“Beauty is only skin deep. But ugly cuts straight to the bone” That’s what my grandmother told me. I didn’t know what she meant until I was nine years old when I started to become aware of the curse, a gift she called it, but I know better. She was a kind, strong-willed woman, gave birth to and raised five children almost single handed. She’d seen war, hardship, cruelty and greed. Yet still she never lost her faith in what she saw as the fundamental goodness in every human being.
The “Gift” first showed itself to me when I was playing in her garden with the kids from next door one warm summer afternoon. Billy had just taken his ball from me and stormed off with it after a tackle that had seen him fall to the ground and graze his knee. The look he gave me turned my blood to ice water. He was not a bad kid, but like all kids prone to throw a tantrum from time to time. What I saw in his face and more importantly just under his skin fixed me to the spot.
She came out of the house wearing an unfamiliar look, an expression of grave concern. She rarely let her countenance slip from a mask of vague optimism, her reaction worried me more than the darkness I had seen in Billy. She was an anchor to me, always welcoming, always cheerful. Now her concern was evident and perturbing, I started to cry.
She tried to explain what I had seen in terms that a nine year old could understand. She told me how my father, her son, probably had the gift, but had always denied it and had managed to suppress it. She encouraged me to embrace and develop it. “It’s helped me get through some bad times over the years, it’ll help you …”
So I developed it, with her help. Now years after she died and left me alone with my secret curse I live in your world, but outside it. Or perhaps I am immersed deeper in your world than any of you will ever be.
It was eight in the evening, 7 March 2006 and I stood in the centre of London waiting for her to arrive. I was surrounded by the greys amongst you, the seething mass of ordinaries. I love to watch the greys, looking for a glimmer of colourful emotion just under their skins. But for the most part they stay grey, fooling themselves that their lives give them happiness.
To see real colour you need to see them off their guard, or at their extremes. The joy and the sorrow, the ecstasy and the pain, that’s when I enjoy you normals the most. Yes, I’m addicted to you and yes I revile your ordinariness, your blindness to your own abilities and frailties.
Is that wrong? There is no right and wrong, and if you could see what I’ve seen you’d agree. My opinion is formed as one who is alone and to the best of my knowledge unique, so maybe my outlook is a little unbalanced. We’ll see.
She arrived few minutes late. I’m one for punctuality but the tube was busy because of emergency maintenance shutting down a line so I wouldn’t hold it against her. It’s funny seeing someone out of work, out of their office uniform is in some way deliciously naughty to me. Without their familiar attire anything they wear, from a bikini to an overcoat, woolly hat and scarf is exciting in a peculiar way. I suppose it’s like being able to look inside their wardrobe, even if it’s with their permission it gives me pleasure.
“Hi, Tim. Sorry I’m late … “, she apologised.
“No problem I heard about the tube.”, I smiled a relaxed smile. I bent forward to peck her on the cheek, but she too turned her head and the kiss landed half on her lips. I pulled back, not wanting to offend her by being too forward, but saw the glow in her rise and realised a kiss on the lips would have been welcomed. Later perhaps.
Usually when I meet someone outside work for the first time I’m nervous, with Sally I was relaxed immediately. I gestured towards Trafalgar Square, my hand leaving a trail of golden, glittering stars in the air between us that only I could see. She walked beside me, past the National Portrait Gallery and into the square itself.
To me a crowded street is like walking through the gates of hell.
When I look at you I see you clearly, all of you, every part of you. I see the you that lurks under your skin, the real emotions, the real personality, the dark and the light, the whirling maelstrom of tones in between. I see them just under your epidermis, fighting for control of you. The black daemons and the glowing angels, you all have them.
And so do I. I’m nothing special, just different, apart. For me to look in the mirror each morning is to behold a waking nightmare, my daemons feed from yours and without my grandmother’s strength they may soon overwhelm me.
What we’d met to see was a piece of performance art come allegorical street performance. A juggler with communist pretensions, a liberal balancing a chair on her chin and a fascist breathing fire. As a spectacle rather interesting, but I was left unmoved and Sally seemed to feel the same.
