There is a road from the eye to the heart that does not go through the intellect – GK Chesterton
It had been one of those days at the flea market where Sarah had spent more than she sold. The green tea moisturiser had gone over really well though, and she had taken an order for more of her soap to a small boutique guesthouse on the coast, which she still had to pinch herself to confirm she hadn’t dreamt the entire transaction. That, and a general restlessness were what prompted her to pack up, load everything into the trunk of the car and wander back inside.
She found the stall in the corner, an elderly lady who sat with a range of brooches, pendants, bracelets and earrings laid out on worn purple velvet. The woman had long, white hair worn down to cover her slightly protruding ears but when she saw Sarah, a smile lit across her face that took a good twenty years off her.
‘Hi, thank you so much for coming to look. Did you have the stall in front?’
Sarah flushed and stammered something about the luck of the draw, politely avoiding that she had gotten there at four in the morning to be one of the first through the doors to set up. To avoid the subject, Sarah picked up a piece that caught her eye. A woven piece of thin copper or brass, set on a backdrop of emerald and a tiny conch shell inserted in the middle then connected to a length of rawhide.
‘That’s one of my favourites.’ the woman said and Sarah held it up to her eye line.
A thrumming ran down the length of the rawhide into her fingers, barely perceptible but it was there. It was the kind of tingling that reminded her of tenth grade, when she licked the end of a battery on a dare from Jacqueline Harris, not unpleasant, just unusual.
Unusual experiences were just that for her. She had fun, that was true, but afterwards she felt like something had been missing – falling short of the life that she lived in her heart and head.
‘How much?’ Sarah said.
The woman smiled and that was that. Money changed hands, less than Sarah would have charged for it. but she had overheads that this woman didn’t. She envied that, it was a sentiment that had a direct line to her ambient impostor syndrome and the way that loving herself as she was always seemed such an uphill struggle.
The necklace wasn’t a start. She just liked it.
That was she told herself.
She went home after banking the money from the sale and put away the unsold stock. She poured herself a glass of wine , made a light dinner and wandered through to the living room, where she had left her bags from the day and switched the television on. The necklace sat on the coffee table, still in the small recycled paper bag.
It felt nice on. She walked through to the bedroom, looked at it in the mirror. The emerald held the warmth of her skin well. She looked at it from different angles, absurdly pleased by such a simple thing. After a second glass of wine, she decided to go to bed. She brushed out her hair, smiled to herself as a growing warmth crept through her. Must be the wine, she thought, as she looked at the necklace.
She considered taking it off but laid on her back, she enjoyed how it nestled on her chest. It was soothing to be beneath something, like being touched. She wanted to be touched again.
She was asleep in seconds.
He comes to you. Broad across the chest and shoulders, dark hair on his chest that falls to his stomach. Eyes that are somewhere between coffee and caramel. A dimple in his chin, large hands with long, thick fingers, broad thighs, covered with hair and the beginning of definition at his hips.
He smiles when he looks at you, it’s like unwrapping a present. Something you’ve actually wanted.
For you to be seen.
You invite him into your bed. He pulls the cover and you go to pull it back, nervous about how you look, but he shakes his head and tells you that he wants to see all of you.
Touch all of you.
Taste all of you.
He handles you like a cowboy would handle a bucking colt. Firm but gentle, his mouth moves over you with abandon, different pressures, textures. When he takes your nipple between his teeth, and sucks on it whilst his fingers stroke you with depth and intention, you come unglued. It’s a quick maintenance sort of orgasm but when he keeps going, you have another. He slides his fingers in an inch at a time. His other hand strokes and massages you all over.
He knows what you are capable of. He knows that you need coaxing and reassurance, but he offers that with a look or a word. He is not shocked by you, the rush you have to be held and seen, enough that it would overcome the wounded places inside you.
When he kisses you between the legs, and looks at you there with a child-like wonder on his face. He tells you, in a low soft voice that you are beautiful between your legs and then, to prove his assertion, he kisses you there. He eases his tongue inside you, wrapping his arms around your thighs to hold you still. You want to wriggle but he doesn’t let you, instead using his strength to hold you in place and make love to you with his mouth. There is no hesitation in how he uses his lips and his tongue there.
At that point, you go away inside yourself, feeling everything as you become possessed with the urge for release. When you come again, it travels through your entire body, like being shaken in the teeth of a leviathan.
She woke up, the air in the room was blue like too much cigarette smoke, and when she sat up, her thighs responded with a muted, pleasurable ache that spread through her stomach. The room carried the musk of fuck and she blinked before giggling. The sheets were wringing damp beneath her. She kept the necklace on in the shower. She was tender between her legs, but that prompted another pleasurable release beneath the hot water.
