Note: This is vaguely explicit.
The first thing I noticed was how spartan Mira’s room was. The walls were bare and the paint was peeling in the corners. A black sheet had been duct taped unceremoniously over the window.
I thought about making a joke. “I like what you’ve done with the place,” I could say. I didn’t.
“Close the door!” yelled Mira. She lay on her bed, kicking her legs towards the ceiling as she tugged her jeans off. Her shirt and bra were draped over some milk crates that were set up as an end table.
I went to the door. As I closed it, one of her roommates winked at me from the hallway. I tried to remember his name. Toby? Or was Toby the girl sleeping on the couch?
“A little help,” called Mira behind me. I turned around. In her struggle with them, she had turned her pants inside out and they dangled now from her feet like giant socks. Otherwise, she was quite naked.
I wanted to stare. She was beautiful, but it felt lecherous, voyeuristic to just stand there and stare at her. “Have you ever taken off your pants before?” I asked.
“Don’t make fun of me!” she said, waving her feet around in the air, desperately.
“You look like a little kid.” I sat down on the bed.
“Don’t make fun! I have a condition!” said Mira. She flopped her legs into my lap.
I untrapped one pant leg from her heel and tugged it off. “Are you from the city originally?” I asked.
“Not in the least.” She wiggled her toes at me in victory.
“I was born here,” I said. I freed her other foot and tossed her jeans onto the floor. “But I grew up in Michigan. That’s where my family’s all from, going back generations. Probably since they first came to the country.’
Mira ran her feet along my crotch and located my erection. I drew in my breath. “Hello there, stranger,” she said.
I blushed. I was reminded of the night I lost my virginity- how it felt like I was being tested. I ran my fingers along her calf and up, up her inner thigh. “So where are you from?” I asked.
“Ugh!” said Mira and she rolled her eyes as if the question were a bad joke. “No questions now.”
“I have a condition!” she said again. She pointed a lazy finger at me. “Your turn,” she said. “Strip.”
I untied my shoes. My lips were dry. I could feel my heart racing. “What’s the condition?”
Mira leaned over the edge of her bed and reached underneath. Her hair cascaded across the floor. “Orpheus Syndrome,” she said.
I set my shoes down and shucked my shirt. I wanted to ask what she meant. I didn’t.
“It means I can’t look back. It means I can’t talk about my past. Otherwise, I could turn into a pillar of salt.”
“I think you’re mixing up your stories there.”
“Maybe,” she said. She lifted a shoebox and ran a hand over it possessively. “It’s a curse. My family offended a gypsy woman.” She opened the box. It was laden with sex toys. She reached in and removed a condom. She set the condom on her milk crate table beside a small bottle of lube and a thin, pink vibrator.
I stood to remove my pants, but hesitated. “What did your family do?”
Mira fixed her gaze on me. She cocked her head to one side and raised her eyebrows. After a few seconds she spoke. “What do you want to know?”
I felt very exposed, interrogated. “I just don’t feel like I know you.”
She sat very straight upright and folded her hands daintily in her lap, hiding her sex. “What do you want to know?” she repeated in an even tone.
“Anything. Where are you from?”
She smiled without showing teeth. The smile seemed to hide her expression. I had no idea what she was thinking. “I’m from…” She paused and considered. “A tiny island in the Mediterranean… where I was raised by wolves.” She fluttered her eyelids.
“I’m always serious,” said Mira. “I don’t know if you know anything about wolves, but they are the only animal that can’t tell a lie.”
“There aren’t any wolves in the Mediterranean.”
Mira laughed and threw her head back. She squinted like she was reading words written on the ceiling. “They were flown in. It was a zoo.” She looked back at me with an expression that dared me to challenge her. “A secret zoo. My parents were biologists and they wanted to see what would happen if they threw me in a cage with man-eating wolves.”
I sat down on the bed. “Okay, if you don’t want to tell me, that’s fine.”
Her expression softened. “I like you. What do you need right now?”
I shrugged and didn’t say anything. I felt like there were things to be said.
Mira crawled across the bed and held out her hand to me. I set my own hand in it like I was apologizing. She brought my hand up to her mouth and kissed my fingers. It was gentle. She kissed each finger in turn and then dragged her lips lovingly across my knuckles. “Forget what brought me here. Right now I just want you.”
I leaned in and pressed my lips against hers. Our noses batted against each other. She kissed anxiously like I was about to run away from her. Her hands touched my sides and made me jump. They crawled across my back and kneaded my flesh.
As if letting out a great breath, I let Mira pull me on top of her. I tried to let myself go with the moment, but I couldn’t. I wanted to know her. I wanted to tell her my secrets. I wanted to explain how two months ago Lisa had told me things weren’t working out and how her things were gone from the apartment the next day. I felt like I was being dishonest with Mira. I felt like two months ago I’d been cheating on Mira with my girlfriend. I wanted to say these things, but Mira was nipping at the tendons in my neck, her chest was heaving against me and her pelvis was rocking rhythmically against my own, grinding me into her clitoris.
Mira brought her lips against the side of my face and took my earlobe between her teeth. “Would you go down on me?” she asked.
Silently, I raised myself up onto all fours and kissed her chin, kissed her neck, trailed kisses across her clavicle. When I reached her sternum, I noticed the mark. Thin, pale and maybe two inches long. A tiny depression in her skin. It surprised me. I looked up at Mira’s face, but her eyes were squeezed shut. She ran her fingers through my hair. “Kiss my scars,” she said in a way that made it sound not quite a question, not quite a command.
I looked down. There were more scars. They were all about the same size and about the same shape, unevenly spaced, like a series of dashes down her torso and down her abdomen. I leaned my face close and kissed the one on her sternum. Mira cooed and I knew she was smiling.