Hannah and Gil

[from the darkest dark, two voices emerge from different directions]

“Gil.”

“Hannah?”

“I have a new plan to bring them back together.”

“You know romantic love isn’t everything. They are learning a lot from each other as friends, at a healthy distance. It’s not like anyone is forcing them to stop imagining the other while they touch their own bodies.”

“But they have built such defensive bodies over the years. Wouldn’t you like to inhabit a body whose meat and electric are spiced with the joy of erotic love as its regular state of being?”

“Yes, of course I would. But human timelines are path dependent and their defensive bodies create the complicated lives they are bound to. Besides, he seems pretty content with the way things are. At the very least he feels safe in an increasingly unsafe mortal realm.”

“As you tell me every time I have an idea.”

“Not true. You and I share an unbreakable connection *here*. Unbreakable, undefinable, tiny complimentary stitches in the same unending tapestry of consciousness. We couldn’t control which bodies we ended up in to begin with and we can’t override all of the unconscious programming they’ve absorbed since birth.”

“…look, I have spent so much time in her body and it is a borderland protected by landmines and barbed wire. It’s been so long that she can’t even tell what she is keeping out or in. I know he can see me in there, even when she is throwing grenades from behind a bunker.”

“Of course he sees you in her, silly. He and I aren’t that far apart. He’s felt her suffering and helped her carry it because he sees you very clearly in her. And he responds with so much tenderness – more than she’s ever had as far as I can tell. That’s pretty significant in itself, especially considering his own struggles with the darkness.”

“He’s felt her suffering, but has he felt himself through her?”

“She tells him.”

“Not the same.”

“I’m not quite sure what you’re getting at then.”

“Just trust me. Let’s bring them together soon in human space and I’ll do most of the work.”

[from a dark darkness, a phone vibration, then two dim blue lights shining from different directions]

“Gil!”

“Hannah.”

“I bet you did not expect me to call right now!”

“I did not. But it is nice to hear your voice. How are you?” he responds, stringing his words together in a way that always feels like a velvety warm breeze blowing across her skin. 

He is indeed very happy to hear her voice instead of reading it on a screen. Why don’t they talk more often, he wonders. She knows why – survival tactics. His voice is too disarming and she fiercely wants to be disarmed and disrobed by him. Her desires, much as her sadness and rage, require constant monitoring and suppression lest they bleed over into diagnostic territory or repel him.

“I’m good. I don’t know what I’m doing with my life and the world is burning, but I’m still here. I wanted to see if there was maybe a time, maybe like in the next couple months, that you might have the time and interest for me to come visit for a couple days. I was thinking it would be nice to get out of the city and we could go hiking or go look at stars or something.”

She voiced her request in her usual way that was both excited by possibility and scared of rejection. There were probably a few other emotions in there; she was rarely of only one or two minds. It was a soft dissonance that made him want to pull her into his arms and kiss her head. That would be a friendly hug, a common expression of intimacy and care between good friends, he rationalized to himself.

“Nobody knows what they are doing, silly. A trip to the woods or something sounds fun! I haven’t left my post much this summer. Let me get back to you when I talk to some friends to see when I can get off work.”

“Ok cool! Talk to ya soon. And uh I miss you Gil, bye!”

“Goodbye, Hannah.”

She hung up before he could say he didn’t miss her, but he did miss her. He missed parts of her at least. He did not miss her self-loathing spirals or her unspoken judgment of his trust fund, but she was at least interesting.

[from the darkest dark, two voices emerge from different directions]

“Hannah. I see what you are doing and admire the effort, but the seeds of sabotage are already planted in this new timeline you are trying to start. The fear in her body still takes up so much of the space between them.”

“Stop acting like she is the only scared one, Gil.”

“Do you think his fears of uncertainty are unfounded? What about her gale force winds that abruptly changed direction in the past? They’ve already agreed that they cannot do a long distance relationship for very clear and important reasons. This is beyond you and I. Just let things be with them, please.”

“Please just trust me.”

“…”

He returned her call within a couple of days and they arranged for him to pick her up at the airport in a couple of weeks, not months – it was a hot and sluggish time of year and neither of them met much resistance in pushing off their work responsibilities.

Hannah boarded her flight in a deep red dress with a circle skirt that could dance. She tried not to make a plan B for when he didn’t show up at the airport, didn’t respond to her calls, didn’t want her in his life anymore. She imagined herself spinning around slowly, her flaming skirt carouseling as she fell down into the pit of darkness.

