The hungry toil a lot. Sometimes it’s an invisible growl. Sometimes, an arid wail. Too weak for anything from having been out of grain or fruits or rain. Chin resting on the palm, frail fingers stretching just below the lower lip, they scour their flaky surface. Their quiet is disquieting. They’re not a frequent meet. And ironically enough, they wear yellow (which to me has always been a conspicuous colour).
I often find myself wanting to be held closely- a starched embrace, a tug of the hand, a breath into the side of my neck. Most of living happens without meeting with any of this. All I can do at such times is reach for a warm pair of socks and slip my feet in. And that’s what I did, seated in the wrought iron chair of the open half of Café Kunga of a town in the lower Himalayas. It may not have been all too chilly but the grayish blue clouds looked just like the colour of my jacket that twirled around my bag and it made me want to pull it over my shoulders just to know a layer of warmth closely. I could see it among the loud number of colourful high-school student-travellers at the table behind me, the warmth. It was visible in the conversation between an old couple and a brown haired girl at the table next to mine. It hung in the silence another grey-haired couple shared- long gazes at each other-sitting at another adjoining table (The wife, she looked over at me a few times, possible wondering what I was looking around at). I met with it too, momentarily at my table, as the waiter came to me with my order of a tea. Yet, it wasn’t quite there.
I tried to create it between my pen and the pages of my journal as I sat there with my hands jiving in my running letters, a method to the madness of my feelings. Finally it spurred. In the form of a few, quiet tears, actually. The warmth. It melted the scum inside my nose as if it were soft ice. I didn’t care if there was anybody watching. My tea was done and I was leaving anyway; there’s nothing I’m going to find here. Not that I knew what I wanted. I got up, ready to get out of there as I began collecting my things, when I saw a girl at the table diagonally behind me, sitting without company. She appeared to be as old as me, if not younger, an IPad in her hand that she was staring at. Should I go up to her? Just two travelers befriending each other. What will I say though… what will we have to talk about? Rejection from a complete stranger couldn’t be all that downright. Easing my hair down from a bun, I went up to her.
As it turns out, rejection from a stranger CAN feel quite curt. I asked her if I could join her at her table.
“You want my table?” is what she understood of it.
“NO. Could I sit here at this table…with you?” A closer look at her features made me wonder if she was from Myanmar or Nepal or Bhutan. She had an expression of worry on her face. “Nepal!” I thought. It was the morning of the most disastrous earthquake in the history of Nepal.
“Are you from Nepal?” I asked her looking at the maps changing shapes on her Ipad.
“No. From Japan.” The way she said this was both meek and cold. I gathered I wasn’t welcome.
“Oh okay. I’ll just go back then. I’m sorry for being a bother.” I said, hoping that would make some sense to her. My moist eyes looked for a place to hide. Now I felt self-conscious; I wanted to leave without having anybody see my tears and rushed off to the roofed half of the restaurant from where the exit was.
I put my hair back into a bun, making my way to the payment counter. The relief of the knowledge that I would never see any of the faces of those around my table at the other, now invisible end of the café! The payment counter, which stood before me, was in no mood to entertain me either; there was nobody attending it. I looked around for almost a minute. Still nobody. I turned around my head again and a waiter at a distance raised his hand indicating that somebody would be there soon. I can’t lay a finger on why, but just being the one to occupy the air and the land of this beautiful town was a seething disappointment. My eyes, now dry, turned toward door of the café: a Caucasian man sat at the table beside it; with a straight back, his hand leaning next to a cup on the table, his eyes staring straight. Or maybe he was looking down into his cup, because when I found myself walk up to him I remember feeling swooned for the briefest moment as he looked up with green eyes. Zero shits were given about possible rejection by another stranger.
“I was just getting bored all by myself. Would it be okay if I took your table?”
Blank stare. Ah..European!
“Do you speak English?”
“Yes.” He said with two heavy nods.
“Would be okay if I sat down with you?”
“Okay..ok.” He pointed toward the chair without a smile.
He didn’t smile. His ears were both pierced and he wore tiny silver rings on each. His reddish hair was cut crew and he didn’t smile. He wore yellow and he didn’t smile.
