Jose Luis Oseguera
Carolina Arreaga was the love of my life.
All I wanted was to lie beside her. All she wanted was to be admired.
Caro was a result of a complex, well-tempered arrangement of economic and eugenic alchemy. I was the product of an equation that joined two immigrants with uncontrollable urges. Caro’s birth was a preconceived notion, a dream that two college-educated adults brought to fruition. I was a happy accident derived from the fevered boredom of a child of 34 and a woman of 21. Caro's parents were childhood sweethearts. Mine were a pair of people in which each person was the sum of the two preceding people.
She was a princess. I was a Fibonacci number.
Before we kissed for the first time, we used to interlace our fingers, twist and turn them into various positions and shapes. Nothing below the wrist was allowed. We performed this seated Renaissance court dance for about two weeks, traversing a Kamasutra’s worth of fingerings. It was the preluding hand puppetry before the real play began. I always wondered if things would have moved more precipitously had I been born handless. A Fibonacci stumper.
After the yearning of hand gymnastics came the hugging, erotic wrestling as I used to call it. Greco-Romance. As with the hands, we explored all of the various positions in which a couple of fully grown adults could embrace one another. Facing each other, Caro giving her back to me, I giving mine to her, spooning with me as the big spoon, spooning with me as the little spoon. Seated while she nestled her large buttocks between my legs seemed to be Caro’s favorite position, of cuddling that is. She would relax the full weight of her body to fall back on my bony chest and I would use the full strength of mine to become a firm, yet pliable, flesh and bone upholstered Barcalounger.
When we finally arrived at the kissing phase, she hated the way I kissed.
“Get the fuck outta here,” my mother said with the side of her mouth, taking a long drag from her cigarette. She exhaled a cloud of smoke from her side smile, drawing away the nicotine wand from her lips and tapping it on the ashtray. “How do you know that?”
“Because she fucking told me ‘I don’t like the way you kiss me’,” I said, fanning away the fumes.
“Well, what does she expect?”
What did Caro expect? Her lips were full, the size of a vital organ, muscly like a heart or a liver. Soft like the labia majora and deep fuchsia like the minora. They tasted of the beeswax lip balm she moisturized them with. All I wanted was to submerge my lips in their pillowy wetness, suck on them, and do whatever I wanted with them. That’s what I was dying to tell my mother, but I didn’t want her to start asking me about the sex I wasn’t having with Caro.
“I don’t fucking know,” I said, swirling around the hot ash in the translucent black tray. “I guess, I can kiss her how she wants. More politely.”
“She’s kissing you like you’re a fucking idiot. A snot-nosed poopy pants,” my mother said as she placed a new cigarette in her mouth. “A peck on the lips like two little Easter chicks? That’s bullshit.” The notion of another woman rejecting the seed of a son who came out of her, by the seed of a man she herself rejected years before, infuriated her. Oedipus on its head.
The kissing fiasco got better. All I had to do was make my thin lips as thin as possible, a cartoon’s mouth, and make sure that its width didn’t surpass the dimensions of Caro’s blossoming lips.
“You have these cute little duck lips,” Caro said, sucking her lips into her mouth, doing an impression of a toothless hag. “I could just kiss them all day.” But she wouldn’t.
We only kissed when Caro wanted to and I was only allowed to mention the act, or have any desire to perform it, when she was ready. There were no impromptu public displays of affection to speak of, and my craving of being scolded or reassured by complete strangers, regarding the inappropriateness of our amatory performance, went unrequited. Any complaints regarding our lack of kissing sent Caro barging out of any room.
When the time to kiss did finally arrive, I needed to be in a seated position so that she, in turn, could sit on my lap. Not straddling because, according to her, only whores straddled. The space between my legs could not exceed a 34-degree angle. During this period of unbridled pleasure, my hands were to be above her belly button, but below her sternum. They needed to be digitally-interlaced and shackled around the most erogenous of zones: the love handle.
I was not to dip my hand down her panties to rub her ass, or up her blouse to fondle her breasts as this would elicit in me feelings of a sexual variety. The same ones that brought me into existence. If my penis did poke his head into our amorous exchange, Caro was very diplomatic in thwarting it. She was Franklin D. Roosevelt, stalling my hammer and sickle.
“Oh, don’t worry about it, baby,” she said with a motherese tone, massaging the back of my head against the grain, "we're not ready for sex, yet." Then she gave me a maternal peck on the forehead, veined like a map of occupied Germany after World War II. It was during these moments of repressed rage that I really could’ve used a diaper. A Fibonacci umber.
Caro was a full-figured girl and she was fully conscious of it. It was one of the reasons why I fell in love with her, and the main reason why she didn’t want my hands to idle amorously around her expanding waist. Once these conditions were met, the kissing could begin.
