The rain was torrential, a universe in every drop which crashed against the slick pavement. Standing by the window in an upstairs spare room, I scan the dead landscape which slopes away from the old farmhouse into some brown grassy hills which eventually give way to a graveyard. I can barely make out the little headstones, small gray slats pointing up to a cold dark sky swollen with winter. He walks into the room and stands behind me, tells me he finds me fascinating, and sometimes that means more coming from a stranger than someone who knows you well enough to know if he means it or not. When you are new to the game of love you make mistakes and when you are no longer in love you mistake that, too. We are such fickle creatures, how can we be trusted with anything as delicate and breakable as another human’s heart. Though our conversations usually stimulate, I have no stories to tell you on this dreary sunless day, wet weather often leaves me muted and pale, I move deeper into myself slow like a shadow and my eyes turn away from the light. Breathing steadily in the darkness, the floorboards creak as he pulls my hair back and traces the curve of my neck with his long fingers. I am motionless with need for touch, my core smoldering for affection. I can feel his heartbeat in my veins, the quickness which catches in my chest causes tingling all over my body. He knows my silence, studies me closely for signs of obedience, willingness, reception. There is a calculation he makes and I can almost hear him ticking off boxes as he removes my shirt and takes hold of my breasts, kneading, pressing, pinching at the soft flesh. The heavens open up as the rain pounds heavy slashes against the window pane, I place a hand upon the fogged glass and close my eyes. His movements dictate my movements, his needs are the map of my instruction. In a world relentless with gratuitous destruction, I find it hard to explain the way his greed, his roughness soothes my rattled nerves. Why before him I open like fruit. With a kiss he takes me to the grave, my tears are prayers as he drinks from the sweetness of my ache. This beautiful suffering, beautiful death on a threadbare candlelit evening in a far away place, overlooking the ones who have gone before, never to know of pain or pleasure again. We are all heathens. We are all broken and seething. And at the end of it all, we are only strangers, to each other and ourselves.