There is a quiet place that lies between wanting and having. Not a nice place, but it is quiet, after the clamor of want has beaten down the doors and broken the windows, but before desire is quenched. Having lies just out of reach, visible in the throbbing cock with nothing to surround it, perched on the rising and falling flesh of dark nipples and trembling limbs.
You did this to me. Put me in this place, in my place. In this damp room with concrete walls where the only sound is one of a humming fluorescent and my own weary heart beat.
I watched you come for me. I watched the fire in your eyes, and I saw her. Her. I felt something I suspect was hate when I saw her mouth on you, and your hands roaming her flesh, your lips forming her name and that fire in your eyes, yes, for her. You weren’t coming for me. You were coming for her.
His name was Gabriel. Like the archangel of the Lord. He went by Gabe, though, as he said that was more in line with who he was than some mythical servant of a mythical god in a mythical heaven.
“You don’t believe in heaven?” I asked him, smearing cream cheese on a bagel that smelled the way I felt heaven should probably smell.
He lifted an eyebrow in a comical expression of suspicion. “You do? You’re looking at that bagel like it was a cock, my dear.”
“How is it,” I asked around my first bite. “That we have fucked one another near-senseless, and I didn’t know this about you?”
He grinned. His hazel eyes danced and his crooked white teeth shone. “When senseless, I find it difficult to discuss the afterlife.”
“Near-senseless. Don’t get cocky.”
He was still grinning. “I’m always cocky for you, kid.”
“Yes, I know.” I finished off the heavenly bagel, and wished a second wouldn’t look piggish. I put it out of my mind and let my gaze wander off to rest on the shining blue sea visible from our balcony. This was the heaven I wanted. This. With this man sitting across the bistro-style table, his white robe open to reveal a smooth chest and dark nipples. He was drinking Earl Grey. With honey. And eating cantaloupe.
“If there’s no heaven, Gabe, what comes next?”
His face sobered somewhat. “I don’t know. I didn’t say I had the alternative answers.” He wiped a napkin over his mouth and sat back, lounged, slouched, and still managed to look graceful and coiled.
“What about hell?”
He grinned again. “You’re one for the deep questions this morning. I think I should put something in that mouth to distract you.”
I snorted in a very unladylike fashion. “Focus.”
“I think I am.” He chuckled, then grew serious. “Hell is the anti-heaven. If there is no heaven, there can be no hell.”
“So what’s to keep you from being a bad person? If you don’t have a consequence to fear?”
He leaned forward, planted his elbows on the table, and caught my eyes. “Is hell the only consequence to fear? Perhaps,” he grinned again. “for a good Catholic girl like you. I have a conscience, like everyone. I choose to listen to it, most of the time.”
I looked at him, and took a snapshot of that moment in my mind, of his serious but smiling eyes. I would need it; the hell I knew existed awaited me. When this moment ended, I would go back there, to my birthplace, and remember Gabriel as the doubting angel he was.
Sometimes that quiet place becomes the prison that holds you, confined by your own mind. There are no doors to go through, and no walls to hold you, yet the silence becomes a heavy cloak stronger than any fortress. As it settles over what little light is left, the rise and fall of breath becomes its own labor and all sense of direction, perspective or purpose are lost.
The silent movie that plays on an endless loop inside imagination is one of memories. Not the happy ones, not what good things happened along the road; the only frames left to flicker by and remind contain images of the two of them, fucking in my bed, between my sheets, beneath my roof. The images are black and white and stark. They are atmospherically perfect for the living mausoleum in which I now rest.
Hell contains no fire. Fire is life affirming, passionate and cleansing. Hell is a place where everything is hard and cool, and the damp creeps into your bones like an arthritic ache. It’s a place of isolation. Each sinner has their own holding cell, otherwise, comfort might be taken in the misery or companionship of others.
When I saw them together, it was a like a gut-shot. The image sucked the breath out of my lungs and dropped a dark veil over my eyes, and I watched as he bent her body backwards and took her mouth the way he took mine. She had long, honey-blond hair, just like mine. And she wore my swimsuit, the turquoise and pink two piece, and he untied the string from behind her neck and her breasts, bared, rose to meet his mouth.
They stood before me, framed by a tropical beach that looked less than real. Behind me yawned that abyss of damp and dark whose cold wet tongues licked at my back. I smelled the alleyways of it, like urine and stagnancy and diesel fuel, and I felt the living shadows that slid and moved against its walls, their cool yellow eyes hooded and fangs dripping with rot.
I watched as he took out his cock and lifted her, watched as her long tanned legs wrapped around his waist, and heard her soft sigh of pleasure.
Dappled light filtered through gauze curtains and played over his skin. He was beautiful. Not perfect, not in the CK or Marlboro sort of way. His beauty was in the peace on his face, and the passion he had for everything he did, whether it was tasting a fine wine, watching a football match, or making love to me. He was fearless.
I thought I might love him. We didn’t say those serious words though. The beauty of this paradise lay in the fantasy of it. Permanent words and emotions like love and forever would scar the moment, and the world’s sky would fall in on us in a pile of worries.
He stirred, barely opening one eye, as though checking to see if it was yet daylight. He stretched and groaned. Turned and found me with his hands and pulled me into his arms, against his body. “You’re watching me sleep again, Isobel.”
I kissed his throat and the flesh between my thighs awoke and crawled. “Maybe.”
“Mm. You know I don’t like it when you do that.”
“I should probably be punished.” I knew he felt my smile against his skin. I nipped his throat, over his carotid.
His arms tightened, and his erection grew and pulsed against me. “Probably.”
I knew it was wrong, that it was damaging to me, myself, what I did. But when I saw them there, when I watched my beautiful Gabe, my doubting angel, flip her over and lift her ass, as I watched him smile wickedly and smack her till she glowed red, and I watched his cock, long and hard for her, slide into her, I could feel the waves of pleasure and pain. I could feel myself coming for him, as I watched them fucking in the dappled golden sunlight. The walls of my prison ran red, the color of the arterial blood that swelled through my veins.
I felt the bullet penetrate, alongside the exquisite fullness of heart and pussy. I saw that arterial red spread across the sheets as I fell to my knees where I watched. I watched her die. I watched him lift her in his arms, I saw his mouth open and his eyes running, but I heard nothing except the whispers of my hell, beckoning. I caught my reflection in the mirror over the bureau, my honey blond hair and long bronze legs, and the hand print on my ass… and the blood glistening over my chest.
I dropped the gun and left. Left my doubting angel to mourn me.