I Feel As One in Sex But Also

By Heather Lanier

January 9, 2023

I Feel As One in Sex But Also

Dishes drying, dryer broken, wet T’s strewn over chairs, we let the couch hold us up for one more hour of TV. Why? We want each other’s bodies. Right now—want them the way we’ve had them for twenty years. Soft and bare and salacious under sheets. But we also want sleep.

So, we’ve chosen this: puritanically sweatered torsos leaning into each other, eyes heavy on a mustachioed actor who makes us laugh.

My husband’s hand slips beneath the back of my waistband. His palm blooms warm over my sacrum, which is freezing, a fact I didn’t realize until his fingers found it. He strokes my lower spine, and this sparks enough desire to satisfy—an odd thing, to be satisfied by yearning for the very person I’ve had forever.

A year before forever, another boy did the same. I was twenty-one. My dorm light was as dim as my knowledge of bodies. I pulled him toward me. His hand went under the back of my jeans, brought heat against my pale backside. He laughed. All women’s butts are freezing, he said.

It was the magic trick only an amateur boyfriend could know. With five words, he made appear in my room every woman he’d ever grabbed the rears of.

Now he appears again! In the living room of my middle-age. And with him are all the women ever, who, according to his research, once sat on dorm beds and desk chairs, might now sit in board rooms and banks and mortgaged homes, stringing wet laundry over makeshift lines or snuggling with beloveds too tired for sex, all their asses ice-cold.

I smile: I live in union with them all.

Heather Lanier's
memoir, Raising a Rare Girl (Penguin 2020) was a New York Times Book Review Editors' Choice. Her essays have appeared in Vela Magazine, TIME, The Sun, Salon, The Wall Street Journal, Longreads, and elsewhere. Her poetry collection, Psalms of Unknowing, is forthcoming from Monkfish Publishing. 

Image by cottonbro courtesy of Pexels

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