Sweet and Lowdown
" Excepting for monsters, don't all human feelings come down to the same thing, horrible disappointments?" -Balzac "Sarrasine"
This post is going to be VERY VERY GRAPHIC more graphic than any previous post. I have no issue with those who do not wish to know that much about me, so feel free not to read this post. For those who read this post and then regret it, well, I tried to warn you.
When I returned from dinner and window shopping, the concierge told me that the man who had been looking for me had called and he would call back. I went upstairs and showered and as I lay on my bed with a towel wrapped around me pondering if I should call Henri and tell him I was at my hotel, my phone rang. It was Henri and he tried to talk to me, but of course I got confused and so finally he simply said "cinque minute, cinque minute" and so I had five minutes to throw on clothes, comb my hair, put on perfume, daub on a minimal amount of make up and go into the lobby and act casual, like I hadn't put in any effort, like flying to Paris, at all.
Sitting in the lobby waiting for him, I was surprised by how nervous I was, how much fear was bundled into my body as I sat pretending to read. Finally he walked in, and again I was surprised by how relieved I was, how happy I was.
He took me by the hand and walked to his apartment. We talked in the way that we do which is simply that he rambles and I watch his face and judge by his expression whether I should smile or giggle or frown in consternation. Generally smiling and nodding is fine and allows him to believe the necessary fiction that I understand French but can't speak it very well. He jabbers on about his job and about how he doesn't like the cold. Paris is much warmer than New York and I would have told him this "Listen pal, you don't know from cold until you've gotten an ice cream headache just from breathing" which happens in NYC, but you know I don't even know how to begin to say such a thing ( although strangely I do know the words of ice cream and head ache and cold in French so what then keeps me from being able to put it all together I can't say.) He smelled better than any straight man has a right to smell. And no he had no slapped cologne over sweat, but he was clean and smelled of Guerlain. He had huge hands, which I had forgotten, but he was gentle and as we walked my hand didn't become sweaty. We walked by a place called "Speed Rabbit Pizza" and I smiled.
His apartment was as I remembered huge and beautiful. We sat on the couch and had kir and cigarettes cut with hashish from Amsterdam. We took off our shoes and he gave me a pair of his slippers. My feet swam in them and to walk in them I had to essentially cross country ski, making little lunges without lifting my feet from the floor. He told me how happy he was to see me, and he genuinely meant it. How long had it been since a man had been happy to see me? Of course, my gay husband is always happy to see me, but really gay husbands don't count. He told me how his friends had thought I was very nice and only had nice things to say about me. And I thought of course they think I'm nice, all I do is smile and nod and giggle. How could I be anything but nice to them? Meanness, to some degree, requires language or at least a common language and so in this context I had to be inherently a nicer person than I am in NYC. He reminisced about meeting me on the street. He had said I was cute, how I said thank you. How surprised he was. How thrilled he was to get my letter. He couldn't believe it, that I had written, that he had gotten a letter from NYC and it was clear that getting a letter from me was as exotic and sexy as receiving a letter from Paris was for me. I still had his letter, which I carried on me since arriving in Paris. I went and showed him and he sat read over his letter aloud.
I thought the simplicity of the letter was because I could barely understand French and he was tailoring it to my limitation, but it became very clear that the simplicity of the letter was because he could barely read.
I do not believe in the afterlife. And the main reason I do not believe in the afterlife is because if my father continued to exist in any fashion at all, he would have registered his displeasure in some way. I had fallen for a nearly illiterate Frenchman ( he hated the French-he also hated the Germans, the Swiss, the Christians, the gays, the blacks, and anyone from New Jersey) and there was no crashing thunder, no poltergeist like knocks on the wall, no banshee like wailings, not so much as a single shiver of displeasure. In all the moments since my father died, he was the most dead in that one.
