She could have been a high fashion model when she was young. Tall, narrow shoulders with boyish hips and bottom. The faintest hint of breasts, and long, long, pale cream legs. Her face however would have kept her off the runway. She was homely. Large buckteeth; thin mouth and eyes;
a short beak of a nose, and a dusting of acne scars along her jaw. Her short sable hair would have been pretty – if she hadn’t chosen a glossy slicked back style – Devon, my adorable stylist, calls it Hollywood butchy-fatale.
Yet, for me, looks count only until I judge someone’s laugh. She had a good laugh. But though there were excessively few of us in this town, and I caught the way her eyes reacted to me, I wasn’t interested.
Why? Maybe it was the mix of insecurity and arrogance that I sensed. Maybe it was the wildly cute chicana, with incredibly wavy black hair down to her waist, that accompanied her to the coffee house the nights I was playing banjo (yeah, a girl can play banjo – want to argue?). Maybe because my choice in bed is having a woman who’s pliant and the signs that her body sent told me she wasn’t one. Maybe it was because I didn’t want a one-night stand, and I didn’t want yet another affair to regret.
Then she came on my Thursday night without the chica ornamenting her like the expensive man’s watch she wore. Sipping her latte with a shot (okay, I asked Brenda the head barrista – curiosity doesn’t kill this cat), leaning back in her chair, those long, long, legs crossed while wearing a crimson Lacoste shirt and a silvery herringbone tweed skirt that dropped just over her knees. Her eyes closed, really listening to the music. I said that I liked someone who had a good laugh, I like more someone who listens.
At the end of my set, after I bend my head so that my massy hair fell over my face and down onto my hands that cradled Gabriella, my banjo – my little drama signature – and raised my head, Bren brought by a cup of strong green tea, with two very thin slices of lemon, and nodding towards the woman and saying, “She asked what you drank,” I had to go over to thank her – didn’t I?
I was wearing a short black flounced mini-skirt with a faded blue chambray workshirt tucked into the waistband; sleeves buttoned on my wrists, and a few buttons undone at the top – to show off my turquoise necklace. The short skirt is to get the small crowd to bother to look up, the shirt says that I was here to make music.
Her eyes were blatant as she took me in. Mine were blasé. Aphrodite was my birth goddess – I was gifted a luxuriant body; knew it, and gotten nonchalant about it.
She held her hand out and said, “I’m Claire.”
“De Lune?” I quipped as I took her hand in mine. Her lips curled automatically and briefly; that joke was probably very stale for her. Our hands stayed gripped for longer than just a shake; the feel, the strong warmth of her fingers caused my mind to drift…
“Why can’t I force myself turn away?
As I warm your bud in my hands carefully, my fingers massaging tenderly
Symmetrical, Earth shattering
Get closer, I need to talk
And make you mine”
Fuck poets – no, don’t fuck poets, they’ll carve their lines on your heart.
Her voice got me out that wistful, angry, space, “I’ve never heard Bach played on the banjo.”
I shrugged, “If you can transcribe for guitar…”
She let slowly go of my hand and nodded, “I suppose that the curiosity of playing classical on your instrument gets you gigs.”
Yeah, I thought to myself, enough gigs to pay for the cost of owning a peachy orange VW Karmann Ghia and not much else. If it weren’t for that little trust fund that my Aunt (my sister in heart) left me I would be either pushing coffee, or worse.
I let myself laugh and decided to sit down across from her – hell why not, she knew the difference between Bach and blue-grass, and she did have great, great legs.
Half-hour later, after talking about classical music, trashy novels, experimental film (she shocked me by actually knowing of Maya Deren, had seen “Meshes of the Afternoon”);
after I noticed little things, like that the nails on her left hand were bitten down to the quick, like that she kept her eyes on my face and not wandering over my body after that first survey, like that she would chuckle without thinking, that she had a fine neck under that scarred jaw; she asked me if I would like see a student film that she was in, at her place.
No one-night stands, affairs that end badly. Yeah, I had my rules. I said I would like that.
