in your new flat; boxes piled up on boxes and more boxes! The place is a dump
but you sit back on your sofa and smile… at last a place of your own. It
finally felt like your life was starting, it wasn’t being controlled by
anybody or anything else. A complete sense of relief washed over you - you had
waited so long for this moment and it was here. You slowly light a couple of
candles on the coffee table and pick up your copy of Roland Barthes
‘Mythologies’ and sink further into your sofa, even that felt good – your
own sofa. You are deeply engrossed in what Barthes has to say that you hardly
hear the door buzzer. You slowly pull yourself up from the sofa and look at the
clock – 4am, it could only be one person.
”James, go home”.
”But I’ve got a house warming gift for you – just let me up”. You reluctantly buzz him in, but there is also a sense of excitement there, whatever had happened recently he still made you fell tingly all over. You pull open the door and he is standing there, bottle of whiskey in one hand and a wrapped gift in the other. He offers the package to you with a smile.
”This is for you and this – well this is for us”, he says grinning at the bottle. As he walks in he accidentally brushes against you. You both stop, dangerously close and stare at each other. You look down to his lips and for one moment forget yourself, but you are jilted out of your daze as Betsy, your black Labrador comes bounding towards James. She jumps up and puts her front paws on his chest. He strokes her and plays with her ears.
”Hello Baby, I’ve missed you!” James laughs. She responds by falling down in front of him and rolling on her back, waiting for him to rub her stomach. He complies and starts to tickle her stomach as she rolls from side to side. You look down in disgust and jealousy –
”Don’t encourage her James”, you say sternly. The two of them look up at you with sad eyes.
”She’s just excited”, he whispers lowly, as if he might upset her if she hears him. He slowly stands up and leans slightly towards you; you can feel your heart pumping. Betsy lightly tugs at his trousers. ”Aren’t you going to open your present?” he whispers in you ear, his breath sends shivers down your neck, but you quickly retreat and walk over to the sofa.
”There’s no way you wrapped this yourself”, you spit as you examine the neatly wrapped present. “Yes I did!” He grins at you as he walks over and sits down next to you. Betsy sprawls herself out over his feet. You quickly divert your attention back to the present now sitting on the coffee table. You pick it up to open it but straight away you can feel it is a photo frame. You can feel the rage building up inside of you; this is the final straw. You suddenly stand up and turn away from him; you can’t stand to look at him anymore. “How dare you!” you say in a low voice. Betsy immediately picks up on the tone of your voice and leaves the room, like a child who doesn’t want to hear her parents argue again. “What?” James stands up behind you and places a hand on either side of your waist. “How dare you come round here and mark out your territory. We’re still together and I don’t need some cheesy photograph to remind me of that. I moved here to have a break, to be free”. Your words cut right through the air. ”But … I …its…” he mumbles taken aback by your outburst.
”LEAVE!” you scream across the room. He stands on the other side not quite sure what to make of the situation. You pick up the bottle of whiskey and hurl it towards him; it smashes against the wall behind him – “LEAVE!” He looks at you once more before quickly exiting the flat. You’re so tired that you don’t even bother to think you just make your way to your bed. As you slowly open the door you see Betsy sprawled out on one side of the bed. She looks up at you, tongue out, panting. You slide down beside her and gently stroke her. ”I’m sorry sweetheart, I just need my space.” Your heart sinks as you say it, and as if she understands exactly what you’ve said, she rests her head on your shoulder, and you fall asleep together.
