Monday, April 14, 2014

Painting Tacoma, Chapter Eleven: Christian Porn

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Shawn was convinced that Tacoma was a temptress, sent by a jealous Judeo-Christian god to win him back to the fold. She was a living catalog of sexual variations, and seemed determined to make him her testing ground.
            At each rendezvous, she pulled out a new set of lingerie: thongs, teddies, garter belts, bodysuits. One night she entered fully clothed, complete with overcoat and scarf, switched on some AC/DC and conducted a lengthy striptease, so thorough and professional he began to wonder about a secret past.
            She bought him a porn video and gave him a complete oral treatment as he watched it. They discovered that whipped cream is splendid but chocolate syrup too sticky. They loved doing it on the living-room floor when her housemate was gone. Shawn loved it when she left on at least one article of clothing. She instructed him to grope her breasts under cover of large crowds, and he spoke of his affection for sex in the woods.
            He enjoyed pleasuring her with a dildo, before or after. It took the pressure off, and he liked being able to sit back and watch her. He found that her orgasms were quiet and many, liable to strike at any time. She discovered that she could completely paralyze him with a tongue in the ear. He bought massage oil that heated up at the touch of skin, and spent an evening applying it at random spots along her body.
            After years of focusing his lust on the female ass, he became a breast man. Given Tacoma’s attributes, he didn’t have much choice. He found himself thinking about them as he painted, had to be careful about standing up. He was surprised to find that Tacoma felt the same way about his butt. Friends had always ribbed him about his round cheeks – a little too shapely for a white man – and it was exactly this that she liked. Standing in the corner of Mocha Mountain one night, they both realized that she was fondling him rather overtly. She apologized; he said he didn’t mind.
            This was a Christian girl. Not like any he had ever met. Certainly not like Wendy Fisher. Wendy still had her effects on him. Sometimes he would blanche at his own aggressions, too accustomed to the swatting hand and the brimstone scold. He thought of asking Tacoma about the apparent conflict between her religion and her sexuality, but he was afraid to stretch his luck.
            One afternoon, they were doing it doggie-style, and had managed to position themselves in front of Tacoma’s full-length mirror. Shawn was fascinated by how All-American they looked, despite the bestiality of the position . Tacoma met his eyes through their reflection and smiled.
            The outside world intervened soon enough. Tacoma was assigned to East Coast sales, and had to be at the office by six. After a week of nightly lovemaking, she was exhausted, so they decided to limit themselves to weekends and Wednesdays.
            Shawn was disappointed, but blessed with distractions. Ivy and the Swingin’ Richards (as they were finally christened) were conducting a serious cram for their gig at Shakabrah.
            On the eve of their self-imposed separation, Tacoma handed him a box gift-wrapped with the Sunday comics. Inside were a copy of C.S. Lewis’s The Witch and the Wardrobe and a laser-pointer.
            “Well, this is fun,” said Shawn, spinning red circles on the wall. “What’s it for?”
            “I was thinking,” said Tacoma, “that with our schedules, you’ll be going to rehearsals about the time I’m going to bed. And I can’t have you stopping in, because you’ll get my motor all revved up and – rrowr-rowr!”
            (The approximate sound of Mae West imitating a cat had become their euphemism for hanky-panky.)
            “So here’s what I want you to do. Pull up to the curb and shine this puppy through the bedroom window. I’ll come out and give you a winsome smile, and then you can be on your way. And I’ll feel much better.”
            He kissed her. “Anything else?”
            “Yes.” The gold in her eyes overtook the green. “I really love the cards you give me, but why do you sign them so simply?”
            “Do I?”
            “Yes. ‘All my love, Shawn.’ Save that for your grandmother, pal! I want worship. And I want you to include my name: ‘For my dearest Tacoma,’ blah blah blah. And date it, so I can keep track.”
            “I was just assuming actions speak louder...”
            “Words are actions. Wanna see my high school yearbook?”
            She handed him a thick volume with a russet cover: Mount Lebanon School for the Performing Arts.
            “You never mentioned this before.”
            “Look. There I am.”
            It was a cast photo for The Miracle Worker. Tacoma sped through the pages, pointing out talented students – a tapdancer here, a pianist there – then showed him the star, a girl who was now on a TV sitcom. He kept spotting autographs that said Jesus Saves and He is Lord.
            “So how did you go from this to a degree in Russian?”
            “Lord knows. But in my screwy family it was considered a major disappointment. I guess acting just wasn’t... me.”
            It might have been their impending separation, but that was the first night their sex felt more like lovemaking. Afterward, he tried to recount the qualities that made it seem so: a loss of self-awareness, an elevated, surrounding warmth; a tugging of fibers far beneath his skin. Just at the height, when the margins faded and the loss of existence became almost uncomfortable, Tacoma began to speak in Russian.

Photo by MJV

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