If I were holding him back- seeing as his cup was empty- he let me. I did a lot of superficial asking and he did very thoughtful monosyllabic answering. It was difficult for him to form sentences, I could see that. He would squint his eyes as if to convey the question in his mind. It seemed to me he repeatedly decided against letting it out of his lips. His lips were so red! He wasn’t particularly sexy…that’s not how I saw him. Not yet. And just then a slight line of his teeth pushed through his lips. He was smiling.
Just like how sometimes a trail of sweat can be felt making its way down your eyebrow, I felt my slime slowly ooze out of me. Too soon. Despite his leisurely behaviour, I couldn’t still tell with certitude if I was wanted too. He asked me a couple of personal questions- if I had siblings, where I was from, how old I was- none suggestive of touch or sexual intrigue. There were long pauses awkward enough for him to fly his thoughts back Reims in France (where he was from).
I had to bring him back. At least try to, one more time. I took my chapstick out of the bag and drew a line around my lips without looking at him and then, I let my hair down. He did turn to me albeit in small words and refreshed his order for a coffee. I, too, ordered an omlette after realizing I had worked up an appetite. Our conversation took a turn for something slightly above humdrum.
He studied literature in college. Whom did he study?
“Ittorgo…you heard of him? He’s very famous.”
“I’m sorry. What? I know Sartre and Vernes. Could you repeat that?”
He meant Victor Hugo. For the first time we had a good ol’ comedy-of-accents chuckle. And yet, there was no flirting or teasing and moreover it had begun to feel he really was just being polite. I was just going to finish the Omlette and leave him alone.
And then, it started raining. It was quite a burst that was here to last.
“Which hotel are you staying?” He questioned!
“Not too far. It’s a hidden one.. a few steps ahead of Kalsang Guest House.” I said with description, as if he’d care.
“Oh..that’s where I’m staying. Kalsang.” He said with the straightest face.
He brought it up, not me. Now that I was stuck with him…
“When do you leave?”
“Today. I have a bus this evening.” He said looking at his watch. He was going to Nainital, which meant we weren’t going to be in the same state by the end of the day. And here I was giving persistence one last chance.
“What time do you have to leave?” I couldn’t resist asking.
“7 O’clock …in the evening” his face showing no qualms about the odd question.
I was thinking around the restricted time at hand if I were running the bleak likeliness of bedding him, when the strange, flimsy truth hit me: We hadn’t exchanged names. “Simon.” He answered as we both laughed at this situation that we’d only seen happen in movies.
The pouring stopped at 5.15pm and as if the most obvious act in the world, we left the café together. On our way out, the waiter who tended to our table handed out each of us our own bills as if another most obvious thing in the world. I was surprised at seeing him on his feet; he was so much taller than he appeared and I realized I was about to feel very conscious about being seen with him. He slowed down to light a cigarette. His tiny backpack looked funny around his back. He continued smoking through our little trek up to our respective closely located guest-houses and timed its stubbing perfectly at his stop.
There were two seconds of staring at the feet just at the juncture where we could have split and not more than that; because I wasn’t just me, I was me of the mountains. In the mountains, there are guest-houses built upon rocky slopes with pipelines lacing them. In one such guest house, I had a room to myself. In the room, there were windows framed by lacy curtains. Through the windows could be seen windows to other people’s lives in the mountains.
He sat at the edge of my bed without moving. I mirrored him, sitting at a distance but along the same edge. I imagined how we looked from behind us- both seeming to stare at the window ahead. I pulled out a metal locket nestled between my breasts. I wrapped in my cold palm, feeling the heat it had absorbed of my body.
“Hey look, I bought this today. It’s got this Tibetan lettering…” I held it to him; I wanted him to pull me close by it. He did seem to read it all right but because it wasn’t very Indian of me, he seemed taken aback because of what I said next.
“Do you want to have sex with me?”
“What? You want to have sex with me?”
“Yes..if that’s okay with you.”
He nodded with a smile that was back on his lips at its widest.
“I’m a virgin though…” (God I hate that word) I ask him with disregard to the word. I walk up from my place to stand facing him, my face bent down to his.
