He was always welcome inside my room, free to come in and go out whenever he pleased. There were many nights when he would stay till late in my room and not go back to his when it was time to sleep. We would squeeze inside the space that my small bed allowed, no matter how cold or hot the weather was. It was on one such night that it started.
It was one of those phases when I was finding it hard to sleep at night. It would have been about 3 am. I heard someone open the door, and there was no need to turn around and check who it was. He called out my name softy, but as I was tired and didn’t want to disturb my comfortable sleeping-inducing pose, I didn’t bother answering. As I did not take up much space in the bed, it was easy for him to snuggle down next to me. I could smell beer on him, but I could also tell that he was not too drunk. And because he knew that I hated the strong smell of cigarettes and alcohol, I was certain that he wouldn’t come into my room completely drunk.
After what I think were about 15-20 minutes, he put his hand across my upper body. I identified as straight then, yet I had always wanted to hug and cuddle with him albeit in a platonic way. But as he had never exhibited such behaviour, I didn’t feel like initiating it so as to not force anything on him and make things weird. So, I was happy that he was half-hugging me, and I only thought of it as either an affectionate gesture or a half-sleepy action.
But this soon changed, as I felt his prickly stubble brush against the back of my neck. It was a wonderful feeling, and as I was relishing that slight tinge of pleasure, I felt his soft lips on my neck. He lingered for a while as he kissed me – one long and soft peck on the neck. By this time, I was fully awake and in my senses. And from the slight movements I made, he should have been aware that I wasn’t sleeping.
I turned around, and without opening my eyes dug my face into his body. I unbuttoned his shirt that smelled of cheap detergent, salt and sweat, and ran my hands slowly over his broad chest. All this while, he kept stroking my hair and kissing it now and again.
We made out that night. And we made out many times after that.
Nothing was spoken between us about what we did at night, and neither of us wanted to. There was a mutual understanding about it, and if it didn’t affect our friendship, there was nothing to worry about.
There were many similar nights where he came in and we often ended up making out. With each time, I started enjoying it more and more, so much so that I relished even the smallest things
He used to breathe heavily as we lay in bed together, wound in each other’s arms. And when he was on top of me, I took pleasure in his bodyweight faintly crushing me. I could imagine his strong arms pinning mine down, as he inspected every inch of my skin. His shoulders made a steep outline against the faint moonlight that filtered in through the window, like a waterfall in quick descent, the veins on his forearms like small streams that ended up nowhere. As his calloused fingers ran across my arms and entwined in mine, his big chest muscles would begin to move even faster. And when it was all over, I used to rub my hands all over the smooth, wavy hair on his body. I still remember how his body hair was thick towards the centre of his belly and gradually thinned towards the sides. That was my favourite part.
Sometimes as we lay in each other’s arms staring at nothing, he would randomly start rubbing my midriff. I almost always pretended to not notice even though I loved it. His attention would slowly shift to parts below my waist, and only then would I stop pretending. I would submit to his hard, firm hands, and eventually, all the vigour would be drained from both of us. As an exhausted him would fall on to my body, his long hair would fall on my nose. It smelled of mint and oil, and I never wiped it away from my face. Instead, I wrapped my arms and legs around him so that he would not separate from me sooner than I wanted.
Often at this point, I would be engulfed by a feeling of dominance. I would feel like I was in control, that I dictated what our experience was going to be like. My potency, my passion, my youth – everything contributed to the sustenance of that emotion. The power to deliver pleasure to the person you choose, the power to derive pleasure out of it, and the power to decide when and where to do it.
He mostly ended up sprawled on top of me, and he stayed there for a while without moving. It was easier for me then to slide my hands inelegantly around his behind before they fell back onto the bed. But after a while, he would slowly shift and adjust into a position which ensured that our bodies were close enough, though with no contact. It served as a signal that he didn’t want to be disturbed from that position; he had made it clear on different occasions.
But the darkness always seemed much better at that point – it was something that made my reveries more plausible and less dreamy. As my hands moved back and forth, I saw colour – in the shadows surrounding us, in the remnants of silver foil on the floor, on the rusty edges of metal.
The colours lasted only a few moments because every single time, I finished very soon. And when my hands searched for him nearby, I would only feel the cold sheets.
I seldom refused or said no. And very rarely showed any kind of resistance.
When it was time to sleep, he would ask me to turn around, because he didn’t like my legs touching his.
He always came first. And at times I didn’t at all.
There were times when I wanted him to leave the room. Sometimes I didn’t want him to come at all. Neither did he ask if it were okay, nor did I tell him it was not.
Our cute little act had soon turned into a game of jerking and wriggling around. Before I knew it, he was in and out of the room.
The musky smell of his armpits that I used to love was silently being overpowered by the stench of smoke and alcohol.
His lips were harsh and tense. All the time.
There was no laughter, there were no conversations.
Had he been acting like he was in love with me? Had it even been love to begin with?
Occasionally, he grunted as if he was in mild pain, as if he was unable to let out a complete sound from within. I didn’t know what was worse, his noises or me staring at his upper arms with absolutely no passion inside. I doubt if he ever noticed my absence in the room. If he didn’t, does that confirm anything about his love at all?
No matter how cheesy it sounds, the light in his eyes was gone. I wanted to know the reason, but when did we ever get everything we wanted? Was it something that I lacked? Was it my fault, after all? Was it important enough to be blamed for?
It had reached a point where he began faking orgasms. When he realized that he couldn’t do it anymore, he stiffened, sucked his breath in a bit, and moaned gently as if he was overcome by pleasure. I would try to remember what it was like earlier– him experiencing a real climax, and the joy that he showed afterward. Before getting out of bed, he used to ask me how much I had enjoyed it. I smiled, because the question should have been whether I enjoyed it at all. I would have liked to call him back and tell him the truth, but that would have meant forgetting the colours in the darkness that I had surprisingly managed to hold onto.
The last semblance of comfort and pleasure had disappeared. The only unrestricted emotions present were guilt, regret, and dislike, if not indifference. His apathy might have been born out of boredom or dissatisfaction, and I was resentful of the frustration that had possessed him. We saw each other’s flaws written on our faces when we looked at each other, and it was understood that we would try as much as possible not to be reminded of them constantly.
Of course, there were many remains to look at – pockmarks on my body where nails dug into tender skin, the initial stiffening of muscles, moments that refused to let me take in air, red paper strips interspersed with white, the relaxing of my every lip. But all these only served as a souvenir of that desperate fight to be liberated from the surge of unwanted emotions. It was a conflict between muted sentiments and restrained bitterness that finally usurped our minds.
I still crave that gentleness and affection, the delights that are hidden between the parting and closing of our legs, the thrill of unwrapping clothes off our bodies and wrapping ourselves around each other, the absence of all negativity. But everything is forbidden now.
After all, how dare we love each other?
Cover Image: Pixabay