Cassandra Snow has been a regular contributor to Mind Caviar for some time now. Once our Literate Slut columnist, often a gifted poetic and art contributor, we appreciate her work both at Mind Caviar and in A Bi-Friendly Place. Mind Caviar graciously presents a delicious erotic tragedy for your consummation. Enjoy!
The Kennedy Expressway had never felt as lonely as it did that sweltering July evening. Although every make, model and color of transport sat idling for miles alongside my own, I felt removed, alone within a realm of heartache and desire I was certain had never touched the souls of those around me.
Traffic at a stand-still, my focus vacillated between the ache in my chest and the unrequited desire lingering between my thighs. Perhaps I should have paid more attention to the Buddhist lessons of my youth. Mother was right. Desire is suffering.
+ + +
When I had called Jacki to let her know I would be making my way through Chicago for a small-scale production of one of my mediocre yet endearing stage plays, she was overjoyed. Eager, just as I was, to rehash old times and to catch up on the new, she promised to call me back to make plans before I hit the road the following Tuesday.
I wasnít surprised when she called me from work Monday afternoon. What did surprise me was that she had scheduled a day of vacation for herself on Thursday so that we could spend some quality grrrl-time together. Consumed as Jacki had always been with her position at Mimi Marceau, Chicagoís premiere alternative clothing designer, I had taken it for granted that, at best, she might make time for dinner and drinks.
"I should be able to get home by five-thirty," she informed me. "Weíll have Wednesday evening and all of Thursday to play. What time do you think youíll get into town?"
"Five-thirty," I said definitively. "Iíll be waiting on the steps."
Sure enough, Jacki came swishing up at five forty-five looking like my identical twin. Only her blonde hair contrasted the dark hue of my own. Her tan, on the other hand, made up for any ethnic differences in pigment. Jacki had always enjoyed escaping to the Lake Michigan beaches.
Somehow, despite the miles and the unceasing passage of time, Jacki and I remained precisely on the same wavelength. We traveled the paths of spirituality, fashion trends and identity crises simultaneously. I must admit that she handled change much more gracefully than I. While she always embraced it with confidence and a spirit of adventure, I, on the other hand, tended to analyze things to the nth degree (if not higher) and, therefore, by obsessing, created personal crises out of minutia.
The evening of my arrival was just like old times. Sipping margaritas at the outdoor café down the street, playing fashion police, and subtly caressing the exposed skin revealed under the gentle breezes that lifted our summer dresses, we recaptured that symbiotic sisterly love not to mention the sexual tension that had been so characteristic of our friendship over the past ten years. It truly felt like old times. I was transported, and in witnessing the familiar glimmer in her eyes, I was confident that she had been transported as well.
Returning to her Damen Avenue apartment early, around eleven oíclock, Jacki poured peach lemonades spiked with Absolut into tall glasses before leading me out to the balcony. Small and discreet in its perch, the balcony afforded us a view of the mid-week urban mischief while enabling us to talk candidly without concerning ourselves with the always-intrigued ears of the city.
"The breeze up here feels nice," I commented.
"It does, doesnít it?" she agreed. "I spend at least an hour sitting out here every night. It gives me space to think."
We breathed in the night air for a few moments in silence.
"Jacki, honestly, how did you manage to take time off for me? It was always a chore to tear you away from your work."
"Iím quitting," she announced. "What are they going to do? Fire me? If only."
"What brought this about? I thought you loved it there?"
"I do love the glamour, the people, the work itself. I just need a change. I keep thinking that there has to be more out there for me." A tone of exhaustion resonated in her words.
"So, what are you going to do next? Do you have something lined up or are you going to take a little time off before starting something new?" I inquired.
"Honestly, Dove, I donít know what Iím going to do. I was thinking about moving. San Francisco, Seattle, somewhere away from Chicago."
"Are you serious?" I exclaimed. "The city wouldnít be the same without you."
As much as I loved Chicago, I knew that without Jacki, returning to the city would be agonizing, every corner reminding me of a particular moment we had shared. ďThereís nothing keeping me here anymore. Jenís in college she doesnít need me. In a few days, Iíll have no job to stay for, and Iíve completely given up on men. I havenít had a functional relationship in years, and Iím not so sure I want one at this point.Ē Her words were precisely what I had hoped to hear although I knew well enough that I would never have broached the subject on my own. Taking a sip of my drink, I was astounded at how easily my wish had been granted. Jacki was lonely.
I bit my lip.
"Can I tell you something?" I began hesitantly.
