, realizing that I write an awful lot about bondage and spanking, but, I put out (heh, “put out” ;)) a lot of vanilla – sex in bed stuff, too.  I’ll have to take a minute and get an accurate count one day… just not today.

On Friday, though – and my lazy ass could have put this up this weekend – I was emailed my copy of Take Me, one of the latest erotica anthologies from Mischief Books.  It features my rough sex story, Looking for Lance, and reading over the story after I transferred it to my Kindle, yeah, it was some pretty rough stuff in there.

Funny thing is, I had written the story for a completely different call, and the call wasn’t for a submissive or rough sex story.  For whatever reason, I never got the story off, and I had it ready when this opportunity came about and I guess it fit right in.  It always amazes me when something like that happens.

Anyhoo…you’ll be able to purchase a copy of your very own this Thursday!

And… looksy at the cover:

 

“Knowing Better”

I’m still finding myself quite mum lately, even with blogging, though I’ve started a few and never finished.  So, the easiest thing for me to do, my cop-out, my favorite form of active procrastination is posting a previously published story as filler…or for your reading pleasure or whatever.

This particular story was filed under “Published” though, for the life of me, I can’t remember where.  I Googled it and everything.  I want to think it might have been an indie or online literary mag, or maybe something published in the college days, though it was dated 2005.

In 2005 I was twenty-eight, but around that time I used a lot of more mature characters in my stories.  I think it was because I was daring to be different.  Not that I’m older, however, I find myself writing more about the twenty-somethings…go figure ;).

Anyway, here’s the story.  It’s not erotic, it’s just fiction.  It’s published somewhere, and blah, blah, blah, copyright, it’s mine.

Knowing Better

He had something on his mind, she could tell.  Bill Simmons was no better at hiding those devilish thoughts of his than he was at playing cards.

“Go fish,” Henrietta said, rearranging the cards in her hand while watching Bill’s eyes dart across the room.

He looked down at the spread of cards in his hand, moved then this way and that.  But instead of pulling a card from the stack, on the table Bill cleared his throat and shifted in his seat.

He looked at her then. “You look real good tonight, Henrietta,” he said.

“Thank you, Bill.”  She looked straight at him now.

Yes, he most certainly was up to something, but if he thought he was getting lucky tonight, he was sadly mistaken.

“I mean it.  You cooked up this nice meal this evening.  You’re wearing that pretty dress.”  He clasped his hands  behind his head of wiry gray hair and leaned back in his chair.

Henrietta narrowed her eyes.  He looked quite pleased with himself.

“You’ve had my meatloaf before,” she said.  “And you’ve seen me in this dress three times and you never bothered to say a mumbling word about it.  Now, just what are you trying to get at, old man?”

“All right then, I’ll just give it to you straight.”  Bill cleared his throat.  “Henrietta Mae Williams, I’d like to marry you.”  Bill sat back then and crossed his arms.

Henrietta folded her trembling lips and bit down on them hard.  She stood up and threw her cards down on the table.

“The meatloaf wasn’t that damn good.”

And just like that the night went from warm and comfortable to hot and bothersome.

She scooted her chair back and went through the door that led directly to the kitchen.  Bill followed close behind.

“It’s not a hard question, you know.”  He leaning against the doorframe, legs crossed at the ankles, glass of iced lemonade in his hand.

“That’s what you think.”

Henrietta began stacking dishes on the counter, began running water, adding a stream of orange detergent to the spray.

“I don’t know why you’re so surprised by this thing.  I’ve already asked you once.”  He sipped from his glass, licked drops of the sticky substance from his mustache.

“Well, what did I tell you then?”

She dipped her hands into the warm water, began rubbing the wet cloth over a plate.

“I believe you told me you’d think about it.”

Henrietta sucked her teeth.  “Well, you waited good and full well ‘til I was sick with pneumonia to ask.  That was just plain trickery.  Lucky I still had the good sense to know better.”

“Good sense?”  Bill grunted.  “Woman, if you had good sense, you’d take me up on my offer before I take it off the table.  Some of these ladies around here would consider this old man a catch.”  He chuckled, brushed imaginary lint off his shoulder.

Henrietta’s lips twisted into a scowl.  “And just who would you be talking about, Mary Alice Parker?  Humph, that woman considers anything on two legs a catch.”

“Anyway, this ain’t about Mary Alice Parker.  It’s about you and me.  Now, what are you gonna do woman?”  He was coming closer.  He shook the ice around in his glass.

Henrietta pulled her hands from the soapy water and flicked away the excess suds.  She placed moist hands on her generous hips.  “Bill, you’re not gonna strong arm me into getting married.  I’m a grown woman and I’ll do as I please.”

“I’m not trying to.  You’re grown.  I just figured you’d know a good thing when you saw it.  You’re not twenty-five anymore.”