He brought out a file of drawings he had done of boats and we looked through them together. They seemed fairly simple, done with colored pencil, with no people or water or anything except the intricate patterns of riggings and sails. I began to get bored as I after a while it seemed like the same boat again and again with only minor changes. He gave me three t-shirts with his drawings of boats on them and put them in a bag for me. We sat on the couch and he talked about what life would be like for us, for us, on a boat. There would be the sun and the beach and so many fish. And he would catch them and cook them for us. And I lay there on the couch, pleasantly stoned and tipsy hiding behind my lack of French because I hate boats and I hate eating fish and even though I know how to say I don't like boats and I don't like fish, I thought there was no reason to interrupt his dream. And he talked about coming to New York or maybe the two of us going to Montreal or Quebec. No man had offered to take me anywhere since Eric and his idea, the one that started all this, to take me to Paris. But I wondered how could we arrange a holiday together when I barely understood him? How would we figure out how to meet each other in Montreal? But there was no point in interrupting his ideas especially since I liked the idea of going to Montreal with him, of our discovering a city together, much better than me showing him New York so he could disappointed by the flat ugly grayness of where I live.
He kissed me and I tried to tell him I missed him, but I'm not sure if he understood. And then he led me to bed. We used the other bedroom, not the one with the sagging bed and the ironwork. Perhaps because the other bedroom was warmer, but it was smaller and not as decorative and I missed the other bedroom.
(and here is where things get graphic)
The first time I was with Henri, he led me into the bedroom and I lay down with him on the bed. He is a big guy, but there was no roughness. Often after a night of love I wake the next day with bruises from fingers on my arms, but there were no marks. He took off my shirt and then my jeans and my leopard print panties and pulled me to the edge of the bed. And then he tasted me.
Like many women, I have trouble enjoying oral sex mainly because I always suspect that men hate it and it is impossible to enjoy something when you are concerned that the other person secretly resents you for this pleasure. This suspicion has been confirmed by the number of men who claim that they "love oral sex" only to discover their idea of loving oral sex is to gingerly give me a few laps and then move onto the "main event" or to reveal that they can only perform oral sex during a complex set of conditions ( ie. if you shower immediately before using a combination of 20 mule team borax and hydrochloric acid when Aries is in ascendacy and the full moon shines directly onto the reliquary of the umbilicus of Christ etc etc and by then it doesn't matter because I will have fallen asleep) Not that I can't come from oral sex, I can and I do, but generally I will only be comfortable enjoying oral sex if there is an established relationship.
And I would have told him all this, but you know someone in my four years of French we completely skipped words like "oral sex" (although we did do a whole freakin' section on marine life) and since I could not explain I simply decided to let him go and discover on his own that I didn't respond to oral sex. But in the moment I allowed myself to simply let him wait and discover, I felt a shiver a pleasure go through me and soon I dug my heels into shoulders and instead of waiting for him to stop I was thinking "don't stop, don't stop" which I know how to say in French, but at that moment I was far beyond language, and I was arching myself further against him. He grasped my hand, and I kept thinking "He is going to stop at any time", but no, he kept on until he tasted my orgasm. I remember calling out in that moment, the high falsetto of pleasure, which seems so unnatural considering how deep my voice usually is. I stayed panting in the moment, and then he slowly stood up. He had been kneeling beside the bed and when he stood up I realized he was still completely dressed. He took off his shirt and pants quickly and pushed me back onto the bed. I could taste myself on his lips as he kissed me. He whispered to me that he loved my taste and he would go down on me everyday all the time if he had the chance.
And I closed my eyes and thought "I am never leaving Paris."
