He sliced the exotic fruit with a huge knife on the perfect cutting board. Furry greenish gray splitting to show vivid green and neat circles of black seeds.
She sipped her coffee and watched him with annoyance. There was some kind of distracting formality he put into things that should be simple, like cutting up fruit. It was one of the million things that once seemed charming, but now annoyed the shit out of her.
She couldn’t watch any more as he took his oh-so-sharp knife and pealed the fur off of the thing. She went into the bathroom to finish putting on her makeup.
There was something about her silent huffy irritation with everything. She acted like a teenager irked at the fact that her parents existed. That’s what their relationship had become, something akin to parental, maybe sibling, which made the fact that the sex was still so potent something rather awkward to think about.
She came back from the bathroom to find a plate with six neat slices of the fruit fanned out in a half minimalist half elaborate statement on the little white plates they had gotten from her grandmother.
“We need to break up.” she breathed out.
Her red pea coat was oh so New York. She buttoned it numbly as he sat in some kind of catatonic state on the couch in the living room. He got this whole shtick from his father; the whole emotional detachment under stress. He would probably sit there for hours, trapped in this overwhelmed autistic-like trance of introspection and self loathing. She had to be a grown up and go to work.
It was the adult version of a temper tantrum. He wouldn’t talk, he wouldn’t cry, he wouldn’t do anything but just shut down and shut up.
The house smelled like oranges and honey and a roasted bird of some kind. She sighed as she pulled off her coat and stomped the snow off of her boots. The house was half lit by the kitchen lights above the stove. Everything in the living room looked neat as if someone just fluffed the pillows. She wondered if this was the “I want to make up” dinner with the candles and the red wine and the long talk.
In the kitchen there was a note on the refrigerator.
“Duck and risotto in the oven, set on warm. I’m going out, not sure when I’ll be back.”
She would miss the food. Living with a chef had many perks. She would miss being in love. For what it was worth she loved him, but probably wasn’t in love with him. He was an easy guy to be in love with. He did romantic things and he was handsome in his way, but in the end he never really let her in. He never really got inside of her either.
She took the plate out of the oven and looked at the glossy skin of the duck leg and thigh. The mushrooms poking out of the rice. The bright green of the asparagus. It was a very “him” kind of meal. Maybe this was his heart. Maybe this was all he could give her. Hors d’oeuvres not connections.
She was in bed when he came back. He smelled like the city in the winter, which made her smile into the pillow. She kept her eyes closed and pretended to sleep as he listened to him take off his shoes and clothes and finally slip into bed. His body radiated cold and without really wanting to she found herself rolling over and into him. Their familiar spoons. He was cold, she could feel the goose bumps migrating from his skin to hers.
His lips were on her neck and they fell into the old rhythm. The break up was some kind of new spice in an old dish that she still enjoyed. It made him just a little more like a stranger.
Her body felt unmercifully hot after his long walk home in the cold. Now in the bedroom barely lit by the lights of the city coming in from the half drawn shades she was a different woman. There was no talking, there was something urgent and forbidden about this. It was rough and they both surprised themselves with how potent it was.
“I still want…” the words just got tangled in the sheets as he turned and the spoons rearranged themselves. His arms around her body which was now as hot as an oven.
“It’s all going to be a pain. One of us has to find a new apartment. I’ll go, it’s all mostly your stuff.”
Her hot tears on his shoulder made him anxious. A woman crying next to him made him confused, unsure how to help, how to make it stop.
She remembered their first date. He was poor, then.
“Can I pay half with my credit card and half with cash?” he asked the waiter, but she pushed his wad of money away and insisted on paying her share.
In the cab they kissed and somehow his hand ended up in her pocket. There was a hole in that pocket and his finger found the edge of her underpants. She wasn’t the blushing type, but it made her blush.
She’s miss those ways he made her forget herself. He had a way of making her feel girlie, the way she’d forgotten she could be. She knew it would be a while before that side of her would turn up again. She felt herself getting scared, worried in that way she got worried when she knew she would have to be alone again.
He would be fine. He would always be fine. It almost made her feel superior because at least she could feel things deeply, even hurt. He was anesthetized against this kind of hurt, but all the swells and valleys of emotion were clipped in this broken heart.
The Friday before he moved out he turned to her in bed and kissed her forehead.
“I’ll be gone on Monday,” he whispered.
She nodded. The anger was gone, so was most of the annoyance. It was over, but the love was there. So was the knowledge that they weren’t going to fix it.
“Can we be in love this weekend? Just go to the park, kiss under a tree, hold hands?” he asked, his voice cracking.
She nodded and kissed his cheek.
“I’ll always love you. This weekend is our goodbye. I’ll kiss you under a tree,” she said.