“I know damn well how old I am, Bill.  I wasn’t twenty-five when you met me either.”     She pulled a rubber band out of her pocket and pulled her thick head of salt and pepper curls back into a ponytail.

She was fifty-five years old for Christ’s sake and she was too old for the fuss, too old to be entertaining conversation with a man who was even older than she was about marriage.

Maybe it was the heat that was getting to him. It was July and he wasn’t a young man by any means and she had been foolish enough to suggest they eat out on the sun porch where it was a muggy ninety-eight degrees out even with the sun down.

Henrietta looked down at Bill’s glass to make sure it was still lemonade he was sipping on and not some of that joy juice he liked to dabble in every now and then.  There was no telling what would fall out of his mouth when he was drinking.

“Let me see what you got in that glass, Bill Simmons.”

He caught her by her wrist.  “This glass is fine.  I haven’t even had a sip.”

“Well, it sounds to me like you’ve had a sip of something.”

Bill cocked his head.  “Now why would you say that?  Just ‘cause I want to make an honest woman out of you?”

“I’ve been an honest woman all my life.”

Bill’s response was a grunt and Henrietta went back to washing dishes, pretending to ignore him pouting in her doorway.

She had been married before.  He knew that.  He had been married himself, but his wife had died some years ago.  And from what he said, the woman had been mean as a snake anyway, so you think he’d know better, wouldn’t be so quick to jump back into something that could turn kind people so cold and ugly.

Henrietta hadn’t been looking for much when he started coming around, and neither was he.  At fifty-eight, Bill was retired but still good with his hands and he took odd jobs around town.  He had mostly wanted to keep busy with the house all empty, his wife being gone and his son being in the Air Force.

When he offered to stop by every now and then to take care of things around the house, Henrietta agreed.  He fixed leaky faucets and loose floorboards and charged her next to nothing.  HeHH  HHHhhlslslsljdjdjdjdjdjjdjjfjjjjSoon Bill was bringing her ice cream and renting movies for them to watch together.

And Henrietta, in turn, starched and ironed Bill’s shirts, fixed him a plate whenever she cooked something he liked and told him just when to pick his tomatoes.

Their exchange of niceties had somehow lead to something comfortable, something easy that stretched between them for more than five years.  And it was right, this thing between them.  It didn’t need mending, didn’t need to be tampered with.  Hell, she knew full well what happened when you tugged at strings.

And they had come this far without the water so much as trembling.

Marriage indeed.

No one was knocking down her door hollering about marriage when she had two hungry kids, when she was pulling double shifts at the hospital just to make ends meet after their good for nothing daddy up and left.  And after they were grown, Henrietta found she didn’t much miss entertaining folks anyhow.  She could watch fantasies on televisions.  But when Bill came around, tending to her yard, redoing her pipes, she found she enjoyed the company, liked talking to somebody who talked back, who smiled and touched her hand, who, in the darkest of night, made her feel like a woman.

Sure, Bill had his moments where he couldn’t see the line between what they had and what he saw on that daytime television she sometimes caught him watching.  But it only lasted as long as his scotch induced haze and just like that he was on to the next thing.

But tonight he was not moving on.

He spoke again. “Well, what do you say?”

“Just what do you propose we’d do once we were married?” Henrietta sent the words sailing into silence, afraid of what his response would be.

“Lay down together.  Wake up together.  Have one house instead of two.  Get old.”

“We already old.”

“You know, Henrietta, you hide me like I’m some secret you got to keep.  You don’t invite me over when your girls are done visiting.  You all but push me out the door before the sun comes up.  Why should I believe you want me at all?”

“Look Bill, it’s been a nice evening.  We’re enjoying each other’s company. Why do you have to go and ruin it?”

Except it was already ruined.

He joined her at the sink now, sticking his hands on the right side and proceeding to rinse the soapy dishes with warm water.  He took a plate from her hands, rinsed it and placed it in the rack to drain.

“See, we could do this every night if you would just tell me yes.”

“You never help me wash dishes and I’m not about to be fooled that you’re gonna start now.”

“Ok, so washing dishes ain’t my thing,” Bill said, shaking excess water off a coffee mug and placing it in the rack.  “But what I can promise you is a whole lot of this.”  He kissed her on her neck, his lips warm, his tongue moist.  He nuzzled her nape with his nose.

Henrietta shrugged him off.  “You play dirty, Bill Simmons, you really do.”  She turned and kissed him, slipped her hands around his waist.  “And I think I need to teach you a lesson.  Come here.”

Henrietta knew exactly how to shut him up, how to get his mind off that marriage business once and for all and onto other things.

She led him to her bedroom, the place when she like to sleep alone most nights, but on certain nights, nights like tonight, it was the place where she allowed her passions to rise up and exit her body.  And while she wasn’t twenty-five, she could make him think she was, could make him feel like he was twenty-five.

She helped him out of his clothes, let him watch her step out of her own.  They lay facing each other in her bed, then she drew him closer, kissed his lips, and crawled into his arms.

