It’s Only Sex
Her room is shaped like a triangle. The ceiling drops down into a low window that makes up the wall and lets only a trace of moonlight through. Her skin takes on the pearly white shine of her dress, and her blue eyes look like a wolf’s in the winter snow. I’m wearing genie pants and a Saigon singlet. One of my Ripcurl thongs has a bread-clip in it to stop it from coming apart, and am just glad that I showered before leaving my room. We stand at the foot of her bed and look at each other like we have been for the last three days.
On day one, I got caught staring at her sunbathing as I walked past the swimming pool to the pool table. She dropped her sunglasses and smiled at me. I looked away.
On the second night, she was out by the pool again with a short haired lady in a leopard skin shawl who was old enough to be her mother, but with no motherly warmth, and a giant with a tree trunk neck, frost-tipped hair and sun-cured skin. She eyed me walking towards the lobby as they sang Russian ballads in a harmony both beautiful and unsettling. I looked away.
This is day three. I didn’t make it to the pool. On my way out, she was standing at the hotel staircase, and as I walked by she pointed her finger up the stairs and smiled. I followed.
Russian words roll off her tongue and into my ears. I um and ah and say, “What?”
She giggles and covers her mouth with her hands and more Russian words tumble out from under her breath, quietly at first and then faster and louder with an excited rhythm.
“I have no idea what you’re saying,” I shrug, and realise the tension of my body.
She laughs again, harder than before and jumps back onto the bed. Her elbow knocks the wall, and three hard bangs and two fierce Russian voices come back from the other side of it. The Leopard Mother and the Giant are next door. She giggles.
“Am I about to be robbed?” I ask.
Her finger moves from her lips and points to me and curls to say come here, and I’m sure she does understand me. She is offering a final temptation and I can’t do anything but say yes, because this has never come before and might never come again. Our bodies touch for the first time and more Russian words slither from her mouth to my ears.
I’m here because of those words, because I can’t know anything about her and she can’t know anything about me, because behind this veil of language she is sexy and mysterious and a little bit dangerous, and in her mind, I must be too. She can’t tell that no matter what language we speak, I would have no idea how to talk to her. She can’t know that the last time I was here I was too drunk to remember it and that now, I have no idea what to do with her body or mine.
Her hands slide under my singlet and sweep across my back like figure skaters. My hands sit on her hips and occasionally jolt upwards and drop back down like nervous kids on a diving board. She pushes her lips against mine and I try to push mine against hers but our teeth clash and now her nose in my mouth. My brow furrows and I open my eyes, which I’ve always heard is an awful idea, but’s not that bad.
Her eyes are still closed, her hands still skim across my skin, and her face still seems to want mine. I wonder if this is desire. I’ve never been desired before. My ears are open and trying to listen for any footsteps and rumbling from the room next door, in case the Leopard Mother and the Giant are readying themselves to barge in, take everything I own, and leave me naked and unconscious in a Vietnamese hotel. I start to trust her, despite that mental image.
Her face drops down to my neck and her tongue slides over it. I wonder if she’s knows how good that feels, if she can measure how well it works with her fingertips on my back, or if it’s just coincidence. I make a mental note of where my clothes are in the room, so that if I do hear movement I can grab everything and beat them to the door and maybe clothe myself as I dash down the stairs to safety. I wonder how much of sex is a coincidence.
She takes off her dress and she isn’t wearing a bra. My hands have taken the dive and are comfortable now, exploring the waters of her body. But why isn’t she wearing a bra? Is that something all girls do? Does it say something about her? Maybe this is desire, but it’s not just for me. Maybe she just likes really Asian men and is just travelling Vietnam for some sort of Dionysian sex tour. Also, I’m about to be robbed.
She takes my singlet off and kisses my body. That really shouldn’t feel good. Maybe this is desire. If not, then maybe I’m okay with being fetishised, just this once. She takes my pants off.
Alright, this is probably desire. This is normal. This is okay. Her neck tastes like insect repellent, but that’s okay. I’m sweating way too much, but that’s okay. The Leopard Mother and the Giant are bashing the wall and yelling angry Russian things, but that’s okay. We can’t talk to each other, but that’s okay. We’re lying together and I can feel her heartbeat and we’re almost definitely never going to meet again, but that’s okay.
Cover by Mr Wong