She doesn’t want to hear the elderly couple kissing in the seat behind her. She wants the bus ride to work to be the comfortable silence of people who don’t want to talk to each other. She doesn’t want to be reminded of things that last. Because she’s back at the beginning again. Well, she’s been back for a month now, a month since the last time Glen stopped by–in the middle of the night–and quietly left after quiet sex.
She misses Glen because she misses Taylor. She misses Taylor because she misses the one who came long before him–the boyfriend. The relationship. The one who she could talk to after sex–before it, during it. She misses him because she misses the time before him–before any of them–when it was just her and she was comfortable with that. Before she realized the other sex existed in that way, in that way that makes you long for something. Before she knew that longing was something physical, a felt memory. She can remember what it felt like to have her thighs around them, to feel their bodies between her thighs. Not even during sex, but before it, with clothes still on. She can feel it now, like they had radiated heat between them; even now it simmers, like the embers that remain after the fire’s gone out.
She misses them like layers of clothing when it’s cold outside. You put the sweater over the shirt, which covers up the bra, and the distance from your skin grows farther. You want to go back to the skin, to the simplicity of nakedness. You miss the nakedness, even as you revel in the warmth of the sweater.
The fall feels the loneliest, just like the winter holidays, or spring, or July. The fall feels lonely because of the cold and the change, of new school years and the word “harvest.” It doesn’t feel lonely like January lonely, like a heavy blanket. It feels lonely because people begin to cover up with scarves and gloves and riding the bus you see those couples you know can’t wait to arrive home and take off each other’s layers. Fall makes her feel lonely because covering up her skin makes her want nothing more than to uncover it.
Last night her fingers moved like spiders underneath her underwear. She couldn’t make anything happen. Her thoughts were scattered–Glen’s arms and stomach, Taylor’s beard and tongue. Her nerve endings felt dulled, non-existent, rundown. And her mind kept going back to earlier at the gym and she couldn’t force it into a fantasy place. It stuck with the image of the locker room and the showers and how her shower curtain didn’t quite close all the way.
She had turned to see the woman walking into the handicapped shower, the one with the seat. This was the first time she had ever seen an obese person naked, and she couldn’t stop looking. She peeked from out of the corner of her eye, turned silently to watch the woman sit down on the shower seat and bring the shower head to her body. Her skin folded, cascaded, dripped. Her breasts dipped past her stomach, her ass past her thighs. Her skin bore patches, scabbed red–she didn’t know from what–that looked neglected, forgotten. Her body looked forgotten.
She wanted to feel something last night, but all she could see when she closed her eyes was this pale skinned, moon-shaped woman, and she wanted to know how she loved, how she was loved. Even through closed eyelids, the moon shone too brightly through the window and she couldn’t find solace in the dark. Her aloneness was lit up by the moonlight. She slept naked under her down comforter, squeezing her thighs together, like they were huddling in the cold.
Listen to this song, but maybe don’t watch the video.