I followed her in my Ghia – she had glanced at the car and at me, saying without saying that it suited me – and we ended about five miles outside of town, in front of one of those old rambling Victorians that had been converted into multiple apartments. Past the entryway, and she silently ushered me through double French doors into her small hexagonal living room. A couple of overstuffed chairs by a marble fireplace, a loveseat with red velvet upholstery and a camel back facing a television. I noticed a couple of law journals on the couch; she made a wry face and admitted to being an attorney and added defensively. “I do mostly family law – which can be a bitch for us.”
Us, being dykes and queers, but that was understood – there was a lot, too much, already understood between her and me.
“Wine, or some tea?” She asked me. Great leading question counselor.
I decided to be a little bitchy and raised my arms behind my head while yawning. “How about some coffee?”
That caused a faint blush and a nod. “I’ll be right back, make yourself comfortable” Well, there weren’t any books on shelves to peer at, so I kicked off my sandals and settled down on corner of the loveseat; tucked one leg underneath me out of habit, doing so exposed a lot of thigh; thought about that, shrugged, and waited.
She came back in a few minutes – enough time for her to make two cups of coffee and a plate with chocolate biscotti, and to restore her power femme manner. She handed me the coffee, put the plate on the couch next to me, and went over to put the video on. She came back to the loveseat, took a place on the other end, stretched those long, long, legs of her out and started the movie.
A young ballet dancer, sitting and undoing her slippers, her toes bandaged, red, a flickering ghosting montage of Degas drawings floating behind and underneath her. Watching her with nervous eyes, an older dancer, puffing away on a cigarette…
A stocky, elderly woman, her long hair striking white, wearing denim overalls, doing tai chi alone in a barren park. A back and forth dissolve to another woman, in a hospital bed, staring up with blank eyes as a wingless angel hovers with both sighs and laughs…
A woman, dancing by herself in a sunwashed bedroom; Claire. Wearing tight jeans, knee-high suede boots, and a turtleneck sweater. A battered suitcase on the bed opening by itself, clothes hurling out of it, and then falling back in. Claire, hugging herself, dancing with wet cheeks…
Then the sound of a flute playing a flowing melody with odd harmonic twists and shifts. The faces of all three women raising up. Each walks out, down a country lane, down a city street, along an alleyway. Walking until they appear on a powdery beach, shedding their clothes like leaves falling. Walking until they are together, naked.
Lacing their arms together in the timeless pose of the Graces. Dancing together, voluptuously, as the music from the flute rises and falls.
Claire is the one in the middle, her back to the camera. The arched curve of back going to round little boy cheeks, those endless legs sinuously moving on the sand…
I nibbled at a biscotti in self-defense. It was only a student film, overwrought with obvious, but it had pinged my heart – and that, not the sight of Claire nude, made me moist.
She clicked off the video, half turned on the cushion, and asked me what I thought. I knew if that I answered her truthfully it would be the same as if I spread my legs.
When you listen to music, you connect the notes to each other and the key signature – without thinking — you make sense of the design, and the sensuality. I heard the different notes in me; my sweet heart, my bitter memories, an aching tide deep inside, what I thought she would want in bed, what I was afraid she might want in life.
I listened to the music, and then I told her the truth.
Honesty is scary as hell, and more exciting than revealing eight inches of bare thigh. She blushed again and bit with her big teeth her bottom lip. All the insecurity that growing up a gangly, ugly faced, girl with taboo desires for the love of another girl that she buried in her came up for a moment.
I said gently, “Kiss me Claire.”
She slid over to me half-mewling. Then she kissed me and her cry became a moan. Long kiss, a kiss that was lingering, engulfing, capturing my lips over and over again. She kissed me fiercely, tongue sweetly invading my mouth, our tongues tangling, stroking each other. My tongue sweeping hers back and darting repeatedly past her thin lips into her mouth. Her tongue reclaiming my mouth, plundering me, devastating me. With kissed each other, dueling with our tongues in a way that made both of us breathless, both wanting more and more.