“No, no, you know you can’t have coffee, that bitch vet will crucify me if she finds out”. Betsy looks up at you, as her tail brushes along the floor. ”Oh God, I’m such a soft touch”. You pour some coffee into her bowl and put it down in front of her. ”But don’t tell that Vet”. You leave her in the kitchen lapping it up and fall back onto the sofa, you go to switch on the TV and watch the news, but its still there, the present. The anger builds up inside of you again, but curiosity finally takes over. You tear at the beautifully folded paper and as soon as you see the photo you start to cry. A small note falls from behind the frame, you read it. ’You left it behind on my bedside table, I know how much you miss her, we’ll find her again, love James’. The amount of shame and guilt that you now feel takes over the sadness. The picture is of you as a little girl; you use it as a symbol of what you are trying to find – happiness. You and James had been seeing each other for a long time and living with each other for quite a while too, but the recent suicide of an old boyfriend had brought back painful memories. You had decided you needed to try life on your own, James had found it quite hard not to take it as a personal attack, but you had assured him it was not the end. There was no need to react the way you did definitely when he was really supporting your actions with this thoughtful gesture. Your heart sinks as you recall last night’s events, but there is no time for tears, you have to get to work and you’ve still got to take Betsy to, oh God you’d forgotten, James is going to take her today as your Mum has a hospital appointment. What are you going to do, you can’t possibly go round there, but you can’t leave Betsy alone in the flat all day. You reluctantly put her lead on and walk out the door. You just feel sick. You can’t think about anything but how awful this is going to be. You slowly walk up the road, you feel so ugly inside. You’ve betrayed everything you and James have by not trusting him to support you. Your brain starts to blend reality and the subconscious. You start to feel the air go thick and warm, as you think about him holding you forever – keeping you safe from everything outside his physicality. You day dream about putting your head on his chest, and listening to his heartbeat, hear him breathing. You can almost feel his skin clinging to yours, but your heart still feels heavy and is filled with dread, you’ve become lost in your own pity. You feel so empty, like something really good has died inside, you have to face it – you miss him. You’ve only been in your own place 24 hours and already you miss him.
You arrive at his door; you close your eyes and start remembering every inch of his body. It would be so easy to sink back into the safety of your relationship, but you would still be running from who you really were, you needed to break free, to, it sounds stupid, but to learn to live with yourself. You slowly knock at his door and look down at Betsy. You can tell she’s excited, she knows she’s home. James answers the door; Betsy pulls away from you and goes rushing into the flat. ”Erm, I’ll pick her up at about 5-ish okay?” you say feeling more and more uncomfortable.
”Oh come in, I have some of your stuff”. He opens the door wider and you slowly step inside. You feel strange, it was only yesterday that you had moved out, and you already felt like a stranger. Everything was the same, but felt strangely different, you felt like you could never return to this, that even if you wanted to, he was shutting you out. He appears from the bedroom with a carrier bag and hands it to you. As you open it you see it is filled with presents that you’ve given him over the years. “James, these aren’t mine – there yours”. You look up at him. “Well I don’t want them anymore, do what you like with them”. There is not a lot of emotion in his voice; you look at him, tears ready to flow. “Oh what, you’re upset now? Who gave you the right to be upset? This is what you wanted, you did this, now you leave”. The outburst seems to drain his energy, you can’t think of anything to say, so you just leave.
You have not been back home from work for ten minutes when the buzzer goes, you don’t bother to answer it - you just let him in. Betsy scrambles through the door and straight to her food bowl. James hands you her lead and turns to leave. ”James”, you call out. He turns and looks at you. You don’t say another word as he enters the flat. You feel your hands trembling and stomach churning as you watch him sit down on the sofa. You look at him sitting there for a while; he instantly turns to look at you. His eyes look heavy and he’s got 24-hour stubble, you know he obviously hasn’t been sleeping lately. You sit down next to him and for a moment you don’t know what to do. He is looking down at the photo that he brought over for you, and all of a sudden he picks it up and hurls it across the room. You reach out to stroke his hair, as your hand moves down his face, he turns in and you can feel his warm breath on your wrist. He takes your hand and gently strokes the scar on your wrist. He just contemplates it for a while, and then he looks at you. For a moment, that’s all you do look at each other. You feel its right to kiss him so you lean in but he jerks his head back, and holds your shoulders. “I can’t do this anymore”, he says, “I’m too tired, I can’t keep being judged by your past – it hurts too much”. You reply in the only way you know how, you kneel down in front of him, and start to run your hands up his thighs. You undo his flies, but he grabs your hands – “This isn’t the answer, it won’t solve anything”. You stand up in between his legs and start to undo the buttons of his shirt, but he grabs your hands again and stands up. His body dominates the space, and in a clear, stern voice he just says “No!” You look at him and go to kiss him again but he pulls away again. “I’m not going to let you do this” and with that he is leaving the flat. You start to follow after him, out of the building, calling his name. The rain is pouring down, and as you catch up with him, you find his clothes clinging to his skin.
”James, don’t do this, please!”
”This isn’t the end, I just can’t be around you at the moment”, he says. He tries to walk away but you’re not finished.
”No, James, don’t leave me alone tonight, PLEASE – just stay with me”. James looks at you a moment. This time he leans in to kiss you, and it almost feels like you’ve lost control of your entire body.
