The Body I Love

I would like to tell you how I became so ‘damaged’ as many might call it.  Maybe by some chance I can gain your empathy, but most likely it will just disturb and possibly disgust you.  Regardless, in the current moment I am in, my present, I am staring at something which I can not seem to comprehend as it seems like an impossibility.  It has lead me to a much deeper understanding of myself and my past, which I feel a need to express in writing and to any who read this, forgive me for I am weak.

I was nine when two of my friends from school and I were enjoying our freedom of summer vacation by riding around on our bikes and seeking out hidden backwoods trails.  It was the middle of the afternoon with the oppressive Florida humidity bearing down on us as we rode our bikes through the thickly forested area behind our neighborhood.

We were dodging trees and weaving amongst the brush when one of my friends skid to a stop and almost caused me to collide with his back tire.  I swerved and swore because it was ‘cool’ to talk like an adult.  I demanded an explanation from him as my other friend looped around a tree before joining my side.

My friend, the one who had skid to a halt, pointed and said, “What is that?”

We reluctantly rode to his vantage point and stared at what  his finger shakingly pointed out.  We saw it, but we all decided to ride closer to make sure we were not witnessing a collaborative hallucination brought on by the heat.

It was a body floating face up on the glassy water amongst reeds.

She couldn't have been older than eighteen years of age and must have died fairly recently, but I can only derive that now because of my current medical knowledge.  She wore a light night gown that was completely soaked and remained completely motionless.

Birds could be heard chirping in the trees, but not a sound came from us.

The still area weighed heavily on us as we gawked at the body of this young woman.  We, a hive mind, climbed off our bikes and walked to the water's edge.  She was only a few feet from us now and we could see her better.

She was fair of  skin, freckles adorning her face, with blonde hair atop her head.  The hair, long and wavy, spread out around her head like beams of light from the sun.  Her gown clung tight to her frail form with one shoulder strap having fallen down her left arm.

It was the first time I had ever seen a bare breast before.  Her left breast, the side that  the strap had fallen from, was exposed to the mid summer sun.

“Is she dead?” I thought aloud, breaking the silence.

No one responded as we all were completely transfixed by what we were bearing  witness to.

“I dare you to touch her.” One of my friends said in jest.

I don't remember which of my friends said it, or it could have been me and my memory is failing me, but we were young and stupid.  I don't think we wanted to believe she was dead and hoped poking her would awaken her.  Someone gave me a push, so I took  action, not wanting to be called names or laughed at for being scared.

I removed my shoes and socks and rolled up my shorts as high as I could before stepping into the soft, if not gooey, earth that rested beneath the black water.  Each step churned the water as my feet landed on hidden branches while plant life wrapped around my feet and ankles.

When I was but inches from her, I noticed her skin was so fair that it was greying, with blue veins showing under her skin.  Her lips had lost color and took on the unnatural color of blue.  They still looked plump though.  Her eyes were open, but they were also in an unnatural state.  One lid was slightly more closed than the other and they seemed completely unfocused on anything.

I was scared.  My heart began racing, my adrenaline flowing through me at a rapid pace, causing my hands to begin to shake and my breathing to deepen.

My eyes fixated on her small exposed breast with erect nipple that had fading in color to match the rest of her body.

I cannot justify my next action, but I had never seen a naked woman before and felt an urge to touch her breast.  I reached out and cupped her breast in my hand, giving it a soft squeeze.

It was soft, very soft, but it was cold.  It felt so unnatural for someone to be this close to ice.  It made me realize just how warm people actually are.

There was no reaction from the young woman. Her body pushed down into the water a little as I applied a minute amount of pressure to her naked chest.  She remained motionless as her head sunk back into the water. Water poured into her nostrils and a pool of water formed over each glassy eye.

Something about her not involuntarily reacting, like coughing or blinking, triggered a warning shot of adrenaline as my fight or flight reaction kicked in.  She WAS dead and this WAS a dead body I was touching.