~

She watched him while he slept, watched his chest rise and fall.  They were naked beneath the covers, having slept skin to skin as they always did and as she always did, Henrietta awakened before him, not moving until his eyes fluttered open.

But this time he wasn’t smiling or waiting for her lips.  This morning Bill’s lips remained the thin straight line they had been all night.

His eyes met hers, holding them in place until finally, she spoke.

“I can’t do it, Bill,” Henrietta said.  I know I could tell you yes and string you along for another year, but I can’t do that to you.  I like things the way they are and I don’t want it to change.”

“Things don’t have to change.”

His eyes were pleading with her now and she turned away from them.

“But it would, all of it.  Couldn’t we just keep things as is?  Leave this marriage thing alone and just keep going the way we are?”

“That’s something I can’t do, Henrietta, because where I am is in love with a woman who I want to make my wife.  That’s all there is for me.  And as much as I love you, I can’t keep going like this.”

Bill rose up and threw the covers off him.  He lifted himself off the mattress and began gathering his clothes from the pile had made on the floor.

She watched him dress, pull his underwear and t-shirt on.  She watched him zip and button his trousers, button his shirt.  It was what Bill did every time, the exact order in which he did it, but this time Henrietta studied the way he moved, the way his cologne smelled, the way the cuff of his pants fell over his boots.

His keys jingled in his pocket.  He scanned the room for his glasses.

“On the dresser,” she said, “next to your watch.”

He nodded and put both on.

“I can make you a little breakfast before you go.  I’ve got some of those sausage patties you like.”

“No, that’s all right.  I’ve got to stop by the house, anyway.  I’ll grab something then.”

Henrietta was desperate now, grasping at the man she could feel slipping through her fingers.

“Okay.  Well, how about dinner this evening?  You’ll be by, right?  To drop off your shirts?”

“No, Henrietta,” Bill said, softly, calmly.  “You let me know where we stand and that’s all right.  Just let it be.”

His belongings took up two large trash bags.  She hadn’t even realized he left so much of himself there.

And she watched him walk out of her bedroom, gathering things he had left here and there.  She watched him walk out of her house, trash bag in hand.  For a brief moment the words rose up into her throat, but another thought pushed them down again and she stepped away from the door before his truck disappeared down the road, before she could see what was left of him vanish.

He’d come back, she was sure of it.  He’d go home and sleep it off, work a little in his yard and be back playing bid whist with her that evening.

But he didn’t call that afternoon, or for the next five days.  He didn’t come over for Sunday dinner, didn’t bring his shirts to be ironed.  He didn’t come to watch TV with her in the evenings.

And Henrietta, deciding it was better to let it cool before stirring, stayed in her house alone.

~

Henrietta found she had more time left in the days now that Bill was no longer coming around to eat her mediocre cooking, wasn’t stopping by to play a few hands of cards.  She didn’t much like solitaire and she wasted so much food now that cooking more than three of four times a week seemed crazy.

So she fooled around in her yard in the afternoons until she was sweaty and tired, until it was dark outside and all she could do was go inside and have a bath and sit in front of the television until she fell asleep.

She missed Bill, missed tripping over his shoes when she got up to use the bathroom in the middle of the night.  She missed the stink of his shaving powder early in the morning.  She missed ironing his shirts on Tuesdays.

But when she was in her yard – this particular evening clearing space for a garden – she found it was easier not to think of him.  And now, she saw she had one other thing to think of.  Henrietta was making space for a few rows of collards when she saw it, the two shiny yellow eyes set in a green, scaly head.

She stood stunned for a minute or two, then she slung the hoe so far across the yard her arms stung.  Bill would finish it up for her.  Would chop the head off that green son of a bitch.  Except she couldn’t call Bill, couldn’t ask a favor of the man she had made feel he wasn’t worthy.

She rushed inside the house, her house.  And she suddenly wondered what was so wrong with him being there, really there, all the time.  So what if she had extra laundry in her hamper?  It would give her something to do.  And she’d have someone to talk to, someone to hold her at night, someone to make sure snakes stayed out of her garden.

Henrietta picked up the phone and dialed the number quickly.  She listened to Bill’s raspy voice and then the short, sharp beep that followed.

“Bill,” she said, though she hated talking into those things, “I’ve got a snake up here.  It’s just a wee little thing, a garden snake, I think.  I was wondering, you know, if you had time after work, if you’d come by and put down some sulfur.  And maybe stay for a drink.  And maybe we could talk about that other thing, you know, what you asked me before.”

She hung up.  Maybe he had already gone to bed or was out with that Mary Alice Parker.  Maybe he had one of those caller ID boxes and didn’t want to take her call.

Even still, she didn’t feel the urge to call back and say never mind.  Only the urge to lay down and fall asleep so it could hurry up and be tomorrow so she could tell Bill Simmons, yes.