It was cold and it seemed the most obvious thing in the world to stand behind her, looking over her head with my arms around her. This was our first date, but physical closeness seemed so natural. The warm orange-purple glow from inside her seemed to intensify as I hugged her back, she looked up at me occasionally and smiled, completely at home in my arms.
The performers were quite appealing though. The apparent fascist burned yellow inside with a selfless generosity that gave him away as hopeless philanthropist. There was something in his past, some hardship, his own or his parents, that drove him to hate anyone like the character he portrayed.
The communist was a pure grey, certain he was right in his beliefs and certain that the socialist revolution would never come to free his brothers and sisters.
But best of all was the liberal, teaming with murky yellow guilt and a the ghosts of a thousand regrets that swam under her skin, picked out in the flaring breaths of the goose stepping faux-fascist.
“Shall we go?” I asked after a few minutes.
“Let’s. I fancy a drink.”
“I don’t know any bars around here, any suggestions”
“My place.” Her tone was mater of fact. Her glow changing from the golden-purple to a deep reddish plum. The torrid swirling of a dozen passionate thoughts reached out from her like ethereal ribbons and ensnared me. “I want to talk, get under your skin, bars are too noisy for that.”
Funny I thought as I hailed a taxi, that’s exactly what I had in mind.
We sat cradling our respective glasses of red wine, we’d talked until eleven and now the words had run out. I looked at her sitting at the opposite end of the decadently comfortable sofa, not into her but at her appearance as you would perceive it. She was, is, about five-two generously curvy with a real womanly shape. She had emphasised this with a tight white t-shirt and ass-hugging jeans. Her skin was a delicate latte tone, betraying her African heritage a couple of generation back, hair black, eyes brown with flecks of green. The candlelight bathed her like a sirocco of photons, nothing was in a hurry now, not even quantum particles.
She placed her glass on the table behind her, crossed her arms and grabbed the hem of her t-shirt. She raised her hands, pulling the t-shirt above her head and dropping it over the back of the sofa. Her breasts were unfettered by a bra and invited my immediate attention. I slipped off my shirt and slid across to kiss her.
My lips met hers and received a full and luscious kiss. I could feel her hard dark-brown nipples against my chest, beckoning me. She reclined while I slid towards the waiting feast. She was deep red now with excited eddies of purple from her deepest sexual fantasies boiling beneath. I could feel a passion in her that for the first time in my life matched my own. Only my appetite for her soft welcoming bosom prevented me from attending to the growing discomfort in my cloth-caged groin.
I let my tongue circle and flick each succulent fruit of womanhood, winding from bottom to top, from the warm crease beneath each mound to the engorged biteable summit.
I leaned back, watching as Sally toyed with her breasts, cupping them and gently squeezing them together.
I divested myself of jeans and socks, now as nature intended I reached out and leaned toward Sally, cock moist with anticipation. She sat upright and pushed me backward until it was I who reclined on the soft couch. Her fingers wrapped around my pulsing phallus and pulled the foreskin back. She kissed the tip of my cock gently. No porn star moves to impress me, no cock worship for the benefit of a nonexistent audience like so many women I had come across. There was a combination of tenderness and passion as she took the head of my penis gently but firmly between her teeth that almost made me lose my control. She could feel the excitement in me.
Moments later her jeans and underwear were a memory and her wet labia were rubbing up and down my cock as it lay on my stomach. She rocked forward, beasts rubbing across my face, then down again entrapping my cock.
We became lost in each other’s expressions as she moved back and forth the sweet friction of my cock inside her amplified by our apparent empathy. We were both ready for the moment and when it came, only minutes later our first and only orgasms of the evening were as intense and blindingly sensuous as any that we had ever known. I saw a storm of angels inside her when she came that took my breath away and stopped my heart for a beat.
But that was nothing to what I saw the following day.
Image : Alessandro Marzio (www.soulpix.com)