“Eve’s Freedom” shows how love, even when it is unrequited, can give you freedom.
“Wanker. Jerk-off. Tosser.”
With each word, Zach points aggressively at one of the people in the circle around him. Even I, who have seen this performance many times before, would flinch if that finger were pointed at me.
“These are all terms of abuse. Terms for abusers.”
Zach’s rich, deep voice loads the word “abusers” with such a burden of shame and guilt that some of those in the circle will not meet his eyes. One of the older women, the kind of woman I know Zach prefers, blushes until her pale skin almost matches her auburn hair.
“And yet, we all do it. Every one of us masturbates.”
Zach’s hands are open now; his arms are outstretched as he turns slowly to include the whole circle in that “we”. And surely if he, Zach, a man so beautiful, a man with such an electric sexual presence, a man that we all secretly want to be touched by, masturbates, then it must be OK. Mustn’t it?
“So why is something that we all do…” he paces the circle, trailing the question with him.
“That we all enjoy…” People are starting to smile.
He pauses, as I knew he would, in front of the auburn-haired-blusher; squats with graceful ease, looks into her face and says. “Something that some of us enjoy a great deal…”
She blushes again, but she is smiling now and making eye contact with Zach and we can see she would like a great deal more contact than that.
There is a moment of tension when we all wonder if he will touch her, when we all want him to touch her, when it seems that touching her is the only natural thing to do, and then, with a smile that is almost a caress, Zach stands and resumes pacing.
Zach’s motion, his interaction, his potential have charged the air with sex. Into this atmosphere he launches his loaded question:
“So why does this activity, this little bit of finger fun, get so much abuse?”
Some people are smiling at the word play, but no one laughs. Zach’s body language makes it clear that this is not a time for laughter.
“I will give you the answer in one word: FEAR.”
Zach cuts across the circle in diagonals, keeping the momentum, underlining his point, reeling us in for the argument that will make us special.
“History teaches us that society uses terms of abuse to suppress that which it fears. And what it fears most are those truths that set us free.
“I am a wanker.” Zach says, pointing at himself.
“You are a wanker.” The young man Zach points at winces, as if Zach had jabbed him with a stick.
“And you are a wanker.” Zach points quickly at a woman on the other side of the group.
“And you are a wanker.” This time Zach twists around as he makes the statement, and points at the first person he sees.
Zach smiles and spreads his arms. “We are all wankers. And we should be proud and yes, even grateful, that we are wankers. Wanking will set us free. And that freedom, that willingness to take our pleasure into our own hands, that refusal to be ground down by guilt and shame and the expectations of others. That freedom is what makes us frightening.”
The group stumbles over the turbulence created by this idea. A gaunt grey-haired man, the oldest in the circle, lets out an involuntary snort of surprise which he stifles when he feels Zach’s gaze upon him.
“I can see that not all of you believe me.” Zach says, walking slowly towards the man. “But in your hearts…” His voice drops and he seems to be speaking only to the man in front of him “In your heart, I know that you want to believe me.”
The room is completely silent. The mood of the group balances on a knife-edge between ridicule and acceptance. How the man reacts to Zach will colour everything that follows.
“It is your desire to believe, your need to be free, your dissatisfaction with a life filled with half-truths, that has brought you here.”
As Zach says this he touches the man on the wrist. It is not a sexual act but it is an emotional one: a blessing, a gesture of acceptance, maybe even of forgiveness. The old man nods his head, the knife blade twists and we all tumble towards belief.
Zach moves back to the centre of the circle, ready to catch us as we fall. Everyone is looking at him. He looks at me. I wait until the first heads start to turn, then I walk towards him.
I look only at Zach, but I can feel the eyes of the group upon me, appraising me. I am not beautiful, like Zach. I am an ordinary looking white woman in my mid-thirties, with a plain face that is not ugly but is not memorable, and an average body that has started to thicken at the waist and thighs. My one glory is my hair, which is long and raven-black and falls freely to my arse.
And yet, ordinary as I am, I am at the centre of Zach’s attention. They all want to know why.
When I am directly in front of Zach, he kisses me gently on the forehead, places his hands on my shoulders and turns me so that my back is to him. He means the kiss to be affectionate but not sexual. He has kissed me this way many times before. It is the only way he has ever kissed me.
But intent does not determine outcome. I do not experience Zach’s kisses as a slightly more intimate form of shaking hands. When his lips touch me, my whole body responds: my nipples harden, my loins twitch, my mouth smiles, my fingers flex. I want to push my nipples into his mouth. I want to wrap my legs around his hips and grind myself against him. I want the hard heat of him to split me and fill me. I want to be skewered by the urgency of his desire. Each time he kisses me, these needs surge to the surface of my mind like a blush. I could not do what I am about to do, were it not for his kiss.
“A great man once said ‘love your neighbour as yourself’.” Zach says, “I say to you ‘first learn to love yourself’.”
I am wearing a simple cotton dress with a floral print. My face has no make up. My hair is loose. My feet are naked. Underneath the dress I am wearing simple white cotton panties. My breasts are small and still firm. I have no need of a bra. I am being presented as the springtime self of everywoman.
