You know when you want someone so much that the desire becomes a palpable block of physical energy in your chest? And it isn’t the logical fallacy of false dilemma to say you only have two choices: you can either use that energy, pushed outward to fulfill your desire and possibly destroy everything around with the release of its nuclear power, or you can do nothing and the energy remains, solidifying like a gravestone on your heart, weighing it down so that every single beat is a struggle for survival.
Yeah, that’s my love story.
I didn’t need a free counseling session (but, honestly, brilliant passive-aggressive move, Dad) to tell me my faults. My self-awareness is attuned to the highest level, like the pitches only children and dogs can hear. All of my mistakes (sins?) are perfectly catalogued in my mind. The problem, or more accurately, my on-again/off-again defense mechanism is to take those neatly indexed cards and throw them into the air. And for the brief while that they are in free fall, I can breathe. I don’t forget them, but I prevent myself from accessing them. My liver pickles in tequila or gin, my cunt clenches around either flesh or silicone, and my mistakes can’t be found. They come back, of course, and the cycle starts over. But, as my therapist pointed out, I know exactly what I’m doing.
And that’s probably why I’m not a picky person when it comes to lovers. A bit mad on my part, really, since so many of them don’t or can’t make me come. The sex isn’t about the orgasm, strictly, though. And that may be what makes me suspect I am a sex addict. The lure for me, in casual sex, is the mindlessness that takes over when you are indulging in animal desires. Sometimes there’s hot, amazing, pleasurable anal that you feel for at least two days after and which puts a smile so smug on your lips it can’t be smacked off. But I’ll also accept awkward thrusts of bony hips and a penis that may have actually been a bundle of number two pencils (In hindsight, I feel lucky my eyes didn’t pop out over the cafe counter during that debacle). Either way, pleasure or pain, sex reassures me I’m just a body - that machine made of parts Belinda waxed poetic on (I’m biting my lip because she was one that got away - I’m sure that sex with her would have taught me something, but she left me to learn on my own).
And now, in a dark church (Really, it should have been locked at this time of night. Some kid looking to score his first ASBO would just love to spray paint a dick in Mary’s mouth or steal Pam’s candles and carve a dildo to ram up Jesus’s arse) I’m keenly conscious of all my wrongs both real and hoped for. The Priest wouldn’t be the worst one, but he would be up there. I don’t believe in any god, but I can’t fully shake deeply embedded cultural programming. Like one’s best mate’s boyfriend, the Priest is forbidden. So much of my behavior is discouraged, frowned upon, considered wrong, that I’ve built a tolerance for the disapproval it garners, leading me to seek out deeper, darker desires to keep topping myself (To keep shoveling dirt on my grave as I lie there, still conscious, watching the dirt cover me). Perhaps it is the church setting, but I have a mini-epiphany: my real addiction is to see the disappointment in the eyes of others, to be reassured that I am well and truly fucked up and that nothing will save me because there is nothing to save me.
When Dad wondered why I wasn’t being ‘naughty,’ his quandary translated to ‘Why aren’t you breathing?’ I’m wondering that myself as my drug of choice is calling, as I follow the music like a Pied Piper in reverse. The Priest doesn’t have the looks of Arsehole Guy, but he’s been making me catch my breath ever since he said, “Well, fuck you, then.” But, no, it wasn’t the words. It was his gaze – the extended holding of eye contact with a half, sad smile that said, I know you. I know you, and I will call you on your shit. And the gauntlet was thrown, and I simply am not genetically capable of backing down from a challenge.
If I had found him irresistible before in his various sacred vestments, my proverbial loins are set ablaze at the sight of his cassock undone at a rakish angle. Then, he speaks, “Oh, fuck you calling me Father, like it doesn’t turn you on just to say it,” and his expression is even further undone than his clothing. Another challenge to rise to, and yep, the Priest ranks right up there with Richard Chamberlain in The Thorn Birds in the forbidden material spank bank (Except this priest is real and right here and gazing at me with just as much raw lust as Father Ralph gave Meggie).