We kissed as we stood, as we went down the hallway to her bedroom, as we struggled to get our clothes off while still kissing.
Her hands restless and gentle behind me, from my nape to the cleft of my ass, to my broad hips, arpeggios on my spine, to my neck. Still kissing.
My hands, splayed on her almost flat chest, my fingers on her surprising large nipples. Opening my eyes, staring into hers as my fingers pinched the hard little tips; vibrating inside when I saw her gray eyes widen with shocked delight. Still kissing.
She danced me to the bed. I laid back on the thick comforter, my turquoise necklace riding high on my neck, my wild hair fanning over a pillow as she climbed on top of me. Her legs between mine, her narrow firm thighs spreading mine effortlessly. My ankles hooked over the back of her knees. Her downy mons nestled on my damp, moist, god so needy, place.
She raised herself, her thin arms straight, hands flat on the bed. Her eyes closed, her back arching, the plump flesh over her pubic bone wantoning on my pearl, on my swelling petals. I found her nipples, color of coral tea roses, and my callused fingertips roughened them, making her cry my name.
We were mated. Her mons sliding up and down against the slick wet heat of my center. Curves and folds of us, concave and convex, fitting in a way that touched every nerve, every want, every need.
Her body above me stiffened, her hips ground down and spasmed on mine. She went deep into herself, loosening and losing herself in her blinding, molten, moment of release. Then, as she sobbed my name, the wave in me tipped over, crashed and I came in a flood that seemed to never stop…
She fell on me, kissing me, our legs tangling together, our happiness flowing in each other as our skin flowed against us. I touched her face with my fingers, whispering, “beautiful, beautiful.”
She shook her head, almost angrily; tiny tears at the corners of her eyes. I stroked her scarred jaw, her lips and whispered louder, Beautiful Claire, beautiful.”
Her eyes stared at me, she moved half off me and her hand went between my thighs, cupping me.
Usually it takes me a while before I can return to that place, but her hand caused sudden shivers deep in me, made me tip my hips up so that her hand was pressed tight to me. She grinned at me and suddenly licked my ear, whispering, “Don’t stop looking into my eyes.”
The little things that make your heart skip a beat; that makes your stomach ripple. I nodded.
Her palm on me, moving in small circles over my pearl and petals. One finger finding my opening, slipping into me casually, indifferently. My eyes on hers, seeing her soul open up to me as her finger claimed me.
Moving so slowly, so delicately; as if she were playing lazy chords on a piano. Then, another finger followed the first, stretching me gently and my womb fluttered around her. My eyes on her, seeing how much this was good for her, her seeing how it was good for me.
She managed to hook her arm around my shoulder, embracing me, her hand resting on my breast; fingertip circling on my nipple. Her curved fingers in me rocking slowly. My eyes on her, her face becoming misty as my body felt the coming flood.
A hesitation, then there was a third finger snuggling in me. A coo from her, “God, how wet you are…” My eyes widening. What she wanted to do was what I would do, only twice in life had I been the one filled. My kiss on her open mouth told her: Yes.
She slowed her fingers, stopping them, teasing me with pauses. Until she heard my breathless urgent gasps. The fourth finger slipped in. Her knuckles rolled sweetly around my entrance. My gasps became a low keen.
I don’t know how long it was, how long she waited. Finally, the moment, when she pushed into me, so unexpectedly, so wonderfully. I came so suddenly, my blind eyes on her eyes…
Claire, my Claire, Took me with her hand. With each slow twist of her closed fist inside me she took me. Made me come, made me pulse on her hand and wrist. Made me come, moaning until my voice was gone, again and again. Made me and rode me, until she had ridden into my life.
Later, the morning after, when she awoke with a start, her fears naked on her face, I showed how much she had come into my life. With music played on her creamy skin. With fingers that sounded on her breasts. With a tongue that strummed deeply into her vagina. Making her happy, gentling her anxious heart.
Claire. I still hear her song. She was a special melody for me…