Baggage Claim

I said love. Why does that almost always translate to something sexual for you?”

It’s just an SMS on a 2-inch screen. It shouldn’t be filling my eyes with tears, doubling me over in pain, making my world spin.

I text Skyspook a quick apology for reading sexual undercurrents into the message he’d sent earlier. He tells me not to worry. He’s asking out of genuine curiosity.

He’s still an hour and a half out, coming home to me from a long drive out of state

He seems stunned when he finds me in a dark house. “Are you ok?” he says. “You’ve been crying. Tell me what’s wrong.”

We tensely sit on the couch. “You’ve had a long drive,” I say. “I bet you’re tired.”

I don’t care,” he replies. “This is important to me. You’re important to me.”

And it pours from me. The story of my prom night, when my date, my high school boyfriend, had accused me of being only interested in sex, shaming me for my high libido – only to have our argument end up with the two of us naked, postcoital in the back of my Pontiac. Returning home to meet my mother on the stairs with her, “your dress is on wrong,” muttering, “sex on prom night is so trashy,” before returning to her room. Another ex who called me “the one who masturbated all the time.” Yet another ex who said he felt pressured, badgered, coerced to have sex by me, by virtue of the fact that I was so much more often in the mood than he was.

Skyspook hugs me. We talk. He tells me when I took what was meant as a purely emotional and romantic comment as a sexual one that he felt that my interpretation “cheapened” his original sentiment.

I’ve heard it dozens of times that introducing sex into something “cheapens” it, but for me, sex is perhaps my most precious connection with other people. These days, I don’t have sex with people I don’t love. I’ve experimented with it in the past, and it just wasn’t the same, the short-term payout not worth the effort, the risk, the self-exposure.

I tell him that the idea that the introduction of sex “cheapens” things is profoundly sex-negative, that I feel judged.

He says that’s not how he meant it and that perhaps “cheapen” wasn’t the right word. We toss a few back and forth.

You felt like all of a sudden your words had an extra hidden agenda that you didn’t mean them to?” I ask.

He nods.

And I start to feel a bit better.

*

We move to the bedroom, still hashing things out, clashing openly. He holds me in the dark while I sob. I challenge him, poke and prod at sentiments I find illogical or unfair.

After another hour or so, I’m spent and completely emotionally drained, knowing we both have to be up in just a handful of hours to go work long days. It’s been a heavy couple of hours. I have a lot to think about, but for now, I let my body relax, wait for sleep to overtake me.

He pulls me close to him, spooning me firmly. Kisses me on the neck in a way that makes me shiver. “I am so turned on.” He says into my ear. “I feel really close to you right now.”

I turn to face him, giggling. “Why do you always turn things into something sexual?” I say, bratty.

He laughs. “Close the door,” he says.

Yes, Sir.”

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