I turned and fled as fast as I could through the thigh high water.  My friends must have seen the fear in my eyes and followed my lead.  They shouted and yelped while rearing up their bikes to turn quickly, then took off in separate directions.

I fell upon the shore, shaking and now soaked from the waist down and ran to my bike, leaving my socks and shoes behind.

That night I had to explain to my parents why I had lost my shoes.  I told them that my shoes were at the bottom of a pond after a bully had wrestled me down, took them off me and tossed them in the water.  Later that night I tried to retrieve them, but I could not find them and ruined my socks in turn.

My parents did not question it, as I was commonly picked on for how small and scraggly I was.  We bought new shoes the next day, but I was not mentally cognisant.  I was lost in a daze because I had barely slept that night.  All I dreamed of was the girl floating in the water, her eyes staring off into nothingness and the chill of her soft skin.

The next time my friends and I met, we swore to never speak a word about the body.  For some reason we were scared that we would be blamed.  It seems stupid now as an adult looking back, but it made sense to us at the time.  We thought we would be tried as adults and sent to jail forever.  But if we had told someone… maybe the girl’s family would have gotten some form of relief in knowing what had happened to her.  Maybe we would have been able to help her find peace.  Maybe, if it was a murder, she was the key to finding out who did it.  Maybe if I had said something, my nightmares would not have continued.

Every night I would wake from a nightmare shaking, adrenaline pumping and mind racing.  The dreams were always different but they always led to a familiar end.  I would be dreaming of something, the story would unfold, and at some point I would start feeling a sense of dread.  I would start seeing her around corners, behind a tree or hovering above the person I was speaking too.  No one ever saw her but me and in the end, no matter how far I ran or how well I hid, she would find me and embrace me.

At a certain point, this began feeling normal.  I expected it to happen every night and in every dream so I just accepted it.  I began waking up normally and no longer in a cold sweat.  

After a while, I was beginning to experiment and would embrace her in return. When I did this, she arched her back to create a spaces between our bodies so she could take my hand and rest it on her naked breast.  Her expression remained unchanged and her eyes maintained their unfocused gaze.  

She was as cold as I remembered and just as soft.  I was not sure what to do so I just held her and stared into her eyes until I woke up.

I am sure that was my sexual awakening.  It is the first time I can remember having a wet dream and like every young boy experiencing their first wet dream, I thought I had peed in my bed.  I must have been 11 at the time, but even then I could tell something was different.

I had never thought of women being different than me physically.  It was the day that I found the young woman's body, her immaculate form, ever so slightly exposed that I realized I knew nothing of the female body.  I had never had ‘the talk’ with my parents and they always seemed very against speaking of the matter, so I had never even considered how different a woman’s body was from a man's.  I had had so much time up till that point to figure out my own body, but even that began changing.

As a growing teenager, I started to notice I would get random erections no matter where I went, what I was doing or who I was around.  I had no control over this and had no idea why it was happening.  I was shocked and mortified. It felt like I had a bomb attached to me counting down with a timer I could never see.

After much frustration and feeling an absolute inability to control my erections, I tried to find ways to deal with the matter.  At first I tried pressing it down, lightly hitting it, or even bending it to try to make the erection just go away.  It hurt me and never really seemed to be a solution. But almost by accident, I stroked it at some point.

This was my ‘Eureka’ moment.  I could not believe the pleasure it brought me.  I had my first orgasm this way and when it happened all I could think of was the woman in my dreams who held my hand to her chest.

Almost nightly I found time to sate my hormone-driven urges.  At the time I could not figure out why the women in the underwear section of magazines did not do anything to excite me, but every time I thought of my alabaster mermaid, I would reach my peak.  I was not really conscious of how this was wrong or perverse of me because I was still young.  I did not know why I found her to be sexually arousing in comparison to anything else.  I did not understand that my views of sex had been distorted and disturbed.

Despite all this and despite what you might think, I was a fairly normal kid.  I did my school work, had some close friends and even dated a few girls.  That’s right, in highschool I had two girlfriends across the four years.  None of them were very serious as I did not know what I wanted in a possible partner at the time, but this did lead to me experimenting physically with another person for the first time.

