She walked into my room uncalled for.
“I have something to talk to you about.” she announced, her voice wavering.
I shuffled through some more pages before finally looking up at her. She stood midway between the door and myself, with all the stillness of a brewing storm. Her hands clutched at the folds of her clothing and her wide-open eyes implored me for answers to questions she had forgotten to ask.
I swallowed. “What would you like to talk about?”
She parted her lips–and gulped for air. False start.
I leaned back in my chair, giving her time to gather herself while I watched the stolen features of her face: her great-aunt’s eyes, too small; her father’s jaw, too large; her grandmother’s chin, too pointed; her mother’s cheeks, too round. Her entire face could have been an afterthought, thrown together at the last minute.
“You have to see me,” she said earnestly, “You have to see me.”
Getting up, I wrapped my arms around her and caressed her cheek with a thumb.
“I do see you.” I murmured softly, smiling into her anxious face.
She looked at me, a flicker of uncertainty before I felt her hands gently close around my waist. I leaned in to kiss her; she pushed me back, seated me firmly in my chair, and stood in front of me.
She fiddled with the plastic buttons of her woolen cardigan as my eyes swept over her. Clumsily she began to undo them, keeping her eyes determinedly on her own fingers. She took the cardigan off slowly without looking up, and began to smooth down the wrinkles in her shirt. She might have been all alone in the room, she might have been all alone in the world, the way she refused to lift her gaze. I smiled amusedly.
Her eyes darted up towards me, and she pulled off her shirt.
I sat up straighter in my chair now, watching her torso twist and curve as she raised the shirt above her head, the flare of broad shoulders and ribcage tapering to a waist thicker than it could
have been. Her breasts, wider apart than most women’s and small for a chest the size of hers, strained against her brassiere and emphasized the fine hair in her cleavage. I caught a glimpse of her unshaven underarms, and then her head was through; she dropped the shirt on the floor, and paused for a minute, her arms hanging passively by her side as if she had just woken and happened to find herself standing shirtless before me.
If all she wanted me to be was a pair of eyes, she sure wasn’t making it any easier.
Trancelike, her arms reached back and her fingers struggled momentarily to undo the clasp of her bra. With unusual reverence, she slid it off and I leaned forward to feast my eyes on the large, dark aureolas of her pendulous breasts. Her nipples were already hard but it never really took much to make her nipples stand as if in protest, just like it never really took much to draw out her inwardly fiery temperament. I tore away my eyes from her chest and looked at her face, but she refused to meet my gaze once more, already fiddling with the button of her jeans.
The dull toothy sound of her zipper filled my ears and she began to pull her pants down over her wide, wide hips and fleshy thighs. I watched as she balanced on one foot, but her clumsiness nearly got the better of her. She placed a hand on my shoulder to steady herself as she pulled out of a pantleg, like a cat shaking off the unpleasantly confining proof of some owner’s enthusiasm for petwear.
A foot free now, she stamped on her pants till she could lift out the other leg, and then without reason she stamped with both feet as she straightened. Like her pants could sneak back up if she didn’t? I would have laughed, if the crotch of her worn-out boys’ boxers–complete with an opening for a penis she didn’t have–hadn’t been right in front of my face. She stood motionless, her hand still on my shoulder, watching me from above as my eyes fixed on the trail of fine, dark hair running straight down over her belly, disappearing into the white waistband of her underwear.
Her fingers hooked into the waistband, slowly revealing more of herself to me.
My eyes widened as I looked at the unkempt wilderness between her legs. I imagined what it would be like if I were to sink to my knees before her, to kiss and caress those curving thighs and part through the veil of hair, press my lips to her plump mound of Venus and let my fingers tease apart the thick folds of her sex; I imagined what it would be like to slide my mouth along their sides, feel the smoothness of her innermost flesh against each little bump on my tongue and taste the salty-sweet, slightly bland flavor of her emotional tides; I imagined what it would be like to suck on her clitoris and hear the sound of her nearly silent, almost hesitant gasps and soft moans she forgot to keep locked inside. The faint scent of her arousal drew me closer, and the darkly curling tendrils of hair tempted me to reach out, to risk getting entangled in her.
So I did.
She shied away from my fingers as if I would injure her and watched me wordlessly, searching my face without looking for an apology. Her hand slid up slowly, perhaps unconsciously, moving between her breasts and over her chest, till it rested on the back of her neck, like it always did when she was thinking her way to a decision. She kept a steady gaze on me, but I wasn’t sure if that was uncertainty in her eyes or betrayal.
Then she lifted away her hand, tearing off a length of her flesh. She didn’t flinch, she didn’t make a sound; she went on baring herself, right down to the bone, and didn’t stop.
Sinew by sinew, she peeled away her mortal coil till she reached the fiber of her intellect. She twirled it round a finger, and in one fluid unthinking motion, she snapped herself free. It fell to the floor in a single, silent wave, the thread she had clung to, and she stood before me now clad in her moral fabric. Her unceasing fingers tugged at it, making room for her to slide out, and then it too sank to the floor. All she had left on was her emotional make-up; and then off it went too. Layer after layer she shed of her Self, and when she was done, she picked it all up and lay the bloodied vestments of her being at my feet.
And I–I parted my lips, and gulped for air.