When I left the Man-Boy in the Toulouse
airport never to see him again, it was as if
billions of tiny hands were ripping apart
not only my heartbeat, but each and every
organ of my body, including the skin
envelope that was stopping it
from splitting apart.
I could not stop weeping.
Triggering type of weeping.
The weeping where your face becomes
a volcanic eruption and you shake
and the cavern of deep suffering
that you manage to keep sealed
is pierced and then flies apart
letting all of the sorrow seethe
through your single true being.
The Man-Boy was shoeless and he was
holding his dog by a piece of old rope.
And he, too, could not stop weeping.
They had to hold the plane for me,
I just could not leave.
In some manner I made it to my seat
with all of the passengers eyeing
me in embarrassed or annoyed ways.
And as the city of Toulouse became
a maze of color and then disappeared
behind the clouds, my heart
pattered, pattered, and then just
seemed to sigh and go cold.
At the end of the trip was my husband,
waiting to take me to my mother's
house where the preparations for
my step-father's memorial were
moving slowly forward.
The minute I saw my husband I knew
I could not stay with him. I knew
that, for both of us, I had to leave.
2 months later I was back in France.
I was at one of the village fetes
when I first saw the Man-Boy.
He was off to the side of the dance floor,
watching and most definitely apart from
the rest. His hair was black and thick
and dry and looked as if it had been
in a wind tunnel. He was my height,
(tall) and beautiful, but not in a way
that most people would find beautiful.
I was dancing, and then I wasn't.
I sat on a bench and thought about how
I had had crushes on two other people
since I had been married, and how
painful that had been for me, the person
who was so committed to fidelity in
body and mind. I could feel the pull
to the Man-Boy, and I battled it, talking
to myself and trying to stop looking
When he came over and sat besides
me I was still and cool. He began to
talk with me and I could see through
my bad french, and through his tender
still eyes, that this could be trouble.
I tried to get the upper hand by asking
him his age, knowing that he was younger
than I and that he thought I was younger
than I was. However, when he told me
he was 19... I just could not stop laughing
from the shock. And when I told him
I was 37, he could say nothing.
I was his mother's age.
In all of my vastly varied experiences,
nothing had prepared me for this situation.
My husband had gone back to the US
for a month. I was alone in the house and,
as some of you know, my husband and I
had as sex life that consisted of my biting
my lip and sleeping with him every 8 or 9
days. Also an unprecedented situation for me.
In almost all of my previous relationships I
was accustomed to sex at least once a day.
Despite experiencing sexual abuse at
a young age, and surviving a rape, I really
liked sex, and had moved to a healthy
place with it. I loved my husband, there
really was nothing not to love, but I had
never really wanted to have sex with him.
I had seen a therapist about this, thinking
that perhaps it was because I was finally
in a healthy relationship and was therefore
subconsciously allowing my pain over
my abuse to surface, cutting off the desire
for sex...but honestly, it just didn't feel
right...and, if I was frank, even the first
time we had kissed felt wrong. I always
felt that my husband was acting out the
idea of what things should be. That he
was so disconnected that he could not
be his real, true self, and that somehow,
that made my desire recoil.
The irony was that the sex with my
husband was actually quite good. He was
the Only person who could give me an
orgasm without any help on my part.
I just did not want him.
So there I was, in the middle of horrible
party music, sitting on a bench dangerously
close to another man. A Man-Boy.
Seeing this, a local man, who also happened
to be a cop, approached and started to talk
with us. I knew he was trying to intervene
in what he felt to be an inappropriate situation.
He stayed and he stayed.
The Man-Boy stayed.
It was now 3am. The night air was still warm,
but a chill was starting to reach its fingers into
my light jacket. I got up to walk to my house,
which was 200 feet away.
The Man-Boy got up.
The cop person got up.
It was clear the cop was intent on seeing me
home. I looked at the Man-Boy. He looked
straight back at me. And then I turned to
walk home with the cop yapping on beside me.
What I thought was a moral concern on the cop's
part, suddenly morphed into something else
as the cop did what no French person ever
does and asked if he could come into my house.
For a beer.
"I don't have any beers."
"Then how about tea?"
"I don't have any tea. And, anyway, it's 3am. I'm going to bed."
He actually started to insist.
And I pushed him out the door.
I waited 10 minutes.
I opened the door.
I looked down the street.
The Man-Boy was waiting besides the corner.
He started to walk toward me.
When he reached me I walked with him
behind the house to the garden.
We sat side by side in separate chairs
and looked at the shock of stars emptied
across the black, black cheek of the sky.
And then he touched my elbow.
Just my elbow.
And only by accident.
And I felt more desire for him,
for this 19 year old boy, in that
perfect and terrible moment,
than I could remember having
ever felt in my life.