Saturday night. I am processing a new revelation; you called it an amendment to an earlier confession. Now I am trying it on, walking around the room a few times to see how it fits. This is one of those double-edge sword moments. On one hand, you are telling me about an incident between you and M., the prison’s health officer who has been bird-dogging you for sexual favors since before we’ve rekindled the fire between us. You tell me the updated version not for absolution, or charity, but for clarity, to honor the truth code we both agree works best. On the other hand, when there are no secrets, and the space between us is raw and unedited, there is nothing to forgive, or feel awkward about, but Shotclock Man, as usual, with impeccable timing, nailed us at the buzzer, just after you’d said, “M. had access to my clit, and my hand was on his dick, but that…” and here you’d paused a beat, “was before you.” What can I say? I wait for your follow-up call, to explain this calm, airy feeling of gratitude, but it comes too much later, and my fire has gone to ash. What I wanted to say never got said-so we moved on, past your brave honesty, for the old news/good news wonder of it all. So here is where I say: Babe, your body always needs to be touched, even if it’s the soft innocence of a good roommate rubbing your tired shoulders. Physical intimacy with a man, your man, even on the best weeks, while this dreary prison ride lasts, is only once a week and limited to what we can steal in a brightly-lit visitor’s room. Shy kisses and hand-holding, no dirty dancing, no morning after, no clit, no dick. There are serious limitations to how deeply we are allowed to go. So, of course, yes, okay, there will always be stories, historical sidebars to this great adventure of ours. Sex, or the needful, meaningless urges of sex, with a man who takes your biopsy stitches from your aching breast, before there was an ‘us’, was (the operative word) as natural as the tide kissing the same shore again and again. Prison is so hard and unyielding; any softness that breaks up the silence is like the irrepressible exuberance of a wildflower bursting through highway blacktop. I know there were others long before me. There was your young sex, your brush with celebrity, a fatherly nebbish of a movie actor who made you laugh and gave you your first real orgasm. Sex with a wannabe king, a presidential runner-up who now parses your crashing liaison into casual misremembrances. Sex when it wasn’t called rape, but you know better now. Sex with yourself, always safe and familiar but never enough. Sex and the search for approval: a chilly, distant father and a mother who wore herself out trying to understand. Sex and marriage, the baby that lived inside you, and for a good, long, healthy stretch took your mind off your lifelong battle with gravity. Sex as a sad epilogue to a failed love, when the fetus was scraped and vacuumed from your womb, and the heartbreak that crept in when your back was turned. Sex and lies, sex when it didn’t matter, or just because you could get away with it. Sex to get even. Sex to forget. Sex from the bottle. Sex from a line. Sex all night. Sex for a minute. Sex when it mattered, sex reckless and fevered as delirium. Dreamscapes gauzy with sex. Sex in the dawn bright. Sex sweet as a kiss, or dark as a shuttered room. Sex invited, sex invaded. Sex remembered, sex forgotten. Sex quick and out of your mind. Sex as dull, sparkless, duty-bound sex. Sex when you shouldn’t, sex when you didn’t, and once, a long, long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away, sex with a gypsy boy who has now returned to gather you up, bind your wounds, and become your constant northern star.

So….yes, okay, of course, there will always be stories. Confessions in the half-light of regret that become pearls in the retelling. You are a sexual creature, my distant darling, woven from exotic fabrics and complex moving parts. Your needs are like twin sisters of heart and mind, wandering the unexplored wilderness of time and being. For the time, for the being. And the past, like Faulkner wrote, isn’t really dead.Hell no, it’s not even past. So, here’s a gift. Always tell me. Whatever it is, just tell me. Grace me with your truth. No matter how ridiculous or unflattering or difficult. I will always listen. K?

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