really doing this thing

the philosopher


The philosopher and I often enjoy rough sex. He throws me onto the bed. I push back, and we link arms like we momentarily decided to give up the sex for a martial arts spar. Eventually, I flip him onto his back and pin him down.

He grabs my face and draws me down to him.

“You’re so beautiful. You’re so beautiful.” His eyebrows furrow. His blue eyes show no sign of worry, only intensity.

I orgasm for the first time with him inside me like this.

It was unseasonably warm for February, and the 60 degree breeze from the open windows caught and carried our sounds of ecstasy.


I lie between him. His long legs stretched out on either side of me, our books on Maoist revolution and anarchist geography split the center.

“Ohhh, no, no, here’s my shit.” I led him into the gallery of 1930’s American folk art. I wandered off to find my favorite contorted bodies of magic realism, and he lingered in front of a mustard canvas with a dark navy square. I circled back to him and brushed the tips of my fingers across his back. He grinned.

Surrounded by friends and intimidating academic types, I sat on the floor rather than remain standing at the front of the room. The performance space lacked a stool. I knew if I stood I would shuffle uncomfortably or try to lean back and misjudge the space between my ass and the brick wall behind me. So, I charmed the crowd with my boldness, and I sat. I read two poems. During the first, I focused on keeping my voice steady while my words struck at old traumas. I felt the audience lean in towards me. Laughter surprised me during the second poem, a sardonic retelling of a bad relationship set on the landscape of a bad america. I sped through the laughter on the first line that incited it, but became more comfortable with the idea that my audience was entertained and later paused. The philosopher beamed at me and vigorously squeezed my hand as I rejoined the audience and seated myself next to him.

Our Sunday morning-afternoon-evening spillovers now include bagels and lox, reading articles in Jacobin, and staring – nose to nose – while gushing about our adoration for each other.

Yesterday, I had a revelation.

We have been referring to each other as one of our “partners” for a few weeks. I expressed my non-monogamy early to the philosopher. While he felt he was not capable of having more than one partner in his life, he accepted my ability to embrace a different relationship structure. “Partners,” I asserted, acknowledged my own queerness and my anarchical philosophy of relationships.

Yesterday, the philosopher referred to our partnership as “dating.” The word sent me into a smiling, frantic, and breathy spiral of closing a cognitive gap.

“We’re really doing this, huh?”

He stared at me with confusion and concern, but an almost bemused smile, “You’re gonna freak out and never talk to me again now, aren’t you?”

“No, no,” I reassured him, then actually admitted it to myself. “No, no, no. Everything is great. I want to see you again. I just…” I trailed off, then asserted again, this time hoping I’d believe it, “We’re really doing this.”

The philsopher’s smile widened, as did his fearful eyes, “Yes, I’d like to keep seeing you. That’s what a partnership is.”

“Yeah, yeah, you’re right. Wow. You’re right.” My head spun. “I guess I never realized that this meant seeing you like… indefinitely.”

He laughed at me and kissed my forehead. “As long as we keep agreeing to that. For the foreseeable future, I suppose.”

“Woah…” I gaped and shook my head, eyes circling the ceiling, “Wow.”

“Are you okay?”

I took a deep breath and centered myself. I placed my hands on his cheeks. We were seated on his elegant sofa – him, feet planted on the ground, and me, straddling his legs and facing towards him with my knees tucked on the firm eggshell cushion. “Yes, I’m okay. You’re great. Our partnership is great. I want to continue spending time with you here and there… indefinitely.”

He stroked my hair contently and sighed.

I broke my cool again, “Woah. We. are. really. doing this thing.”

“Ugh, shut up.” He laughed and kissed me, and we tumbled back into happy conversation.


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