Ben Hard

Rotten Fruit

If I’m unlucky, you pop up in my memory. Not often, but once in a while. It started with our surreal talks in school. You were a crush I kept tabs on. You noticed that. Your beauty was hypnotic. A lion’s mane of wavy, dirty-golden hair. Sultry, intense turquoise eyes. A strong, self-assured face. What was most attractive was your laid-back confidence, social intelligence, and insatiable hedonism. 

I remember how you came to class tipsy. You drew sketches of people fucking in the margins of your notes, knowing my eyes were riveted on you. Then I’d follow you out back during the break while you rolled and smoked cigarettes. You’d meet my sharp stare, unflinching, and tell me to put my hands on your chest, to feel your “heartbeat”. Your face blushed rosy pink as I did so. Once I found you sobbing hard in the library, and my deepest instinct was to comfort you, to hold you.

After nights of guiding me through strange adventures underground, various genres of intoxicants involved, you would take me into your long-absent girlfriend’s ornate apartment to retire with you. Sneaking up so many stairs of marble was a sweet cinematic dream. Sometime before dawn, I’d step into the kitchen to catch you sitting on the counter, thoughtfully enjoying a plum, silver moonlight silhouetting your hourglass frame. 

You’d look at me and coquettishly smile, beckon. “Ah, this is just the perfect thing to satisfy me before going back to bed.” You’d lick the juice from your fingers, your eyes glazed with lust. 

We would drink wine together after school, by the river. You’d bite my neck, harshly, leaving dark purple marks, just to prove I’d let you. You enjoyed tempting me. You thought you were funny. I always enjoyed listening to stories of your hyperreal trysts, your ethereal flings. I didn’t mind at all that I was just another one among them. I, too, had my own separate agendas. But you easily enchanted me in a way few others have ever managed. Moments with you existed by themselves, isolated from the rest of life.

Some nights, I’d sit and nurse a drink, watching carefully as every man around you tried to catch your eye, tried to catch any scrap of attention they could manage from you. You exuded power. You had a perfectly practiced game of teasing them for your own entertainment, never letting it go too far. When strangers approached us, two girls, we’d spin them charming tales with fake names, fake lives. 

“Never let them touch you unless you truly want them. Don’t be naive,” you taught me, sternly, protectively. “Turn your vulnerability into an illusion, and never let it be unmasked. We are both something harder underneath…” When we were offered threesomes or foursomes, we threw our heads back and laughed in their faces, then danced by ourselves.

“Some wandering hands you have,” you’d whisper in my ear, smirking, body close against mine. My hands did wander, over your supple ass and hips.

You found it funny, how threatened I sometimes acted towards those strangers. “Come on, calm down,” You’d gently tell me off, amused, after I swore at some hyenas who’d howled after us on the midnight streets, or after I bluffed drunken and darkly intonated violence towards them. I refused to lower my piercing gaze, from yours, or from any passerby. (Have I retreated, been hibernating, since back then?) 

Then you told me intimately about your debauched wet dreams. Ah... I saw you truly for the frightened, perverse girl that you are. Running rain-soaked through tunnels from aggressive male pursuers, excited and fearful, like a wild doe. Wilde Jagd. Bacchanalia. A savage, technicolor fantasy, voiced from your lips so earnestly that I could taste it. How I recognized myself in you, in that perilous desire… yet also wanted to chase you, just like they did. To walk like them, to be like them. To subdue you. To place my hand insistently between your soft thighs. Hear you cry out, scream. Make you scared. Confusing. Complicated. Ah, fuck. 

Hilariously, you later explicitly demonstrated a similar sentiment towards me. Don’t we have that in common? That we can smugly straddle both sides of power. We can drift back and forth at our leisure. I would have done absolutely anything for you in those moments where you led me, spellbound, hand in hand, down another rabbit hole. I played the sailor; you played the siren. 

Now, I’d take no pity in watching you fall. I will always resent you for the way you left me alone with those wolves. You were a bad, bad friend. Ruined my trust. If we ever cross paths again, we can settle that old history between us. Maybe with some bright red handprints across your face. I know you’d be delighted.