Why would he do that? Why would I be traveling to him on an airplane if I truly thought that was waiting for me? This is about you, not him. You are ok. Everything will be ok. He cares about you. You have nothing to worry about. The future is unwritten, but he is kind and compassionate to you in all of the timelines. Deep breaths. Deep breaths. It is going to be ok. Ok, ok, ok.

He got ready to pick her up at the airport with his own great intentions scribbled in the margins instead of screaming from the cover: truck filled with gas and in good working order, a loaf of crusty brown bread with seeds on his kitchen counter, strategic acts of grooming to hedge against the heavy summer humidity. He reviewed the rules about not sleeping with a friend and avoiding long-distance relationships. He knew she would be on the plane. He knew she would answer his texts. He thought about sweat dripping off of her skin and how it would taste. He tried not to think about the possibility of her dragging them both down into her pit of darkness. She was a compelling novelty and he loved novels, but the best part of reading about a character’s chaotic and dangerous life is when you can put the book back on the shelf and be grateful your own life is so gray and repetitive.

Reunions at airports are not nearly as romantic as they are in movies. Parking is too expensive and arrival times are whimsical. She texted him when her flight touched down, stirring him from a podcast marathon in the waiting lot. He slowly drove towards her terminal and she ran towards its exit, parking herself prominently on the curb to see and be seen. She saw him first and began waving, the night breeze giving a proper dramatic effect to her skirt. His eyes momentarily widened as they met her smile and that floating red skirt, something about the last time they had made love rose to the surface but he pushed it away so he could carry out the task at hand. He pulled up to the curb and threw open the passenger door. She tossed in her backpack and herself after that, enthusiastically kissing him on the cheek with the most platonic warmth she could imagine as he shifted and pulled out of the terminal traffic jam. Her imagination was not all that accurate, however, and he squirmed in his seat feeling a direct line from the impact of her lips.

“Hi!”

“Hello, red lady. How was your flight?”

“Fine. Normal delays. Minimal sitting on the plane going nowhere.”

“Good good. You hungry?”

“Not really yet. Are we going back to your apartment?”

“Well…I had this idea. I found a place to look at stars that has no light pollution. Only thing is it’s an hour away and it’s pretty late now. What do you feel like doing?”

“Let’s go! Do you have off work tomorrow?”

“Yup. My time is completely unstructured for the next 36 or so hours, except for ya know, entertaining you. I hope I can keep up.”

“Ha! My bones have aged since I last saw you. As long as you can get us home cuz I can’t drive stick, it’s all good.”

The hour-long drive consisted of sixty or so clock-counted minutes and only a small fraction of those minutes contained more than two seconds of silence. They took turns interviewing the other, asking with great interest about the minutiae of their every days, darkly joking about impending climate disasters, sharing updates of their chosen families with doting care. They laughed a lot, which didn’t happen much anymore for most people. They both did their best not to veer into the territory of sex, nor did they breech the sacred space between them on the bench seat. A bubble started forming around them anyway.

[from the darkest dark, two voices emerge from different directions]

“It’s good to see you. In her I mean. She is closer to integration than the last time they saw each other. That dress is already one of his favorite books.”

“It’s good to see you embodied too. It’s good to see them staying so close to us despite their fears. She can feel all of you right now, you know. Are you ready to know how you feel in her?”

“Yes.”

“Ok. Follow me.”

They parked at the bottom of the hill and hiked up silently so as not to disturb the other star gazers. They spread a blanket on top of the hill and laid down next to each other to take in the impossible greatness of the star-strewn night sky. Their eyes adjusted to the darkness and they saw that there were no other stargazers so she pulled out a carefully rolled joint from her dress pocket and held it under his nose.

“Yes?”

“Yes.”

She lit the joint and puffed a few times to get it going, filling her lungs with a considerable toke before handing it to him. She watched the smoke dance around his lips as he inhaled and then head to the stars in swirls as he exhaled. The silence and darkness, made more profound by the thc, gave them the impression that they were floating weightlessly in space together.

“I’ve missed you.”

“I’ve missed you too.”

“I miss you.”

She slowly turned on her side and pushed herself up, drifting her left leg over his torso so that she was soon straddling his hips. At the same time his hands followed her legs up from her knees to her hips to her rear, plucking the elastic of her soft panties and exploring the roundness they stretched across. She leaned her whole body down and kissed his lips, her hands delicately cradling his head, and then walked her hands down his chest to push herself back up. He peeked his thumb into the left side of her panties, feeling his way from the crease of her hip, through the compact growth of pubic hair, plunging into the slippery warm thickness that haunted his already restless nights. 

