At that time – about seven years ago – I worked for a different employer, and lived in a smaller city up in the hills west of here. It was a small family-owned firm and I was actually almost the one in full charge, though my job title was only of manager. The owner was an invalid, his wife spent all her time taking care of him, and their daughter, though she was officially the director, spent most of her time spreading her legs for a succession of so-called boyfriends whose only “connection” with her seemed to be that of their penises with her vagina. And the rest of the time she spent making my life miserable, just to prove to herself that she was in charge and knew it.
There was literally not a moment of the working day that I was free of the threat that she might suddenly drop by to “check the accounts”, or issue some pointless orders as to what we should do (inevitably countermanding my own), and then blaming me when things went belly-up, as they inevitably would. Since she does not play any kind of major role in this story, and since to this day just thinking of her fills me with contempt and disgust, I’m not going to bother inventing a name for her. You can think of her as the Bitch.
One evening, I recall, I had just got home to the little flat I rented (a much smaller affair than the one I own now), stripped naked as usual, and was actually in the bath when she called on my mobile. I hadn’t yet then thought of assigning a ringtone to her (a mistake I remedied speedily afterwards), and ordered me to drive to the airport. According to her, an important business contact was supposed to arrive by a late flight, and he needed to be met, dined, and escorted to his hotel.
Now not only was I on my own, and not company, time, I knew – since I bloody well ran the place – that there was no “important business contact” expected. I wanted to tell her to shove it and collect him herself if she wanted to. But if I had, I would have been looking for a new job before the week was out, and I wasn’t ready to look for one right then. Not yet.
(Later I realised what had happened. The Bitch had invited one of her boyfriends from out of town to visit her, but forgotten that she’d already fixed up a tryst with one of her other boyfriends for the night in question. So she fobbed him off with some excuse – probably that she had to be out of town on work, a sudden emergency, don’t you know – and sent me to pick him up.)
It was a winter night, cold and rainy, and the airport was quite the most cheerless I have ever seen in my entire life. And after waiting for a solid hour the plane was diverted to another city until the morning due to weather, so I had to drive back again, thoroughly chilled, out of humour, and ready to punch the Bitch right in the clitoris if she called again. Fortunately she didn’t, also proving said “business contact” was nothing of the sort.
That was what working for the Bitch was like.
Then one day I developed a pain in my tummy. I thought I was developing an ulcer or maybe cancer (do not attempt self-diagnosis from medical websites, people!), and when I couldn’t bear it any longer I decided to visit a gastroenterologist. I didn’t know any gastroenterologists, and in the end I just picked one online, because there was a photo of him on his website, and he looked sympathetic, while the rest were hard-faced women or men who looked like elderly bloodhounds with dyspepsia that they didn’t know how to cure.
Let me call him Dylan, because I can’t conceive of another name further from his real one. When I called him to make an appointment he told me to come over right away – “I wouldn’t want you to get second thoughts, would I?” – and told me that since his nurse had taken an unexpected day off, I should bring along someone if I felt I needed a chaperone. I did not need a chaperone, so I went alone.
Dylan’s office was on the ground floor of a commercial building, between a furniture dealership and a hardware store. I must have gone past this building many times without knowing he was there – the only announcement he deigned to make to the world was a small bronze-coloured plate with his name and degrees. The waiting room was empty. When I entered he opened the inner door to the consulting room and invited me right in.
Dylan was fairly tall, well built, probably a year or two older than me, with a shaved head and a clipped goatee. He had a friendly smile and an accent which I couldn’t identify; later I discovered that he’d spent his childhood abroad and his accent was leavened by that of the country he’d grown up in. He checked my blood pressure and temperature, asked a few questions, and then asked me to get on his examination table.
“Naked?” I asked, just to lighten the atmosphere. ”I thought medical examinations were always done naked.”
