We’d been driving for about an hour. As a black speck under a blue sky we raced nothing at all, the empty road bobbing and weaving, sometimes making our stomachs go light as we crested a rise and felt the car go light underneath us. The sun was blazing so hard, I felt sure the tarmac had melted to our tyres and we were glued to this road. I felt invincible. So I started taking corners far far too quickly. I braced as I clung to the wheel. Leaned into the g-forces, anticipated the turn. Every time I thought we were going to end up off the road, and every time we just stuck. So I went a little bit faster.
You were next to me in the passenger seat. You’d given up on your seatbelt and were content to slouch deep, invisible in the seat, with your bare feet against the dashboard. Both windows were down and the wind rushing through the car whipped the hair around your face and the long skirt further up past your thighs exposing your underwear. I tried not to look but as we both know I am a terrible human being and an even worse man. As I threw the car around turn after turn you were content to be a ragdoll tossed around, but always returning to your original position. Your internal gyroscope maintained your equilibrium, cackling with laughter and clapping.
You brushed your long messy hair from your face and beamed a smile that blasted me from my eyes to my chest in warm acid. I loved everything about that face. I loved running my nose down yours when I kissed down your cheeks to your lips, with all the thrill and anticipation of a ski jumper. I loved the red spot that you’d picked at earlier, causing a tiny string of yellow pus to emerge like toothpaste. I loved the mole behind your ear that always required a careful examination when I was on top of you; breathless and trembling, pretending I was cold when in reality I was terrified by your control. I loved how my old bed instantly became unfamiliar whenever we fell into it, whereas you – the stranger – knew every bump and contour as though you’d slept in it for as long as I had. When I held your hand, I felt your palm as cold as stone. I knew in those moments that you would one day kill me, whether by accident or design.
We finally stopped on the edge of the forest and you slung your wedges back on your feet and scampered out. I played it cool when in reality I wanted that skirt up to your armpits underneath a hawthorn like some ancient ceremony of fertility. Your shit, sweat and cum could fertilize dead soil. I don’t shit baby, I just go to think was your answer every time you had to use my bathroom. The smell would carry down the hallway regardless, and my stomach would growl as though hungry which I’ve never understood.
Whilst you climb trees, I stand below silently calling the squirrels cunts because they can also climb and I cannot. The barks are too rough to carve our names or do anything romantic, so I have to drift around kicking dirt from one pointless location to another pointless location.
The trees thin and clear, and the air around us grows lighter and less oppressive. The closed in, claustrophobic scents of the forest are replaced by the expansive aromas of the open fields. Before us, we can see hundreds of square miles of nothing – just patchworks of fields and one road as a grey ribbon squiggling off into the horizon. We lay down on the grass.
You ask me why I need to prove myself, to justify myself, to be so animated in making sure that everyone thinks of me in the same way that I think of myself. You’re laughing when you ask, which is worse than you being angry or concerned – because it shows that you know it’s true and that you don’t really care, and that you know I cannot do anything about it. I am thrown to the lions. I stammer around the subject, cracking a few pathetic jokes but you lay there in silence. I’m praying for an intervention but you’re actually listening patiently until my words run out, which you know they will. I’ve never known what I am supposed to be, what I am supposed to believe, so I just construct from images and bend my personality to these ideals. I am a railway, deliberately looking for hills to tunnel through when they could be so easily avoided by taking a different route. It is easy to fool the superficial with pictures, but it is impossible to fool those who read and listen.
Our sex life is a hollow act in truth. I know that you do all the work and that when you cry out in orgasm, I am just so much inconsequencial fresh air. I am the dominant and yet I’m terrified by the thought of you walking away at any moment. The knots on my binds are so loose that you shake yourself free as I pound away between your legs. You grab my shoulders so hard that your nails pierce flesh, and as I reach my climax my skin shivers, reducing the pain to a dull tattoo itch.
I haven’t answered your question and you don’t ask me to follow up. Instead you put on your sunglasses so I cannot see your eyes anymore and I don’t know if they are closed in ponderous thought or staring up in realisation.
I eventually sit up, my skin marked and cold damp from the grass I’ve been resting on, as the sun gently winks closed and a darkness sweeps across the hills with an announcing rush of wind. A few miles in front of me I can see it – a huge column of solid rain inching towards us, obliterating fields, trees and villages as it goes like a vast tornado.
Baby, I think we’re going to get wet I say, sitting up on my haunches, ready to leap back into the forest. You sit up, lift your sunglasses and I see your eyes squint and your mouth harden.
You lay back down. Baby, you say as you kick the wedges off your feet and cross your ankles, I think – for once – you could be right.