He broke for a little while, crying in front of her for the first time since when he father died. She held him and remembered all the good things.
Saturday night they crawled into bed after a long day of laughing and walking and white wine. The sadness came in the silent in between moments, so they tried to keep talking, keep laughing.
They both sighed under the covers. For some reason there was a little charge of giddy excitement in the air. It was implied, in their strange break up logic that the weekend of mourning would probably involve sex; something that had always been the sort of unacknowledged cement of their relationship.
She turned to him and smiled a sort of silly grin and then burst into a fit of giggles.
“What?” he asked with a laugh.
“I got a silly idea,” she said waving it away.
“What was it?” he said, still smiling.
Her smile faded a little. She took a deep breath and turned to him, putting her hand on his chest.
“I don’t know. I just…” she bit her lip.
She had never been shy about what she wanted, so her hesitation piqued his curiosity.
“I want you to fuck me like you don’t know me. You’re always good to me. I mean, you know how my body works, what makes me come. That’s never been a problem for us. I just-I just want you to take me, like I’m just some slut you met at a bar. I want you to be rough and I want you to just, fuck me. I want you to use me. I don’t know why I want that now, I just do. Will you?” she asked getting closer to him with ever word.
He thought that they had never been particularly gentle lovers, but he knew what she meant. In a lot of ways he was a giver. He wasn’t that comfortable taking control. Still, there was a new energy at that moment.
“Okay,” he said trying to hide his smile.
Her request made him hard and hungry to take her.
They sat there for a moment, unsure of how to start and then they both laughed simultaneously.
He rolled over after a moment, right on top of her. He kissed her hard, brushing her hair out of her face and kissing each of her lips roughly and pressing his hard cock against her, through their layers of clothes.
She wore sweatpants and an old t-shirt. He wore nothing but boxers. She could feel his cock, half hard as he kissed her. She felt all of her thoughts turn off one by one, like switching the lights off before leaving.
It felt good to have his weight on her body. It felt good to feel his hands on her wrists and know she couldn’t pull away. His stubble on her lips didn’t annoy her the way it usually did.
I pushed and pulled her suddenly, pulling her sweatpants to her knees and lifting her legs into the air. His hands grabbed her breasts hungrily and he leaned down and kissed her neck, pulling her hair with one hand, keeping her head straight so he could kiss her again.
Their eyes locked for a moment, but he pulled away. He didn’t want her eyes, he wanted her body. It was a lie, but he sank into it, letting sex become a sublimation for screaming or for crying or running away.
“Please,” she whimpered.
His cock found its way through the fly of his boxers and brushed against her wetness as he wrestled her further down into the mattress. As he kissed her again, harder so that her lips burned from his beard, somehow his cock was pushing inside of her.
Her legs couldn’t open wide because of the sweatpants around her knees, so he pushed her knees against her chest and her feet pressed against his shoulders and then he was so deep he seemed to be waking up some part far inside of her she’d forgotten.
He fucked her hard and didn’t stop. He didn’t wait for her little cycles of orgasm the way he always did. He didn’t reach down between her legs to find her clit with his thumb the way that she liked and somehow that made her even more turned on. She was fucking some new man or maybe the man she’s fallen in love with, before they loved each other and were only in love.
She let herself get fucked. She let the orgasm come from deep inside of her, very different that the illusive feelings she had to chase and corner.
His ten fingers dug into her hips, into softness that he liked and she cringed at. He pulled her to him as he fucked her, pistoning, hard and fast but oiled by her seemingly unending wetness.
Her orgasm was already passing when he started to come. She watched his face, red and tense jawed, growl and gasp. She thought for a moment that no one would come inside of her for a long time. She liked it a lot, the warmth and the dirtiness and the safety too. They had been together so long that they could do the things that were forbidden and unsafe for others.
He kissed her hard as the last ripples ran though him. Their eyes met and they both knew that there was so much love there, so much love it could only be shared in locked eyes and sex and tears, because all the real life stuff had fucked everything else up.
He held her for a little while, their bodies far too hot, their hearts unsure of what else to do. He fell asleep and somehow, even in the emotional turmoil, her fingers found her dripping sex and those fingers moved until she came again, alone but next to him.
In the days that passed they grew distant. There were no repeats of that moment of passion. They exchanged being strangers as a game in bed to being strangers passing in the hallway.
He took his smattering of things and left a few weeks later. She heard he found another girl, not as smart but maybe a little prettier.
In a dream she imagined herself like a tiny rare fruit in his hands, laid out on a cutting board. He towered over he with his cold knife. She imagined him dissecting her and taking her apart, poking the pieces with disinterested curiosity. She dreamed he laid her own on a plate in such a lovely way, prettier than she had ever been in life.
The dream somehow made her feel better.