“If we were going to fuck on the train,” they said, looking out of the window, not at me, “how, exactly, would we do it?”
“A terrible lack of initiative,” I told them. Staying in my seat, across and one over from them, and physically as far away as possible in that small compartment. “You should have spun a plan in your head as soon as you saw me. Including a strategy for how to present it to me, and how to—oh, I don’t know—take advantage of the fact that only the two of us are in this compartment right now? Or, figure out how to lure me into the toilet?”
“Have you ever been in a train toilet?” they said.
I laughed again.
I extended my legs forward, just a little, narrowing the space between us.
“Yes. Not exactly conducive,” I agreed. “But you wouldn’t have wanted it to be… sexy, romantic would you have?”
“What would I have wanted?” they asked. Still looking out of the window.
“Those clouds are very beautiful,” I said, following their gaze. “Impressive, and imposing. Just like the mountains they’re covering. But you know what would be more impressive? Your eyes, on mine. A direct, exploring gaze. Even a shy one, darting towards me, every once in a while. This eyes out the window thing? Indicative of either lack of interest—or lack of courage. And neither is attractive.”
They kept their eyes on the window, clouds, mountains now—they had to. Looking at me now would have been capitulation.
I shifted my hips forward, legs a little closer again. Feet, almost touching, but not quite.
I watched them not watch; I watched them work not to be aware.
I loved it.
“What would I have wanted?” they asked again.
“What do you want?” I countered.
Eyes out the window, not looking at me. I watched. Lack of desire or lack of courage? It is hard to tell, sometimes.
A bead of sweat forming on the upper lip I have been thinking of chewing on ever since sitting opposite them in the compartment.
Hands, one on each knee, fingers, so long, spread out, not moving.
Lack of courage, I know. Not lack of desire.
But lack of courage is just as unconducive to fucking on a train as the smell and cramped geography of a wagon’s creaking toilet.
“What do you want?” I asked again, looking, this time, out at the window at the clouds. Which swirled, in my eyes, into arms, tongues, cheeks, lips, crevices of delight.
“You,” they said. “But I want you—instead of sitting there, waiting, plotting, manipulating—I want you so aroused, so frustrated, so eager that you stop playing… that you stop playing this game, this role—that you stop waiting to be seduced, trying to make me seduce you, teasing, taunting, trying to get me to move—and you leap across this space and into my lap…”
The toes in my shoes, so close to theirs, tingled, and I stretched forward, again…
“But when you do—when you do—and you will, won’t you?” they paused, and started to turn their head towards me—but at the last minute, they didn’t. “When you do—leap across this space and into my lap—I will push you off. Onto the floor, and towards my feet. And keep you there, still, not looking at you, at all, for the entire train ride.”
“Will you?” I murmured, shifting in my seat. The perspiration on my lips now, salty.
“Perhaps I will rest my hands on your hair, and tug it occasionally,” they said. “But only if you stay, silent and still, at my feet.”
“Fuck.” Shivering, tingling now. Ready to move…
“No,” they said. “Don’t leap yet. Don’t make it too easy. Stay there, suffer a little more.”
“I may have… underestimated you,” I said, breath rough.
“Just a little,” they nodded. And looked out of the train windows, at the clouds kissing the mountains.
For Nicole: Cardamom Knob Wool
For Jenn: Piano River Feather
For Lara: Peasant Cicada Pomegranate
For Paola: Stoked Sunrise Ferocity
For Nina: Crimson Brilliant Moon
For Cathy: Elated Chocolate Tears
For Lisa: Collar Forgiveness Wind
For Leslie: Train Clouds Mountain