I ran into a former lover at a party. We had parted affectionately, without rancour. There was an immediate re-connection and we gaily shared stories and milestones. It seemed effortless to fall into the magic of a familiar rhythm. The circumstance of us both being unattached at the time made it tension-free to dissect the intervening years and relationships. We teased and laughed at each others stories of disasters and failures with the sly confidence of a shared past intimacy. Like an inside joke. It was delightful to re-discover the vibe that had made us become friends and lovers in the first place.
The next few hours were spent together in happy companionship and then, by unspoken yet tacit agreement, we were lovers once more. For my part, I was definitely curious to walk through that door. To see if I’d have a sense of recognition to his touch and remember old patterns or if would be a new experience. Had I become a more creative lover? Would he have new skills for new thrils? Would there be silent score-keeping? What if my body no longer responded? Awkward. Worse, what if his didn’t ? Most importantly, would we still enjoy the lack of self-consciousness that had characterized our affair? Experience sometimes makes you judgemental and not in a good way.
I was looking forward to that frantic churn of lust and adrenaline in my head. Of being lost in my own constellation of exploding neurons, tumbling thoughts and incoherent need all the while fused with another. Though it has never quite added up to an orgasm, letting go and allowing my body’s response to silence any inner debate on propriety or shortsightedness is very heady.
Turned out, second time around, the sex was still good but different. Not quite the octane level I’d remembered but still with a sense of urgency that managed to also be unhurried. It seemed as though the quid pro quo clause of sex was suspended and we felt able to receive without feeling the pressure to reciprocate immediately. It was a novel and liberating feeling. Just to allow yourself to float unharnessed in feeling. He was less inhibited about directing me, and, despite ruthless teasing, I just could not bring myself to follow suit. I did nod to various offers though! Deep in the female animal brain is a small remote control which, in my case, was still on mute.
As before, I did not have any visions of a shared future. Nor did he. While we indulged in as much sex as we could, there was also a lot of laughter, conversation and talk of our individual plans. It felt very safe to have this space and companion to dream out loud.
His job sent him off to another continent. We made promises to visit and keep in touch. I think we meant it at that time. Decades have passed and we’ve exchanged a message a year at most. Yet, I’d like to think that when we meet next, despite changed circumstances, I’d want to walk through that door again. I hope he will too.