As you fetch clean sheets and towels, you don’t say anything to each other. As you slip under the sheets and put your head on his chest and one arm around his waist, he puts one arm around your shoulder and pushes the wet hair away from your face. He leans down to kiss you, but this time he doesn’t stop, and before you can think straight your legs are wrapped around his body and he’s kissing you harder. The weight of his body pressing down on yours makes you feel safe and secure, and you know this is not wrong, as he slowly starts to kiss your neck. But then he pulls away; you look up at him shocked. He gently climbs out of bed and starts to dress himself. As he buckles his belt he looks down at you. ”I don’t want this, I never imagined my life this way”, he says quietly. He continues to get dressed. ”James, what are you talking about?” You swear you have no idea what he’s talking about. ”I can’t play second fiddle to a dead man”. His announcement shocks you, and also seems to shock himself too. As he buttons his shirt and heads for the bedroom door, you say what you had found so hard to say before. ”James, I love you”. He turns to look at you, but can’t quite manage to. He scans the whole room and then finally achieves eye contact. ”Not as much as you love him”, and with that he leaves.
You feel slightly strange as you slowly wake up. Fresh sunlight fills the room and the air feels still, as if the storms last night cleared all the heavy weather away. You slouch your to the kitchen, Betsy must be hungry by now, but as shuffle down the passage you see her scoffing at her bowl as usual, and standing next to her – James. You instantly feel safe that he didn’t leave last night, you feel, well, you feel right. This is right, you and James; it was time to let go of what now belonged in the past.
”Okay, but don’t tell her, she’ll kill me if she finds out”. James carefully pours some of his tea into Betsy’s bowl, you smile to yourself, and it felt like you finally belonged to someone, to something. You had finally found what the little girl inside you was looking for; it was there all the time. You quietly make your way into the kitchen; James is standing by the counter watching Betsy devour her breakfast. You gently slide your arms around his waist. You hear him breathe deeply as he closes his eyes.
”I…” you pause for a moment – “I can’t believe you’re mine”. Your words echo around the room. It feels like the world has stopped spinning for a moment. He turns to face you and you feel his hand running up your spine. He gently loosens the towel you are still wearing from last night and lets it fall to the ground. You can feel his hand shaking as he touches one of the scars on your breasts. You can tell there’s something he wants to say, but he doesn’t manage it, he just starts to withdraw with what seems like guilt. It’s always hurt him, but till this moment you didn’t know how much. You grab his hand and pull him back towards you.
”James, its not your fault, you didn’t do anything wrong”. You stroke his arm trying to comfort him, but he can’t look at you. You gently kiss him and start to say something, but he leans in and kisses you. He pushes you back into the fridge and pins you against it. You start to remove his shirt, his whole body is tense and his power shakes you to your very core with each touch. You wrap your legs around his body as he lifts you up. His hands seem to belong on your thighs and you feel safe as you bury your face in his shoulders and he gently kisses your neck. You breathe deeper and feel his skin burning as sweat runs off his back. Your grip on his arms tighten as your body shudders, you feel as though you might fall apart in his grasp. Then he stops and looks at you. His fist powers into the fridge and it rocks back and forth violently. You can tell that he’s hurting. You stroke his hair and try to comfort him.
”I won’t leave you again, I promise”, you whisper, and with that you feel your insides swell as he enter you.
You can feel him pushing against the small of your back from inside as he goes deeper and deeper, pushing your hips down onto him to steady his movements. He is strong and gentle at the same time, and your whole body feels like it is melting. You can feel his arms flex and shoulder blades tense with every movement. Your brain is scattered and you grab at his flesh trying to gain some sort of composure. He falls into you and kisses you, his movements become smooth and you can feel him grinding on the inside of your thighs. You breathe out deeply and wrap your arms around his neck. He throws his head back but you lean forward and kiss him, he slows down even further and you rest your forehead against his. He pushes back your hair, away from your face. He’s breathing heavily as you place both hands on his chest to calm him. He grips his hands around your waist as the back of your head bangs against the fridge and your back arches. He pushes you down hard and your insides pulse and pull him in harder. You can hear him moaning under his breath, and feel his heart pumping away. He pushes your legs up further and you gasp for air. He pushes one of your hands up above your head, he gently kisses your neck and his fingers interlock with yours, you hold on tightly and feel him panting on the side of your neck. His whole body jolts as he pumps inside of you. Your head falls down onto his broad shoulder and you fall into his body as your orgasm drains every bit of energy you have.