Whispers into the Past
© 2020 Ellyn Mayfair
Published by Liminal Realities
All Rights Reserved
On a chilly autumn night, Lorece wondered why so many of her best bittersweet memories came into sharp relief in the dark, still, late hours when the world was quiet. She didn’t know, but she liked asking the unanswerable questions anyway.
Tonight she had discovered old school yearbooks were now online. Finding her own sophomore and senior editions, Lorece began hunting for herself and her teenage friends, some of whose names rang a bell, but whose faces had faded into oblivion. But she was startled by one photo in particular that catapulted her back to the days when her life had few bright spots.
It was Dillon Cooke’s smile and the sparkle in his eyes – both still burning into her heart all these years -- that took her breath away. His movie-star grin and laughing eyes looked like he was delighted to be keeping a secret. And that reminded her how being mesmerized by his tactile attentions was one of the secrets she had kept.
Oh my god, she said aloud, as memories of Dillon flooded her mind, and enlivened her body. She remembered how those eyes penetrated her soul back then. There had always been a kind of magic in how his facial expressions were both compelling and dazzling, so authentically earnest, commanding, and tender at the same time. I could never say no to him, she remembered. Then setting the laptop aside, she closed her eyes and allowed herself to float back in time 54 years.
Old sensations of excitement in her chest and arousal in her groin began to reassert themselves. She easily recalled memories of darkened, hidden corners of their school, where Dillon’s hands roamed her body freely. Unconsciously, her pelvis thrust forward, still feeling his warm lips on her breasts and hot vibrations of his hands exploring the limits of his permission between her legs. Sex ed hadn’t taught how direct, probing stimulation would feel. Lorece remembered how it had confused her to learn that her body had a will of its own that her mind had been taught should be resisted.
But resistance was futile. Nothing Dillon did with her matched what she had been told sexual contact would be like – mechanical if not selfish, predatory if not abusive. On the contrary, the way he looked at her while his thumbs caressed her stiffening nipples, just before his eyes would close to kiss her neck, looked like he was awestruck, as if encountering a marvelous treasure. She hadn’t realized it at the time, but now it amused her to recognize that he had touched her like it was a rare privilege to do so, as if she might evaporate under his grasp at any second.
Her mind couldn’t reconcile the contradiction between being told boys will take advantage of girls and ruin them -- whatever that meant -- with how reverential his touch felt on her skin. His energy had been gently assertive, his hands carefully unhesitant. She had loved those hands. More than any words that could have been said, it was his touch that made her feel really cared for. She craved that feeling.
For the first time in her life, and probably the last, if she really stopped to review other relationships, she had felt truly valued. Dillon made her feel whole, and fully seen, even though, she regretted, they had never had the chance to be naked with each other. She felt understood in a unique way by him in those days. Tonight she sighed and wondered if that feeling would have remained had they been able to develop a lasting relationship.
Of course, he was “taking liberties” with her body, but she wanted him to do so. The fact that he seemed to want to physically possess her, if only momentarily, made her feel acceptable – something she rarely felt otherwise, living as she did in the uptight pre-liberation era. She smiled remembering how much she had wanted to be possessed by him. Years later when she heard the term “urge to merge” she connected it immediately with how she had felt about Dillion. She wanted to experience their bodies merged, because their souls already had. For Lorece, this was a certainty as real as law of physics.
When Dillon looked at her with such a lighthearted but protective affect covering a sincere and passionate depth, she trusted him and his intentions totally, whatever those would be. He made her feel a sense of belonging that she’d never felt from her family, as if they had been bonded forever and always would be. I would have given him anything, done anything for him, she whispered into the dark night. I still would, she admitted, if only life had not been so against us.
Looking at the photo again, tears coming now for all that had been lost. How stupid I was to not tell him completely how much I wanted him, Lorece thought. Maybe it wouldn’t have made any difference, her defensive mind said, unsolicited. But maybe it would have, she argued with herself. Back then I didn’t think it was “nice” to tell him how he excited me, how much I wanted his passion, how much I needed him to unleash mine. Maybe, when his hands and kisses were unlocking my own desire for him, if I had just been able to say it out loud, he wouldn’t have let me go.
But let her go he had. Circumstances conspired against them – college distance, the draft, unspoken feelings, her need to escape parental control by marrying someone else. At least, she thought, I have this photo, and all the dreams and fantasies to keep Dillon alive in that drawer in my heart marked old secrets. I still want you, she said softly into the past.