she shone bright in the darkness, the subtle glare of red reflecting off the one streetlight beam peeking through the curtain. her darting eyes scanning the room and smiling in recognition.

i knelt beside the door as she approached me, dug my intestines out through my naval and stretched my heart down into my crotch. it felt fluttery and warm down there. i curled around the sensation and felt the solace radiate through my body.

her lips were full and gentle, her hands captivating and soft as she held my face side by side prompting me to my feet. i held her face and pressed my nose against hers as the cold fumbled around our bodies.

i knew she didn’t feel what i felt but i was happy that she let me kiss her and hold her like that for a minute.

she didn’t encourage my feelings but she was kind enough to let me indulge in them.

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Let’s just have sex because love, love means one of us has to fall. I don’t want to fall and I don’t want you to either. So let’s choose not to. Let’s choose to stay afloat and be guided by the current, to grow and ebb with the tide. To contort our bodies into each other, to wrestle with the mania and to listen to that song which speaks the feelings we can’t articulate. Let’s take our detachment and fears and forget about them for the evening, to only know this reality. 

As lovers we are image makers and artists and unique. We’re story tellers and dream chasers. We’re the fingerprints and snow flakes and forgotten child memories, metaphors and desires out of the ordinary. The impulse is deep and old and persistent. A drug, chasing the highs but not naive enough to not anticipate the lows as consequence.

We can’t be in love because this is not how love is made. 

The only things binding are the shackles on wrists. The only things blinding are the scarfs and dust bags. The only thing warm is the melted wax from burning candles over skin. It’s concrete and viscera, it’s the wet and the hard and the dirt and the rope, it’s the only love I want to know.

 

I’ve grown compliant. My life is easy and I sleep side by side with my best friend, sometimes we touch each other. I make promises of monogamy and those promises sometimes last three whole days. Maybe this is normal. Maybe feeling unfulfilled in a relationship of four years is normal. But I can’t stop my mind from wandering, thinking of others, lying about me, my existence, my responsibilities. Maybe it’s normal for people to fantasise about others. But maybe it’s not normal to act or pursue those fantasies.

Maybe I’m not normal.

Plenty of Fish, Tinder, HER, OK Cupid, I’ve had them all and more. I think part of me enjoys creating new profiles, creating an illusion of myself because I am a narcissist. I have a palm full of sweeties, come and take one, come and taste the mystery. You’ll assume they’re sweet but it’s only me who knows they soon grow sour…

Usually I am the pursuer. Girls want to feel special – and I am good at making girls feel special – but this time it’s not me who makes the first move. One day passes and you suggest we meet for a drink.

“Number one,” you say while pointing at the recent spilled beer mark on my thigh.
“Number two,” after I knock the tobacco out of my would be hand rolled cigarette.
“Number three,” when I trip over the last cobbled step in that eery pub.

“Are you always this clumsy?” The question hangs in the air while I blush and try to regain composure.
“Are you always this judgemental?”
“I’m never judgemental but I am always observant.”

We talk a lot, mainly about me, and you quickly discover that I don’t live alone. I quickly discover that you love games. You tell me your life is all about music, food and sex. You have a sex friend. I tell you I have more than one.

From there we started to play with each other. Not a normal game but a fucking psychological war to see who would fall first.

Later, the next evening, I’m at your apartment, “what do you eat?”
“Anything but cheese.”
“Are you allergic?”
“No, I just don’t like it.

You order pizza topped with four cheeses and I fucking eat it. We fuck. I don’t come and you tell me it’s psychological. We’re laying together, you’re kissing my forehead, stroking my hair, tucking that one strand back behind my ear.

“Are you staying here tonight?” Tension and silence fill the gap between our entwined fingers. I can’t look at you but instead bury my head beneath your chin.

“I don’t do sleepovers,” I whisper as you climb on top of me, staring into my eyes, smirking. “But I do want you to fuck me.”
“I’m not fucking you.”
“I want you to fuck me.”
“You’re not here. I’ve lost count how many times you’ve looked up at the clock.”
“I am here. I’m here. I’m right fucking here,” guiding your hand to my cunt, “fuck me please.”