“Well, perhaps I’m not a doctor then,” he said with a grin. “For now, just take your top off.” He didn’t need to ask if I had a bra on. I’m a built girl, and I’d be jiggling all over if I hadn’t been wearing one. He bent over my stomach, prodding and poking and asking if it hurt, and then he stepped back and looked at me with a slightly strange expression on his face.
“Are you sleeping well?” he asked.
“Well...” to be honest, the Bitch had been invading my dreams of late. “Not always.”
“And have you also been getting pain in your jaws in the morning, when you wake up?”
For a moment I goggled at him. I had absolutely been getting pain in my jaw joints when I woke, but it went away when I got up and I had forgotten it. “Well,” I asked, “what is it? How long have I got left to live?”
He grinned again. “It’s not terminal, except in that life is a fatal disease. Since I have nothing much to do today – as you can see, I’m not exactly overburdened with patients – can I take you out to lunch? We can discuss your case over some food.”
“Isn’t that supposed to be unethical or something, going out with your patients?”
“I won’t tell if you don’t.”
So we went out to a restaurant nearby. It had a faux Afghan decor, I recall, done up like a cross between a village hut and a cave, and the doorman wore a beard, turban, and what’s known as an “Afghani suit”. But the food – I assume it was supposed to be authentically Afghan, I’ve never had any – was surprisingly good; flat bread so thin as to be almost translucent, mutton swimming in butter and spices, and sherbets of rose water over crushed ice.
After we’d eaten for a while, Dylan sat back and stared at me until I was compelled to look up and into his eyes. “Do you feel a bit better now? Relaxed?”
I blinked. “I suppose. Why that question in particular?”
“Because, Juliana, you don’t really have anything physically wrong with you. I could of course order a lot of highly expensive tests – ultrasounds and CT scans, endoscopy, you name it- but though they’d cost your insurance company a pretty penny, I can tell you they’d be a waste of time. There isn’t anything wrong with you except stress.”
I took a quick gulp of sherbet and he waited until I’d finished choking.
“I’m right, aren’t I? What is it? Family? A boyfriend? Your job?”
“Ah...I don’t exactly have a family. There’s only my mother and I’m estranged from her. No boyfriend, right at the moment. So it must be the job.”
He reached out and touched my hand with the tips of his fingers. “Bad boss, is it?”
“You have no idea.” And I found myself telling him all about the Bitch, and how she made my life miserable. “Even at this very moment, she might call me to make some preposterous demand.”
“And I suppose changing jobs is out of the question?”
“It is, right now. I need the experience to get a better job, and I need to be able to leave on my terms, when I want, not when she wants me to. In other words I can’t get fired.”
“Ah. Well, I will prescribe you some medicine against acidity and irritable bowel syndrome, that’s going to help, but in the end you’re going to need to find some way to reduce stress, and I can’t do anything to help you about that. Professionally, at least.”
“Professionally?” I was intrigued. “How about non-professionally?”
“Um...how would you like to go out on a motorcycle ride with me?”
I blinked, astonished. “Don’t tell me, you’re a biker?”
“Well, yes, but if you’re imagining that I’m a Hells Angel or anything like that, forget it. Not all of us bikers are patch-wearing criminals, you know. I just ride a bike for fun. But you’re welcome to come along. It’s a hell of a stress buster.”
I thought for a moment. I had not been on a motorcycle for many years. “All right. When?”
He grinned. “You need de-stressing, I need to get my mind off the fact that I haven’t been overburdened with patients today. So how about right now?”
I swallowed a piece of mutton. I needed to swallow, anyway. “Fine. Let’s go.”
His motorcycle was in the basement car park of the same building in which he had his clinic. I regarded it with some trepidation.
“You won’t crack my head open, will you?”
“I always have a spare crash helmet.” He unlocked a bulging pannier and took it out, It was bright red. “Try it on, it should fit you.”
“How come you carry a spare helmet?” I asked, buckling it on. “Do you take your women patients on rides often?”
“I only wish I did.” He pressed a button and the engine rumbled into life. “Get on.”