Caro loved her big juicy lips, caressing their rim with her tongue in a seamless circular motion.
“That’s why I’m a great kisser and you’re not,” she assured me, “because I’ve got big, beautiful lips.”
She would place her nose under mine and breathe deeply, pollinating my restlessness. At this point, if I went for the kiss she’d say “Don’t even think about it,” pulling her face away from mine.
Her upper lip nestled itself between my nose and upper lip, an area that needed to be shaved smooth or the kissing would immediately come to a momentary halt. Her bottom lip burrowed itself between my lips like a cat between a pile of blankets. And then, we waited. Our kissing sessions carried the vitality of a pancake stack. One of her favorite moves was to lick my lip-beak, flicking it side to side with the tip of her tongue, but as soon as mine slithered past my teeth’s threshold making contact with hers, she asked, “Do you want me to stop?” I swallowed an empty gulp of saliva.
“I want to keep going,” I replied, my voice cracking in desperation. She mocked my voice break, gesticulating violently.
“Then stick your tongue back into your fucking mouth.”
There were several triggers that could put a stop to a kissing session. I wasn’t allowed to look at her, opening her eyes periodically, making sure that mine were closed; movement of any kind was highly discouraged; breathing needed to be controlled, pleasant, and in no way possess the qualities associated with moaning.
“Why are you breathing like that?” Caro asked, mimicking a donkey’s bray and blowing her nose on my eyes.
Then came heavy petting.
Caro hated stimulating my genitals because she felt that, like a bumbling stutterer, it took me way too long to just come out with it. Besides, the mere thought of warm come spritzing on even the minutest part of her body sent rigor mortis shivers up to the crown of her head and down to her tail bone. This explained why she handled my penis in the manner one would tug a turd clogged in a toilet bowl.
“Shut the fuck up,” she’d whisper, as she stroked haphazardly, looking over her shoulder, chafing away the upper layer of skin from my erection, losing partial feeling. Fibonacci numbness. She felt that my verbal manifestation of pleasure would wake up her brother sleeping in the room adjacent to us. “I’m gonna stop if you don’t quit squealing and grunting like a fucking pig.”
Caro was afraid that her brother would tell her parents that she was having sex again. She had brought dishonor to her family once before in the way of a leaked homemade video of her having sex with her boyfriend at the time. Said boyfriend had posted the link on Facebook and tagged all of her family members, immediate and extended. That night, over 55 people saw Caro’s large, pale breasts, punctuated by carnation nipples, convulse randomly as a dark, out-of-focus presence thrusted harshly from behind.
I found the video when I accidentally snooped around and clicked on folders I had no right to open.
“Why the fuck do you have a porno video of a guy doing you doggy style?” I yelled.
“He was my first boyfriend and I didn’t know any better,” she yelled louder.
“So why do you still have it saved in your computer, along with all of these pictures of him kissing you and grabbing your ass?”
“Don’t ask stupid questions,” she replied as she walked away from me. Any question that she didn’t want to answer was stupid. Apparently, I was full of stupid questions. “They remind me of when I was young and thin.”
Caro told me not to worry about the contents of that folder because she was going to end up with me anyway.
“What happened before we met doesn’t matter,” she said. “Let’s pretend that we were born the instant we met.”
This was our first real fight, or at least one in which I expressed anger towards her. I felt remorse for attacking her on a matter she probably had no control over. A senseless case of revenge porn. Fortuitously, this argument allowed us to talk about the highly awaited— a year, two months, three weeks and five days in the making— topic of intercourse.
Our first night of passion unraveled at a dingy Motel 6. In 1962, this fine establishment used to charge $6 a night. In 2008, they charged me $89 for the room that we used for a whole of eight passion-filled minutes. That’s all Caro needed and to her, well worth the $11.12 per minute. By minute two, I was already feeling the pressure to perform.
“You’re going to come for me, aren’t you?” Caro asked, breathing agitatedly while gyrating her hips uncontrollably, mortar-and-pestling her pubic bone into mine.
“No,” I replied.
“Yes you are,” she said baring her teeth, forcing a smile. “You’re close. I can feel it.”
By minute five, she was letting me know that she was about to come and that if I wanted to come inside of her, I needed to do it now.
“I better see milky discharge in that condom when I pull your dick out of me,” she moaned.
Minute eight came. She came. I didn’t.
Caro released a sound I had associated with hoofed animals and dropped the full weight of her full figure on me and dozed off. She had been slain.
When she came to a few minutes later, I was still inside of her.
“Are you gay or something?” she asked as she held my penis in her hand. With a disappointed look in her eyes, she yanked the condom by its empty reservoir tip off my sad flaccidity. “What the fuck? You’re not even hard.”
