By: Charlene Frett

He lays his head against my chest, between my breasts, tracing the creases and outlines of my body. His fingers glide along the folds of my stomach, circle around my navel, and travel down to the marks on my thighs.

We are sweaty and slick from the positions our bodies performed, and in this moment, we are settling into the euphoric sensations of our unity, catching our breaths, relaxing our hearts—lips and tongues swollen at the brim.

He’s been trailing loops against my skin to the rhythm of my pulse, and a part of me wants him to notice the other dwindling lines, the faded bruises and wounds once traced by another in a similar pattern, declaring me as their own.

“You’re mine,” they would say from above.

“I’m yours,” I would whisper back.

And before I could interpret the claim, they would wrap their fingers around my throat and swallow my tongue.

The infamous saying of the body being a temple remains true. I continue to view mine as such; a unique adaptation of my physical being protecting my soul. And I believe that once someone reaches inside of me to pleasure the depths of it, I almost become acquainted with Love itself.  But that wasn’t always the case, for my body had been prodded and touched by those who had no business neglecting it. It has been assaulted, beaten, bruised, punctured, marked, slapped, punched, kicked—sentenced to more harm than any little girl could endure. And when I would find someone that might be deserving, when I had believed that my pleasure and emotions were just as important as theirs, I accepted their proposals, welcomed their needs for a chance to be cherished, admired and respected. But it seems life had other plans, and I had been deceived, made a fool, for trusting that their intentions with my body—my soul—were true.

Each time a man touches it, whispers a promise into my skin, it is embedded within my blood, branded on the follicles to ensure its meaning. And each time I’ve been tricked, a bruise was left. Wounds had scorched my body and blackened my flesh, leaving me to endure the pain and heal what was left.

I wish he could see just how many there were. I wish he could see the infliction they had on my body; the charred skin and open lesions on my stomach, the pool of blood inside my thighs. Maybe, just maybe, another bruise wouldn’t form, that the map he trails and begins to kiss will not be seared into my body, like the others, when he decides to deceive.

I used to say, and still believe, that I’m more. I’m more than just a body created by matter, I’m more than just a moan or gasp meant for their leisure. I have a soul that desires to love, be loved, a soul with strengths, ambitions, interests—a soul with pain, fear, and utter joy. I’ve been tossed, valued, used, praised, disfigured, adored—I’ve given my everything to everything, and my everything to nothing. 

And as he begins to move his head further down my body, as he begins to wrap his arms around my thighs and kneel below, as he begins to bite and suckle my skin, as he begins to bury his mouth into my sex to gratify and exalt the depths of it, I feel fire ignite my blood, bleed into my bones, delicious flames suddenly taking root within the scars.

I close my eyes and feel it all; moan, groan, sigh—reach somewhere beyond the border of ecstasy, of mere acquaintances with Love.

“I’m yours,” I moan suddenly, drawing blood from my lips as euphoria creeps along my spine.

“I’m yours,” he moans below, kissing gently up my body to my breast, against my neck, capturing my lips in his.

He then wraps his fingers around my throat, and swallows my tongue.

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