I don’t recall what model his motorcycle was. It was long and low and red and black, and its engine rumbled so that I could feel it at the junction of my thighs. And as we leaned around bends, I found myself, unbidden, throwing my arms around him, and hugging tight. He didn’t seem to mind it.
After a while we were outside the town (I told you it wasn’t large) and driving through a forest. He turned off the main road on to a smaller one, and then on to a track. Finally we came to a place where there was a hill on one side and a wooded valley on the other, and he stopped the bike there.
“There’s a good view from here,” he said, pointing to the spot where the ground dropped off into the valley. “Let’s sit down there a while.”
We did. The grass was thick and spongy and so of course I took off my shoes and socks and rubbed my feet in it. Below us the trees gave way to a distant river and then a flat green plain. The sun, going down behind us, painted it all in golden evening light.
“Do you come here often?” I asked. “You know this place well, obviously.”
“Sometimes. You should see this place on a full moon night.”
“You come here alone then?”
He hesitated. “Not always.”
I laughed. “I knew it. And you have sex with her on this grass. Admit it.”
“Well, it feels good. And it reduces stress. As you should know.” He glanced at me. “You aren’t a virgin, are you?”
“Of course not. But why do you ask?”
“Maybe this is a personal question, but how long has it been since you’ve had sex? With another human, I mean?”
“Too long. Never mind how long, it’s too long.” It had been the longest dry spell since I’d lost my virginity, going on for fourteen months.
“That’s a pity. Regular sexual intercourse is one of the best stress reducers there is. But never mind that. Did you enjoy the bike ride so far?”
“Great. I’ll take you back now, but you’re more than welcome to come out with me again.”
I put on my footwear and the helmet, we rode back into town, and he let me off, at my direction, in front of my flat. Before he rode away again he looked steadily at me.
“So how about this weekend?”
“How about riding out with me again this weekend? Unless you have something better to do.”
“I don’t have anything better to do,” I said. “Not unless the Bitch (I had told him what I called her in my mind) gives me orders to the contrary, that is.”
“Great,” he said. “See you Saturday morning. Ten or so?”
“That’ll do fine,” I said.
Friday was bad. The Bitch was in an awful mood for whatever reason, spent the entire day in the office, and reduced her secretary to tears. She also scrapped my entire next quarterly business plan, substituting some “inspired” thing she’d dreamt up, which anyone with half a brain could have told her would never work. And then she ordered me to get the profit projections for her hairbrained schemes ready for her by Monday. Well, I could have given her the answer in half a second, and the answer would be “zero”, but I’d had to stay up till eleven in the evening working on my computer to come up with some kind of explanation of why her ideas would not, er, meet expectations of revenue. And after emailing the whole mess to her I’d hardly been able to get a proper evening’s sleep.
So on Saturday I woke with a headache as well as a stomach ache, and was half tempted to call Dylan and beg off. But the prospect of spending the day alone wasn’t exactly appealing, either, so at ten I was standing on the pavement, wearing a pair of sunglasses because the day was hot, and carrying a satchel over my shoulder in which I’d made and packed a light lunch for us; tuna sandwiches and apple juice if I remember right. He was right on time, and looked me up and down.
“Stressed more than ever, are you?”
“How did you know?” I asked.
“You have that look about you. The Bitch, was it?” Without waiting for an answer he handed me the spare helmet. “Well, we’ll try to get rid of that stress.”
That was the first real ride we had, up and down roads and pathways I never knew existed, down twisting lanes and through woods where the leaves filtered the sun to a green haze, and my sunglasses turned it into a murky green sea. A little after noon we stopped for a rest by a little brook, and dipped our bare feet into it to cool them. I took out the food I’d brought.
“Good girl,” he said. “Do you like today’s outing so far?”
“Very much,” I said. It was green and peaceful, the water around my toes cool, the stones under them smooth and round, the grass under my hands soft, and we were all alone. I could almost imagine the Bitch didn’t exist. “Do you think it would be unethical for a patient to kiss her gastroenterologist?”
