CW: Graphic sexual scenes, NSFW
When I come home, there is no one there. I make a hasty transformation. In the bedroom, I strip off my clothes—stockings and garter in my coat pocket, the dress and bustier falling to the floor—and pull on a t-shirt and pair of old jeans. Slip my feet into the flip-flops I wear around the house, and walk back out into the kitchen. Pull a loaf of bread from the cupboard, stoop down into the fridge and locate the turkey covered in foil. Grab a sharp knife from the dish drainer, a long slim knife with a rosy wooden handle. One of the turkey’s breasts remains, and with the sharp knife, noiselessly I draw the blade through the pale flesh, carving off slices of meat. I place these on the bread, which I have buttered, and cover the slices with curlicues of mustard. Salt and pepper. Then, I close the sandwich with a top piece of bread, and pulling the long knife toward me, cut the sandwich in two.
There is, I remember, a bottle of mineral water in the unheated back room that stays cool in winter. I fetch the green bottle, and when it opens, I hear a fizz. I pour half a glass of cranberry juice and half mineral water. Then, I take my sandwich and my drink and head to the living room. I am almost too distracted to watch a movie, but I choose one anyway.
When the movie begins playing, I bite into my sandwich. The mustard hits my palate first. But as I chew the bread and the springy meat, a mild succulent taste fills my mouth. I follow this with a swig of mineral water and juice, which has a sharp taste of salt and the sour taste of fruit. I alternate bites of sandwich with swigs of juice, leaving a swallow of juice till the end.
It’s a Swedish movie about a little girl who is left on her own for an entire summer. Her parents have gone to Africa to be missionaries. Her aunt, who is supposed to be caring for her, has abandoned the girl and gone off with a man she has just met. The family’s house is in the country, surrounded by fields of yellow grass and dark forests. The little girl is almost ten years old and has long strawberry blonde hair that lifts and shines in the sun.
When she sits alone in the house in front of the window, sheer curtains billowing in an unrestrained breeze, the camera focuses on what we can see in the middle distance, outside near the dark trees, beyond the girl’s vision. She is both alone and free. I pause the movie, walk to the front room. Under the Christmas tree I find the chocolate covered marzipan, sweet but not too sweet. Passing the fridge, I stop and drink eggnog straight from the carton with the fridge door in my hand. I return to the living room, take my seat, and press play on the movie. As I watch, I lie first on my side, then I stretch my legs out on a low stool, then finally, I hug my knees to my chest. The enchantment is almost over. I have eaten almost everything that the spell has allowed, I am returning to normal. I pause the movie once again and go back into the kitchen for some salted nuts. I press play on the movie and eat the nuts one by one and lick my fingers.
The little girl’s hair gets unkempt-looking, the movies verges always on some darkness, danger threatens to break through summer’s enchantment. No one—not her schoolteachers nor the residents of her small town—realizes she is living by herself in the house in the middle of the field of yellow grass near the dark forest. The girl seems both aware and unaware of her abandonment. She eats food straight from tins she has shopped for herself in town, and sleeps in a bed in front of an open window. A group of old men require that she kiss them, she doesn’t stop two older girls from pulling a young boy’s pants off. She catches tadpoles, which she keeps in a shallow basin in the kitchen, until one sprouts legs and turns into a frog. She gets burrs in her hair, she lies in a pool of stagnant water, and when in the sky a hot air balloon appears, and a man descends into the yellow field not far from her house, she goes to him.
I am tired. My eyes sting and my stomach is full. I am now recalling the evening. I close the lights in the living room and make my way to the bedroom. I turn off the overhead light and turn on the little light beside the bed. Under the duvet, I begin to think back, the change in the bathroom a few hours earlier. The bath, the mascara, the stockings, the garter.
From his emails, I had an ominous feeling. But still, just before 7pm, I found myself getting into my car and driving across town to a low-rise apartment building, where M lived.
He gave me the money straight way, as I’d asked him to do in the email. I pretended to text a friend his address. This was my way of making him think that someone knew where I was. Then, we sat together on the couch that was very close to the TV, and he asked me if I wanted to watch a video. Two glasses of ice water placed on the table in front of us. Had I ever seen anything cuter, he wondered. On his TV screen he brought up a YouTube video of three tiny Pomeranian puppies scampering around in a wire pen.
After we watched the video, he asked if I was ready to cuddle. When I said yes, we went to his bedroom. He turned on the overhead light, which was bright with two 100-watt bulbs. On the bed were two stuffed animals. On the bedside table, I saw two paddles. Would I be all right with some over-the-knee spanking?
I said yes, but no paddling.
He said okay, and proceeded to take my clothes off. The bustier, stockings and garter made no impression on him. All of it off, he said. He then asked me why I thought so many women shave their pubic hair. Actually, he said public hair, but then corrected himself—he didn’t like the look. I placed my clothes on the open flap of a cardboard box. We carried on with the small talk as he took off his clothes. He had a round body with a big tummy and short legs. His hair was short cropped and he was clean-shaven. There was a TV on a high dresser along with some boxes. A jar of pennies. The room was crowded with stuff. On the wall, a small bronze orthodox cross, and tacked to a map of Russia, a picture of an angel with enormous wings.
