Jackie Summers remembers a past girlfriend who left indelible marks.
“Double espresso, black.”
The large Puerto Rican man sitting just to my left looked at his watch and laughed at my order. “That looks dangerous” he mused aloud. “That would keep me up all night.”
“Pequeña, pero muy fuerte” I replied, adding four brown sugars to the already potent potable. “Como mi gusta.”
It was already late in the evening when I joined The Quartet at a sidewalk cafe on the Upper East Side. The surface of the table around which this motley crew had gathered was obscured by packs of Marlboro Reds, half-empty coffee cups and flavored lubricants; I’d inadvertently interrupted a taste test. The blonde with the perfect bone structure and indefatigable ass handed me a tube labeled “Strawberry Sensation.” I opened my maw and squeezed.
“Too oily, and there’s an aftertaste” I critiqued. “Every woman’s flavor is unique; when I put my mouth on my partner I want to taste her, not polyhydroxide silicate and red dye number ten.”
“That’s hot” she purred.
A brown-haired man with a thick Bronx accent ambled up to our party, completing our sextet. He kissed the woman to my right on the cheek, clearly the High Priestess of this elite sexual cadre. Jade anime-eyes seemed to occupy fully half of the kabuki-like perfection of her face, and she was impossibly thin in the way only women from L.A. seem to be able to get away with, without looking emaciated. I’m certain a stiff wind would have blown her away, were it not for the voluminous contents of her brassiere and the gravitas of her thoughts.
The brown-haired man inquired about the Priestess’ recent foray into monogamy. Her response brought the spirited discussion to an abrupt standstill:
“I’ve finally met someone who can out-fuck me” she confessed.
I recognized a mix of surprise and pride in her voice; there was definitely a sense of power in her surrender, the way a true martial artist bows in reverence when bested by a superior. This tone was familiar to me because I’d known it once, long ago. I wondered if my dinner companions could hear my thoughts echo against the walls of my mind as I faded to flashback.
Doo refused to eat anything but Deli-Cat. Every so often I’d surprise her with Fancy Feast or some other feline treat clever advertising had convinced me was irresistible to the taste-buds of a cat, but to no avail. Doo was happy to turn up her nose and starve until I filled her bowl with her preferred delicacy. I was purchasing an economy size container of this edible when I met Mischa. Naturally platinum blonde hair and eyes like ice crystals, she’d been a member of the Ukrainian gymnastic team until puberty kicked in and made standing erect without falling forward a supreme act of balance. The attraction was instant and powerful, and worth overlooking our obvious differences: Mischa was a dog person.
A relatively new transplant to New York City, Mischa taught elementary school. If she had taught my second grade class instead of Mrs. Paccelli, I might never had graduated from grade school. There was a natural buoyancy about her personality; around her everything just seemed… lighter. Our time together was fun and frivolous, until the night we decided to take it to the next level.
Every (grown) man knows the first time you bed a woman, you calibrate the barometer for your entire sexual relationship. You can’t show off; it’s gauche. You can’t be perverted; you haven’t earned the right. You can’t replicate a technique that worked with a past lover; what pleases a woman is as unique as the collection of shoes adorning her closet. And under no circumstance can you under-perform; not only will you negate any possibility of a second (or third) act, you will become an object of derision, earning a place in her sexual Hall of Shame, where she will trash you to her friends at the first sip of fruit-flavored libations.
I wasn’t willing to risk not being invited back between Mischa’s creamy thighs; even if I never saw her again, I wanted to be a smile on her face when she was old and gray that her grandkids wouldn’t understand. With the axiom “flexibility can’t be overrated” in mind, I tailored my sexual arsenal to suit the former gymnast, and made myself oblivious to the world outside of her pleasure.
After two and change hours of (what I felt were) my best efforts to buck her ever-lovin’ frains out, Mischa flipped me over and pushed me down. “Your bandana is still on” she growled, pinning my arms behind my head. “I guess I wasn’t fucking you hard enough.”
Had I known my traditional headgear presented such an affront, I might not have absent-mindedly left it on. Maybe I’d accidentally invoked her incredibly competitive nature. Whatever the case, sweet little Mischa spent the next two and change hours demonstrating her Olympic-level endurance, and proving beyond the shadow of a doubt that she could not only take everything I had to give, she could give it back, in spades.
Tiny, but powerful. Like I like it.
The next morning I woke with what could best be described as a sex hangover. My legs were wobbly. I was severely dehydrated, and for some reason, convinced I was suffering from a magnesium deficiency. Still, despite all obvious manifestations, ego would not allow me to admit I’d been out-fucked. “Fluke” I consoled myself, as I consumed copious amounts of Gatorade, in an attempt to restore my internal mineral balance. “Next time, I won’t hold back.”
I didn’t. And neither did she.
While I had the good sense to remove my bandana before our next encounter, Mischa made it clear that I could not best her in a game of sexual one-upmanship. One night with her left me bereft of the basic hallmarks of homo sapiens, like the ability to stand erect or conjugate verbs. Robbed of my equilibrium, I forced myself to limit the amount of times I could see her in any given week, as my sex-induced delirium left me incapable of tasks requiring fine motor skills, or higher reasoning. Had I been asked to operate heavy machinery, or perform long division whilst recovering from sexual catatonia, a casual observer might have thought I was suffering from early onset dementia.
I’d met someone who could out-fuck me. The concession was liberating, and monogamy seemed a welcome inevitability. Some obstacles however, aren’t easily overcome.
Like most immigrants to New York City, Mischa had settled into a community of her countrymen. The Bensonhurst section of Brooklyn however, is not a place where a person of color ventures after dark. When her family discovered our affair they branded her a pariah. Her sister, with whom she lived, threatened her with expulsion. Apparently her previous boyfriend, who’d beaten her, was still preferable to sleeping with a black man.
There are few purer tests of racism than this: imagine a person of different ethnicity of whom you believe yourself fond. Now imagine them sleeping with your sister.
My flashback ended as my compatriots began to disperse. The large Puerto Rican man and The Blonde recused themselves to perform unspeakable acts of their own, upon each other. Bronx Accent Man began his venture back uptown, while The Priestess and her Familiar turned westward. For a moment, the green of my envy rivaled the jade of her eyes; her longing to return to her lover’s bed was viscous. My own longing for such a lover was unfulfilled.