It was post-afternoon. The fan still rotating in three’s and four’s, a significant amount of speed, but expected for the dry non-humid climate of the city. Legs crossed, in the hips and apart at the ends – she pulled into a brief nap. He looked at the ceiling, if you looked closer at the centerpiece of the fan, you could picture the top-down view.
Two naked bodies, brown contrasting the blue and white sheets. One in deep contemplation, perhaps one of even apathy, and the other soundly napping. They say that people nap when they feel safe with the other person? Maybe she does feel safe. He always had that to him, making people feel safe.
Casual encounters weren’t anomalies. Quite the opposite, in fact – it was the norm. The glasses and the anti-depressants on the counter, they always asked what the pill was. Sertralin, he would reply. The Asian version of Zoloft, an SSRI. Did he care for the stigma? About it? Not really.
A primitive act. Isn’t that how it’s usually described? Animalistic, barebones, back to nature. But perhaps the polar opposite. An emergence of the modern, of broken families and busy childhoods. Parents, not the kids. A complicated affair, a structured one even.
Simple doesn’t cut it.
He didn’t enjoy the sex. It was the part after. There were iterations. First, it was the guilt of sharing your body with a stranger. Engaging in the nihilistic act, counting reps as if he was cranking out his bench press. It didn’t take too long for the turntables, the inversal.
Feeling like a God. The Redbulls were always cold when they came in. Surprising for home deliveries. Well, ten minutes isn’t very long, is it? Fridge doors, yellow lights, red-blue cans. Sometimes they called the cab, sometimes he did. Either way, he made sure to leave them out the door and retreat alone. Over 100 milligrams of caffeine? Enough for taking flight. As if a conquest had been completed, something had been conquered.
Even feminists, active ones, can’t escape the shizo-unconscious. In this case, the hidden price of women. Once he had found that out, he hated it. Himself. Well, what’s the difference?
The third and final one; yet. Sex was merely a means to an end. Not the unintended although inevitable guilt nor the blood of Dionysus and Shiva flowing through him. Rather an act of reminiscing. Drinking caffeine, in contrast, became a melancholic act.
There was a song. Faraway planets, running away from here, together. She had short hair, bangs, a crooked teeth perhaps? He had put an end to it, well, they had. Multiple times. It wasn’t working. As it later turned out, he was seeking his childhood in her as was she.
A pat on the back. Playback stopped, and the eerie husky lady of Bluetooth erupted. Time to don the performance hat, he looked in her eyes. She had woken up from the nap and was naked. Long hair draped behind the dark brown skin. He picked her up and walked over to the couch.
You know even my dad can’t pick me up – an awkward comment. Not out of the norm for the culture but still uncomfortable. Oedipus explitus? Well, I go to the gym… So does my dad. Talkative silence.
Phantasy, the one with the hard p. They had talked once before, a few months after the breakup. An invitation to watch a movie, her way of wanting to connect, to not break away. As children we are taught not to take candy from strangers, it’s a general principle: to not take everything offered. Alas, if we could? It would be simpler.
He refused. Not for the reason he thought he would. It’s not like he hadn’t rerun the scenario, green simulations running his head amock, the 0s and 1s of social courtesy. Too good, he was too good at that. Sex happens for a reason. Strategy, persuasion, a resentful Machiavellianism.
However, planned strategy dissipated for a lack of incentive. He didn’t want to do it, he didn’t feel drawn to her anymore. Pulled by the lack, the teary-eyed kid – for and caused by his mother – no, that wasn’t him no more. It was supposed to feel better. More clarity. The weight of a thousand stones, a hundred elephants removed from his chest, brain, mind, and everything in between.
But no. A thousand stone-elephants more, densely packed on top of him. That’s how it felt.
A kid is running across the beach. A string trails just above him, gushing along the kind, faster than his little legs can catch up. As you slowly look up, the balloon is non-existent. A string, it alone, the catalyst for movement.
The donkey that never eats the carrot. Never gets to eat it.
It felt tangible, real, such that you could hold it. As if it was a white snow globe, a unity of individuals, pair-embraced surrounded by white glitter. But that call, that night, the odd furniture placement of the chair in the small balcony – revealed the phantom. A hazy fog that covered nothing.
Ignorance hasn’t been the issue. At times, a blue lonely fortnight, prompts a call, a swipe, the predictable “charming” lines of flirtation. The chase is somewhat exciting, biology isn’t it? But the ennui persists.
Come over, doors shut, a few hours, calls yellow rickshaws. And done. The stage isn’t set for another two weeks.
He wants to stop. He has to. A call for help. A far cry into the post-midnight shade of illuminated metropolitan buildings.