An Untamed State

An Untamed State by Roxane Gay

Book: An Untamed State by Roxane Gay Read Free Book Online
Authors: Roxane Gay
his cheek. He stirred lightly, wrapped his arm around me, pulling me closer. I traced his lips with my fingers, so soft.
    Michael slowly opened his eyes and was about to say something but I said, “Shhh.” He slid one of his hands through my hair and kissed me with an uncommon urgency. He kissed me like he was trying to swallow me whole and I gave in to it, to him, his breath in my throat. I was feverish. He pushed me onto my back and dragged his fingers across my collarbones, touched me so softly. I brushed his hair away from his face and wrapped my legs around his waist and we lay like that for a long while, skin to skin, looking at each other. Normally we tear at each other when we make love but that night, we were different, we were soft, we were silent. I held him so tightly I thought our bodies might knot together. When I came, I cried. I was not used to crying. The tears felt strange as they streamed down my cheeks and down my neck, into my ears. It terrified me how much he made me love him, how much he made me step beyond myself and into him, into us.
    After, we lay together, hot, still fevered, sweaty. The air was thick with the smell of us. I faced away from Michael, my spine against his chest. I couldn’t stop crying. He kissed my bare shoulder.
    “Baby, what’s wrong.”
    I pulled his arm around me, holding him tightly, covering his hand with mine, sliding my fingers between his. I couldn’t explain what I was feeling. Finally, I pulled myself together, kissed his fingertips. Quietly, very quietly, I said, “You are the only man I have ever truly loved.”
    “Look at me.”
    I shook my head.
    “Look at me.”
    Slowly, I turned to him.
    He ran his finger along my hairline, down my neck to my arm. I shivered. I wanted him again. “Why do you say that like it’s a bad thing?”
    I buried my face in his armpit. He smelled like soap and sweat. I mumbled, “You better not hurt me,” then I said, “If this isn’t serious, don’t you lead me on.”
    Michael raised himself onto one elbow and smiled. “I made my intentions known to you the first time we made love.”
    “I am terrified of loving you this much.”
    He kissed my neck and he sank his teeth into my skin and sucked so hard he would leave a bruise. I didn’t stop him, wanted him to mark me. We made love again. We were still silent but we were not gentle. As I drifted asleep, he said, “We can be terrified of this much love together.”
    Sometime later, Michael shook me awake. “I hate for you to leave,” he said, “but morning is coming.”
    I grumbled and grabbed his wrist, tried to make out the time on his watch.
    He leaned against the headboard and watched as I got dressed—my tank top, a pair of his boxers, so I could take something of him to my room with me. Michael cleared his throat. “When we get married, you won’t have to sneak out of my room when we visit your parents.”
    I shrugged, smoothing my hair. “If we get married.”
    I walked around the bed and he jumped up, stood between the doorway and me. “Don’t.”
    “Don’t what?”
    “Shut down. I know how you feel about me and you know how I feel about you. We don’t have to play games.” He pointed to the bed.
    I planted my hand against his chest and stood on my toes to kiss him once more. “I’m not an easy woman to love,” I said. I’m not sure if I was apologizing or warning him. I rubbed my thumb across his cheekbone and left.
    As I crept back to my room, my mother cleared her throat. “You are a bit old,” she said, “to be sneaking around.”
    I made some silly excuse about walking around because I couldn’t sleep and quickened my step until I was safe in my room. Outside, the sky had turned a pale blue gray.
    At breakfast, Michael and I sat across from each other, flanked by my parents. They were both reading the newspaper, occasionally sharing an interesting news item.
    Michael poured two liberal scoops of sugar into his coffee, stirring lightly

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