The thing about insomnia is, your time isn't even Time anymore. Even if you get the same ration of hours, even a couple extra, they've become an inflated foreign currency: you can't buy nothing worth shit with them.
I always drift into it, in cycles. I'll have a good week, waking and sleeping like a model citizen, Ben Franklin style. Up at six, bed by nine. It's funny, waking up with the morning light, it really is perky.
Especially if you have nothing to do.
But then time slides. You have a good book in hand, and even though you're sleepy, the pages are delicious. And the sleepiness is delicious too, a rich undiscovered indulgence. Sleep, that's only an undiscovered country. But sleepiness: now that's pleasure, a sweet decadence. Like dancing, fucking, getting high. An elixir sprinkled on your eyelids and left to tingle, shooting quicksilver deep into the eddies of your brain.
And so it goes. A few nights suffice before I'm up to three am. I can hold that pattern for a couple of weeks, but then inevitably 3 turns to 4, and soon there's that same perky morning light creeping up behind the blinds. A stern greybeard Apollo glaring in judgment. Probably it's Jehovah, in fact. Old bastard. Then I'll be up till noon.
Soon enough. But for now, I'm still konking out by 3. Not for long though, I have too little to keep me occupied.
I'm a creative writing student. I'm the kooky chick. I don't like my school, or this town. I came here to get away. At a sufficient distance my parents won't bother to nose around. The electronic tether isn't too tight: texting is an alien concept to mom, let alone the language of it. As for my father, to him language itself is an alien concept.
I have money to blow. I'm not ashamed of it. Not obscenely rich, but I can be self-indulgent. It's an attitude as well as a fact. Maybe it's the attitude that's poisonous, but the attitude is the part I'm least ashamed of.
Did I say 'creative writing'? Well, maybe that's getting ahead of myself. Maybe it's just an English major. I'm second year. I love literature but I don't get the whole 'English' thing anyway. I have no intention of ever reading Beowulf again, least of all from a scholarly perspective. They don't like to mention the stupid thing was basically made famous like in the 1930s, so it had zero influence on actual British Literature. Or that "Old English" is a completely different language. They'll sit around in the 400-levels chanting that Germanic crap or that Middle English Chaucer shit like a bunch of fucking hobbits. Why don't they just learn French or Latin? Those are real languages, with real books written in them.
Seriously, why don't they just have a fucking Department of Literature? Nobody wants to major in Grammar and the Song of Roland. Besides, all they talk about is post-post-feminist politics and the Third World anyway. It's all Social Science for Retards.
I look at myself in the mirror. Do I like what I see?
Oddly, yes. It's sickening to admit, but sometimes I'm a bit entranced with myself. It's ridiculous, no one else is. I'm a solipsist, yes. But why not? Is anyone else falling over their heels to love me?
I'm a bit of a munchkin. I'm too short, I suppose. But I really do love the face I have. It's round, pale, innocent. I wear heavy glasses, I have little piggy eyes. It's a 19th Century face, Victorian; not the perky, fake, plastic face the world wants you to wear today, a face so frozen it's not even capable of a sneer, let alone a sincere smile.
And you think I'm hateful, but really, I know how to smile. I like to, if you're special.
I say mine's a Victorian face: but post-modern too. I've got a labret piercing, the smooth round ball setting my mouth off like an exclamation point, neat, steely, decisive. And a pierced eyebrow, a steel banana bell in my right brow, to set off my sarcastic little eyebrow-arching fits just so. I'm very happy with them.
Maybe it sets other people off, so what? Nobody complains to my face, at least with the parents at a distance. If you ask me why I have my piercings, I won't tell you the truth-- that I actually think they're pretty.
I just won't tell you anything at all.
Besides, Katy likes them. They singled me out to her, she says. "Emily, you're--funky!" she told me when we met, doing some silly clubster gesture with her hands.
She thinks I should get more.
My earliest class is half past noon. I had a morning Comp class, but I complained to the professor I was bored and out of their league. Kind of a high school-issue gripe, I know, but he asked me if I'd like to move into the Contemporary American Lit class instead. A 312, pretty steep learning curve for a sophomore? Blow me, please.
I sit in the back, disaffected. We’re reading stuff like Philip Roth, Joyce Carol Oates, some Southern writers of something. I sit behind this guy, I'd seen him around. David’s his name. Sort of the Tourette's case of the English department. He'd mouth off, I heard, in his classes, piss off all the Adult Learners who were blowing their scrimped-up savings trying to Better Themselves Professionally taking classes or something. I figured I'd either hate him or like him. I spent my first day in the class drilling into the back of his head with my eyes, willing him to turn around and stare at me. Nothing doing.
Today I sat in front of him. I had my hair back in a bun, putting my barcode tattoo on the nape of my neck on display, and the helix ring in the back of my ear. I slung my black backpack, with its mantle of pink anarchy buttons and dead Hello Kittys on the floor behind me, up against the side of his desk, making him feel trapped and possessed, I hoped. Trapped by me.
You know, sometimes you just have to make people conscious of you like that. Just corner them and piss them off, get in their space. I felt like I could feel the heat of his stare on me. Tingles.