She decided that she was going to make the soap that day. She kept smiling to herself, without really questioning it. She was creative, and it was nice that her imagination worked for her rather than against her, right?
Plus, she told herself as she brushed her teeth, she could go to bed early again.
The hot process took her most of the morning, and she decided to go with the basic soap mould for the guest house order, but she rang and they agreed on the rose shaped designs, and by the time that she was spooning them out of the moulds, she was tired and hungry.
His hand makes a fist of your hair whilst he puts the fingers of his other hand in your mouth and pumps into you, hard and skillful as you buck against him. Your orgasms surprise you with your ferocity, and it’s all the most wonderful dream you’ve ever known, a perfect loop of pleasure and pain.
She stared at the bruises in the mirror, at war inside herself between being frightened and being horribly, uncontrollably aroused by it.
If they could market what was happening to her, it would end Ambien overnight. She does not know this man’s name, who comes to her in the night. She drives over to the guest house with the soap order, but she drives slowly because she’s so tender between her legs, from where she had him spank her there whilst his other hand made a fist of her hair.
She had not touched Tinder at all. She had lost ten pounds, presumably burning calories with it in her sleep. The extra laundry was a pain until she found some specialist sheets online. Problem solved, which made her very proud in a way that other people noticed.
Afterwards, he holds you and you cry without him flinching. He watches you, his caramel eyes exuding an understanding that robs you of breath. You wonder why you have to wake up. It’s a dream, you tell yourself that, but it’s real too. More real than anything you’ve known. Sure, you’ve not had him make chicken soup when you’re sick, but you consider that he probably would if your subconscious wasn’t making up for barren, small seasons without being touched. When you guide his hand to your throat, he understands you intuitively and moves inside you, building a rhythm that makes you pass out after the fifth orgasm.
You wonder if you could have him all the time.
That’s a fucking coma, you tell yourself.
Sarah was at the market again. The soap sold out, she smiled at everyone and when she sees the woman that she brought the necklace from, she smiled at her and gave a wink when no one was looking. She asked if she could talk to her, and she agreed readily.
They went for coffee across the street. The lady had earl grey, with a slice of lemon and Sarah had a grande latte with chocolate sprinkles.
‘You’re needing your appetite a little more, huh?’
Sarah blushes, wonders if she is going mad, and realises that if it was this civil and functional, then that wasn’t such a bad thing, was it?
Love felt like madness sometimes.
‘Can I ask you something?’
The woman nodded sagely, knowing what was coming.
‘You can, but there’s a risk.’
‘Isn’t there always?’ Sarah said, quick of wit to hide the concern.
The woman told her, and Sarah blanched.
‘Before you ask, no, you can’t buy another one. You’ll have your memories, but they will fade but the investment is the risk.’
Sarah touched the necklace, suddenly protective of it. The woman sighed and lifted her bracelet up.
‘It’s powerful, I mean you could conquer the world with this.’
The woman smiled, turned the bracelet in her hands.
‘Well, yes of course, but I -‘ She looked up at Sarah, gazed and saw the answer to the question she would not need to ask aloud.
‘Now, let me tell you again the steps.’
It was about the same as a recipe for soap, some concentration, a few things to memorise and a bit of waiting. Women knew those things well. She had fought for herself, and sometimes starved for passion and here she had a chance to drown in it now. She had become her art.
She drove to the coast again. Stayed in the guesthouse, held it but did not put it on. She tried to sleep but it felt so futile. She knew that it would be the first of the steps.
She walked down to the beach at dawn, took the hammer and the scarf to wrap it in.
On the sand, she took the necklace off, wrapped the scarf around it and laid it against a black, flat rock bisected by white stripes, deep as gouges.
She lifted the hammer and cried as she did it.
It took no more than three to smash it completely.
She picked it up, took it to the water, dug into the wet sand and buried it.
She waited a day and a night, kept herself awake with a flask of coffee, thick enough to coat her tea. She promised herself an iced coffee, after this was over.
Dawn rose, and her eyes burned. Her tears burned her eyes.
She saw him wading in from the water. The hair on his chest flat from the water, looking at where she sat in the rocks. Her legs were dead with cramp, and the tide was coming in but wasn’t it always?
The risk was that he would be different, a person who would grow and have new experiences, what he had told her, she could not know if this was real.
But she had to try, said an older, purer voice in her head.
She got up, cold, hungry, tired but alive as she watched him walk up the beach to her.
It hurt but she ran to meet him.