“If I asked you to take my virginity, would that be a problem?” Joe asks Jerome in Nymphomaniac Vol. 1.
Jerome- “No I don’t see a problem.”
Not only had I never been with a French person but also I’d never French-kissed. I’ve kissed with man going first each time, tongue swathing in before the lips can graze together. Mouthfuls that are not to be gulped. So fleshy that the pressure of the sucking mellows- nothing that qualifies for one-at-a-time. He was different; I’d learn in due time that he, as a matter of fact, only French-kissed.
The grassy rows of his hair alternated with my fingers gripping his head. My hands drew him closer in with more power than necessary for French-kissing like that-the prick of the sucking forming tiny circles on different portions of my lips.
He still hadn’t begun undressing me though. In fact, he hadn’t yet declared any of this as comfortable to him. So I went first- my brown pants sliding down to reveal the glow of tiny hair-growth along the length of my legs. I didn’t look at him to see if he saw me doing this. I put my cold, rings-clad fingers around his neck to sip him some more. That did it- an inkling of comfort at least; he put his cold fingers inside my underwear, a star on my bum. He just let it be, without the possession of a squeeze or a rub. I wanted to whimper inside his mouth, let him know of my approval, but he didn’t let me into his mouth too well. So my throaty noise of a sex whimper fell loudly by his ear. I licked his ear-lobe. His other ear being run along by my fingers as I pulled the ring pierced into it.
He tugged on my t-shirt- a gesture to tell me to take it off. I wanted him to take it off so I told him. I realized I’d not considered the language difference at all as my request just went past him. Pre-occupied about this, I lost tally of who took whose clothes off eventually.
What I do remember is, he hadn’t touched me once. Not since the last touch. My underclothes were still on while I sat facing him, both my knees bent over around him. My fingers, excited to feel his rise, flanked his member stark naked. Although I’d never had penetrative sex before, this was the third penis I was seeing. Never before had I cared for or understood the drama around dick-sizes than I did now. It was the pinkest and the biggest penis and I hadn’t even taken a full look at it yet because I got held off by a hiss melting inside my ear that said to me in earnest, “Will you kiss my sex?”
His ‘sex’ I kissed. I bent all the way to it and lipped the head of his penis, which appeared blurry because I saw it that closely and unclearly. I would have sucked on it more wholly if there had not been pre-cum on him. There was no time to feel the shock of the unforeseen presence because I felt I retched just a little bit, looking away from him.
He was taking over. He rose above me and made a cage of his body around me. I took my bra off; I knew he wasn’t going to do it. I put my index finger forward to feel his lips. He smiled the slightest smile as I did that, reaffirming for me that it was indeed the same guy sitting across the table from me just a couple of hours ago. He kissed me a French and I frenched his neck, vapidly trying to tell him he should do the same. Contrary to my previous ‘Indian’ experiences, he didn’t reach for my breasts at all even as the bra was off.
That was going to be the extent of the foreplay and I kind of anticipated that since he had to catch a bus soon. I broke us off as I remembered to get the lube I had in my bag, along with a condom. I was suddenly aware of being fully naked as I ran up to get it. Through the myriad little gaps in lacy curtains over the windows, I could see the windows of the building ahead. Was the scene of this room a visible show? I wondered more curiously how this room looked from the outside. How did WE look on the outside?
Once again I was under him. I rubbed the lube on his tall penis sheathed by the prophylactic. I smothered my heavy breath, which I now realize I shouldn’t have. I got the sense that broken breathing would help break my nervousness. He went for my underwear now. He peeled it down softly. He drove his hard-on to me with no further warning. I had my legs opened up in a V with soles of my feet to the bed. How would I have known better? He kept repeatedly crashing on to the gates. It was a massage to the clitoris and because he went hard at it I held his penis in my hand to make him stop.
“Use your finger.”
He put his middle finger in without folding the other fingers. It didn’t feel at all like the previous scathing times I’ve been finger-banged; the lube had worked its magic. I felt a lot lighter for this meant I could take on his penis that much more comfortably. As I led him toward my cervix, I suddenly took cognizance of how blazingly swollen he was in contrast to my pin-size hole. I stopped. He grabbed. My greasy hand around his penis leapt to his plain back and so did my other hand because an unmissable searing charge told me he had torn me open.
