The open fire crackled and spat, making the atmosphere electric, as if the noise and fire displayed the tension in the room. A small firework arrangement just for us, I sat there and could feel the intense heat on my bare legs, well not really bare but my cropped trousers only reached my knees when I sat with my legs hunched up to my chin. Suddenly this small amount of flesh on show seemed sexual! The skin on my shin bone shone in the glow. I could see old scars below my knees from my childhood exploits, a dark blue vein throbbed blood through the myriad of tissue on my lower leg and I watched it with fascination, why have I never saw that before, when was the last time I stared at my shins?
The man sat near, I knew he wanted to touch my leg, the fear and excitement this caused me didn’t make sense. I waited for a spark to ping out and burn me, punishment for my sin of being needed by another man. My need for him to touch me was becoming frightening, what if he never touched my leg? What if he didn’t actually want me at all?
I can never truly read sexual situations, being married too long makes that muscle weak. Never having to dance that tightrope of sexual persuasion for a long time disables your inner sense. I might be wrong, he might be feeling sorry for me, watching me sitting here waiting to be wanted with a throbby veiny leg.
I tried to numb my brain to all the heightened senses that flooded through my body, why was I here? Why am I not at home? Where is my husband? I saw my husbands face, very young…he must be seventeen in this memory I noted to myself. His dark eyes were staring at me with a strange anger flashing through them.
Not now, please…don’t let me have a bad memory of him, I want to see his nice face, I quickly flick through the Rolodex of years and marked memories looking for the look that always made me want to kiss his chin, that kiss that almost gets his mouth but some how feels better it landed on his chin.
The man reaches over and stops my brain from downloading a good picture of my husband, his hand gently but very accurately touches the scar on my shin bone, the feeling makes my whole leg tingle, his fingers are strange to me. I don’t know these fingers; I can tell you a story for every scar and mark on my husband’s hands, each freckle and nick are as familiar to me as the map of my own body.
I don’t understand this feeling; I have never felt this slow trickle of excitement for many years. I never knew the tops of my outer ear had nerve endings, but they do. They slowly tickled themselves, as if there were some electric current attached from my shin bone to my ear lobes. Is that an erogenous zone? I don’t know and I start not to question it in case it stopped as the feeling was so good and intense I never wanted it to end.
“I can’t do this” I blurt out…did my mouth say that? Why is it saying that? I can do this, I want my body to feel that tingle all over the way my ear and shin does.
“That’s ok, I knew you wouldn’t” he whispers.
The fire cracks loudly and this time a sharp pain hit the back of my hand, I wince and look at the small red mark. The man lifts my hand and kisses the spot.
“I have to go” I say as I jump out of my crouched position.
Before I am truly aware of my movements, I clumsily stumble to the door of his flat. I get out into the street and feel the late summer wind blow my hair about; though there is still a chill in the air. My heart is beating in my chest, I don’t want to look round because if he is there and looks at me and asks me once more…I will stay. I will let those unfamiliar hands find me.
Instead I walk briskly, I walk until roads and shops become familiar to me, I walk and breathe out more and my shins now feel cold, it must be 4am.
I finally get to my destination; I wait patiently in the lift that takes me straight to my room.
I lie down and fall asleep with all my clothes on and wake up late the next morning.
“Mum you were talking in your sleep, are you ok?” Ashley looks at me across the hotel room.
“I was dreaming” I tell her and I smile and pull the covers over my bare legs.
Those are the kind of dreams I like, certainly better than the nightmares._