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No one ever knew. Nor would they have guessed. Not to look at you. You did not look the vamp. Or the vixen. ('Nor Donner nor Blitzen,' you liked to add.)
You weren't a proper canvas. For dark alleys. Gaudy lights. Breathless nights. It was a part of your mask. That you seemed too... demure. Too modest. A disguise you neither intended nor tended. One that invited others to paint streaks of reds. And blues. Primary hues only, though. It was how they saw you. You could have disavowed the notion. With a single retort. But you would not. Good call.
You had that tee shirt. Big. Oversized. That read,
"Go ahead. Underestimate Me. That'll Be Fun."
White shirt. Red text. Primary.
You only wore the shirt in your flat. The attitude you wore always. You would pad across the wood floor worn bare at the major thoroughfares. Tee shirt. Panties. Bare feet in summer. Those woolly socks in winter. When the radiator would call in sick. No matter the season. I would watch you. See you. When your focus was on something bubbling on the tiny stove. Or tidying the place. I am not sure I ever wanted you more when it was me that was your focus. I think you came to wear the tee when you wanted me. To want you. Like a red cape to the bull.
You would ride me. Not always. But it was a staple. In our menu. I cannot say which of us liked the position more. Probably you. You lost yourself in it. Like it fed you. Our sex. Every sense of you shouting that you loved it. Which you did. What lived behind that mask was treasure.
Lying there, deep inside you. Your tee shirt daring me to not give you your due, I would match your pace. Your movement causing me to swell. Grow fuller against your walls. Warm. Wet. Tight. Which sent you onward to new, more raucous movements (but gyrations also more precise, a feat I still admire). And we would cycle like that. Often for a quite a while.
When you had made your choice. Or surrender. That atop me was the climax you had committed to. Your head would begin to move side to side. Not in the negative. But as if consumed by music only you could hear. Your hair would fling and fly. Eventually obscuring most of your face. Your hands would go to my ribs. Your movements shifted vertical. Hips as pistons. Shorter. Faster.
And I would know. My reach would go beneath that tee. Claim your breasts. Small. Firm. Beautiful. My hands covering them. Your grasp would move to my wrists. Through the shirt. Motion would transition. Long. Slow. Plunges and Withdrawls. The precipice. Nipples taken between thumbs and index fingers. Pull. Pinch. Twist. All in proper measure.
And you were done. Your head would fall back, abandoned by self-awareness. Your sounds primal. Whether moans and cries. Or screams of heavenly pleas. Or profane invocations.
Or just an intrinsically felt, "God yes. Fuck me!"
You shared the dusky shades with me. God yes. The palette beyond the primary. Colors. Infinite. All without advocate or pejorative. Made me love you all the more, of course. Not for the obvious. But for the act. The verb. Sharing. It spoke of Intimacy. Connection. Trust. So much opportunity. For so many things. When masks can be laid aside. Fuck me.
I do not remember which of us was the first to let the other see. What lay. Behind. I suspect it was you. I prefer to think it you. Even if it was me. An acknowledgement. Of the curve you brought to my character arc.
All those times. In some distant city or another. When the mask would seem stuck. Affixed. You would look at me. With an expression of great consideration. And thought.
"Let's go out tonight," you would say. "Maybe bump into someone we know."
That was your code. The prospective someone was you. The other you. Your other self. Real self. Hungry to be unleashed. Met. And embraced. By you. And me.
So out we would go. To parts of the cities where the streets were dim. The neon brash. The music pumping.
"Now there's a metaphor," I shouted above the throbbing bass.
"More like a sales tool," you countered.
Your lack of need or derrière to judge was a tonic. An inspiration. No one lesser or greater in your eyes. Not us. Not the others who wandered the dim and neon-lit lanes. Not those that served the drinks or bumped and grind-ed behind opaque glass doors that could not contain the thump, thump, thump.
For you, it was just everyone making their own ways. Including the other you. It is an empowering thing. To cherish one's own hidden sides. Challenge enough to find the attractive in what others hide. Hold back. But to like. And accept. The one that lives inside each of us. Freedom.
I would let you pick. Easy since your draw to the best dens and iniquity was uncanny. You would pull us into nightspots. Forgive me. Nightspots. A "grandmother word." Politeness for society's sake. Go-go's. Strip bars. Hookup joints. You could spot the best ones better than any man I have ever seen on the prowl.
The women loved you. No judgements. Only Freedoms. You appreciated them. For what they were. Not is spite of. Or what they were not. In you, they were seen. A bit behind the masks. And wanted. Desired. For more than a pair of heels and a warm pulse.
"More truth in here than in church," you observed.
"Probably more worshipping, too," I added.
And they would sit with us. The women. Of endless flavor and dimension. And persuasion. At your invitation. Which always brought fuller acceptance of me. In those freest of market economies. Over drinks. That would lead. From conversation. To brushes of hand. Thigh. We did not long fight the dark pull. Their pull. Hands and mouths shared. And other stops. Here and there. Explored. Thump, thump. thump. Intimacy priced by the drink.
Making out like teenagers. Because the truth. Things were never again so simple. Or intense. Or pure. As the period before the constrictions of free choice. Turns out we all knew better before we came to know better.
And our dark booth soon passed for the back seat of an enormous old car. So many Paradises, shared with you, by those dashboard lights."
To be continued...
Excepted from our flash fiction photo book, "streets: bangkok"