 ~

The next morning Henrietta decided she wouldn’t wait a second longer for Bill to call her back.  She didn’t know what kind of game he was playing but she was too damn old and today she was not in the mood.

So she showered, pulled her favorite spring dress out of the closet and put it on with a pair of flat sandals.  She would catch him before he went out on his jobs.  She wouldn’t give him the chance to ignore another call, or wait until he was good and ready to come and say something to her.

They were settling this thing today.  So she set out walking to his house.

But Henrietta knew it wouldn’t be so easy taking it back, everything she had said.  It wouldn’t be easy removing what thirty years of hard times had drilled into her.  And she would tell him so because he had to know he was getting a woman who was set in her ways and she wasn’t going to change over night.

Henrietta walked faster.

So help her, if she found Mary Alice Parker laying up in that house there was gonna be trouble.  She could understand Bill being upset, even pouting, giving her the silent treatment, but him going around town with the likes of Mary Alice Parker was something she just wouldn’t stand for.

Her strides were swift and long.  Her arms swung at her sides, brushing the seam of her dress as it swished back and forth.   She could see the house now, his truck parked outside.

Henrietta walked.

She’d tell him, yes, she would marry him.  She would let him lay ‘till noon in her bed, eat her scorched biscuits, leave his shirt hanging on the back of the chair.

They were going to get married and that was that.  Never mind what she said last week or even last year.  They were driving down to that courthouse first thing tomorrow morning and putting both their names on a certificate and soon after, they would stand in front of the judge and say what needed to be said.

She walked right onto the porch and felt under the mat for his spare key.  She opened the door.

The house was dark except for what little sun peeped through the blinds.  His shoes were laid out in the middle of the floor, his cloths strewn about.  She rounded the corner to his bedroom and looked down at him laying there.

Lazy bum hadn’t even dragged himself out of bed yet.  She wouldn’t be having any of that after they were married, that was for sure.

“Wake up Bill Simmons,” she said, leaning down and patting the mattress so that it shook.  “I said wake up, old man, I got something to say.”

She reached down and shook his shoulder.  Bill’s skin was cold, his face still.

“Bill…” It began as a whisper.  Then normal tones.  “Bill.”  Then a wail rose from Henrietta’s stomach, traveled through her chest and erupted from her throat.  “Bill!”

She met the floor with her knees first, her hands still gripping his shoulder.  The tears came hot and heavy, burning her cheeks, blinding her so that everything around her was blurry and blue.

Tears fell from her face onto his arms.  Bill was gone.  He had died alone.  Bill was gone thinking Henrietta didn’t want him.

Unsteady hands lifted the phone off its cradle.  Shaky fingers pressed the three numbers.  Henrietta spoke words to the operator she wouldn’t later recall.  They she crawled into Bill’s bed.

She lay beside him, placed her head in the crook of his arm.  “I love you, Bill,” she whispered. “I love you.”

She listened to the sharp sirens that whirled outside, stared at the strangers moving about in the bedroom.  She shook and nodded her head to their questions.  She watched them take her Bill away.

And Henrietta lay down in his bed and wept.

Breathe It Into Me…

Did I say I didn’t have writer’s block?  Well, if I did, I lied.  And in my fashion, when I’m going through any sort of crisis, I do what feels natural to me.  I change something.  This time, it was my hair:

I traded in dark roots and light brown tips for a drastic copper red.  I would normally cut, but I’ve made too much progress in growing it out, plus it’s getting cold, and I hate the barbershop, and…

Oh.

But, pre-family, I used to just pick up and go when I was feeling…antsy.  I can’t do that anymore.  I’m sure certain things fell into place for a reason, though, or I might have never settled down.

I don’t know that it’s even true writer’s block that I have going on here.  I can write something.  Hell, I’m writing this blog.  And I’ve been editing for what seems like forever… but, I’m hungry for something different, something new and exciting and challenging to write about and it just hasn’t come to me yet.  It’s frustrating.

Someone… blow some inspiration my way.

Pssst… speaking of inspiration, when you’re done…trot on over to Mischief Books’ website and see what inspired my and several other Mischief author’s favorite Mischief stories here.

Who, Me?

I’ve just been working my way through editing a story, approving other final edits and, in general, fretting about life and stuff.

Some payments for some stories written a while back have trickled in, which got me to thinking about writing and money and I started putting together a blog post for it, which isn’t quite ready.

But, it let me know I need to tie up loose ends and get going on new projects so that I can have more things in the que.

Rainy today.  I’d rather be in bed.

“Waiting”

I decided to post a story today.  It’s a longer piece, which I found odd when I realized it this morning because back then I stayed in the 1500-2500 word range.  It’s a f/f story featuring a Brazilian and American woman, originally published in Iridescence: Sensuous Shades of Lesbian Erotica edited by Jolie du Pre.