I touched the sides of my head a lot during class. When we were dismissed, I turned around and asked him, "Read much Kundera?"
I had tried out all sorts of openings in my head and this one appealed to me. I had tried reading "Immortality" and I hated it, stopped around page sixty.
He blushed. I like it that he was easy to fluster, but I had pinned my chances on the idea that his ego and his curiosity wouldn't let him dismiss such a precise, taunting little question.
"Uhm, what kind of question is that?" he said finally.
Shit. I wanted to ask if he wasn't the type, but would he like it if I were ascribing him to a type already? No, no. I just repeated, firmly, "Well, do you or don't you?"
"Read much Kundera?"
"Yes," I said, smiling. I enjoyed this.
"What if I only read a little?"
"How much is 'a little'?"
"Well, actually I don't read him at all," he said. I knew he really meant this as a dismissal of Kundera, but I took it as a good sign he wasn't dismissing me too just for asking the question.
"That's interesting," I replied. "I don't read him either, but you remind me of that Daniel Day-Lewis character."
It would've been funny if he had asked me how, since he was sandy-blonde and wore thick glasses and had a kind of pleasantly pitiable air about him, not remotely like some guy who could juggle two women and political repression. But he seemed to take the compliment (which it was, though I wanted to be ambiguous about the why and how) in stride, without gloating, and more importantly he didn't think the conversation was over. I let him tag behind me.
"I'm Emily, by the way," I said.
"Yes, I know," he said. "I'm--"
"Yeah, I know you," I replied. How does he know me again?
"What do you like to read?" he asked as we went down the hall, as though he were actually curious to know.
"What kind of a question is that?" I challenged.
"Oh, just a friendly question. Didn't you ask me if--?"
"I made a very specific enquiry. Your question is like some fishing expedition. I don't like people who try to pick my head."
"Well, maybe I like your head. Maybe it'd be fun and enlightening to pick at it," he added gamely. I was on.
"Well, you can come look at my bookshelf if you want. That'd give you a more honest answer than I'm prepared to make."
I doubted he'd find that much to say about the contents of my shelves-- not that he wouldn't think something, but I doubted he'd share it. Actually, I kinda wanted to throw a curtain over it or something. He just kept looking over them, surprisingly at ease with himself but not being all overbearing and actually pulling the books out and looking at them or anything.
"I'm not sure how I feel about all this Fitzgerald," he said presently.
"What 'all this Fitzgerald'? That's just my high school Great Gatsby."
"No, I mean your Fitzgerald translations of Homer and Vergil."
"Well, that's Homer and Vergil I'm reading, not Fitz-somebody," I replied peevishly.
He studied me for a long while, I was really wondering what he was thinking of me. I feared he would challenge me on my facial piercings, or find something else he didn't like to weird out about. People usually do. Then he said, "I mean, you shouldn't trust Fitzgerald to give you the truest experience of what they created. I'd suggest Lattimore for Homer, Mandelbaum and then maybe West for the Aeneid. And no, you're not reading Homer, you're reading Fitzgerald."
"How do you know so fucking much?" I demanded in an even tone. I arched my brows, as though willing the stud in my eyebrow to blind him with its glint.
If he was entranced he didn't give it away. "I studied Classics. Actually I don't know that much, I never took Greek. But I hate reading Fitzgerald's verse, he's pretentious and bourgeois."
Mmmm, 'bourgeois.' Always love the sound of that. "Come sit down with me," I said to him, patting the space beside me on the bed.
I had one of the two singles on this floor of my dorm's east wing. Cozy arrangement. I don't like to give up my privacy to some anonymous bitch, let alone, god forbid, some BFF wannabe.
"O-kay," he said appraisingly, like he was afraid I was going to bite in to him. Well . . . I wondered suddenly if he was some kind of Catholic seeker or something, his intellectualism seemed suspiciously serious and demure.
But he obediently took his seat. I asked him anyway, "Are you Catholic?"
He smiled. "That's a funny sort of question to ask somebody."
"Lots of people are Catholic," I replied. "Are you?"
"I was raised Catholic," I told him.
"I respect Catholicism quite a bit, actually," he answered. "But I'm not religious or anything."
"What do you respect about it?" I pressed.
"Well, like, when I was in 11th grade I taught myself the 'Hail Mary'. I was kind of attracted to the Mariology thing."
"You're kinda fucked up," I told him sweetly.
He smiled in a funny, lop-sided way, like he was wondering how to take that. "That sounds like a mean thing to say just because I liked the whole Virgin Mary thing."
"But you're not a Catholic, you didn't join or something?"
"No, I've never been inside a Catholic church even, I mean besides in Europe."
"To see the art, you mean?"
"Yes, exactly," he replied.
"What do you think of Rubens?"
"The painter, you mean?"
"Peter Paul Rubens, the painter," I clarified, eruditely.
"I love Rubens' work."
"I want to kiss you," I said. I put a hand on his chin and turned his head so I could lean right in on him. His cheeks were smooth and white. I grazed his lips, parting them, and slid myself inside, tasting him. He kissed back, but in a nice, passive kind of way, letting me lead.