The smirk on your face quickly fades and I think I have gotten my own way but this isn’t for my benefit. This is about power. You’re bigger than me, stronger and you make me feel so small, weak even. Eventually you stop and we’re laying in a puddle of your accomplishment, my humility.

“Now fuck off back to your girlfriend.”
“I don’t -“

Later, another evening, I visit you after a night out and I get defensive when you ask if I’m an alcoholic, subtly reminding me that I had three beers that first day we met while you only had two.

“You make me feel uneasy and uncomfortable.”
“Well if it’s comfort you’re looking for…” you hold your arm out and I cry.
“I barely know you but you make me feel naked and vulnerable, but safe too.” You run me a bath, pick out some pyjamas too big for me and I stay the night. In the morning you heat up croissants and brew fresh coffee and we smoke too many cigarettes. You ask me if I would mind if you fuck someone else and I tell you I couldn’t know. I ask you the same and you say yes.

When I leave it’s more than two days before we talk again.

“How are you?” A text that I reluctantly send but less than a minute later you call me.
“I’ve booked for us to go away together next month. Don’t make plans that week. Don’t ask me where we are going. Don’t ask any questions. Just say yes.”

I want to ask questions, mainly why haven’t you contacted me, where have you been, and what the fuck? Instead, silence again.

“I’m sorry we’re just friends.” I say, attempting to fill the void.
“Did I ask you something?” You say my name as though I’m being summoned by my Head of Year all over again. Your accent think and full, and how my name rolls off your tongue gives me instant goosebumps. “We are incompatible. I’m the definition of possessive and you’re not ready for that. You’re not ready for me. But you do intrigue me. And I like you. And I like it when you come.”

We had plans to meet on Tuesday but after a horrible day I needed to be at home with my best friend.

You call me. “The problem with you and I is that I like to plan and you don’t. The difference between you and I is that I respect the people I schedule time for and you don’t.”

We erase each other’s numbers and agree that it maybe could have worked if we were both emotionally available.

Last night we matched on Tinder. I think part of me fell in love with her. And when I think about her I get sad. She probably won’t sleep alone tonight but I know she will still feel lonely.

“Don’t burn all your bridges down,” he warns her. “You won’t have anyone left to turn to.”

“I’ll still have you, won’t I?” Her words slurred with pain or too much beer, he doesn’t know. “You always come running back even when I make your life miserable.

You can’t stay away from me.”

He wished he could tell her she was wrong.

This is the love I know

A loveless love, a convenient love, an after dark, occasional weekend away kind of love. It’s a love I like, a love I love.

Don’t pity me because I have love at arm’s length. This love gives me a radius of love in abundance, a love for whichever direction I choose to face, a love suited to match whichever feeling, want, and need that I’d like in any moment.

A nameless love, quiet, waiting in the shadows. A keycard love, a backseat love, a £3 a minute love. A judgeless love. A let’s tell all our secrets, turn the sound off, be present, kind of love.

A love where I can be the best version of me, the version of me you like, the version of me you love.

Waiting

I let myself in and leave my bag at the door. I undress down to my underwear as per your request and kneel in my corner. Waiting.

All my senses are enhanced. My hearing attuned for any nuance of your presence, listening as you take steps on the floor above me, listening as the staircase creeks, my mind floundering and sense of time is lost.

Eyes fixated on the wall, watching for any hint of shadow. I’d close them but the quiet only grows louder, deafeningly so.

Sniff for any hint of your scent, your own signature smell traced with perfume. Panting and savouring the air like wild kittens do.

You see me and I hear a small hint of approval. Looking fiercely at the same point on the wall trying to find some composure, holding my hands tighter behind my back while a gentle graze of acknowledgement against my neck and down my back paints goosebumps over every etch of my skin.