 

Waiting

 

 I wait for Lucinda in the living room, my restless limbs shaking and tapping against the bottom of the couch. I have been waiting this time for two hours – she had arrived last time at four- and now almost a quarter after six, the cars only continue to pass, horns honking, brakes screeching on these rainy Brazilian streets.

I have a mantra that I always practice in my head while I wait for her:  Let her knock twice.  Count to five.  Walk slowly.  Be sure to look surprised.  Don’t look as though you’ve been waiting – never let her know how long you’ve been waiting.

I’ve never stuck to that mantra, though, and today is no different.  And at five ‘til seven, when, finally, one of the vehicles slow and stop, I spring from my seat as though I’ve been pushed.

I hurry to the window and see Lucinda let herself out of the backseat – she’ll take no help from the driver – and bend over for her bags.  From behind the curtain, she looks as though she is loaded with energy, like she could run the hundred feet to the door, her heavy bags in tow, without even giving out of breath. 

Lucinda pays quickly before I can even get outside to offer and brings her own bags to door. She drops them on the mat before she brings up her fist to knock softly and swiftly.

When I hear her knock, the goofiest and most ridiculous smile you’ve ever seen plasters itself across my face.  I snatch open the door, and if she had the energy, I’m sure she would laugh and tell me how silly I look, but she just cocks her head and lets her arms fall at her sides.

I reach out as if to catch a collapsing body.  With my hands around her shoulders, I guide her inside the door.  She barely makes it into the living room before her body gives in and she falls onto the couch.  I step outside and gather her bags and carry them into my bedroom. 

We don’t make plans or even speak outside these few days.  Before she arrives and after she leaves, she does not exist for me and I do not exist for her.  But, when she is here, we become what we are for this time, and for this reason alone, every summer, I wait.

 

~

 

I used to make a big fuss about the day of Lucinda’s arrival, making sure the house was cleaned up real nice and my best bottle of wine was chilling.  I always had something good simmering on the stove, and a long, romantic movie to watch in bed.  But I learned two years ago that it was a waste, all of it, as Lucinda always sleeps the first twenty-four hours like she’s been drugged.

So, now I do other things.

I leave her sitting on the couch sipping from a bottle of water while I run Lucinda’s bath.  She likes the water hot and clean, none of that fizzy, smelly stuff I put in my own bath.  She prefers the washcloth to a loofah and a bar of soap as opposed to the stuff that comes in a bottle.

I undress her slowly, slipping the straps of her sundress off her shoulders and pulling it down over her small breasts.  It slides freely down her long body and lands in a white heap around her ankles.  I resist the urge to kiss her, to press my anxious lips on to her dark berry skin, to whisper in her ear and sweetly suggest that we bypass the bath all together and fall into my bed and get tangled in the sheets.

But I know that will come in time.

Lucinda stretches her arms high above her head.  Her breasts rise slightly on her chest like small hills on a dark stretch of land.  She pulls her dark locks atop her head and slides in bobby pins to keep it in place.  Last year they had barely grazed her ear and she had kept them away from her face with scarves and wooden headbands, now they are past her shoulders.

I place her clothes in a pile to be washed later.  We walk slowly into the bathroom and Lucinda steps into the tub, lowering her body into the steaming water.  Too tired to move once her body is submerged, she lays back against the bath pillow and I begin to take care of her.

I pull the washcloth down her back, paying close attention to the many small ridges of her spine.  I wash her shoulders and her neck.  Lucinda shakes with fits of giggles as the washcloth tickles the lobe of her ear.

I reach around in front and gently wash her breasts and belly.  I wash her legs, her thighs and her knees.  I pull the cloth between each toe and wash the bottom of her feet.

Then I part her thighs and wash there, too.  She relaxes then and closes her eyes.  She throws back her head and licks her lips.  I know not to go farther than this.  I know she is not quite ready. 

I tap her on one wet knee and say, “All done.”

Lucinda grabs my hand and uses my shoulder for leverage as she steps out of the tub and onto the towel I have stretched out on the floor.  With another large towel, I dry Lucinda’s body.  Then I wrap it around her and she steps back into the bedroom.

She sleeps in a t-shirt and a pair of gym shorts.  I opt for a tank top and panties.  She crawls into the bed and slides under the covers.  I lay down on a pallet of quilts and sheets on the floor beside the bed.  I used to climb into bed beside her, cradling her in my arms, but she never slept well that way, not on the first night, so now, this is what we do.

I have long since given up on talking the first night, of catching up on the past year and chatting until we are both asleep because I know that as soon as Lucinda’s head hits the pillow, she is transported into a world far, far from here.

She is the only one who sleeps peacefully the first night because I always have to fight to keep myself from reaching up and touching her, have to fight to keep myself in place and not lay down beside her, to not begin to ask the many questions that clutter my mind.

