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12 April, 2008

Triggering the Kiss

He told me once what it was like, in sketches, from his side, filling in my memory with reflection; a few weeks of increasingly focused flirting finally winding up nestled facing each other under a blanket, staring, me full of fright, him seeing that and trying a soft, tentative kiss, a light stroking of my neck, not understanding then why his hand on my neck produced such an intensity of not-responding because we were so far away from talking about kink and reactions and still building the shapes of the trust that would come of that. He told me about wondering at my restraint, my anxious awkwardness, perhaps because I had pursued him until that point and had come all over shy, unwilling to kiss deeply, full of tension.

Knowing he can read the fear and be gentle with it helps, even on nights like this when I want to duck and hide and bury my face and be not kissed, not kissed at all, certainly not deeply; the bites along my shoulder are fine, the holding, the knot of rope grinding into the small of my back, but no kisses, none. And he kisses me anyway, and I recognise that and choose trust with the conscious work of will and ride the surge of things holding tightly to that trust and nonetheless breathe much easier when the kissing is done, when I don't have to fight with myself to have it, when I can let go.

I am not always so fearful. So rarely so, now, with him; hard to trigger, working at healing, save for the rough and fragile days when all the covering on old wounds is thin and no padding at all, when I turn away from being kissed.

Let me spin you a memory: an awkward woman-child, shy and hungry for learning how to be human, settled into her high school's auditorium seats to watch the county's selection of teenaged bands perform. The friend she came with is dancing; the boy she pines after is off with his girlfriend; that boy's friend, from a different school, is sitting with her, one arm around her shoulders.

She is terrified. Frozen up, uncertain, able to respond in an anxious laughter at times, mind racing. She watches the bands, perhaps this one a friend's performance, others from people she never will see again.

His fingers shift a little, tracing a circle on her still-developing left breast. This is a pleasant sensation; she considers relaxing a little, but still does not know him, know whether she wants to be with him at all, or how to reject him gracefully if she does not, and oh, that feels good, and it's so nice to have someone offering something other than scorn, and at the same time what should a Good girl be doing to be Safe, and shouldn't someone talk, not that she knows what the words would be, and ...

... he leans in to kiss her. And this is too much, too much to think about, obliterating thought already quite tangled trying to make sense of sensation. His tongue probes, hitting teeth. Eventually encouraging something more, deeper, with greater intensity, leaving her only able to think of the unpleasant slickness of it, trying to parse this against the knowledge that This Is What Lovers Do, trying to figure out if it will become okay with practice, if the shape of it will be different ...

... and it never changes, not in all the long months ...

... and eventually that relationship dies in the burning of coercion and pain and terror and loss and shattering shattering shattering ...

... leaving revenants haunting so many things, most especially the kiss.

And eventually she learns, as she grows into woman from child, that it can mean Hunger instead of slime, and there are times when she can hear Hunger without remembering those first forced kisses, those kisses and the entire cascade of everything that came after; even sometimes she can say it, though those are rarer, harder, edged with other fears.

But Hunger is terrifying, and it comes with ghosts.

1 comment:

Liz said...

Good for people to know.