Authors: Joey Comeau
The Girl who Couldn't Come
First ebook edition Spring 2011
Copyright © Joey Comeau, 2011
All rights reserved. No portion of this book may be reproduced or transmitted without express written permission from the copyright holder, except for brief excerpts for review purposes.
This is a work of fiction. I think. Names, characters, and places are the product of the author’s imagination, or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, is probably cause for nudity.
Cover by Joey Comeau
Design by Emily Horne and Joey Comeau
Edited by Derek McCormack
Drawing by Kate Beaton
This book is dedicated to fourteen year old joey.
the girl who couldn’t come
My problem is that I can’t come unless Johnny Cash is playing. I can’t orgasm without the sound of his voice in my ears. When I do hear him, I can’t control myself. I’m afraid to drink in country bars because when they play a Johnny Cash song, I end up in the ladies’ room with a stranger, straining to hear the music from the dance floor.
He doesn’t even have to be singing. I heard him give an interview on the radio once, when I was eighteen. It caught me off-guard. His voice was just as powerful when he spoke.
“I wasn’t all that high scholastically, because I was writing a lot of poems and stories and songs at the time,” he said. Lying on my stomach in the living room, I found myself sliding back and forth against the carpet, my hand underneath me. “And I should have been studying more. But school was really important for me. And I was so disappointed in myself that I didn’t make really good grades in math. In all the other subjects I did very well.” The sound of him answering questions was as good as the albums I kept hidden under my bed. It possessed me, it wet me. I knew it was wrong, but I couldn’t help it. His voice was rough sex. “But school was really important to me. My parents — my mother and father — I think they had an eighth grade education, which was adequate for what they did with their lives then. But they wanted me — and they drilled in me — I had to graduate from high school.”
My mother came into the living room right when he was done talking, right at the beginning of a song. I didn’t see her as the music swelled and I rubbed myself and came, my eyes closed and bunches of my pants clutched in my fingers. She stood for a minute as I rocked in time to the music, and she said “I don’t know how you can listen this shit, honey. It’s so rural.”
It would be perfect if I could listen to Johnny Cash while I made love, but David doesn’t seem to like it. He turns the CD player off before he comes to bed. And what can I say? Should I curl my fingers in his chest hair, press myself against him and whisper, “Please?” How do I tell him, “David, I can’t come,” without it being a big deal? Without him knowing that I’ve faked it. Without him being jealous. It isn’t like I’m cheating on him.
Johnny Cash is dead.
And David is very much alive. He’s been at the library all day, and he smells like old newspapers at dinner. While we eat he talks and talks about Neal Ball, who in 1909 turned the first unassisted triple play. I nod and I plan what I’m going to say, word for word. I have to tell him. But admitting sexual hangups to a man is never as funny in real life as it is in your head. In my head I say “Hey David, remember all those times I came when we weren’t listening to Johnny Cash? Do you remember all those orgasms?” A pause for effect, and then, “About that.” And what a great story that would make. Even if he left me, which I’m certain he will. It’s a preemptive strike. Sure, I’m a pervert, but you can’t even make a girl come.
Of course, it doesn’t work out like that at all. I can plan and plan, but when we’re sitting side by side on the edge of my bed, our clothes pulled open, all that comes out is mumbled nonsense. He has his cold hand up my front, tracing the wire of my bra. David. Indie rock boy with the tight shirts and baseball card collection. David, who talks about sex using sports metaphors that are romantic instead of shallow, that turn sex into a game of heroes and legends.
David, who has never said, “This was so good, did you come, I came, did you really come?” Who has never said, “That was the best I’ve ever had.” Who remembers sex as a series of plays, fouls, surprise victories and catches, describes them with veneration, his dark eyes intense, sincere. I can’t bring myself to be cruel to him, even if I am scared, even if that’s the smart thing to do. So it just spills out.
“It isn’t you, it’s me, I just can’t, without, I mean, I love you, I love your body, and being with you is wonderful, and I don’t even think he’s sexy, you know, he’s just got this voice that, it fills me up and I, it really isn’t you, ever since I was a little kid I’ve been obsessed, you know? And it’s the same with other men, it isn’t just you.” And as his brow furrows and he pulls his hand out from beneath my shirt, I say “I can’t come unless we’re listening to Johnny Cash.” Then David is standing, pulling his pants up, fastening the button. He turns away, and it feels like my stomach is sucking in air.
But then he’s putting on some music, smiling.
“Well,” he says as the first trumpeting notes of the song fill the room. I want to say something but instead I close my eyes to the music, and he sits on the bed behind me. His legs wrap around me and he’s lifting my shirt. “Love,” he whispers in my ear, his voice soft as Johnny Cash fills the room, “is a burning thing.” And it’s working. It isn’t Johnny Cash I’m hearing, but David. It’s David’s hands on my body. “And it makes.” It’s David fumbling at my skirt, pulling it down. I’m turning to his neck, his shoulders. Pulling his shirt off while he sings along, his voice a little louder now, “A fiery ring.” He’s watching me. “Bound,” he says, “by wild desire.” I’ve got his pants, pulling them down to his calves. He’s got his lips against my ear, his breath hot. “I fell in,” he says, “to a ring of fire.”
one two three four five six seven eight
A woman picks him up. She pulls her car over onto the shoulder and looks at him out the passenger window for a minute before she lets him inside. She does let him inside, though, so he figures he doesn’t look like a killer. He tries not to let it bother him.
While they drive, he counts telephone poles. While he counts, he adds secondary counts. Like, one two three four (one transformer) five six seven eight nine ten eleven (two transformer) twelve. Part of the game in his head is to see how many simultaneous counts he can keep going. Part of the game is acting like he’s just staring out the window, thinking. Acting like a normal person.
