Fiction
The Perfect Sin
Plucking the Cherry
Plucking the Cherry II
Verona
Art Feature
Desire
By Kathryn O’Halloran

Passion jolts from their bodies; it crackles and sparks and ricochets through the commuter crush. Others turn from them, but I'm jammed in close. I divert my gaze to the landscape outside, the warehouse husks and shipping containers engulfed by purple flowers, the graffiti and the littered banks. I focus, I try to focus, but the image of the two strangers is inescapable as it reflects back to me in the glass. Inside me, a week’s worth of frustration builds up. The pressure pushes against me. I cross my legs and squeeze them tight. This morning I told Evan I want ‘him’ out. If he's there when I get home tonight, I’ll be leaving. It’s up to Evan to decide – his Uncle Jules or me.

***

The night Uncle Jules arrived; Evan and I were in the middle of a game. I knelt on the floor; Evan hovered above me. He rocked back and forth, pulling away from me then inching closer. My tongue extended, trawling for a taste of him. He ran his fingers through my hair, tight enough to hold me back, firm enough to anchor me. With my hands tied behind my back, I'd otherwise be likely to topple face down in my frenzied gulping for him. Evan nudged me back onto my heels and, when I became good and quiet, he brushed the tip of his cock toward me. As it quivered against my lips, I strained to touch him. My tongue lapped around him like waves, drawing him to me.

He pressed his cock between my lips. I wrapped my mouth around it, gripping it tight, mooring it inside me.

It was then we heard the knock at the door. I lost concentration and Evan broke away. He pulled on his pants despite my pleas. No one good ever knocks at your door after 10 o’clock at night.

Evan went to the door.

A mass of dreadlocks and tie-dye stood on the doorstep. I willed Evan to donate a few bucks to save the whales or feed the poor, or whatever, so we could get back to our game.

“Uncle Jules?” said Evan.

Uncle Jules?

“Um, come in.” And in he came with his battered backpack, his bongo drums and his impermeable smell of sandalwood. He smirked at me as I wiggled free of the ropes.

While Evan cooked him up a feed, I headed back to the bedroom, hoping Evan would follow close behind. Uncle Jules lectured on the evils of sweatshops as I closed the kitchen door. I waited two hours for Evan.

***

Heat envelopes me. I sense a drop of sweat developing on the back of my thighs. It trickles down my leg, but I keep staring out the window. Only three stations to go: South Yarra, Prahran, Windsor, and then home. The boy opposite lifts his girlfriend’s indigo hair and nips at her neck. Their legs entangle. It reminds me that everyone else in the world is fucking, except for me. Every person on this train – him and him and her, even the woman huddled in the back corner who looks like she gave up smoking ten years ago and misses it every single day – all of them are going home to screw. At least the others have the decency to conceal it though.

***

When I got up the next morning, Uncle Jules was showered and sprawled at the breakfast table. He had a bandanna wrapped around his head and a sarong around his waist. I doubt he wore anything beneath it. Long grey hairs wisped against his leathery chest, and he beat out a mono-rhythm on his drum. He looked at me with a knowing smile.

Although recently showered, the smell of sandalwood clung to him, not fresh and newly applied but ingrained into his skin. His presence squashed me into a corner. I took tiny nibbles of my toast and drew patterns in the crumbs on the table.

“Awful quiet this morning, aren’t you, Lizzie?”

Lizzie.

The way he said my name made me wince. I collected the toast crumbs on my fingertips, not wanting to look up but could feel him. Staring. I wrapped my robe tighter around myself. I thought maybe I was being paranoid but, as I stood up to put my coffee mug in the sink, he made a noise part way between a sigh and a plaintive cat’s meow. A perfect imitation; he'd been listening to us fuck. Uncle Jules chuckled as I left the room.

***

The rocking of the train reverberates between my legs. Its regular pounding mocks me, teases me without release. I concentrate on the station names. Prahran, Windsor, home. I want to get home. I want to get home and find him gone.

The girl circles her boyfriend’s neck and they lock lip piercings. As he traces spider-fingers along the lace top of her stockings, I wonder that the whole damn train can’t hear the pounding of my cunt. Ba-boom, ba-boom, ba-boom.