The only thing that calms me is the fact that she is here, that for the next three days we will lay, we will speak, we will love and this is what warms me, and on the first night, gently rocks me to sleep.

 

~

 

On the second night, I feed her.  Lucinda is always hungriest when she is here.  At home, she says she eats like a bird, sometimes forgetting to take breakfast or even dinner when she comes in from her studio too tired to cook.  But here, in my home and at my little kitchen table, her thin, moist lips are always eager for new tastes.  She often jokes that she had planned it that way, that she had decided her next woman would have to be a damn fine cook to keep her interested.

And though I know she is only joking, I cook tons of food when she comes, as if feeding her will keep her here.  I make things especially for Lucinda, flavor them with seasonings that I know will make her lips curve and eyebrows arch.  I fix things I don’t normally care to eat myself or even care to serve customers from my stand at the beach.

The second night, I fill my kitchen with baked codfish and rice, lettuce salad and fresh mango.  I serve Lucinda from dishes rarely touched.

She tastes everything – chewing, nodding, and smiling.  She shares her food with me as if she is showing me something I myself haven’t experienced before and I take it from her fork, from her palm, from her fingers as if it is the newest and sweetest taste in the world.

 

~

 

After all, it was this food, these tastes that first bought Lucinda to me five years ago.

 She had been coming from America to Sao Luis every year to teach a workshop in the summer.  She came to my stand one day and asked for one red fish, whole.   She had heard it was good and if it really was that good to ask for half would have been a waste and frankly, half of a divine tasting red fish would have pissed her off.

I remember how I watched her devour every bite, how she followed each morsel with a piece of white bread, how she ate everything from the napkin before she crumpled it in her palm and wiped at the corners of her mouth. 

It was as good as they said, Lucinda had told me, turning up her small cup of rum punch.  She wondered, then, what other dishes I could make that were half as good as my red fish. 

So, that very night I invited her over for breaded beefsteak and fed her with my fingers.  She showed me some of her paintings for three days after, we talked and touched and loved.

Then she was gone.  And although I slipped my phone number into her satchel next to her sketchpad and paintbrushes, she never called.

The next summer, she arrived on my doorstep and every summer after, it has been as though she never left. 

 

~

 

Lucinda’s lips taste sweet when she is done eating, and I can’t keep mine off them.

Her energy has returned in a thunderous roar.  We leave the dishes where they are and stumble to the bedroom.

Between kisses we remove each other’s clothes and she guides me to the bed.  She stretches her long body above mine.  Her locks fall against my shoulders and chest.  Her nipples graze my own.  Her knee is wedged between my thighs and she parts them quickly, roughly.

Lucinda lowers herself on top of me, rubbing her thigh against my cunt.  My nipples rise and harden and I am slick between my legs, sensitive to everything.  She places her hand there, sliding her palm against the wetness, her thin fingers finding their way inside.

She explores the inside of me as if seeking something and I lay hoping she never exhausts her search.  She kisses my neck and shoulders; she licks my nipples.  She slides down my body, her lips nipping at my navel while her fingers work their way in and out.

I know Lucinda wishes I would wait.  I know she wants to sink between my thighs and put her mouth there first, but I buck and jerk and unleash my orgasm against her hand.

When I can breathe again, I rub my hands cross her belly.  Hovering above her, I take her small breasts into my mouth one by one.  I am finally free to explore her and I part her knees gently with my palms, pulling my hand against the warm skin on her thighs until I find the fuzzy center just below her navel.

Every time I touch her it is as if touching her for the first time.  There is always something new to explore, something that has always been there but I’ve never seen, like a deep curve in her hips or a scar on her legs. 

Her eyelids flutter now when my lips touch her.  She folds her lips, terribly close to orgasm; she breathes heavily immediately following.

We are never as close as those few moments after we make love.  When we lay where we’ve collapsed as if moving would disturb the calm.

“I like your hair like this,” she says, reaching over to touch it.  “It’s sassy.  It’s you.”

“Really?  You like it?”  I reach up and pull my fingers through the slick waves, shy, self-conscious.   

“I love it, Gabriela,” she says. 

I am sure my cheeks are flushed. 

I say, “It’s been a hot summer and I needed a change.  Yours has grown a lot since last year.”

I reach for it, twirl the rough tendrils between my fingers.  A smile spreads across her face as she places her hand on top of mind and guides it from her hair to below her waist where it is wet and warm and waiting for me.

           

~

 

 

On the third night, Lucinda and I sit together in a tub of warm, soapy water, my legs wrapped around her.  My hands slide over her long, lean body, washing and massaging her soft, dark skin.  I rub my lips across the slick places on her neck and shoulders.  I slip my arms underneath hers and clasp my hands across the slight curve of her belly and pull her body back against mine.  I inhale her scent and enjoy her warmth.

When the water goes cold, she sits straight up.  With her back still turned to me, she speaks. 

“I’ve been offered a fellowship back home,” she says.