"Iíve been thinking a lot lately about what I want from my relationships, and Iíve realized..."
"Iíve realized that David is the last man Iíll ever be with."
"Really?" she asked, knowing all-too-well my tendency toward what some would term acute co-dependency.
"Most definitely. The funny thing about it is that it has never creating any turmoil for me. Iíve been really honest with him. Itís true, I would much rather be with a woman. Imagine waking up next to someone you actually like! How incredible would it be to share your life with someone who understood, caressed you tenderly, shared the same interests? I remember in college discussing this very subject with a friend. It was merely a hypothetical question at the time, but, really, where is that line between friendship and intimacy?"
"Iím not sure myself," she admitted. "Itís pretty illusive, I guess."
"Maybe, but I know thatís what I want. I can see it so vividly," I said in a tone that was perhaps a little too enthusiastic.
"Just imagine, weíd host all-dyke barbecues and wake up each morning only to get nasty to Ani on the stereo."
"Sounds like heaven, doesnít it."
"Yeah, it does."
We laughed together. Her eyes sparkled.
This is it, I thought. Thereís no way itís not going to happen.
As I contemplated how I would go about initiating the seduction, Jacki glanced at her watch.
"I suppose we should get to bed," she sighed.
"Youíre tired?" I asked in a tone of half-astonishment, half-disappointment.
"Yeah. Since I put in my notice, the days really drain me," she replied. "Youíre an early riser, wake me up by nine. Weíll go to Bongo Room for breakfast."
"Sounds good," I said, trying futilely to conceal my disheartened tone.
With a see-you-in-the-morning embrace, she left the balcony and made her way toward her bedroom. I carried my drink into the kitchen and smoked one last cigarette in the dark before heading off to the guestroom where I waited with anticipation for her footsteps. The apartment remained silent. Abandoning hope, I fell asleep.
+ + +
The next morning, Jacki awoke on her own a little before nine, and we lounged lazily with our Diet Cokes and cigarettes before jumping into the shower and heading down to the Bongo Room.
Over huevos rancheros and pecan pancakes, we contemplated how we would spend the remainder of the day. There were so many of our old haunts to visit, but it was obvious that Jacki wanted to soak up some sun.
"I know, letís hang at the beach," she suggested.
"That sounds good, but I need to get up north to meet with the director and cast by five," I countered. "Letís just stay at the apartment. You know, just waste the day together."
Jacki was not to be dissuaded. She lay down a twenty on the table.
"Come on. Letís go back and get our suits on."
In no time at all we were laying our towels on North Avenue Beach. With a cigarette in one hand and a Diet Coke close within reach of the other, we lay talking with our eyes closed beneath our sunglasses, our faces turned toward the bluest and most cloudless of skies.
"So, where do you think youíll be in fifteen years?" Jacki interrogated me.
"Somewhere far different from where I am now," I responded.
Her eyes lit with curiosity, her mouth expressive. She looked more beautiful to me than ever.
"I just want something more. I want something that feels good, something that feels right. Iím tired of merely observing my life. I want to experience it."
"I know what you mean. I donít know why weíve allowed so many opportunities to escape us," she replied as she propped herself up on her elbows and gazed toward the water. "Come on, letís walk."
We walked together, the tide lapping at our ankles.
Then, despite the reflection of the afternoon sun, I saw them two ordinary pieces of shale. They called to me, and I couldnít resist. I had to pick them up.
Jacki continued walking while I bent down to retrieve the rocks. I rinsed them off in the tide and held them gently in my palm.
A few feet ahead, Jacki had stopped and turned toward me. I could see her squinting my way in the sunlight.
"What do you have?" she asked as she retraced the steps she had taken while I had fallen behind in order to claim the treasure.
"So you donít forget me," I said as I handed her the more curvaceous of the two pieces. The softness of its lines suggested millennia of water-swept caresses.
I held the other close to my chest. "This one reminds me of you. Smooth on the surface yet potentially dangerous with its sharp, jagged edges," I laughed. "I guess thatís part of why Iíve always loved you."
She wrapped her arms around me in a tender yet undeniably passionate embrace. "Soul sisters," she whispered. I felt the warmth of her breath against my neck.
Slowly, yet without hesitation, our lips met and we kissed deeply, lingering within the long-awaited, inevitable sensation. Then, reluctantly, we parted and continued walking the beach together until it was time for me to go.
+ + +
In the car, as we made our way back to her apartment, she spoke without taking her eyes from the road.
