Sudden Graces

By Sandra, Xanii@aol.com

It's always laying down at night that's the hardest. I always feel like I need to be doing something or being with someone, enjoying some carnal pleasure. It is always my crisp cotton sheets though, pattern-less in the dimmed lights of incense or maybe an occasional candle that keeps me in contact with anything outside myself.

The morning hours wane as I count them off like non obedient sheep. I close my eyes from habit and try to will my body to sleep. Feet and legs and hips and spine and shoulders and neck and scalp... sleep. My eyes still manage to flutter open and I am staring at the mishap images of the candle light or the slight stray scent and glint from the ends of the incense. Awake.

Mornings always find my shoulders tense and my mind tired and I keep going. Pushing to shower and pushing to be dressed and pushing to be at work. I smile and sparkle and waltz my way in and glide my way out at the end of the day. But that is never the end, I know I still have the night left.

I try to develop these elaborate routines to prolong the time before I have to buckle down and try and at least lay still, if not sleep. Roll my hair and iron my clothes and pluck my eyebrows or shave my legs or dust my room or fix that blinking light fixture. And it is one or two or three in the morning. Sometimes it comes, like creeping fingers, black, dark, wicked cold against unwilling flesh. And I could be either, the unwilling flesh or the creeping fingers. It is fact and I am victim or survivor, casualty or warrior, slaughtered or killer.

Mima thinks I am gun shy and swears it is not too late for me. Playfully she rubs the middle of my back or slides her hand up my thigh. Inside I am pining and panicked, crumbling from her touches of affection, lit with her cadence of sexual heat. She thinks this is helping me. I only smile at her advances and disconnect like a phone from the cord.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

He touched me when I was seven and said I was a good girl and that I would make my mother proud by letting him help me with my bath. And in my seven year old eyes he saw my seven year old fear and waited till I looked away, perhaps in nativity, so he could give his sigh of release, give his shudder of satisfaction. And that is the day I knew shame.

Shame kept my arms folded and my mouth closed and my knees locked, tight, my eyes always open. Blame kept me quiet, kept me bribed, for favors I never called or asked for.

"Baby... did he touch you?"


"Did you see something you weren't supposed to?"


"You can tell Mama, I won't get mad."


But she never counted on his beating her for my silence, his vehement denials of wrong doing or I names he labeled me with, that I can only now cry for: lit-tle whore, slut, man-ip-u-la-tor, li-ar, bitch {victims, Mama and I}. Shame, for being a good girl, for taking her bath, for knowing adult sins, for being broken.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Mima tries to disregard how I stiffen when we kiss or how I turn pale ash when she tries to pry her fingers in me. We always stop and she apologizes and I weep, clamping my knees together. Her hands are soothing and I am always sorry and she always understands but there is strain between us. ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

He died when I was twelve. I didn't whimper or shed a tear. It didn't matter. He was gone. Some days I wish he were alive, to kill him or make him suffer. Nineteen years later and there are consequences to his actions that I am still paying for. Night sweats, nightmares, inability to cope, intimate fears, those are my payouts. He has it too good in the grave.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Mima sinks her fingers into the hairs on the nape of my neck and just holds me, looking into my eyes.

"I love you for your nose." And she kisses it.

"I love you for your forehead." More kisses.

"Your chin." Kiss.

"And lips..." And she is not demanding or wanting, hungry or needing. I catch her breath and wish to fall into the warm darkness she has turned me on to. She backs away and I am left like a puckering fish. No tears.

"We don't have to do anything further."

Tonight this is all I can handle and we sleep, side by side, hands locked, fully dressed.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

It was unreal. Water running in the background, the pungent smell of soap clinging to me and intruding fingers, unfamiliar, rough masculine, probing and unsure but determined.

"No..." Fear ladened and that meant nothing more but a mild offense, barley heard over the rush in his ears, I'm sure.

"Sit still..." Like a hissing snake. There is a level where Shaman reach where they can separate from their bodies and although I knew no more about religion than my bed time prayers, I reached that safe haven, that home place. And there I've been.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Mima sits facing me and straddles her legs around my waist. I watch as she undresses and pulls my hands to the sides of her breasts. It feels like silk, pale and warm. I pull my hands away until I am cupping her. She gets this glossy look in her eyes and I know I am taking her somewhere and she is going, willingly, gladly. Her breasts are pale and round and hang like almost filled pouches. I catch my breath and stroke my fingers over her nipples. She leans back and watches my eyes in amusement then smirks.

"It's okay." And she kisses me on the lips. I feel her fingers sliding over my shoulders and she is removing my shirt and she is peeling down the straps of my bra and she is touching me like I was her. I keep my eyes sealed, not wanting to see her face, not wanting to know that she was taking my body from me. But what I see is her loving me and hoping she is not causing me pain.

I lean back and take her hands in mine.

"It's okay. I'm fine."

I am trusting her with my self, I am letting her in and watching her closely. She only moves like I am not there, like she does not want to disturb me. But she is careful, always asking, always seeking my permission.

It's not like I don't know she loves me. I know she does because she tells me and she shows me and she does for me like no other person out of love would. My reciprocation is shaky at first but I give her backrubs when I want to let her know I care and I wash her car when I know she doesn't have the time and last week was the first time I was able to French kiss her for no other reason than to let her know I needed to feel her. She felt proud because she kept smiling in that way that people with huge secrets do.

Tonight She is drawing a bath and she's put those lavender beads in. I sit at the side as they melt away beneath the water. She turns the lights low and I light the many candles around the tub. She lets me touch and undress her as I watch the way those few strands of her brown hair escape her hasty updo at the nape of her neck. I kiss a trail along a single curling strand to the middle of her back and place my warm palms on her shoulder blades.

She is turning and kissing me and waiting until I am ready to remove my clothing. She doesn't rush or pull or demand. Her hands just appear next to mine and stroke the backs of my hands as I unbutton and shed and unzip. She lets me kiss her forehead then searches for my lips to kiss me an approval. And I want so much not to turn and run and I want so much to stay next to her and I am fighting myself and I am tensing up and

"It's fine... We can just sit in the water if you'd like." She soothes the side of my face as I turn away and the tears well up.


The water is warm and silky and smells like a flower garden. She sits back easing into the oversized tub. I reach to her and find her smallish hands and glide my fingers over her slippery skin. She is smiling. like the other day when I kissed her, like the other night when I said it was okay and I am falling again into her warm darkness and I am reaching for her in her safe space, begging to be let in.

I kneel over her closed legs, spreading mine apart to get close enough to kiss her closed eyes, her smiling lips. Her hands are finding my round tush, my rigid back, pulling me closer, till I am feeling her slick breasts against mine, her rigid belly against mine, her thigh between my legs. She lets my nervous breath escape the fire within my belly, then kisses my chin, my neck, my shoulder.

She teases then touches my nipple with her open palm, I cannot find air until I realize I have been shivering and she is adjusting the tub with more warm water. I sit back on my haunches and rub the soothing water against my face. Dazed and I hear she is asking me something and I can only nod and seek out her fingers and kiss them to my lips guiding them down the center of my chest, down the center of my rigid belly, slowing to the reason for my fire. She is kissing my ear and my neck and she is rubbing my back, pulling me closer and her fingers feel small and warm, certain. She does not part me put lets me guide her and she is slow and assuring and catches my nipple in her mouth when she reaches the center of my temple.

I am holding on, giving her the keys to the city, letting her come in. Fire has lit my nerves and I am tingling, shuddering, wanting more. I do not realize how gentle she has been until I find myself sobbing in her arms, wrapped in her embrace.

"Mima... I ..."

She whispers..." Welcome Home."

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