I take the drink but refuse the questions – my standard operating procedure is to evade. Physical connection is fine, but not emotional. The Priest has the seeming superpower to illicit things from me I’m not usually willing to give. I’d told him I didn’t want him to get to know me, and that was honest. Too honest. A few more moments gazing into those understanding brown eyes and I might have admitted the hidden truth. That if he got to know me, I ran the risk that he might reject me. Or the greater risk – that I might, even for a second, entertain the unbearable hope that he would accept me despite my flaws and disprove all my beliefs about myself and the world we lived in.
My libido is used to running the show, and it slides easily into the driver’s seat, bypassing my heart, which is screaming for me to run. I enter the confessional and begin to suspect that it might actually have some mystical power because my mouth opens and my catalogue of mistakes spills out, exposed to the Priest’s judgment, though he promised there would be none.
The controls inside of me go haywire, like I’ve spilled the alcohol on my circuit board. I tell him my fears, and I ask for his guidance, for his control. My entire being seems to expand to fill the confessional, and every single molecule is vulnerable, with only the flimsiest of connections that will collapse if the Priest so much as breathes.
“Kneel,” his voice is confident and gentle. I’m suspended in time, frozen in a terrifying mix of despair and hope as he repeats himself. “Just kneel.” The third time, his tone is darker, a sinful velvety sound thrown over me like a net. See? I knew what would happen, but I still told him my secrets, walking with open eyes right into his trap.
On my knees, my error becomes painfully clear. I opened up and he went for the soft tissue I’d temporarily forgotten to guard. He’s in my heart. This isn’t lust electrifying my lips, my skin, the very ends of my eyelashes. I’ve experienced out of body pleasure from talented partners, but this is beautiful ache is anchored firmly in my emotions and my body can’t outrun those, even if it wanted to.
The curtain draws back, and his face looks like one of the church paintings, worn with pain but struggling to find beauty in the midst of a profane and violent world. How can he find beauty in me? How can he when I can’t find it in myself? Does he secretly want to poison himself? Has he realized I am the apple and if he bites, he will truly fall, and no longer need to even try to seek redemption?
I’m fairly sure my own face mirrors his agonized lust as I lean into his touch, his fingers running over the planes of my cheekbones, his face lowering toward mine slowly. If I could pause my life, this would be a spot to savor – the turmoil and tension make me supremely aware of being alive in the fullest sense, and I know he feels the same because the first touch of our lips is languid, almost tentative, as we both take the time to etch these few seconds into our permanent memories. His hands are at my throat, the kiss continues, then there is a shift. Due reverence has been given to the occasion of our solemn sin, and a frantic feeling builds. I rise, and he does as well, and the kissing morphs into a devouring. We can’t get enough, can’t move fast enough. I complain about his trousers, and he apologizes, but our words don’t matter. Our hands are moving quicker than our thoughts.
The Priest pushes me up against the confessional, the wood hard against my head and back, but I welcome the pressure, the feeling of being confined between him and part of God’s building (Am I going to fuck God after all?). Inside the box, I had worried about flying apart into a million pieces, so a hard surface behind me and the Priest’s hard cock pushing into the front of my groin moors me, gives me a sense of safety even as I’m about to leap into the unknown.
A picture crashes to the ground, and whatever had been building between us evaporates, all the promise of pleasure gone, leaving only the pain and doubt. The Priest’s face is not the ecstasy of martyrdom any longer – it is the unpainted, previous scene of simple, yet brutal torture from every saint’s life, more suited to a snuff film than the erotic, artistic movie playing out in my mind. I’m not just in the way of his peace, I’m obliterating it.
Retreat is not in my nature, but I respect the need for it right now, and we both turn, heading our separate ways.
Fuck. I’m going to need another therapy coupon.