***

That night, his laughing face spooks me. We try to be quiet and it almost works until the waft of sandalwood hits me. That night I push Evan away for the first time.

***

I try to compress myself into the corner and think of grocery shopping and laundry and the movie of the week. Only one station left: Windsor, then home.

I can’t stand it any longer. I can’t even work. Today I just wanted to straddle the chair arm and start rutting against it. I wanted to run into the broom closet and ram a handle inside me or lean over the desk of our 42-year-old cardigan-wearing accountant and scream for him to rip off my knickers and pork me stupid; anything to soothe this nagging cunt ache.

When I told Evan that I wanted to go to a hotel, a cheap, sleazy hotel by the highway where we can fuck noisily, he said we couldn’t even afford a flea pit. But he’s been buying organic vegetables for his uncle who can’t eat anything drenched in hormones or pesticide or white-man land rape. He said to wait. If I am fucked furiously every day for the rest of my life, it still won’t compensate me for the fucking I am missing.

When I think the desire has become too much: when I get to the point of blatant disregard for convention or place, the voyeurism of used-up hippies, when I am determined to walk in the door and take Evan, mounting him with hell-bent fury and grinding my lust into tiny particles - when I get to that point - I walk in the door, and the smell of sandalwood overwhelms me. My desire retreats like the outgoing tide, and I'm left stranded. The train gets steamy hot. Sweat condenses on my under-thigh. It beads and trickles. As the train kicks back to a stop, her leg, her Goth-girl skull-and-crossbone stocking encased leg, knocks against me. It's hard and bony, with no remorse. She's caught up in the moment, oblivious to the outer circle of her lust. The boy’s hand moves up, lifting her skirt, exposing the bare skin above her stocking top.

Ba-boom, ba-boom, ba-boom.

My hand plays with the strap of my bag. Fidgeting. Frustrated. Her hand plays with his leg, running swirls that move ever closer to his crotch.

Evan has to ask him to leave. I know that. It would be easy for me to throw him out - backpack, bongo drum, whale music, clove cigarettes and fucking sandalwood oil – splattered almost the bins in the bluestone back alley. I'd rub my hands together for a job well done and slam the door with glee, but Evan thinks that blood is thicker than water. I think Evan is just thick. Too thick to get rid of his putrid, freeloading uncle who makes my cunt dry up and my clitoris shrivel, who makes my lust distort and warp and reappear, Godzilla-like, at inappropriate times and places. Evan is definitely thicker than water. I get ready to leave the train. Goth girl has gone limp; her boyfriend’s hand disappears under the hem of her skirt. I try not to look, but I am aware of every subtle thrust. I strain not to touch myself; I want to move my hand in time with his, picking up his rhythm. Her face is expressionless; only the fluttering of her half-closed eyes betray her. The smell of arousal fills the carriage. I don’t know whether it is mine or hers or a mingling of the two. As I stand to leave the train, she emits a scream that echoes the squeal of train brakes - she isn’t afraid who hears her – then she scrambles to gather her bags. As I walk toward the door, I glance back and see her suck her boyfriend’s fingers in a gesture of farewell.

***

I am molten, a mix of sweat and juices, sun-melted and lust-melted. All except my heart, which pounds inside my chest cavity like a kiddie’s space-hopper. Every step along the alley takes me closer to home and I wonder if I'll have the strength to pick up my things and leave. I tell myself that he will still be there but my heart is a fool. My heart feels hope and unfounded expectations.

When I turn the corner, a cool breeze blows off the bay. The weather is turning and by night, we'll have a storm.

I turn my key in the apartment lock, muttering a prayer. I enter and all I sense is an absence. Evan has opened all the windows, and the wind blows heavy through the curtains. It blows away the heat and frustration and the lingering traces of sandalwood. I run into Evan’s arms.

© 2007 Kathryn O’Halloran

Kathryn O'Halloran was once told to write what she knows; despite that, she now writes erotica. She finds the research gruelling but she goes at it with guts and determination. She has had short stories published in both online and print journals and is currently working on her first novel. More information at kathrynohalloran.blogspot.com