I knew I wasn’t. I hadn’t been since minute two when she first requested my seed. I looked down and gave her a look of shock, mainly to pity her.
“I guess, your mom only makes faggies,” she said, as she flung the stretched out condom off to the side. She was referring to my older and younger brothers who were both gay. One closeted, the other out and loving it. “You should’ve told me you were a fucking faggot and I wouldn’t have wasted my afternoon and the past year trying to build this relationship.”
She turned around, readjusted the loops of her bra, snugged each breast in its respective cup and hooked the closure in the back. Still bottomless, Caro lay back on her pillow, reached for the remote and turned on the television. “The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian” was on. Watching her watching the film we had seen together in theaters earlier that year, reminded me of how good we were and how fucked up we were now.
“Why are you such a goddamned, fucking bitch?” I yelled, jumping off the bed, the sound still reverberating on the popcorn ceiling. This was the start of our second big fight.
“What did you say?” Caro asked, with just enough dexterity in her nervous rage to mute the TV.
“Why do you treat me like shit? All I want is to be beside you and admire you and kiss you and make love to you.”
Caro’s eyes welled up with tears of rage, of fear. Crying wasn’t something new in our relationship, in fact, it was so common I had grown immune to it. But this time it felt different. I walked towards her side of the bed and sat next to her.
“I’m sorry for calling you a bitch,” I said. “I don’t really feel that way. I’m just so frustrated, with you, with us.”
Caro was silent, the most silence that had ever come out of her. All she did was sniffle every couple of seconds. Her weeping was the sobbing of a hoofed creature in pain. I placed my hand on her back and she dropped her head on my shoulder.
“Listen, I’m here for you,” I said.
“I know,” Caro replied, her voice crackly with mucus. “It’s just that I wanted us to be different.” She turned her head and gave me a long kiss. Her blue eyes, specked with shades of brown and green, dilated a void, leagues-deep, full of vulnerability. She told me about the sexual trauma she had experienced with her ex. They had only been together for a month before making the sex tape.
“That’s the reason I’ve been so apprehensive with you,” she said, “and a little bit of a bitch.” We both laughed. “Okay, a huge bitch.” I kissed her forehead, each eyelid, her fairy-tipped nose and then her big, beautiful lips. She was protecting herself from herself, from trusting too much, from men, from that shame ever happening again.
We sat there for what felt like days, my lower back burning from discomfort. I motioned to the bed with my neck and Caro lay her body down on it. I untucked the raspy covers, that seemed filthy regardless of how many times the chamber maids claimed to have washed them, and pulled them over her. She smiled and closed her eyes.
Smiling back at her droopy eyes, I began to realize the reason behind Caro's deliberate delay of intimacy. I kept visualizing the poorly-lit and grainy quality of the video clip, and replaying the acts of violence Caro’s ex-boyfriend put her through. His cocky smile, her labored moaning. The overpowering, gaping, shoving, choking, crying, gagging, nose-breathing, nose-pinching, coughing, cumming, swallowing, more gagging and even more crying. And hurting. Lots and lots of hurting.
This pain led to her taking things way too slow. The addition of the current mode of affection to the previous one started to make sense. First, hands only. Then, hugs plus hands, followed by kissing, hugs, and hands. It was a pattern. A Fibonacci sequence. When it came to sex, she was out for control because she felt out of control.
I walked out of the room with shriveled balls between my legs. In the bathroom, the thundering swoosh of the shower curtain opening gave way to the shriek of the shower faucet's handle knobs turning. The water shot out skillet hot, bouncing off my puckered back. I twisted and turned the hot and cold knobs like a safety vault trying to find the right combination. Reaching an agreeable temperature fogged a curtain of steam in the room. This, in conjunction with the water’s scalding pH, momentarily impaired my vision. In spite of it, I caught a glimpse of Caro approaching me. A blurred Eve.
She joined me in the shower, embracing me from behind. A Fibonacci nabber. She kissed and suckled on my shoulder blade. I turned around and placed her head on my water-falling chest. Quiet. Listening to the sound of drops splashing, one by one, on the swampy tile, rolling faster and faster, around and past our wrinkled interlaced feet, the closer they neared the drain. A golden spiral.
We were two virgins, each imagining the other being born that very instant. A double fantasy.
We washed away the pain. We cried away the shame.
And after that, we were never the same.
Jose Luis Oseguera: "I am an LA-based writer of poetry, short fiction and literary nonfiction. Having grown up in a diverse urban environment, I have always been interested in the people and places around me, and the stories that each of these has to share; those that often go untold.
"My work has been featured in Meat for Tea: The Valley Review, Sky Island Journal, Jelly Bucket, OTHER. Magazine, TOE GOOD, The Scene & Heard Journal, The Inquisitive Eater, and Authorship by The National Writers Association."