The nuclear option

She looked at the stars in the frozen black of 3am and thought of his name. It was not an exotic or romantic name. In fact, it was the same name as the first one, the one who took without asking, the one who ruined her when she was far, far too young to have even been considered, much less touched, much less forced, but in his manifestation she had first ignored the unfortunate coincidence, then acceptance developed into craving, and the craving denied devolved into inanition, and eventually became a black hole.

The thought of his physical qualities conjured flashes of his comforting chest, the hunger of his lips, the absolute strength of him. A strength she felt she had been searching for most of her life. A strength she wanted to dive into like a pool she could be baptised in. The cadmium for her fission. Recently, without his calming force she had become erratic and unstable.

She thought of the other men who used her, who syphoned her kinetic vigour, leaving her low and depleted. They absorbed all that she radiated, and they left nothing but droplets of their condensation in used condoms when they were through. Was he like them? Would she prefer it if he was more like what she knew and less like the unknown? The unknowable?

In that dingy pub, sitting before her that first night was a man speaking her language. An ancient language. Long thought dead. Long thought silenced. Waves of sound traveling through space from the beginning of time to her ever listening ear. They were murmurs she was born to hear and had been deprived of since before conception. It was the sound of infinite magnitude.

Then he looked down and smiled boyishly as he played with his drink. His purity in that moment melted her armour the way casters molten steel, and it left her too vulnerable. What lay beneath that now liquified, life-long forged defence was the damaged girl who first encountered that name. That 12-year-old, who had never grown up, who had never known love – either to give or receive – who had been left fallow and feral to fend for herself for the last 37 years.

Her body instinctively began to silently sing like fine crystal when he looked up from that innocent smile with a knowing hunger in his eyes that made her feel like she was the only woman in the world. Her body’s compulsion to respond was beyond her childish control. He reached for her without realising the inescapable, indelible link he established the moment he touched her. From the infinite void of the surrounding chaos, like silence within a cacophony, their duality converged for the first time, again.

Did the taste of her thrill him like when he used to test batteries with his tongue?

She met his kiss and her body rose to meet his desire. When their tongues touched for the first time, the pleasure shock resounded in both deeply, so deeply for her that she softened, drew him in with her breath, and she visibly ebbed as he flowed towards her. They lingered there, letting their tongues seek that delicate bliss where the sensual and the ethereal meet in a torrent of falling and floating, until the dingy pub around them fell away, and their electricity danced to the timeless song of the celestial spheres in perfectly empty space. Immediacy. Eternally.

She pulled her head back to smile at him and to see him more clearly. It only took a look for each to confirm that both knew the meaning of a kiss that confirms such a connection.

A glass shattered, and the reality of the pub engulfed them. His well mannered, delicate senses were utterly disturbed in that place. She embraced the shabby, bleak atmosphere. She knew hopelessness, it was like a warm, familiar glove she didn’t mind seeing again in dive bars or on the street. No matter how far she pulled herself up from despair, she always knew it would wait for her in places like this, and in a strange way, she found it comforting.

When he invited her home, she contemplated what every woman must consider in this brutal man’s world: the potential for violence… or worse. She had to consider that he could be a threat. The other option - to go home - to stay safe - to be alone – seemed defeatist. Is it worse to die at someone else’s hand than to suffocate alone? The end is exactly the same, but at least murder is a shared experience.

In his home, he kissed her again, and she fed off his surety. He didn’t ask, but instead of taking, he gave. He led her upstairs without question, knowing she wanted to be there. He told her to undress, and his eyes inspected her like a coach assessing the viability of an athlete. He bound her wrists only symbolically with his belt, but she was eager to submit without needing to be bound. She would have gotten on her knees and begged for him. His hands probed her body to find her pressure points and pleasure centres. He watched fiendishly for her reactions assessing her responses to the affects he provoked. He scrutinised every sound, every impulse, every look for artifice. One false note would have been an infidelity of their hallowed coupling.

Prone and on her back, he coveted her body before reaching inside her. He touched something primordial that no one had ever touched before, and he claimed it as his. It was a brutal pleasure, not the slow, sensual building of ecstasy she was used to. It wasn’t tender or timid, and it betrayed something deep within. When he touched her, her body was no longer hers. The torrents of pleasure he elicited almost against her will. She realised she was completely altered in his presence like an element whose structure is completely changed when in the presence of another reactive element.

When he entered her, a shock wave of rapture flowed through her. He filled her perfectly, and she contracted legs, arms, pelvis around him. Each thrust he made reverberated through her whole being until she became as transparent and liquified as the extract she bathed him in. The husked sound of his pleasure rose in her ear and as if on command, she came with him more as a response to his pleasure than from her own experience.

The stars had shifted above her as she thought of this. In the end their connection had frayed and not materialised the way it should have. Should have? She thought about how much she despised shoulds. There is only what is and that’s all there is. There is no more. Nor no less. And there is no way for a thing or a person or a relationship to be other than what it is.

She blamed herself for believing and wanting more of him because she could not temper her ability to see the exceptional potential. His self imposed imprisonment in standards that were unattainable even for himself troubled her deeply. Everything in nature was flawed. She saw absolute beauty in his flaws. He only seemed betrayed by hers, as if she chose to forsake him purposely, even as she strove to reach for enlightenment and redemption from them. Was their inability to reach all that was possible something she could accept? The answer eluded her.

The option that scared her more than any other was that they could set the world on fire. That they could band together like two nuclei in a thermonuclear reaction that would transform them both, continually feeding and growing on the light their friction created instead of drowning in the dark matter they were both born into. A contained, man-made, forced nuclear reaction is utterly destructive but a natural nuclear cataclysm creates stars, and planets, solar systems and eco systems and light. Twinkling light in the blackest of night like a beacon to her lost soul.

Standing in the ice cold blackness, a revelation dawned on her like a white, hot sun in a vast desert: he probably didn’t feel like she did at all.

A gust of wind chilled her to the marrow of her bones and she pulled her coat tighter across her chest. She contemplated the freezing dark and her destructive nature, and then she considered the woman she aspired to be and she walked toward the light.

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