"Iím glad to hear that you know what you want for yourself these days, Dove. Itís been a long time in coming. Yet, please realize that what I want and what I need are two very different things for me now. Sure, we all idealize loving relationships and hot sex..." She glanced at me with a sardonic grin upon her lips before once again taking on a serious tone. "But I need very little now. I donít want anything or anyone holding me back from experiencing things on my own, from venturing out in hopes of seizing something more than another person can give. I hope you can understand that."
I was unable to respond. Her words had hit me hard, shattering the fantasy I had created of what the future could hold for two women who felt as much for each other as we did.
Recalling the look in her eyes as she deposited my bags into the trunk of my car haunts me to this very day. I had known Jacki long enough to recognize my own desire and yearning mirrored within her gaze. Why I hadnít seized the moment the evening before, I donít know. What I do know is that I will always regret not having done so. At least I would have had something to remember.
We said good-bye and held each other close. As we parted, she instructed me to drive safely. She mentioned how glad she was that we had been able to spend some time together. She told me she loved me before stepping away.
Jacki, the woman who I had always known to take on the world in the face of fear or public opinion, was forcing herself to hold back. Or would it have been as she had said? Would I have held her back from experiencing all that was waiting for her out there somewhere? Was she afraid? Was she satisfied with the level of intimacy we had possessed for nearly a decade? So many questions were left unanswered that day as I navigated the narrow side streets and finally merged onto the expressway.
+ + +
Exiting the Kennedy, I pulled into the hotel parking lot. I prayed that the desk clerk would pull up my reservation quickly. I desperately longed to be assigned my room so that I might close the door on the world just for awhile. I felt drained from emotion. I didnít know how I could possibly feign a charismatic countenance before the cast and the director who were invested in and inspired by my words. I had only an hour before I was scheduled to present myself.
As I unlocked the door to room 309, a rush of chilled air greeted me. I did what I had so longed to do close the door and be left alone with my thoughts. I threw down my bags and collapsed onto the bed.
In the silence of the room, I couldnít help but to replay the afternoon over and over in my mind. I brushed off the fine grains of sand that lingered upon my toes. Taking a breath, I rose from the bed and opened my bag. Nestled deeply within the side pocket rested the most poignant reminder of my afternoon with Jacki at the beach.
Holding it tenderly in my palm, I lay back onto the bed. I contemplated its smooth surface, its edges sharp upon my fingertips. Exhaling deeply, I then held it close to my heart. The dichotomy of its properties provoked me, and I experienced a stirring deep within. The rock tasted salty as I brought it to my tongue. It soaked up my saliva, yet I continued to lap at it until one side of the stone was thoroughly wetted.
I pulled up my shirt and released one of my breasts from the black lace of the bra that I had hoped Jacki might admire. My nipple was erect with the mere memory; and I grew hot as I brought the stone to hover above the firm nub. A shock ran through me as I brought the sharp tip to lightly graze my nipple. I continued, first gently, then vigorously.
My nipples raw, I trailed the stone downward along my abdomen. It slid smoothly with the perspiration lingering in tiny beads upon my skin. I allowed it to glide over the curve of my hipbone and down toward my inner thigh. I immediately felt the heat rise and myself swell.
Normally, I would have teased myself, luxuriating in the anticipation, experiencing the gentle throbbing within me; yet, it wasnít a sensation of wanting that I was seeking. Want had already cut deep. Rather, I needed to experience a brutal passion. I needed my orgasm to pierce me to the core.
Prodding my clit with the point, I allowed myself to experience the sharpness of those edges, the poignancy of my desire. The twinges of pain that ran both down my legs and through my sex aroused me. I needed more. I needed to experience the hurt in all of its forms. I needed to take it deep within me.
Coated with my viscous juices, the rock slid into me easily; yet, I gasped as the jagged edges sheared my opening and cut into my walls. The source of my pleasure and my pain wedged deep within me, I came hard. I felt each twitch acutely against its sharpness.
As the intensity of the sensations subsided, the rock felt to have become a part of me. Having experienced the fierceness of my desire and longing to its fullest, I found comfort in having embraced it. I was late for my meeting yet unconcerned.
As I lay torn, bleeding slightly from within, I remembered the lesson Mother had tried so hard to make me understand as a young woman. I smiled to myself for, indeed, I had finally embraced it.
"Yes, desire is suffering," I whispered to myself as I gradually drifted off to the echo of waves resounding within my memory and those sharp, jagged edges continuing to pierce me deep within.
Copyright © 2000-2001 Cassandra Snow. All rights reserved.
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