I sat on the edge of the bed and took off my clothes. From the very beginning it was different, different bedroom, more drunken, more stoned, of course such is expected since even Montaigne noticed that "it is a hard task to be always the same man"( Montaigne is quoting Seneca) especially since "we want is only in our thoughts for the instant that we want it." We undressed and I pushed myself back onto the bed. He went to taste me and there was no rejection this time, no concern, I had been waiting for this. How long had it been since I had been kissed? Almost two months. And naked in front of man? Couldn't even say really. I was losing faith in my attractiveness. Before I couldn't sit in a bar alone with men approaching me, now I could sit for hours without arousing interest. I needed to be kissed and caressed and worshipped. I needed to hear about my body, the hear and see and FEEL the appreciation of my beauty. He turned on the radio I suppose to keep the neighbors from hearing us. There had been no concern in the summer, but of course everyone was a way on vacation and that bedroom didn't share a wall with a different building. Still it felt like he had grown of embarrassed of me. And even more strangely I found very quickly that there wasn't the pleasure I experienced in the summer (an explanation independent of Henri will be given for this later) and he quickly withdrew and began kissing me. He was talking to me in French and again I secretly wished for a French whore's quick bedside reference manual. Some I understood, he loved the taste of kisses ( kir and marlboro reds cut with hashish), my breasts (they really are quite lovely), my ass. I took him then and rode him for a while and as much pleasure as I got from it, I did not come, and eventually my knees began to hurt ( that IS when you know you are old) and I was wondering where did the dedication to my pleasure go? That one summer night he had been so passionate, so unflinching in his pursuit of my enjoyment now he was content to allow me to have my way with him. Finally, exhausted with the failed effort of my own passion, I was able to please him. He kissed me afterwards and fell asleep with his arm thrown over my waist.
Despite the wine and the pot and the effort of sex, I was unable to sleep spent the night tossing from side to side. Henri makes a noise with his teeth in his sleep which sounds something like a broken windshield wiper and when I did sleep, I dreamt of driving in the rain. Occasionally, I would turn in my sleep and he would follow suit kissing me on the shoulder or the cheek, or curling his hand to my breast.
I managed to sleep for a few hours and woke to find the bedside clock reading eight. It was completely dark still, like it is dark here at four, and I thought Henri's clock must be broken, but as I walked through the house on the way to the bathroom, I realized all the clocks said 8 and so it must actually be 8. I went back to sleep for a little bit, but Henri got up at around 9.
In the summer, I had not been able to sleep either and I had lay in bed waiting for Henri to wake up. Men are often strange the morning after and I was waiting to see if he would merely try to quickly shuttle me from the house, but he had rolled over and kissed me deeply, kissing my breasts my stomach, working his way down until he tasted me again and this time I arched against him. After I came, he kissed me and asked me if I wanted coffee. Breakfast of G-ddamn champions.
But this morning he merely sat up in bed. I threw my arms around him from behind, which he enjoyed but then he turned and asked me if I wanted coffee. Well, yes I did. I was beginning to get a migraine, a situation I understood when I saw that we had consumed a bottle and half of white wine the night before ( even a glass of white wine often results in a wicked hangover for me) and I drank my bowl of coffee with an increasing twinge. Henri offered me toast, remembering that I liked breakfast, but I told him not this morning. He seemed not to believe me, but I convinced him I wasn't hungry. I had a bowl and a half of coffee. He asked if I had slept well and I lied and asked him the same. He smiled and said yes, but there was little of the breakfast fondling I enjoyed before and eventually, I got up and kissed him, offering my neck and breast to him, reaching down with my hand to arouse him. He responded and I asked him to take me to bed "but my brother is coming, and I don't want him to walk in on us having sex" ( important plot point alert). When I told this story to my gay husband he said, "Listen, I came all the way here from fucking JFK. I flew 8 hours and spent an hour on the Parisian metro. I want pleasure and I want it NOW." I was surprised how well he articulated my anger. If I had been in NYC I would have wheedled and tempted and perhaps forcibly dragged my lover to bed, but here I had become this other girl, this nice smiling nodding almost geisha like girl. And now, now after all this I felt rejected, I felt unattractive. So I quickly threw my sweater on and decided to go back to the hotel and actually sleep for a bit because my migraine was getting worse. Before I left he asked me what I was doing that night, I said nothing, and he invited me to a dinner party he was throwing. He would call me at my hotel at five.

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