“I won’t tell any professional associations if you...” he didn’t finish because my mouth was on his. The tip of my tongue pressed against his. I don’t know how long it took till we broke the kiss but I was breathless.
“Wow,” he said. “You weren’t joking when you said you hadn’t had any human contact in a while.”
Suddenly I felt deeply crushed, as though a stone had fallen into the pit of my stomach. “You mean I haven’t got fucked. That’s what you mean. ‘Human contact’ might as well be my hairdresser.”
“You’re right. But this is the kind if human contact you need.” He leaned in for another kiss. “You do like kissing, don’t you?”
“Of course I do. But it’s only kissing. It’s not actually making things better.”
“You might feel better after riding a bit further,” he said. We got on the bike and rode on, but my heart wasn’t in it. I could still feel his lips pressing against mine, but the throb of his bike engine between my legs only reminded me of the awful, terrible emptiness of my life, which seemed concentrated in the emptiness of my vagina.
The shadows were long when we turned back for the city, and we stopped off in a diner for food and a visit to the washroom. Dylan looked at me searchingly over our coffee. “What’s bothering you, exactly? You were much happier earlier. Something’s changed. Is it something I said?”
“Oh no,” I replied. “It’s not about you. It’s just that...” I felt a hot tightening in my throat and behind my eyes. “You know, I have no life. I haven’t been with anyone, and I don’t even mean sexually, for over a year except you this afternoon. And I’m dreading turning on my computer after getting home and seeing what the Bitch replied to my work of last night.”
“It’s only Saturday, you know,” Dylan said. “You’re on your own time. You don’t actually have to check her reply till Monday.”
“But I’ll be brooding over it all night and through tomorrow,” I said. “It’s better that I get it over with. Assuming she bothered to reply at all. Maybe she’ll just fire me.”
“No, she won’t. I don’t know her but I know the type. They know they really can’t run things by themselves; it makes them furious because they’re intensely aware of their own limits, and they take it out on their employees, the ones who actually run things.”
“Yes, that’s what I’ve been telling –”
“Let me finish. It’s because they know they aren’t competent that they don’t dare fire their employees. You’ll be fine.” He put his hand over mine. “In any case, remember that you’re a human being and that your primary duty is to make yourself happy.”
“And how do I do that? Short of finding another job, which I would have already if I could.”
“How about going out with me for a ride once in a while? You were certainly able to put it all behind you for the whole morning, weren’t you?”
I considered. “That might be a good idea. As long as your wife or girlfriend or lover doesn’t mind.”
He laughed. “I’m divorced and I haven’t exactly been actively searching for a replacement. So there’s nobody to mind.”
“Oh? In that case I accept. How about next Saturday, then?”
He made a small bow over the table. “Your wish is my command.”
Later, after he’d dropped me home, I took the medicines he’d given me and turned on my computer, deciding to get it over with. Astonishingly, the Bitch’s reply was almost conciliatory. She “appreciated my suggestions”, thought they “looked good”, and told me to try them out. Meaning I would be using my original plans after all.
She must have got herself thoroughly laid last night, I thought, and called Dylan and told him so.
“How about coming to my place for lunch tomorrow?” I asked, on an impulse. “I’m a terrible cook, but if I poison you, then you can medicate yourself out of it.”
“I’ll bet you’re no worse than me,” he replied. “I’ll be there.”
I’m not joking when I say I’m a terrible cook; but the next morning I at least tried to put in a modicum of effort. Not that I went online to check fancy recipes or even went out for exotic groceries, you understand; I just wanted to eat with another person at home and feel like someone with a normal life. And the Bitch’s change of tone had filled me with such relief that I was still feeling elevated from it. My jaws hadn’t even ached when I’d woken up that morning.