He’d been in the navy he told me, but had retired early. He said this as he climbed onto the bed. I climbed up after him. He had PSTD, he said, and when I asked if he’d been to war, he said yes, the Gulf War. He was all right now, but the depression medication took away some of his sex drive. Also, he was a high functioning Autistic. Did I know what autism was?
I said, yes.
We did the cuddling for a few minutes, which meant I lay on my side and he hugged me tightly to his chest, and then he asked me to lie on my tummy. He worked my bum with his hands and fingers for several minutes. I had a soft bum, he said.
Was this a good thing, I asked?
Yes. He grasped my bum with both hands and wiggled the flesh so that my whole bum and hips shook. Then he began the spanking. I lay with my hands folded under my chest. I could feel sweat trickle from my under arms. As he brought his hand down, he told me I was a bad girl. This continued for a few minutes. He asked me several times if I was all right, and when I said yes, he continued the spanking. The spanks hurt, but when he pushed his fingers into my sex, it was wet.
Did it hurt, he asked?
I said it felt good, but no harder. After some more spanking, he got on top of me. I could feel him rubbing his sex between the cheeks of my bum. I reminded him of the need for a condom, and then, when he was ready, I went to the living room and got one from my coat pocket. I asked him if he’d like me to put the condom on. He said, yes. I asked him if he’d like me to suck him a bit first, and he said no, he didn’t like that.
I got back on the bed on my tummy, and he lay on top of me, nudging his sex between my thighs and the checks of my bum. Then he put his whole weight on top of me. I could feel his entire body resting on top of my own. He began working his penis into the soft, wet space between my thighs. It felt really good, he said.
Good, I said, and made a motion to indicate to him to take some of his weight off my body. Which he did. Then he moved around a little more and asked me if it was in.
No, I said, but it felt good.
Was it in now?
No, I said.
Getting there, I said.
Had I ever done anal?
He’d done it once before.
Had he liked it, I asked?
Yes, it was very good, he said. Would I do anal with him?
I considered for a moment, wondered if I should charge him more, then said, okay. I reminded him of the need to keep the condom on. He said he had some lube. I saw him squirt the lube onto his penis, which was covered by the condom, and then he rubbed some on my bum. He lay back on top of me, and in a few pushes, his sex went in. He had a smallish penis, which was good. I relaxed and felt him moving within me. I focused on the thought of accommodating him, and he moved above me, saying how good it felt.
Was it good, he asked me? What was it like?
I said it felt good.
Did it really, he asked? Did it hurt?
I said it was a stretching feeling, but the truth was I felt turned on. Everything was wet and loose. I felt him move over me, rubbing his big belly over my back. And soon he came. He went right away to the bathroom and removed the condom, and I followed him and wiped myself clean. Then we got back into bed for more cuddling.
Then we talked about relationships. He had an inability, he said, because of his autism, to find a woman who wouldn’t hurt him. I said relationships weren’t easy, and he asked what I was afraid of. Abandonment, I said. He said he wasn’t afraid of being abandoned. He was afraid of being taken advantage of. He was too nice. That was the good thing about autistic people, he said, they don’t wear any social masks. You get what you see, he said with a wave of his hand. He had a lot of offer, he continued. And he was very caring. But most people didn’t understand his kindness. Except babies. One time, he said, he held his friend’s baby for a whole hour. He looked at me as he said this. I was rubbing myself against his knee. When I stroked his chest, he put his hand on my hand and pulled it to his balls. He liked that, he said.
Lightly stroking, I asked?
No, just firmly cupping with your hand. Like that, ah, really good. Everybody likes it different, he said.
I said this certainly was true. And then he told me how he was a nudist, and that every year his nudist society rented out the Gordon Head pool. It wasn’t just adults, he said. People brought their kids too. But the lifeguards had their clothes on because they were working. He thought nudity was a beautiful thing. He put some lube on his sex and showed me how to use my hand. I asked him if minded if I played with myself a bit.
No, he said, and closed his eyes while I worked his sex. Was I right-handed, he asked?
Yes, I said. I used my left hand on my own sex, which made coming kind of tricky. He’d already come, he said, so coming again might be difficult.
That’s okay, I said, we still have some time. When he did, once again he went straight away to the washroom, and when he got back on the bed, I said I would make myself come, which I did.
Had I come, he asked me as my eyes fluttered and my mouth made an Oshape.
Yes, I said.
Had I really come, he asked?
I said, yes. Then I went to the washroom and washed my hands. Then I got my clothes on, because it had been more than an hour. He said it was unusual for him to have come twice. I said I thought we had good chemistry.
Would I like to go to the nude beach with him in the summer?
I don’t know, I said. I’d have to think about it. I said it might feel weird asking him to pay for a social occasion.
He said going to the beach could be as good as this, and he motioned to the bed. Then he asked me if I wanted him to walk me down stairs. I pulled on my dress and put my feet into my shoes and said, sure. I put the stockings and garter in my coat pocket. We descended in the elevator together. He hugged me at the door, and I went out into the night. It was dark, my legs were bare, and many houses had Christmas lights.
Jessica Michalofsky’s fiction, nonfiction, and reviews have appeared in publications like Brick, Geist, The Malahat Review, The Rumpus, Bookslut, The Globe and Mail, The Quarterly Conversation, and Joyland.