E-mail Home to Say, There’s Something You Ought to Know

By Benjamin Hostetter

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i haven’t always been upfront with you, esp. when it comes to sex. sure, it’s totally natural, and so what’s there to be embarrassed about, right? well. if you haven’t already guessed, i prefer to keep some things private. or at the very least, just between me and the person i’m sleeping with. still, i set out to tell you the truth about chloë and me, and so and though i can’t say that i’m totally comfortable with what i’m about to tell you, i’m just going to come out and say it, just so you know.

so what now, then, huh?

chloë asked me to take her hand, and so i did. i took her hand, and she led me into the bedroom. and then into the bathroom, where she told me to take my clothes off. i said, all of them? and she said, all of them. my shirt. my pants. the underwear i had on. i asked if she could hand me a towel from the clothesbasket behind her, and she said, why? and i said, because i’m cold. and then after that, after i’d helped her with her shirt and bra and had been handed a clean towel, i thanked her as she stepped out of her skirt and panties and then again when she and i got into the shower, naked, my hands, slippery with soap, moving down and then up and then slowly down from her cheeks to her neck to her small-breasted chest, and she said, kiss me!, and so i did. i kissed and then bit and then pinched and played with her nipples. she said, now, turn me around, and i turned her around. she said, now, i want you to fuck me.

sure you want to do this?

she said, i said, fuck me!

but are you sure? i asked, and she said, look. do you or don’t you want to fuck me? i said that i did. so what are you waiting for? i’d learned on either our second or third date that not only could she be somewhat startlingly take-charge, not to mention foul-mouthed, in bed, the shower, up against a door or on the tank of a toilet somewhere—(drunk) at the bar or (stoned) at the national on broad, for example—but to her, she said she’d learned, there are two types of sex: the first is lovemaking (which she generally put quotes around), and then there’s the second, which is what? i’d asked her on either our fourth or fifth date, after a quickie in the men’s room at aladdin’s, you know, that mediterranean joint on laurel near campus, and she looked at me, laughed, and said, it’s what we just got done doing!, which is what? is what i said i wanted to know, lest i read too much into it. into what? she said, checking herself out in her compact, applying some concealer to the hickey i’d given her, the garter belt, the sheer stalkings and straps she’d told me to rip if i had to if i couldn’t get the clasps undone—ripped (of course), that and: balled up and tucked into her clutch. this. i mean, that, i said, referring not to the mark on her neck or the stuff in her purse but rather to the sex she and i just had, in there, on the floor, in the bathroom, and she laughed and then quickly clapped her compact shut, smiled, and said, that? then: oh, that was just us having some fun. and by fun she meant: we were just getting a good fuck in before our food came and got cold. so. now, unlike making love, FUCKING (to her, at least) is an act comprised mostly of rapid, deep, and more often than not hard, though somewhat enrapt, thrusts and, of course, change of position (or setting). meaning: the goal’s simply to come. and come she and i did. but still and all, i couldn’t help but feel a little ashamed. so where’s the emotion in all this? i said, and she said, i said i loved it when you pulled my hair, didn’t i? that’s not what i mean, and you know it, i said as i boxed up the small pizza and strudel neither of us had touched but had planned on saving for later, after i’d asked for and then paid the check, stood, and dropped a tip for our server. so what, then? she said. is it some kind of meaningful connection you’re after, is that it? in a manner of speaking, i said. and so what, you expect to find romance—a sonnet or something, in a shithole where there’s more rattraps than cooks?!? don’t get me wrong, i like you. but if you think i’m going to be all goo-goo-eyed or whatever whenever you pull up my skirt, then, she said, i’ve got some news for you: you’re fucking the wrong girl. i mean, you’ve got to understand. sometimes, some people just need to screw without, you know, all that other stuff, and i asked, why? and she said, why? at the light, on the corner of laurel and grace, as she passed our pizza out to a couple of gutterpunks. i said, yeah. why? and she said, why do you masturbate? after we’d crossed the street and gotten a beer and a shot, at the bar, in edo’s squid. you do it because it feels good, not because you’re looking for something or someone to love. she said, so look. now, i’m not saying that i haven’t got any feelings for you, or that i don’t care. because i do. i wouldn’t be out with you if i didn’t. it’s just that sometimes i just want to fuck, and that’s it, and so when, in the shower, she asked, so what are you waiting for? and, aren’t you going to fuck me? instead of, say, don’t you want to make love? something in me told me this was the end. i said, no. she said, yes. and i said, no. don’t. please stop, as she. . .

and after i’d come again, in bed, on the towel she’d had me put down, i got up and got her shirt, skirt, and bra for her (i couldn’t seem to find her panties, but she didn’t care), and so i just kind of sat there, naked, smoking cigarette after cigarette, as she got dressed. i said, you don’t have to do this. you can stay. we can figure something out. just give me, i started to say, and she said, what? another chance? haven’t we already discussed this? i mean, if it were the flu or something and all you needed was bedrest and an alka-seltzer, that’d be one thing. but you’re depressed, and i can’t, and she said, sit around and watch you kill yourself. because that’s what you’re doing: you’re killing yourself. i said, how? and she said, by not getting up and going out and getting the help that you need. i said, help? there’s no help. see? there. that’s what i’m talking about: you’ve all but given up, she said.

but maybe if you’d just stay and sit with me, i said.

and do what?! she said.

oh, i don’t know. help?!

i can’t help you if you aren’t ready to help yourself.

but there isn’t any point.

that’s why i’ve got to go.

i said, don’t, and, i’m sorry, but that didn’t stop her.

and so you can see why i didn’t want to tell you the truth. because if i’d told you the truth, you’d have just worried, i’m sure, and that’s the last thing i need. it’s bad enough that i’ve got what i got, without you constantly asking, are you all right? and, do you need anything? i am, and i don’t, so quit asking (because—seriously, it’s getting harder and harder to lie), no—really.

Benjamin Hostetter