Going deeper underground

1 Oct

Bodies pressed tight against each other, each person feeling their companion’s body more completely than the lover that held them last night (tired arms around them, half-dreaming of someone else). Now, they ignore the contact, losing themselves in celebrity gossip (they know more of them than they do about their own lovers), their music (they listen to more than their own lovers), and their books (whose characters they adore more than their own lovers).

“Please mind the gap,” the polite British recording advised the throngs of underground passengers as the doors open.

I stand back. I keep my distance and wait for the next one. I tell myself I’m not afraid to be touched, that I do not fear intimacy. Even the intimacy of strangers. The doors slide closed. The carriage gains speed slowly and shoots out through the tunnel.

“Not in a hurry to get to work?” asks an American voice behind me.

I ignore it. That’s what you do in the underground. Do not look at the other passengers, do not interact. Only the crazies will talk to you. After a while of silence my curiosity gets the better of me and I risk a glance back.

The man is tall and handsome with calm blue eyes. He wears a dark suit with lapels. He makes a small bow and a flourish with his cap. A pilot.

“Didn’t mean to interrupt your thoughts. You just looked… lonely,” he said.

“I’m… Aren’t you afraid you’ll miss your flight?” I asked, turning the questions around on him.

“Never. I always come on time,” he grinned mischievously and rubbed the hair at his temples nervously.

“I bet you say that to all the air hostesses,” I snarled at him.

“Pierced through the heart with your stern cruelty,” he grabbed his chest.

“Shakespeare, very clever. Does that get you into the mile high club?” I said, but couldn’t contain the figment of a smile.

“The mile high club is completely overrated,” he said.

“Oh really?”

“Certainly, I much prefer the mile low club,” he said.

“And where is that?”

“Deeper.”

“Where?”

He took my hand in his. At first I wanted to draw away, but his hand was surprisingly warm and firm. His fingers tangled perfectly around my own, like the roots of trees grown together over the years.

“Follow me,” and he pulled me down the tunnel with such confidence that not one passenger (all of them carefully looking at a spot where they would not see anything) raised an concerns.

My heart raced. I let myself be guided by his hand through the darkness.

“Is this safe?”

“Absolutely not,” his white teeth glinted in the darkness of the tunnel.

“Aren’t you supposed to be concerned about safety?” I asked.

“Other people’s safety. Not my own.”

A rumbling, like approaching thunder echoed through the tunnel and the lights of an approaching train, lit the walls. Each drop of condensation sparkling like a tiny star. He pressed me against the wall with his entire body and I was conscious of his every curve, his breath pushing against my chest as the wind of the passing train whipped my hair against his skin. I would almost feel each strand as an extension of myself, as fingers gently stroking his skin.

The train passed and it was silent once more. He pulled away from me, I held fast.

In the darkness, I felt afraid, I felt safe, I felt him. Hard against my hips. He lifted me and I soared. He placed me on the rails as I unfastened his belt.

“Are you afraid?” he asked.

“Not of the train, not of death,” I said. He slid his hands under my shirt and I shivered at his touch.

“What are you afraid of then?”

His fingers trailed over the indentation of my spine down between my legs.

“That,” I whispered. I trembled (Anticipation? Fear? God! I did not know.)

His touch opened me and the trembling stopped (together with the rest of the world).

“Is that so scary?” he asked.

“Terrifying,” I responded.

“Sometimes you need to fear to be alive.”

“I’m always afraid,” I whispered.

“And now?”

“No.”

He pushed inside me and I welcomed him in (my body fought the intrusion). His eyes closed. He was leaving (my body relished the intrusion). I pulled him back in (our bodies vibrated in unison). We melded with the sound of distant thunder (waiting open-mouthed for the drops of rain to come).

The distant thunder reached a crescendo (white lightning blinding us). Together we came (a storm that spun us around left us drenched, but happy). We climbed back out.

The breeze of the passing train teasing out hair as he stood again covering me with his body (I could think of nothing else but his shape).

“See. I always come in time,” he kissed me.

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