She buried her cold bony feet between mine. Although they were curled up, her unclipped toenails tickled the inner edges of my soles. It wasn’t the first time Sophia and I had made love, but it had been a while. We lied on her bed silently. Our bodies needed time to reacquaint themselves. Sophia had flat bosoms, skinny arms and legs. Holding her felt easy.
She nestled her butt deep into my lap and I held her tighter. My nose was resting on the crown of her head; it smelled of sweat and dandruff. She turned her head to the side and I propped myself up on my elbow. It was dark, but I could tell that she was looking at me. I could feel her peach fuzz and wet lips softly parting mine. She interlaced her unshaved legs with mine as her tongue did the same in my mouth. Sophia was a feminist and altering any of her natural features went against her creed. I didn’t care. I didn’t want her to change a bit.
I respected Sophia. That’s why I fell in love with her. That’s why I supplicated that she not tell her boyfriend about our affair, but she had made up her mind. It wasn’t that I was afraid of what he would do to me. I was afraid of what he would do to himself. David was once my best friend. But his erratic behavior had escalated from manageable to unbearable. Sophia and I had just stood by as he became more comfortable with the severity of his outbursts. It was the main reason why she and I were in bed together. It was therapeutic. She wove her fingers into my hair and clasped her hand. We were ready to have another go.
After I ran away from home, I moved into Sophia’s house. She lived with her mother, father and sister and although she wasn’t thrilled with having to feed another mouth, she didn’t oppose. Along with her and David, who had unofficially moved in a year before, the three of us slept in the same tiny room. They shared the bed and I slept on the floor. Falling asleep next to Sophia’s bed was a near impossible feat.
“Hey Jose,” David whispered, “are you awake?”
I knew that he wanted to have sex with her, so I stayed mute. I understood that Sophia wanted it too, so an objection of any kind was a moot point. I was the newest member of the room, so I had no say on their love-making schedule. I just had to lie there and take it. The sound of my silence was his cue for coitus. The bed shook with the thrashing of their bodies, serenating me with their moaning. Most of the moaning came from David, who had a husky high tenor voice. It sounded like an older woman’s voice when he would burst into a tirade.
The mere fact that they were fucking, one on top of the other, next to me was upsetting enough, but on top of that, I felt betrayed by Sophia. Part of me expected her never to touch David again and to renounce her relationship with him. The bed stopped shaking. What felt like an eternity didn’t last for more than a few minutes. David was a selfish lover. He was very succinct.
Aside from our sexual relationship, Sophia and I were accomplices in dealing with David’s unpredictable behavior. He was suicidal and we didn’t want his blood on our hands. He mostly targeted Sophia because she would just sit there.
“Why the fuck aren’t you ready?” David asked. “We’re supposed to be at my mom’s house in 20 minutes.”
“I guess, I forgot we were supposed to meet up with them so soon,” Sophia replied.
“What? Are you stupid or something?” She crossed her arms, glaring at him. “Don’t just sit there, stupid. Get ready!” I was looking at Sophia, how she was allowing him to discharge the onslaught of pent up anger he was trudging around with. Her big eyes welled up and her nostrils shot out an exasperated huff. She shot up, marched up within an inch from his face and stormed out of the room. I scrambled up to go after her.
“Where do you think you are going?” David spouted.
“I’m gonna go see if she’s OK,” I answered.
“No, just let me handle it.”
“What the fuck’s your problem, man?” David tightened his fists. “You just ripped her a new one for not being ready.” His fists started to pound on the wall.
“Stay the fuck out of it. It has nothing to do with you.” The rate of his pummeling increased. “If you don’t sit down and stay out of it, I’m going to keep punching this wall until I break my fucking hand.” If I went against David’s word, Sophia would be angry with me for allowing him to break his hand. Sophia and I had an understanding. We understood that David wasn’t in control of his thoughts or actions. We both had to deal with it. Neither of us was brave enough to break his heart because we cared about him, in spite of his uncontrolled bouts of rage. In spite of our infidelity.
“The least you can do is stop punching the damn wall and go after her.” He stopped. His hand was slightly swollen and his knuckles pink. David convulsed his hand as he was making his way to Sophia’s room. I could picture Sophia carefully massaging it with penance and concern, taking the blow for this one, reassuring him that everything was going to be fine.