“That love of yourself, once found, can be shared and multiplied. That love of self is the love that makes us strong enough to love others. It is the absence of that love that keeps us weak and afraid and alone.”
The dress is held up by two thin straps that tie off in bows at my shoulders. Zach’s hands rest upon my shoulders, next to each bow. I savour the heat of his flesh on mine and resist the temptation to push back into him.
“Over the course of this weekend we will all masturbate. We will learn to love ourselves. We will set ourselves free so that we can love others.”
I let my gaze roam over the group in front of me, not looking at anyone, but sensitising myself to their mood. Zach’s words still have most their attention, but their curiosity sniffs at me, like a dog scenting something wild and enticing from the safety of his porch.
“We will masturbate alone and in groups, in public and in the deepest privacy.”
Zach takes his hands off my shoulders, my signal to begin. I am his word made flesh; the sizzle on his steak, the bait on his hook.
I close my eyes, cross my arms over my breasts, place each hand on the opposite shoulder and gently push down the shoulder straps of my dress. I slide my hands down my arms, letting the dress fall to the floor, leaving my breasts visible above my folded arms. I let myself imagine a butterfly, delicate and beautiful, released from its chrysalis, spreading its wings in the warmth of the morning sun. For the next few minutes I will be that delicate beauty.
“Each time you masturbate…”
I focus on the soft seductive sound of Zach’s voice, so close to me, so concentrated on me, and let one hand travel up to my breast, the other down along my belly.
“…I want you to do what Eve here is doing. To surface your desire. To accept it. To let it inform your understanding of who you are and what you want.”
I cup my breast, pushing up gently from below, avoiding the nipple, concentrating on the round warm weight of the flesh. I know what I want. I want Zach’s arms around me. I want my hands to be his hands. I want to be his.
“When Eve first came to us, she was shy and confused and unhappy. Desire fought with guilt and was sabotaged by low-self esteem…”
I let myself remember the first time that I saw Zach. I was in the psych ward, being evaluated after my failed attempt at suicide. I took one quick look at Zach when he entered my room and then looked away, hiding my face behind my hair. He was the most beautiful man I had ever seen.
I was ashamed to be near him.
He had my file in his hand. He’d know what a failure I was. The men I’d wanted and couldn’t respond to (frigid bitch). The men I hadn’t wanted, who’d taken me anyway (cock-teasing cunt). The self-hate that I soaked in everyday until all I wanted was for everything to stop. He would know all that. I could not bear to look into the eyes of this beautiful man who knew these things about me.
Zach had squatted in front of me, pushed my hair back from my face, and left his hand resting against my cheek until I raised my gaze and looked at him.
“Eve,” he’d said, “Let me teach you how beautiful you are.”
I fell in love with him then. I’m in love with him still.
“Now,” Zach says, his voice coming from beside me, “Eve has learnt to love herself. She has learnt to be free.”
I am free. Free to serve Zach in anyway I can. Free to be part of the life of this beautiful man. Free to love him even though he will never love me.
“Come closer,” Zach says to the circle around us. “See what freedom looks like.”
As Zach has taught me, I block off everything that is not to do with my deepest desire.
In my mind I am alone with Zach. We are in a circle of light in front of a mirror. My breast is cupped in one of his large hands. The tips of the fingers of his other hand push down beneath my panties and draw small circles of pleasure on my smooth mound. My hands are behind me, holding the tight hardness of his buttocks, pressing him forward until the heat of his erection is in the small of my back.
We are looking into each others eyes in the mirror. His mouth is on my neck, sucking, biting, setting the beat of his need for me. He closes his hand around my breast, rubbing his thumb back and forth across the nipple. I rise onto tip toe and press my back into his chest. He slides one finger into me, slipping it in easily and insistently, levering me up into him, pressing the ball of his palm into my mound and the letting his long, slick finger curl up against those tiny ridges that bring me so much pleasure.
I can see the delight in his eyes. He can see the heat in mine. Then I close my eyes. He understands the signal that I’ve given him and bites hard on my neck. Joy, happiness, love, flow through me until I am so filled with them that I glow.
I open my eyes and see the people gathered in front of me, the people who have just watch me bring myself slowly, silently but joyfully to climax. For a second I wonder where the mirror went. Then Zach is wrapping a kimono around me and I am, for a few seconds, in the only place I ever want to be, inside the strong circle of his arms.
From within this strength, I look at the crowd again. In most I see arousal, but in some faces I see more than that. I see hope. And relief at the presence of hope.
Zach whispers, “Thank you, Eve” in my ear and I am filled with pride.
“So, my fellow masturbators,” Zach says, in a louder, more commanding voice, “are you ready to find out who you really are? Are you ready to set yourselves free?”
The people look as if they are waking from a dream. I gave them that dream. Now Zach can lead them to where they want to go.
The kimono Zach gave me has his smell on it. As he leads the group out of the lecture hall and towards their private booths, I wrap the silk more tightly around me, wanting to keep the connection to him for as long as I can.
© Mike Kimera 2005 All rights reserved. Do not reproduce without written permission from firstname.lastname@example.org
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