You blindfold me and get yourself a drink. You sit down from across the room and watch me. You take my vanity and leave humility in its place as you watch my hands restlessly fidget behind my back, watch the curves of my body, watch me want you to want me.

I can feel your hunger for me fill the room. Black lace growing wet, my heart pounding in my chest, my palms mimicking what’s between my legs. Growing impatient. I want your touch, I want your attention, I want you.

Waiting isn’t a punishment, nor is it forlorn. It is an intrinsic foreplay for you know me well. You know that under my cute short blonde hair, my head is filling with erotic images from the past, present and anticipating the immediate future. Wicked thoughts running rampant with decadent possibilities. My overactive and creative mind readying my body for you without a single word.

Invite me over to you on my hands and knees, words so subtle yet they punch me hard. Winded for you, wet for you. Feel my lips with yours and catch my breath. I can taste your need, your lust, heavy and intoxicating, tantalising my tongue. Smell the bergamot embellished with my nervousness and relief, the enticing scent of your little girl desperate to be taken by your hands, a need only you can satisfy.

An Acquired Taste

Like something to everyone, I am an acquired taste. I am someone people learn to like, learn to love. I’m not someone you will fall in love with instantly. I am unapologetic and brash with no verbal filter. I am proud and not ashamed. The acne scars, stretch marks, the bruises, and blemishes are my battle wounds. They are me and I am them. I am hardened to this world and that makes me difficult to love.

Love is all-pervasive and compromising and I am not. You have to bend for love and I don’t want to chafe. 

It’s usually in a drunken haze my friends tell me that I’m “alright, actually”. Their initial notion of me being “intimidating” had changed. They had the time to see past my Resting Bitch Face. At my latest annual appraisal, my line manager’s constructive criticism concluded that I was unapproachable. Defensively, and probably proving her point, I asked her why she thought that was a bad thing. I’m here to do a job and, fuck, I am good at my job. I’m not here to play the bubbly, happy-go-lucky Dumb Blonde. And I won’t be that for you.

Here, I consider myself to be submissive but that doesn’t mean I am spineless. I have opinions and you will respect them. You will admire them and I will force you to question your own perspectives, question your own preconceived notions of what you like. And that makes me difficult to love.

Like all the best things in life, I am an acquired taste. 

Beer, good beer; whiskey; gin; coffee. Nobody likes these at first sip. But we dance with them again, then again and again, usually because of how we want to define ourselves. They give our soul extra value.

I remember my first sip of coffee. I remember asking my mother what to ask for when I entered that pretentious Artisan coffee house with their rustic bags of coffee beans pinned to the wall and wooden crates up-cycled into the uncomfortable but aesthetically pleasing – so fucking cool – seats. I was fourteen or fifteen, impressionable and I wanted be to be a grown-up. I wanted to be sophisticated and cool like the regulars who used this haven as their second home. I read my book and delicately sipped on my espresso. Bitter. Gritting through closed teeth. Take another sip. Like a college hazing, character building. This is what it takes to be a cool girl. I am a grown up. And now my digestive tract is constantly coated with cappuccino. I can’t get through a day without it. 

I love the ritual of preparing it, like decent foreplay, the anticipation of the end goal. Grinding the beans down, the aroma already taking home in my lungs, soon to take me hostage. And then the waiting game. Letting the water diffuse through every shredded bean. Stir gently, add more water. Pushing down on the French Press is my favourite part of preparation. Like when you’re on the edge. Push it gently and pour. Nearly there. Anticipation building.

And that first sip. The bitterness never leaves but it’s a bitterness I have learned to like, learned to love. An acquired taste. 

Of course, I have instant coffee and a little part of me dies when I spoon the granules into my precious bone China mug but it does the job. It gives me the instant gratification required when I’m running late or feeling particularly lazy and don’t want to invest my time into something more worthwhile. 

I suppose I am a synonym to instant coffee. Quick to prepare, always available, require little effort. But there’s always something better if you want to take your time, so much potential if you wanted to take your time.

I may be an acquired taste but I am a taste certainly worth acquiring.