So when Dylan showed up at my door I was able to greet him with something approximating a spread. He’d brought a bottle of red wine, and we shared it while we ate. I let him do the talking, and he told me about his life, how he’d been born in a place not far from my own hometown, but taken abroad when still a baby. His parents had died abroad, and he’d come back and got his medical degree, and then got married to a fellow student in medical college. But the marriage had gone sour very quickly, they’d only lived together for a few months, and after the final divorce he’d decided to stay away from long term relationships for the foreseeable future.
Then we talked about films; we both liked science fiction, and Avatar and District Nine were both still recent enough that we could discuss them. I loathed, to this day I still detest, the former – just imagine a planet-wide deity who ignores her own children’s calls for help but comes to some alien, white, American, saviour’s assistance – and loved the second. Dylan loved Avatar for the special effects, said District Nine was “too gritty”, and we argued a bit about that.
“Look here,” I remember saying at a certain point, leaning forward, “District Nine, I mean Neill Blomkamp, made an entire film with less than Avatar’s damned promotional budget, so...”
He leaned forward at the same moment, and more by accident than design our faces were suddenly almost touching, and it was only natural to just kiss. Our lips met, our tongues slipped over and round each other. And then his hands were on my upper arms, raising me to my feet.
“Tell me to go now,” he said, “and I’ll go. If you don’t tell me to go, then take me to your bedroom. Right now.”
I looked up into his eyes and felt my vagina fill with a sudden hot rush of lubricating fluid. “Don’t go.”
We didn’t walk to the bedroom, we moved in a kind of dance stripping each other’s clothes off as we went. I wasn’t wearing much, in any case – barefoot with a blue dress with bra and panties, if I remember right – and was naked well before he was. As we entered the bedroom, his trousers fell around his ankles, and he pulled me into a tight embrace. I slid my hands down his back, under the waistband of his Y fronts, and cupped his buttocks. Still embracing me, he moved us both towards the bed, and as I felt the edge touch the back of my knees I gripped the underwear and pulled it down.
The next thing I knew, I was lying on my back on the bed, my feet still on the floor and my legs wide apart, while Dylan leant over me. His fingers traced up my perineum and tickled up along my labia, just avoiding my slit. I wriggled, desperate to feel them inside me.
“Not yet,” he whispered, and his head dipped to take my nipple into his mouth. His teeth nipped lightly at it as his fingers continued to squeeze and tickle my labia. I moaned and reached out to grasp his penis. It was hot and throbbing in my hand. I rubbed it and heaved my hips frantically until, with a sensation of blessed relief, I felt his fingers slip into my weeping cleft. First one and then a second finger pushed into my vagina and began twisting around, his hand pushing to meet my heaving hips while his lips sucked at my nipples.
My first orgasm struck without warning. Usually I can feel it coming, building up, but it exploded out of nowhere so suddenly that I screamed in mingled shock and ecstasy. My entire body went rigid and trembled as though I was in the grasp of an electric shock. The pulses of pleasure spread from my vagina to my belly and breasts and face, to my eyes until I squeezed them shut, to my mind until I almost blacked out.
Even before the tide of pleasure had ebbed, I felt his fingers slide out of my vagina, and expected his penis to take their place. Instead, he slid down my body and knelt on the floor between my parted thighs. My labia minora are triangular, like tiny wings, and his lips closed around them and began tugging them. I moaned and writhed again, the pleasure already surging back.
When the tip of his tongue touched my clitoris I thought I would die. My breath caught in my chest, I choked on a second scream, caught in another orgasm so strong that I must have arched my entire body below my neck and shoulders off the bed. His tongue jabbed at my clit rhythmically, and I shook and came and trembled and gasped because I could not even cry not anymore.
When he finally stopped licking, I reached down, caught him by the shoulders, and pulled him up over me. “Are you going to fuck me now?” I asked. “Are you please going to fuck me, because I don’t think I can survive this otherwise?”
"Yes,” he whispered. “Oh yes.” Kneeling on the bed between my thighs, he lifted my legs over his shoulders. His throbbing penis head found my vagina, slippery with his saliva and my lubrication, and pushed in.