"I want to tell you something, okay?" I asked.
"Okay," he said humbly.
"I never could stand Vergil and Homer. Maybe it was that Fitzgerald guy's problem then." I slid my hand under his shirt, feeling his belly. It had just a little bit of pot to it, not shaky and formless, not all muscly either. I felt a flutter of tenderness. I smoothed my other hand up the back and touched his spine with my fingertip. "I want you to share the right ones to read with me, okay?" I said, looking intently into his eyes.
"Yeah, I'd like that," he said. Such a little academic. I kissed him again, wet and demanding, thinking distantly of Dido on her funeral pyre, the youths dancing in Elysium, and sexy Camilla glittering in her armour. My pussy tingled. Maybe Fitzgerald hadn't been so bad? But then I could submit myself to new experiences, maybe see it again through David's eyes. I stroked the pebbles of his spine, counting them off like a collection of marbles. Mine mine.
"Would you take your shirt off for me?" I whispered.
"Uhm, are we going a little fast here?"
I slid my other hand onto his breast. I looked up at him imploringly. "Can I tell you something?" I asked, very hushed and all dramatic.
"Yes, of course," he said tenderly.
"I haven't been with a guy in two years," I said. Truthfully, just about.
"I really like you," I told him, caressing his nipple with my fingertip, feeling the tiny button harden to my touch. I worked his shirt up, and he acquiesced, raising his arms. Smiling, I pulled it off of him and admired. "David," I said, purring. I put my finger to his lips, hushing him. "I really like you," I said again. "Is there someone special in your life?"
He laughed softly. "No, no, I don't get around," he said, flustered.
"Well, I don't either," I chimed, maybe not completely true though. I mean there's Katy. "I want to get to know you," I added, honestly. I took his mouth again with mine, opening my legs, enclosing him as he scooted compliantly deeper onto my bed. My hands went exploring his chest. I started to work his nipples with a purpose, getting them between my thumb and forefinger, pulling them out, pinching.
"You'd look good with a ring," I told him between smacking kisses. "Through one of these," I added, scraping the tip of his nipple with my nail. He blushed furiously, it made me so happy inside to see. He wasn't difficult at all!
He was hard though, I found when I felt him through his pants. He was wearing some kind of grayish-green cargo pants, for the comfort I reckon. I'll have to improve on that though.
Happily I peeled his cock free, finding that he was going commando-- probably another comfort thing, but I can count my blessings like any regular person. I gripped his cock in my hand, feeling the purple head with my thumb tip.
"I know we've just made friends but, would you be upset if I put this in my mouth?"
"You-- is that what you really want to do?" he asked. Christ, what a little moralist.
I nodded my head in a gentle, sighing affirmative, like a mother seeing her boy off to war.
I added, "I really like you, you know? I want to be close."
It was so sweet, he really seemed to be made happy by that, and I was really meaning it too, he really pleased me. Though I might want to see some of this supposedly pushy, obnoxious side of him in action sometime. I hadn't even taken anything off, for fuck's sake. But if he wasn't going to ask for reciprocation, well then . . . It might be fun just to see how far I could bend him before I heard a demand for payment in kind. But never mind: I was gonna suck his cock and swallow his spunk, riches enough for now.
I got him to lie down on the bed--my bed, I thought to myself possessively, as though somehow the bed sheets were going to magically wind themselves into writhing vines and pin him down here, held in some Pre-Raphaelite sexual doom. With me, the blood-sucking sorceress, naturally.
Well, yeah, I'd like to think that. If I make it memorable enough . . . .
So I made him chuck off his sandals and I peeled him free of his pants and I sat there and looked at him and yes, though he was no designer jeans Adonis he was going to be my little David. I hustled down between his legs and finally unpinned my hair and swept it around on his thighs, swishing my head for drama. His cock was nice and long, not meaty per se but a neat hard bone, nicely angled. I pulled back his foreskin, admiring the dome and the taut smoothness beneath. I blew it a little kiss in anticipation. I licked my lips, brushed their wetness along his length. I let my chin graze him, tickling the head with my labret. I applied my tongue to the little hole at the tip, thinking unbidden thoughts of Katy's clit, a damp pink pebble.
But this was here and now. I took it inside my mouth, savoring this hard cock, all mine. Weird, it’d been so long. With a boy I really like. I didn't feel foolish, or even slutty, even though this was happening so quick. I opened my eyes and admired the way his pleasure made him look so vulnerable, his sandy head lolling fitfully, this way then that. He had taken off his glasses and set them beside my clock and my mug, the dear. Yes, I liked them resting there.
I closed my eyes and made myself at one with a mouth full of sweet cock. Sucking, milking, my fingers hefting the warm smooth balls in their tickly, wiry sack. Such unbidden sweetness in the afternoon.
And I would be bouncing off the walls till 3am. No idea about David's hours. But Katy likes to hit the clubs, she can be up all night. Up for anything, probably. Thank goodness I hadn’t asked her last night to send me one of her special texts this morning. Now I’ve got double options.
And now my days, however irregular, can be full, neatly gridded out by hours of exhausting bliss.
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