He thinks about the family road trips he took when he was little. His father would try and get him interested in all sorts of games other than counting, but children can be stubborn. There was only one game he liked. Count all the cows on your side of the car. Count the trucks we pass. Count the telephone poles. It doesn’t seem like a road trip without counting telephone poles.
The woman driving has blonde hair held up with bobby pins, and she lets it down after they have been driving for a while. It reaches down to her shoulders. It has a light of its own. She undoes the top two buttons on her blouse, casually.
“What’re your plans in the big city, sweetie?” she asks, reaching her hand out to touch his arm. Her fingers are cool on his skin. He keeps counting. He is going to see his girlfriend. He thinks about the hill to her house while he counts. He thinks about the last time they had sex.
“Not much of a talker, huh?” she says. “That’s okay. Just having the company on these long drives is nice.” She smiles at him, and he counts telephone poles.
The next drive is better. An old man and his dog. No talking. Everyone’s hair stays up. The drive is long and quiet, and he has time to think. The last time they were together, she told him, “Maybe this time we could focus on me a little more?” He didn’t know what she meant. He shouldn’t have gotten upset. He starts to get upset now, thinking about it, but that does no good. He tells himself, that does no good. Think about the solution.
It takes three more rides to get him to her.
It’s not a big hill, but today is hot. It’s been hot for the whole trip. Standing in the blistering heat on the side of the road, across from her house, all he thinks about is that one moment when she will open her mouth against his kiss and his hand will pull her tight. In the heat it is impossible for him to think of anything else. He touches the toe of his left shoe to the back of his right foot.
When she opens the door, she’s surprised. She’s wearing a tight button-up shirt. But he’s focused on her eyes. He steps forward, puts his hand behind her head, and his fingers slide through the soft hair there. He kisses her mouth. He closes the door behind himself.
“How?” she says, but he kisses her again. Later he will lie. He’ll say they let him out. Right now he holds both her arms right at the elbow and he squeezes. This is what he has been thinking about over and over. He wants to pull her toward him so hard that she breaks his skin with her whole body, so that they both break open and he’s inside of her and she is inside of him. He kisses her neck, pressing hard with his tongue, moving up to her jaw line, beneath her ear. He touches his tongue to her earlobe.
She’s wet with sweat already, from the hot day. She tastes like salt. They fall against the wall and his hands are at the top button of her shirt, trying to turn the button sideways, to slide it carefully through the hole. It is taking forever. She yanks at his hands, fumbling and then just tearing.
“I can sew,” she says. She kisses him back now, pressing against him hard. She has her hands around his back. She pulls his t-shirt up and off. She kisses his nipple. Bites. He turns her around so that she’s pressed against the wall, her shirt open and her bra and breasts against the wall. Her face is against the wall, mouth pressed open against white surface. He moves his hand down to her ass.
His fingers slide through sweat. They follow the line of her ass down, down and through her legs. His fingers pull and push at the zipper line of her pants, at the seam just on top of her cunt. The zipper is perfect under his fingertips. Interlocked. It feels so organized. So exact. He tries to touch each tooth of the zipper. One two three four, but she pushes back against him. He can’t get distracted. Focus on her a little more.
He kneads her through the material and presses her into the wall harder and she pushes back against him. Her own hands undo the front of her pants. The zipper unzips. She pushes the pants down off her hips.
She’s hot and wet and so his fingers slide over her easily, moving across wet skin and then back again. All of a sudden there is no pattern for him to hold onto. His hand is moving up and down and around in circles, but there is no structure for him. He closes his eyes. He starts to panic. He starts to count. He counts one for every time he moves his fingers. One two three four five six seven eight. His fingers are sliding through and around and against her soft skin. The counting gives his movements structure. It calms him down. Four circles and then four up and downs.
Her face is turned around now, her mouth open, searching over her shoulder for his, and he leans forward to kiss her, his erection pressing into her ass through the front of his jeans, pressing her against the wall. His kiss is off the mark just slightly. He closes his teeth to make sure that he isn’t counting out loud. In his head he is going, one two three four five six seven eight, one two three four five six seven eight, one two three four five six seven eight.
He presses one finger inside of her cunt and she starts to finger herself with him inside her. He slides it in slowly, and then pulls it out, one and then two, trailing the moisture along her skin, and then he moves the finger back to press into her again. He moves the finger in and out of her. One and then two.
“Two fingers,” she says. So he slides two fingers inside, pressing against the walls of her. Then he slides them out. He grinds his cock into her ass in time with his fingers sliding into her cunt. He is counting slower now.
They are standing against the wall, but they are not quite close enough for him to touch the light switch. He bites her lip, first softly, and then harder. He pulls her with his teeth to the left. They lean. He reaches out and turns the light on. You can hardly notice the light in the room because of the sunlight from the window. He turns the light off again. His other hand is wet and he pushes two fingers inside her again. He realizes that he is counting out loud in her ear, “One two three four five six seven eight.” She looks over to see him flicking the lights on and off in time with his count.
The surprise. The heat. The fingers inside her, moving with a mind of their own while she fingers herself, pressed against the wall. The cock pressing against her ass and his warm counting on her neck.
She comes. She comes, mouth open against the wall, eyes closed. In her head she is echoing him.
He wants to pull his own pants down and slide into her. She feels more open around his fingers, more relaxed. He wants to slide into place. He wants to turn her around so she’s facing him, so her breasts are wet with sweat between them and so he can come inside her while he touches his finger to the left nipple first and then the right nipple. The left and then the right. But he waits for her. Her eyes are still closed and he waits for her to catch her breath.