The condom catheter was easily removed. Bobby showed me how in the bathroom, then he wheeled himself into the bedroom and I followed behind him. As he transferred from the chair to the bed I removed my shoes and outer layer of clothing, which was damp and clinging to my skin. From the misty rain I’d walked through or from anticipation I couldn’t tell.
He watched me from the bed. I walked closer, reached behind me to unclasp my bra and drop it onto the floor. His naked body in front of me was not the same as it had been. There was a fresh scar across his abdomen, an angry pink line that ran from his belly button to his ribcage. A tiny, white spot on his neck and one on his forearm, the small scars from IV needles. He was thin, much too thin for his big frame. His legs, especially, were changed. They’d been thickly muscled and hard. Now they were much thinner, a lot of the muscle seemed to have disappeared. I couldn’t have imagined it, had I not been seeing it for myself. As I got into bed beside him I looked down at my own body. I was all protruding pelvic bones and ribs—nails bitten down to the quick. I didn’t need to see the purple half-moons under my eyes. Nothing, of course, compared to the change in him. But we were both different people now, in different bodies.
He saw me looking, put a hand on my face and smiled at me slightly. I was going to start crying, was fighting the urge and losing. He knew.
I slid one leg over his body, lay straddling him with my head on his chest. Alternately, I cried against him and kissed his collar bone, his neck and chest. We didn’t speak to each other. He took a handful of my hair and used it like a bridle, to bring my lips to his or my ears into reach of his tongue. I moved downward, still on top of him; I kissed his breast bone and his nipples, then his stomach, where I knew he couldn’t feel it, but could see; I found his penis hard under my fingers and looked up at him, making him laugh at my excitement. I sucked on it for a little while, enjoying the feel of it again, the taste of him. Then I sat up, guided him inside of me and I heard myself moan, then sigh.
For a second it crossed my mind to wonder what he felt, if he felt anything at all; there was a moment of guilt that the pleasure in the experience was only going to be mine. But that went away. At first he looked frustrated, he wanted to thrust into me, to take control like he always did and now couldn’t. I sunk my teeth into an earlobe until he cried out; I craned my neck and flicked my tongue over his nipples as I moved against him and he forgot that he was frustrated. He kneaded my breasts, the soft, yielding flesh of my hips and he kissed me, on the shoulders, the face, the breast, anything within reach.
Eventually I came. Then I lay against him, exhausted, caressing his face and showering him with tiny kisses.
“What did it feel like?”
He shook his head. “I don’t think I can explain it. I don’t think I came, but… but, it was wonderful. I felt it everywhere I could. Does that make sense?”
“And you?” he asked.
I sighed. “I don’t think I’ve ever felt better in my life. I missed you.”
We were quiet for a moment, and I started to fall asleep. He moved me over, pulled the quilt up to my shoulder and told me he was going to get up for awhile. I nodded sleepily. He pushed himself up with his arms, but before he reached for the chair he leaned over, laid his face against mine and said that he loved me.
“I love you, too, Bobby.” I replied without hesitation, felt the muscles in his face move as he smiled and I snuggled into the pillow. It seemed perfectly natural; until an hour later when I woke up, alone, and started to wonder if I’d heard him right.
I wandered out of the bedroom, pulling on jeans and a sweater as I went. It was mostly dark in the little house, just the light in the kitchen on, and the porch light coming in from the windows. It was getting cooler, getting dark earlier. It was only six o’clock, but the sun was setting. He was on the front porch, staring off down the long driveway or looking at the orange leaves of the Maple trees. I slipped out through the screen door and went to him, sank down onto my knees beside him and reached for his hand. He let me take it, didn’t say anything.
Then, “How was your nap?”
“It was nice.” I looked up at him, felt uncertainty on my face. “Bobby? Did you…”
He smiled and squeezed my hand. “Yes, I did. Don’t you believe me?”
“I wanted to make sure I wasn’t dreaming.”
He turned his brown eyes on me then in that way he had; that way he looked at and into a person, and saw too much. “You were waiting, weren’t you?”
My eyes narrowed and I shifted uncomfortably, as that statement made my pride prickle a little. He laughed. I told him he was full of himself.
He grinned at me. “Documented fact—what did you write? ‘Decidedly one of the cockiest men on the planet’, was that it?”
“Well. And it’s true, isn’t it?”
“You enjoy it.”
“I’m glad to see it again.”
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