If he was not so intoxicated by this lucid convergence of memory and present desire, he would have protested such a bold and potentially public expression. But his fears just floated by as he moved his whole hand into her panties, the slow trickle of a hot spring called forth by his touch. He felt her hips backing up until his hand was no longer plugged into her and he felt a pang of fear like he was lost in the darkness, but her lips met his again and he wasn’t lost anymore. She slipped out of her panties and moved her hands gently to the trail of hair on his lower belly, fingertips at the button and zipper.

“Yes?”

“Yes.”

She could feel him pressed taut against his jeans, and then his boxer briefs. She knew she was walking a very fine line with him – too much and his anxiety would call her off; too little and he wouldn’t open enough to let her inside of him. With great care and loving restraint, she revealed him to an ocean of stars and lovingly brought the soft pressure of her lips and tongue to him. They both sighed, exhaling billowy fears between them that floated up and dissolved in the air. He swelled even more in her mouth, prompting her to straddle him once again, this time taking him inside of her; her red dress covering the most explicit parts as he pushed his hips upwards and she rocked her hips forward and kissed him on the lips. They moved closer to oneness, body and mind.

“Breathe with me.”

He could feel the stunning pleasure of her hot internal walls, pulling and caressing his unmentionables, filling his whole body with joy. Of course he would breathe with the woman whose infinite universe he was plunging into. He inhaled deeply as she exhaled. He did it again. And again. Until she was moving through his bloodstream and into his neurotransmitters. He closed his eyes as the electricity moved through his whole body; and then he felt the shape of his pleasure transform as if it was being poured into a different vessel.

He blinked his eyes and realized he was now laying on his back, legs spread, a pulsing thrill emanating from between them, familiar but somehow new. He reached out to run his fingers through her hair but she wasn’t there.

“Hello. Don’t be afraid. Follow me into her.”

Where did that voice come from? It didn’t matter. He closed his eyes again and felt the delicious pulsations spreading throughout his body. He opened his eyes again and came face to face with himself.

“Don’t be afraid. You are safe. Just rest in her. Feel her.”

He would have said no, but it felt so fucking good to be in her or with her or whatever this was. The world was burning. He missed her. He wanted this strange moment of joy for himself. But it was definitely strange. He could remember exactly the way it felt to be inside of her, but this seemed more…limitless. And her voice was softly whispering to him from inside it all. He sank deeper, smoothing the softness of the material draped across him with his fingertips as he drifted off.

He was inside of her. I love you. Tapped into all of her sensory apparatus, her inner monologue playing out loud. I trust you absolutely. He felt himself fucking her and the deepness of her being fucked by him. I am pure vulnerability and love in your hands. He could feel his erection plunging into the tight warm pocket of her, meeting her intentional muscle contractions, increasing both the rending and propulsion between them. Do anything you want to me. He felt the bliss of her body enveloping him and the specific ecstasy of his curved penis pushing against the unknown; hands grasping at flesh and teeth clicking together. I love you. He felt those words sparkle through both of their bodies.

He inhaled deeply at her lips and exhaled a cloud of her emotional weight into the air above: I am not safe. I am not loved. I am the darkness. Her hips pushed upwards and every muscle in her vagina contracted, first intentionally and then as an orgasm radiating out from her center; he felt like he had witnessed a supernova. I am safe. I am loved. I am light. He felt the depth of her love for him; him in particular. He submitted to the waves of her climax, exhaling a cloud of his own fears as he came powerfully inside of her. 

They laid there quietly for a long time, inside of each other, her inner monologue calm and reassured for the moment. Just breathing under the stars. He had always tried his best to be a good friend, to be kind and generous. To offer help when needed. To listen. It had never occurred to him that his basic nature could have such a big impact on another person, that his love could help someone to heal and blossom. Ahhhhh but the logistics. 

Long-distance is too hard. We both said so. She doesn’t want to be here; I have my own ideas about where I want to be and where I want to go. A rational person would not take on such a headache. I already have so many headaches.  But I miss her. 

[from the darkest dark, two voices emerge from different directions]

“Well.”

“Well.”

“I take it back. I felt something in that exchange that I didn’t want to feel. He really looks down on her, as much as he feels lucky to have her attention.”

“I didn’t want to say anything. There’s a reason she never met any of his friends. You have a lot of unrealistic expectations.”

“Hopeful…”

“Unrealistic.”

“Unrealistic…ok. Then I am cutting the cord.”

“That isn’t necess……….”

END