Fiction

NSFW: Here, Now

In the silence after the coitus, all things are possible. They could be lovers. They could be nothing at all.
IMAGE Edric Chen
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She unzipped his jeans, pulled aside the soft fabric of his boxers, and wrapped her mouth around his penis as it hardened in her mouth on a chilly evening in early February, while she was wearing her second-best black dress and had put on some makeup, but not a full face, because she didn’t think she would be meeting anyone interesting that evening, and because she had been in a hurry to leave because she was trying to finish an article for the magazine she was freelancing for, which was closing that week, but she hadn’t made much progress, though her editor had given her an extension (BUT TYPED IN ALL CAPS and without smileys) and it served her right for trying to write during the day when nighttime was her most creative time of day, but she had stayed out late the night before with friends, playing board games while summoning up the energy to go out clubbing and brave a night of cigarette smoke and alchohol and the smell of gussied-up men, although more often than not she came home smelling of Chanel Chance as it rubbed off her best friend’s neck when she (her best friend) had had too much to drink and had to be carried home and her driver summoned; she could feel the blood rushing to the skin against her tongue, and she hoped that enough liquor had passed through her mouth to wash away the last remnants of the kare-kare she had eaten a little too much of (she heard her friends wagging their fingers at her, like a Greek chorus echoing in the darkness of her skull, in the pitch black amphitheater where she felt she was watching herself), and she had the random thought of how her ex-boyfriend’s penis at rest, limp and powdered like an espasol folded in its newsprint-paper wrapping; and she dreaded the scriptedness of what happened next, and that after the moment when they both succumbed and the initial moment of sexual contact the rest only had to be followed through, and would probably end in a great deal of awkwardness a few hours later; and she knew that he would climax before she did, but she would ask him if she could come on her own after he was done, which had offended some partners in the past, and they would often offer to help, but mostly they were a lot less enthusiastic after they had come, and would end up nibbling and swirling their tongue about (like someone licking the last bits of salsa from a taco takeout), although she knew that it was a silly thought because he would never know that her mouth still had the vaguest taste of gravy since it wasn’t like he was going to bend down and smell his own dick, so better if she rubbed off the taste of pork now, nor would he ever know that there was a sliver of half-chewed meat wedged between her canine and first molar, unless of course he tried to kiss her deeply and probed her mouth with his tongue, in which case it would be highly embarrassing, even humiliating, although he might find it funny and laugh it off, but it wasn’t like her tongue could reach over and try to pry out the morsel of meat at the moment so she would have to do it later: at the moment he was hard and had begun to flex in a anxious manner that made her suspect that he would come soon if she didn’t slow down a bit, and she was beginning to feel her own wetness against her panties and so she pulled her head out from over him, and he pulled out in a panicked way and she thought he might come suddenly and awkwardly on the bed or on her face which seemed to be a turn on for men who watched a lot of porn, or try to aim between her eyes, pressing against her forehead like an assassin’s muzzle, or it would shoot up onto the ceiling like mayonnaise from a squeeze bottle at a shawarma stand, and they would have to stand on a stool to wipe it off, as she had had to do once when she brought a boy to her bedroom as a teenager; and they moved, clambering, tugging, higher up onto the bed where she lifted up her dress and pulled her underwear down into a little roll, which she felt him pull off her like a rubber band.

