Book Extracts: Five Stages of Grief

FSoGDear Caroline,

The last time you fucked me, I was on the piano. Do you remember? You pressed me up against it and my palms slammed into the keys, the white ones and the black ones and the notes bounced all over, frenzied and high. And when you slid the fabric of my skirt away from my legs, the hand of mine that had steadied itself on the smooth expanse of wood slipped and struck the keys, again, and the chord that rang out was ragged and loud and followed the contours of my want so closely that I gasped.

You used your fingers, then. You didn’t have to search, didn’t have to wander; as soon as I gasped you slid them into me, two of them, down to your knuckles, and worked them in and out. I begged for a third, a fourth, and you gave them to me, gladly. You are a generous woman. I wrapped my legs around your hips as the notes of the piano died, wrapped a free arm around your neck, and watched as the muscles in your arm flexed with your fucking. I pulled you in and out of me and your hand was like a cock, warm and pulsing, but smarter, better.

The sound of it: your groaning, the moans being dragged from my throat, the faint, wet noises of your fingers deep in my cunt that echoed between the floorboards and the ceiling.

So lost were we in that moment that we worried that your next student was going to knock at the front door, that middle aged man from upstairs who you were teaching to play “Für Elise” but he was bad, so bad. I would hide in our room while he played that goddamned arpeggio and chromatic descent over and over, that one that climbs like he’s orgasming and drops like he’s coming down from it, but then he’d fuck it up, Caroline, and plunk out some bad notes. It was awful. The third or fourth time he was practicing that damned section I decided that I’d try to get off to the sound, that if he could make that ascent and descent I’d come and everyone would be happy. So when he’d come over I’d disappear into our room, lie down on the bed that took up most of the space, slide my hand into my pants, and wait. I could always hear the muffled sounds of his voice on the other side of the door. I’d hear you ask him how his week was, offer him some water, the chatter of glasses in the cupboard, the sloosh of the tap. I could not actually hear him drink but I imagined it, imagined his throat undulating with each gulp. It was dry because he wanted you, wanted to bend you over the piano and pull his thick cock from his pants and slide it into your wet, hungry cunt. His cock was one of those wide ones, not terribly long but the kind that could fill, and roped with veins as big as the ones on the back of his hands. And the head of it, Caroline, the head that he wanted to push inside of you, it was a knot of sensitive skin, purplish and hot to the touch. He wanted to take that cock and take you over the piano, hear your voice, normally reserved for mild admonishment and mild praise, tumbling around in the gutter. I bet he could even smell the sex in the apartment, the fevered heat of us clawing at each other, mouths on puckering nipples, that heady smell that fills the room when two women, soaking wet, furious, fuck each other, like no other smell in the world. And he would drink and drink, all of that water, and sit closer to the piano than he was supposed to in order to hide his growing erection, and play. And of course he fucked up, Caroline, because you distracted him, and I would slide my index and middle finger around my swollen clit and pull at it like it was a tiny cock and imagine his hard-on, and each time he would fumble I would give myself a brief respite from my growing arousal, and when he started again so did I. I would think to myself how, even with my clit, even with the fake cock in the drawer that we play with on Sundays, that I was more of a man than him, the only man you could ever want. And on the day when he finally did it, banged his way through that section with perhaps less subtly than the masters but striking all of the notes in the correct order and then moving through to the next part without pausing, that, Caroline, was the day that I reached the greatest orgasm that I had ever experienced, less a mountain ascent and a tumble from the peak than a long, drawn-out gasp, like I was being pulled behind a moving horse and every bounce knocked a different limb from my body. Whoops, there goes an arm. Uh-oh, now a leg. When I came to and the haze cleared and my vision returned I had all of my parts but I had soaked the bed with my coming.

And so, that last time you fucked me, we were half-waiting for him to come in, but he didn’t, Caroline, because in our passion we’d forgotten that he canceled his lessons with you the month before, for reasons that you claimed not to understand. I think we both knew, in that moment of anticipation, where in some past time the room had been occupied by a man playing the piano and a woman teaching him to do so, that he had stopped coming because you were both too aroused by the other person to continue. Maybe you’d been thinking about violating our relationship, and had, in your own way, subtly encouraged him to give up playing by telling him that he wasn’t making progress. The day that he came to the door and gave you a check for the rest of the month and said that he was no longer interested, I got off balanced unevenly on the toilet seat because I knew that you would return to me, in full force, soon. And now, this last time, on the piano, the middle-aged man from upstairs only a potential force and not an actualized one, that was my greatest triumph, Caroline, because you were all mine in that last instant, before you weren’t anymore.

Caroline, I have a confession. I sought out the middle-aged man that lived on the floor above us, and I did have sex with him, which is how I know the shape of his prick, the veins that circle it, the head that is broader than most. I sought him out because I was jealous, Caroline. When I lay there in our bedroom while he played I could hear the desire in every note, every fuck-up, and I knew, deep inside, later, when we had sex, that you were thinking about him, that behind your eyes was not my reflection but rather his aging, stubbled face. So I went upstairs and knocked on rows of doors until I found him, living alone. I introduced myself and came inside and immediately slid his hand into my bra. He got hard and kept stuttering, seemed confused. I asked him if he wanted this, and he said yes, but he kept asking “Why?” even as he sunk his cock down my throat—not just my mouth, Caroline, but the muscled tunnel of my throat—and thrust and thrust. As I sucked him off, I imagined that I was doing my part to keep you safe, Caroline, to keep us safe. If I sated him, like this, maybe he wouldn’t desire you so much, and maybe we could last a little longer. He came inside of me, and it tasted like bleach and vaguely of pineapple, and I confess, I did get off then, with my fingers, but I promise you, Caroline, I was only thinking of you, because I love you. I wish you would have done me the same courtesy, when we fucked—to think of me, that is.

Caroline, I miss you. I regret how things ended between us.

I want you, Caroline. I want you, and only you. Come back to me. Find me, Caroline. If you find me, if you come back to me, wherever we are, Caroline, I will fuck you. If I am at home, even if my husband is around, I will take you into the bedroom or the kitchen or wherever you please and I will let you take me, or take you, or whatever it is that you want. If I’m out at the supermarket, I will go down to my knees and lick your cunt that way, pressed up against the cereal boxes while people walk by. If I’m at work, fuck, I will cancel class, I will cancel office hours, I will cancel all appointments with all of my students, even the undergrads, even if I’m thinking about fucking them and/or planning on how I might be able to fuck them, and I will crouch on my desk on my hands and knees and let you take me from behind with whatever you want, your hands or the strap-on or the cock of a stranger from the street because I know how much you love that. It can be like it used to be, Caroline. Let’s have children. Let’s get married. Let’s find what we had, again.


This extract is taken from Five Stages of Grief. Buy the book from Fleshbot Fiction priced $1.99

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