I screamed from my clenched throat. The sear, it was here to stay. He wasn’t making it go away. I thought we were both trying to alleviate my suffering when he demanded, “Give my your legs.” I thought he must have sensed it too but he didn’t. He was just trying to make me more comfortable at tolerating the staggering pain rather than bringing me ease or (imagine my utter horror at this) pleasure. He pushed all the way in and didn’t pull halfway out. All the weight of his body concentrated on his member, every inch of which I was to carry. Intense torment to one, immense release to another.
I gasped and cried from breathing through all that pain. My hands slapped onto his back, which felt hot for all the blood collected underneath his skin. I gathered his back’s tight skin in reaction to his movements. When it grew too harsh, I told him to stop. He either pretended to not hear or he pretended to not understand, but pretend he did. I couldn’t throw his power off-kilter. He didn’t stop.
I know the implications of saying this. While it happens, it doesn’t form itself up in a word. Wrongfulness, perpetration, sin and all such ideas are a later confrontation. What remains of immediate urgency is for it to leave you be.
Something had come over him- he was now jamming into me in a circular motion. One of his hands lay on my left thigh, which I couldn’t feel. It occurred to me just then that there was going to be blood! There was blood now- flowing or dripping or spurting- just not visible from here. But it was definitely there for I still wasn’t removed from the feeling of being pierced into with one’s ceaseless drive to completion.
The fan above was going in circles too. I looked past him, or through him, to take different look at the act. I wasn’t looking at the fan now; I was looking at me. I saw his bloody pink back from over me and I saw me betraying what should have been a wincing expression. I couldn’t have seen if this seemed visible through the lacy curtains of window behind me, but I did see that it wasn’t. I came back when he finished.
A couple of deep breaths over my chest and he raised his head to face me. His green eyes had depravity in them. But he smiled more than ever. I didn’t understand what to say so I asked if he came and he said that he did. He pulled out and there it was- on the sagging condom, on the shining flowers of the bedsheet- in all its darkened, glorious red. There was more than I imagined there would be.
He sat up in bed. I sat up facing him, my crotch pressing down onto the mattress…shhh it’s over. They showed no blood on Joe, I remembered then. I asked him to check his time; he had a few minutes he said, between now and the bus to Nainital. He ran his fingers down my waist to the back of my right thigh. I could still feel the blood ooze from my new opening.
We went in for another one. He wanted me on top. With some trepidation and a lot of soreness, I acquiesced. I couldn’t move.
“It hurts more than I thought it would.”
He started pushing upward at me and that just felt wrong. We got up so he’d take over. The lube hadn’t helped much and my vagina was still blazing. I coaxed him into some foreplay, putting my legs around him, rising above him. I led his mouth to my right nipple and he French-kissed it. Rather than the breasts, he sucked around my cleavage. I felt nice but also made me want him to get over with. I remember being particular screechy and noisy from this time, because when he finished I fell quiet and that snapped me out of the agony. At one point, I wanted it over badly, so my hands trudged their way to his butt and dug hard to make him climax faster. He stayed thieving-silent throughout, both times. He again raised his face to me after getting done. I reached for the contours of his lips. He traced the line of my left eyebrow with his finger and the length of the left of my collarbone in three kisses. He looked love-struck.
The satiated save. They don’t let themselves forget what it is like to yearn. They make no mistakes or at least don’t make the same mistake twice.
It was much later that I discovered he had caused an injury. It bled even after I cleaned up. A tissue of flesh seemed to hang from my hole- that which was once inside was now out.
He had excused himself to use the bathroom when I registered how cold it had been. Running barefoot across the room I managed to slip on my gray sweater over my naked self. I took the moment to make sense of what had happened; he had not been the nicest and yet somewhere I found in me a slight wish to go with him. He was out in no time, clothes back on. We both knew it was time for him to get going. I went ahead to hug him goodbye. He put his hand on my ass as I put mine around his neck. Lost in the middle of this last French kiss, I felt his swollen penis, past his shorts and through my sweater.