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He pulled her gently on her knees and entered her, noting that she was tight, but so excited that she was tight, but very wet. It was a sensation that he liked, but it wasn’t as much of a holy grail as other guys made it out to be; still, it was better than the opposite, which was loose and dry. There had been a girl like that once, one of the interns at the time, but she would be high as a kite most of the time, and the moment she got high she would get incredibly horny and fuck the first thing she saw. Most of the time it was him; he suspected that some of the time it wasn’t, though she never told him and he never really bothered asking, and he figured that if she were alone she would probably fuck the bedpost, and be just as happy. But she was lithe and light and tight, and did a lot of the hard work, bouncing up and down on him like an India-rubber ball, so engrossed in her pleasure that he could sneak a peek at his phone to see who had texted while she moaned and flipped her hair. He ran into her just last year, at Christmas, and she had put on a lot of weight, which was probably a good sign that she was off the drugs, but she was hardly recognizeable as she bounced around the party like a cute little butterball. She had whispered “I miss you” and cheekily put her tongue in his ear as they greeted each other at the staff party. A startlingly load moan that was apropos of nothing he had done brought him abruptly back to the present, and he slowed down, teasing her gently around the clitoris before entering her again. As she wriggled out of her dress he noted that it was Zara, and polyester, and didn’t fit her too well: her body was much better proportioned than the dress made her look. He thoughtfully traced the outline of the slim shoulders and taut hourglass waist as it was outlined by the steetlight coming in through the window, and it elicited another unexpected moan. She gathered her hair while balancing on one elbow and let it hang to one side of her neck; the ends of the strands were very fine and light as they hung down and brushed the edge of the bed. She was not the girl he had wanted to go home with tonight; but then, neither were the girls he had gone home with the previous night, or last week, or the week before last. The last time they had been together was in November, over the All Saints’ holiday when they took a plane to Amanpulo and fucked just about everywhere they could, though most of it was missionary style in the gigantic bed in their beachside cottage, and then they would decouple and then order in room service and a double massage, watch the sunset, and then start all over again. After four days she sat up in bed just as they were bringing over the bill for the weekend for him to sign and said: “I don’t think this is a good idea.” And he signed the bill and they argued on the plane all the way back home and she had her own car waiting at the airport and left with only the most perfunctory of goodbyes. Sweating profusely, they decoupled for a few moments, panting. She put one slender leg on either shoulder and pulled him inside of her; he threw her and noted, almost sorrowfully, that she was actually very beautiful: high cheekbones, a long graceful neck, and pale translucent skin now flushed so that the capillaries in her cheeks could be seen through the skin. He slid in along the length of her and reached the end, and he felt sad that she couldn’t have gone home with someone who really wanted her, like the shy Xavierian guy who had been hovering over her for the earlier part of the evening (what was it with Xavierians, always trying to play out of their league; but girls would always tolerate them, and let them hang around and keep them guessing); but more than that he felt sad that he couldn’t enjoy her even if she was beautiful and tight and licking him in places that he never knew were erogenous. Feeling guilty, he kissed her deeply, burying his head in her face, and tried to forget the image of the tall, long-legged beauty as she danced on the beach with the sea glittering like a thousand pinprick suns dissolving in blue water, and he kissed her again, and wondered why he was suddenly thinking about Barrio Fiesta, and he kissed her and all the lust and guilt and pity coalesced into something that was a little like love.

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And so the moonlight streamed in through the window, on their prone forms, lying tangled with each other in the semi-darkness against white sheets, except that it wasn’t moonlight, but the streetlight coming in through the window whose curtain he had forgotten to draw; and the dark outlines on their bodies could have been shadows of raindrops, or just dust smears on the pane that he never got around to cleaning; and the sudden cool breeze that made them curl up against one another and pull the blanket over their naked bodies didn’t blow in through the half-open window, but was just the annoying air-conditioner set to swing, which they hadn’t noticed earlier but there was no way they would find the remote for it now. What would happen of this couple, of this coupling, of this boy and girl whose connection now goes beyond where language cannot tread? Would they be friends with a frisson, and keep each other’s numbers, and flirt on Facebook or send sudden drunken chat messages on holidays on Whatsapp? Or would his guilt get the better of him and give him the courage to fade politely from her life so that he could spend a few months hating himself and a few more getting over that woman he had been so publicly dating who had left without even a good reason for her departure? Would she, on the bed now, stroking his chin, realize that her only chance of escaping with her feelings unscathed would be to leave, now, make up some excuse and go? In the silence after the coitus, all things are possible. They could be lovers. They could be nothing at all. They could arrange to meet again. He would grow to love her laugh, she would explore his record collection, and they would appear together at parties and play coy with questions. And then they would eventually begin travelling together, and learning to live with all the irritations and foibles that come with a travelling partner, and they would find a special spot, an unknown, back-alley restaurant in the Shibuya distict, which would become their place. He would be jealous of the Xavierian, and jealous of the photographer who always hung around and insisted she could be a model; and she would be jealous of all the pendants she kept finding in desk drawers or someone else’s birth control pills stashed in his medicine cabinet. And maybe they would go on to be married and live long and happy lives, with two children and a Jack Russell puppy getting under everyone’s feet, and sleep on their bed, and watch embarrassingly every time they made love, whimpering protectively whenever he thrusted hard and she cried out, as though it were afraid that she was getting hurt every time. At some point the golden silence, the faux moonlight, the breeze of the air-conditioner, would be disrupted, and one of them would have to speak.

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This article originally appeared in our February 2017 issue.

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About The Author
Clinton Palanca
Clinton Palanca has won awards for his fiction and in 1998, came out with Landscapes, a book compiling his short stories and earlier works for children. Today, he ventures into food writing with his regular column on Inquirer Lifestyle, and with restaurant reviews for other publications.
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