I smile because I like when Lucinda speaks of home, when she lets me into her world for brief moments like this, I am happy.  I am proud.

“Oh really?” I say.  “When did you find out?” I never ask her questions, but she makes me feel that this time it’s all right.

“I found out a few months ago, right before I left to come here.”  She hesitates for a moment, and then she adds, “It starts next summer.”

I try not to be alarmed at the words.  “Oh.  Early summer, then, or later when you’re done here?”

Lucinda turns to look at me.  Her smile is slight.  She reaches for my hand.

“No, it’s mid-summer, actually.  And no, there won’t be any here next year.”

The washcloth falls from my hand into the water.  I hold on to the tub for balance.  I don’t look at her when I repeat, “No here?”

Lucinda immediately begins speaking again.  “I know what you’re thinking, Gabriela, and I want you to know it wasn’t easy for me at all, but this is such a great opportunity for me.  It offers a lot of money, more than I ever made coming here all these summers and it would mean a lot more chances to show my work.” 

She pauses, licking her lips.  “I thought about not telling you at all.  I thought about just leaving here and not looking back, but next year this time… knowing you’re expecting me, looking for me, waiting for me…  It wouldn’t have been right and I wouldn’t have been able to live with myself.”

“It isn’t right,” I say and step out of the tub.

I pull a towel from the rack and wrap it around me.  “It isn’t right for you to do me this way, for you to come here this time like it’s no different from any other time.  You might as well have said it as soon as you hit the door, Lucinda, or better yet, not come at all.”

“Would you have wanted that?”  She steps out of the tub and takes the extra towel.  She brushes her hand against my arm.

I shrug.  I feel a tightness in my chest that is uncomfortable and unfamiliar.

Lucinda is speaking again.  “Look, we never made plans for the future.  We never really said what this would be.”

For the first time I want to ask if she loves someone else, if that is the reason.  I am careful not to look at her, to walk into the bedroom and busy myself with putting on my nightclothes and brushing my hair.

She approaches me from behind and holds onto my hips.  I am angry and I don’t welcome her touch.  As much as I want to, I don’t turn around and fall into her arms.

I crawl into bed and turn my back to her when she climbs in beside me.  My eyes remain wide open as night goes to day and I rise when I know it is time for Lucinda to prepare to leave.

We busy ourselves with getting her bags packed and calling the taxi.  I send a fish sandwich and a small mango with her.  I give her my cheek when she leans forward to kiss me.

When Lucinda takes her bags from the living room to the end of the driveway, I do not offer my help.  And when we hug, I beg the tears not to fall.

I close the door behind her.  I do not say goodbye.

           

~

 

When I arrive, I am tired and I am hungry.  I long for her arms, for her lips.  I wait outside her door until she arrives, satchel in hand, stained smock covering her cropped t-shirt and baggy jeans.

I look at her face when I can’t keep my eyes away any longer.  I want to see it there, what she feels, what she doesn’t, what she wants to say and cannot.

Lucinda doesn’t speak.  She doesn’t ask how or why.  She only drops her satchel at her feet and crouches in front of me.  She cups my chin in her hand, her fingers soft against my cheek.  Then she stands and offers her hand.

I grab on and struggle to my feet. 

She reaches into her pocket and pulls out her keys.  “I haven’t had a chance to clean up around here, so, you’ll have to excuse the mess,” she says as if these are words she speaks to me every day. 

She pushes open the door and steps aside to let me in first. 

“Oh, it’s fine,” I say, just as casually, and step over a bag of garbage she forgot to put outside.

“I don’t know if you’re hungry but I usually get in pretty late around here.  I end up ordering out all the time.  Mostly pizza.  You like pizza, right, Gabriela?”

Before I can answer, she pulls a large flat box from the refrigerator and I mumble, “sure.”

“Microwave’s in the kitchen.  I think I’ve got some paper plates in the cabinet.”

“Okay.”

Lucinda rubs her hand across the front of her jeans.  “I’m just gonna go grab a quick shower before this paint sets in.  You just, uh, make yourself at home.”

She disappears into the bathroom and her shower takes longer than it takes for me to eat, clean the kitchen and take out the trash.  When Lucinda emerges, she is dressed in a man’s t-shirt and pale blue drawstring pants.

She wipes her hands against her pants and stuffs them in her pockets.  “So, you wanna watch a movie or something?”

“Whatever you want to do.”  I am sitting patiently on the couch, my hands folded in my lap.

“Well, I’m pretty tired.  Worked really hard tonight.”

“Then, we can go to bed.”  I stand up and look down the hall towards the closed doors.

“Oh, yeah sure,” she says.  “I didn’t even show you to the bedroom, did I?”

I am not sure, but I think her eyes soften a bit and she smiles reaching out for me to take her hand.  She leads me to her bedroom where she places my bag against the wall below the large window.

Lucinda’s eyes dart across the room as if she herself is in a foreign environment.

