To Love a Woman

To Love a Woman

A Story by tamemei

A flash fiction piece about the things we might not always see in others.

The tips of his fingers graze my spine under my shirt, tracing circles. Goosebumps raise. I had been wanting to say something, but I can't remember now. I close my eyes and bury my face into the mattress, a reflex.

"How do you do it?" He doesn't know what I'm asking.

"How do I do what... touch you?" I can hear the grin in his words. I realize I'm speaking into the mattress. Craning my head I gulp some fresh air, admiring the light as it passes through the curtain of hair hiding my face.

"No... How do you..." My voice trails as I close my eyes, letting the tension melt out of my muscles. I lean my back into his touch. I tend to warn everyone that I'm like a cat when it comes to back scratches, and thus far I've lived up to the reputation. My breathing slows, filling my hollow chest. His touch paints pictures on the black canvas of my eyelids. He doesn't ask me to clarify, though I know he wants to.

There's something love-like that pours out of his fingers. If you can imagine an emotion like that embodied in something physical, it would be the way this man touches my skin. In the lightness of his caress I can feel myself on the verge of sleep, eating that love up like a hungry machine and sleeping it off like a hang-over. It is made of sparks of autumn orange and yellow starlings in a bolt of black.

The low rising and falling of my chest is a good indicator of the fact that I have left the world of the conscious. He knows this, and I know that he knows this. So I decide in this moment to trick him. My eyes snap open and through the strands of hair I see his eyes looking right at mine. My breathing stays the same and I hold his gaze for a moment, waiting for him to say something or call me out for my shenanigans. I swear he knows, so I crack a sheepish grin, but his face doesn't change. I can see the gears grinding in his mind as he tries to decide whether or not I'm awake. That's when I realize. He can't see me through my hair. Something about him not being able to makes me feel wicked, but I can't bring myself to give it away. If I weren't looking I would not suspect that anything was different. His touch stays the same.

Wan. That is the one word that comes to mind when I see his face as he turns his gaze away. In case you don't know, wan is how someone looks when they're' sickishly pale looking. I first came across the word in H.D.'s poem "Helen" (which you should read if you haven't, I find it brilliant). In any case, this is how he looks. Sickishly pale and a little terrified, and it frightens me somehow. He's tagging the movement of his fingers along each vertebrae, my shoulder blades, my épaules (which is the French word for shoulders; fancy, right?). It might just be the light between the golden strands blurring my vision, but I think I see a crescent of moisture condense on his lower lashline before he blinks. I know this sounds cliché but my stomach clenches, tightens (there's no other way to describe my reaction) and I suddenly have the urge to rip my gaze away.

My head must have twitched or something because his attention whips back over. Our eyes meet, this same one-way mirror. I grin just in case he sees me this time. But he doesn't. His guard is down though and his eyes are an open book to his mind. This is a rare opportunity. I always have to guess what he is thinking or feeling. He is an internalizer, which I cannot stand. I am staring deep into that pit of emotions now, but all I see is pain. It tears something open inside. That green and yellow patch of guilt that I thought I had imagined all these years suddenly has a spotlight on it. I think I feel it oozing a little. How many times? How often do I avert my eyes and fail to see the burdens he bears? How often do I let his touch drain mine away, into him, and what is the straw that will break this camel's back?

It's like seeing my abuse laid bare. Suddenly his caresses are sparks against granite skin and his touch feels like it's searing me. I don't think I can stand this any longer. Bursting forth from the curtain of hair I savor the change in expression and take in his surprised looks. He laughs and his face is a damn beautiful mask. As his hand slides out from under my shirt and plods to his side, I ask again.

"How do you do it?"

"Do what?" This question has been heavy on his lips this whole time, I can tell.

"How do you.... love me?" Clearly he's startled. Frankly, I am to. The question sounds stupid when said aloud. His smile is calm, one palm cups my cheek.

"It's easy." He sounds so damn sure! Oh sure, I want to believe him. I laugh and pretend that I do, but nothing can take away that sinking feeling, the wish that I hadn't seen.

© 2014 tamemei

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Added on March 21, 2014
Last Updated on March 21, 2014
Tags: love, complications, troubles, emotions, woman, relationship



Words are my wings to places my feet can't take me. I would love constructive criticism on all of my pieces. Thank you for taking the time to read them. more..

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