It’s been years, and I’ve had sex hundreds of times since, but I’ll never forget that fuck. I looked up at him, at his shaved head and clipped goatee framed between my feet, my toes clenching with pleasure, his hands grasping my shins, and all I could think of was “I’m having sex. Oh heavens I’m finally getting laid again. I am actually getting fucked right now.” With every thrust he made my breasts flopped back and forth on my chest, and I put my hands lightly over my nipples so that they brushed them and sent shocks of ecstasy through me.
Yet another orgasm was coming. This one took a long time to build, because our position wasn’t really putting much direct pressure on my clitoris and because I’d already come so hard that I was a bit numbed, but I felt it coming. Dylan was getting closer to his own orgasm as well. I saw him looking down, watching his penis thrust in and out of me as he speeded up his stokes, and wished I could see it as well. I felt him hardening and thickening inside me, and if my legs hadn’t been raised up over his shoulders I’d have bucked my hips to meet his thrusts.
My orgasm came a little before his. It thrilled in spasms around my vagina, raced up to my belly, and I felt my perineum convulse as I clutched his penis inside me. Then he squeezed his eyes tightly, moaned, and I felt the hot wet flood of his ejaculation spurting into me. We stayed like that for a while before his erection subsided, and he slowly withdrew. My legs slipped off his shoulders, he lay down on top of me, and as my breasts were crushed against his chest I fancied I could feel his heart beating against my right nipple as my hands stroked him from the back of his head to his buttocks. We kissed for a long time.
“It’s been very long for you, hasn’t it?” he said.
“Longer than I thought,” I whispered back.
“Well,” he said, “you can have it as often as you want or need, from now on.”
After that Dylan and I fucked almost every weekend. Saturdays we’d go for a ride, unless it was raining heavily or too cold, and then we’d come back to my place or his and screw. (Oddly, we never revisited that place where he had admitted to me that he had taken his women to have sex in the moonlight. I’m half glad he didn’t because I didn’t really want to share him with memories of anyone.)
On Sundays, if he hadn’t stayed overnight, I always invited him home to lunch. I would wake with, even before I opened my eyes, the pleasant knowledge that he would be coming and that I would be having sex. I spent the morning cooking, either in a robe with nothing on underneath or simply in the nude, anticipating his call to let me know he was coming over. If there was nobody visible through the window or the peephole in my door, I would open it for him naked. We’d be kissing even before he shut the door behind him, and I’d be pulling off his clothes right there just inside the door. Almost always we would immediately fuck in the living room, without any need for preliminaries or foreplay. Most times it would be on the carpet, with him on top in the missionary position. Sometimes I would push him down on the sofa, straddle him, and plunge up and down on his penis while he fondled my boobs. It was frantic sex, as though we were desperately making up for lost time, even though we’d fucked a week or even only the night before.
Then we would eat, and after washing up we would go into my bedroom and have sex again, much slower, more tender, longer lasting. And then we would usually fall asleep in each other’s arms for a while and he’d go home in the evening.
There was no question of us moving in together. We weren’t in love; I don’t think we ever mentioned the l-word in connection with each other. It was the sex we needed, the sex and human connection.
After a few months, I found another job, the one before the one I have now. I was glad – I was ecstatic – to leave the Bitch, even though it would entail a relocation. I even threw a little party for Dylan to celebrate, and it ended with us fucking all night.
“Don’t ever get into that kind of rut again,” he said as we lay twined together. “Sex is a human need, and going without it isn’t good for you.”
“I won’t,” I said. “But if I don’t have someone to sleep with in this new place, can I visit you time to time? I’ll give you plenty of warning, I promise, so you can get your current inamorata out of the way.”
He agreed readily, but it didn’t come to that. In my new place I had a woman co-worker who seduced me on literally my fifth day on the job, and I had no lack of sex again over the months that followed.
But that is another story, for another day. Assuming you want me to tell it.