“I’m gonna let you get changed, then I’ll come in and say goodnight,” she says.

I stop pulling at the button on my blouse.  “Then you…you’re not… staying?”

She folds her lips, pulls at the drawstring on her pants.  “Well, it was a long trip and I figure you must be pretty tired.  I’m just gonna crash out here on the couch tonight so you can get some rest.”

I want to tell Lucinda that I didn’t come here for rest, that I could have rested at home if that was what I wanted, but I say nothing.  I simply watch her turn and walk away before I pull my nightgown from my bag and slip it on.

I lie down on Lucinda’s bed, bury myself beneath the covers, pull her pillow close to my face and breathe.  I listen for her coming through the door.  I wait to feel her to crawl into bed beside me, whisper in my ear how happy she is to see me. 

I do this all night. 

 

~

 

“I’ve been waiting for you.  I’ve been up since seven.” 

I sit on the couch, my legs tucked under me.  I watch Lucinda as she walks through the front door, purse and plastic bags in hand.

“I swung by the studio.  Then I stopped and grabbed some breakfast. I didn’t know if you liked your eggs scrambled or sunny side up, so I got one of each and you can just pick.”

“You could have said something.”  I don’t mean to snap, but it comes out venomous anyway.

Lucinda exhales loudly.  “I didn’t want to wake you.”

“Then you could have called.  I was worried.”

Lucinda drops everything in her hand.  “You see!  That’s exactly what I was afraid of.  I don’t need you to worry about me, Gabriela!  I don’t need you here waiting for me.  I’m not used to this.”

I hold my head down when I don’t know what else to say.

Lucinda continues.  “Listen, I don’t know how to do this.  I’m out of my element here.” 

“I see.”  I can barely speak the words.

“We have our thing.  Four days once a summer.  It’s the way it’s always been–”

“Except it’s not anymore, Lucinda.”  I say.

Then I ask.  As much as I don’t want to hear the answer, I ask.  “By the way, how is your fellowship going?”

“Oh, that… well…”

 “I’m sorry I came here, Lucinda.  I’m sorry I’ve made things difficult for you.”  I stand and straighten my skirt.

“Gabriela, I tried to be as sensitive as I could about it, but you came here anyway.  What were you thinking?  What were your intentions, to check up on me or something?”

“I said I was sorry.”  There is a lump in my throat and quiver in my voice.

“Look, I’m sorry I’m being such a bitch about it, but you gotta know that’s how I am most times.  All those times when you’re not around, I’m stone cold.  See, you get the good parts of me, those four days when nothing else matters and everything is perfect,” Lucinda says, head cocked.

“Right.”  I bite my bottom lip.

“So, why don’t we just nix this whole thing and I run you to the airport?  Life can go on as normal… you have yours in Sao Luis and I have mine here.  You have things you need to get back to, right?  There’s your stand and your house…”

I only nod.  Speaking is too risky.  Speaking would surely bring tears and screams and words I’m not ready to hear.

I stand on unsteady feet.  I wait while Lucinda brings my still packed bags from the bedroom.  She loads them in the backseat of her car and waits for me there. 

The ride to the airport is silent but for whatever songs they play on the radio and her humming along every now and then.  The kiss she gives me at the terminal is quick and dry.

I don’t look back.

 

~

 

I sit on the couch, legs shaking, my hands restless in my lap.  I jump at the sound of every car that passes.  None of them is Lucinda.

I try and remember the way she looked, the way her voice sounded when she said her last words to me.  I think of how long her locks would be now, if there may be a few strands of gray there. 

I wonder if Lucinda is happy, if she’s finally reached the level of success she was after in her career all those years.  I wonder if she ever made time for love, if she ever will.  I wonder if someone calls her honey, if someone calls her mama.

I wonder if she knows I am here, that on the first night of the seventh summer Lucinda hasn’t come to me, I am sitting and I am waiting.

 

 

“Kill Your Little Darlings”

And to find out why, read On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft by Stephen King, if you haven’t already.  And I can’t imagine what writer or aspiring writer or Stephen King fan hasn’t already.  The 10th Anniversary edition came out in 2010.  I read it for the first time in maybe 2000 or 2001, but I know it was the hardcover edition, which I still own and refuse to give up (Kindle be damned!).  I thought about this as I was editiing the neverending story, because as I go through and chop unnecessary chunks from the piece, sometimes I wince at having to get rid or words that at first seemed so pertinent and beautiful to me.

I also harped about this on my old blog.

But, the master says, if you want to present good writing, if you want the real stuff to stand out, you have to cut the fluff, thus, “kill your little darlings.”  Yes, it can be like severing an arm, giving up a child…yes, I’m exaggerating, but you know what I’m getting at…

Anyway, that’s where I am today, getting rid of all that so that the actual story shines through.  And, oh yeah, I will never, ever stop recommending this book: