Letters to Girls: Past TenseA Story by jask
There is a new faculty member at school. Actually, a visiting scholar from Tianjin, China. We have talked, she has come to my office to show me her work and to see what I do. She is elegant, almost my height, she has a very stylish short haircut, the shape of a ragged sphere. She has very nice hips. She looks, remarkably, like you.
That I feel a familiar twinge when we stand close to each other, or when she shows me her academic projects on her laptop and I am obliged to lean into her to see the screen (and she does not back away) speaking softly in her halting but articulate English should not surprise me, but it does. It has been, after all, about twenty years since we have seen or spoken with each other.
I don't, in fact, actually know what you look like today. So to say that Prof. Chenxi looks like you is a bit of a leap. She does, however, look very much like you used to look, although, I must say, a bit more cheerful.
It was, in fact, your sternness that first drew me to you. That and your long legs. And your Singapore origins, your Chinese ethnicity. And the your remarkable competence in our demanding profession.
Why you were drawn to me I cannot say, but perhaps it was because I was friendly, that I offered a refuge of sorts from your distant travels from Southeast Asia, that I was fascinated by Asian culture, its people, its food. Was it because I was slightly older (although not nearly as competent) and that I was your supervisor at work, that I filled a role as your deceased father?
How did we become lovers? Was it those long summer days when you were a guest in my house, first becoming the friend, the pal, I was longing for... like a guy, but obviously not? I was married; I had given you a lot of space, recovering, as you were, from that unhappy sojourn to Nebraska following a boyfriend, leaving you unoccupied and bored in the American middle west while he toiled away at a large corporate office..... when I offered, you came rushing back to the East Coast and stayed as a guest in my house. For two years.
Once, after a particularly pleasant afternoon of scouring the local neighborhoods for cultural offerings, you tell me if you were to die right then, life would nonetheless be complete.
We were young, arrogant, energetic and artists.
Or was it when you stood next to me as I sat at my desk in my isolated study in the top floor of my house, like Chenxi with her laptop, you leaning into me for a better look at the papers on my desk, and my hand impulsively runs up your leg. I am first: surprised you do not pull away and second: surprised at the copious wetness my hand finds when it reaches your secret place.
I think it would have stayed like that for a long time; stolen touches, slowly increasing understanding of your body (the term carnal knowledge suddenly taking on personal meaning) but never culminating in sex itself. I could have dwelt in that nether land, tactile imagery feeding my fantasies, detached, uncommitted, whole afternoons spent in seclusion with you, probing, touching, peeling revealing, but oddly, never kissing, rarely talking.
Until fate intervenes; we travel ostensibly on business to a secluded mountainside in northern Pennsylvania, a religious retreat needing our professional consultation. And because the location is remote, we arrive in the evening before the meeting, and are put up as guests by our client, you staying in the main house, and me staying in the monastic house, vacant in the winter season, save for one other guest in reclusive retreat.
But the basement room in the main house makes you nervous, you say, and you request a room in the monastic quarters, and even though there is an unspoken ban on women in the monastery, your request is granted because it is off-season and, in fact, this building may not actually be a monastery anymore (one of the reasons for our visit in the first place. See? Fate.)
Our host builds a roaring fire in an iron stove in the common room outside our respective monk cells and depart for the night. The lone retreat guest makes a brief appearance and then, what else, retreats, leaving us by the fire still warming the ice cold building. We stand there not talking, and finally head off to our rooms.
What happened next is one of the moments that sits in my head, recalled at will, whenever I think of you; I am lying in my bed, the door opens, and you come in, wrapped in your blanket but nude beneath, except for your panties and you climb in my narrow bed shivering. I hold you and we warm each other, your lean body feeling smooth and comfortable against mine. With you on top of me, I enter you and I feel for the first time your most remarkable vagina.
Truth is, the few times we actually fucked among the many times we went to bed was mostly because I truly could not tolerate being inside you, the exquisite feel of a thousand tiny tongues and the clenching grasp of your sex. There has never been another to provide me that incredible sensation. Once inside, I would finish way too quickly, and I liked everything else (the touching, the probing, the exploring) way too much for it to end so abruptly.
Everything Else was what would make me physically quiver whenever I knew we would be together.
I often wondered how it would all end. I had thought about changing jobs, changing careers, I was not, to my surprise, getting younger. If we no longer worked together, what then?
You solved all that one day by unceremoniously telling me you were getting married. To a guy I STILL cannot believe. But needless to say, though frighteningly painful for me, was a relatively tidy ending. And just to make doubly sure, you move with new husband to Hong Kong. So now after I thought I had put it all safely behind me over twenty years ago, a new, happier version of you intrudes my life and my memories of you come flooding back.
© 2012 jask
Added on April 7, 2012
Last Updated on April 19, 2012
AboutI had a girlfriend in high school. Or, rather, I thought I did until she told me one afternoon that she wasn't. Never was. Oh. I thought you were…. I mean, what was all that… that&he.. more..