When I was sixteen, my then girlfriend and I had found ourselves alone and, driven by teenage hormones, we started to kiss each other rather aggressively.  We were breathing heavily, our bodies pressing together and she pulled away to ask me to, ‘Take my dick out.’ I nervously did as she asked and pulled my erection from my unzipped pants.  She smiled and started playing with it with her hands, seeming very amused by the action.  Nothing against her, but it was clear it was her first time touching a penis since she seemed to cause more pain to me than pleasure.

She stopped at some point and lifted her shirt off, then sat waiting in anticipation of… something to happen.  She rolled her eyes and told me to take her bra off.  I struggled, having never touched a bra before, to figure out how this contraption was even attached to her or how to get it off.  I think I might have even suggested she slip it over her head.  She finally helped me, decoupling the back two hooks and then told me I could touch her.  

My girlfriend definitely was not the woman I dreamed of nightly, and I was nervous as I reached out toward her and groped her left breast.  

Something was wrong and I almost immediately lost my erection.  She did not feel right.  She was so warm and her heart beat so rapidly in her chest just below where I held her.

She noticed I had gone flaccid and scoffed.  She asked if they were not big enough.  I didn't know how to respond and said that I didn't know what had happened.  She was embarrassed and frustrated and our night ended there.

Not long after, we broke up, but she never spread any rumors or spoke badly of me. She just began avoiding me when she could.  I think she was as embarrassed as me by the whole ordeal and just wanted to pretend it never happened.

Nothing very eventful occurred between then and my adult years.  I graduated with a 3.9 GPA and was being offered a scholarship to a rather nice university.  This was  when things began to feel more positive or at least I started feeling more normal.

In college, while studying medical science, I met a special woman.  She was tall, slender, almost never smiled, and on occasion my gaze would meet with her piercing black eyes that hid just under the straight cut of her black bangs.  She was like me in many ways: timid, sat by herself and seemed very enveloped in her own work.  She was different in many ways too, but the things that stood out to me were that she was not very loud, but very outspoken and she was EXCEEDINGLY intelligent.  I was intimidated and smitten for the first time.

At one point we needed lab partners for a project and I saw it as an opportunity to speak to her.  We worked well together and when I asked her out for drinks, she agreed.  Work and our education was all we seemed to speak about, but I enjoyed that and she seemed to be content with it as well.  When I took her back to her dorm, she thanked me for the wonderful evening and hoped we could do it again. As selfish as it might seem I hoped for a kiss, I felt I deserved that much, but instead she turned and entered her dorm room.

It was a wonderful night and I was feeling a flutter in my chest.  I had only felt this way once before about a woman, but she only existed in my dreams, while this one was tangible.

We had a few more dates but never once did she kiss me or even hold my hand.  She was very, VERY proper and old fashioned, which I genuinely enjoyed about her.  I liked that, despite societal pressures, she felt no need to show affection in a public or physical manner.  That was until after our fifth date when she caught me off guard by inviting me into her room.

She led me in and closed the door behind me before turning her cold and hard gaze upon me.  Her stare was like that of a lion upon its prey as it stalks it in the tall grass.  She did not smile or even seem to get excited as she pushed the thin straps of her long black dress from her shoulders and let me watch as it fell from her thin form and crumpled on the floor.  

I could barely breath.

She was pale as a ghost and her form was naked except for the lacy red underpants she wore.  She walked to me with her matching red high heels, each step meaningful and laden with intent.  She touched my chest and leaned into me, bringing her lips to my ear.

“I hope you can handle what it is that I need.” She whispered.

She stepped away from me, walking backwards and never losing eye contact, before sitting back on her bed.  She kicked off her high heels, pushed herself further back on the bed and suddenly went limp.  She collapsed on the bed and remained almost completely still, aside from the slight wavering of her rising and falling chest.

I remained still for some time as I stared, both aroused and confused by what had just happened.  I reluctantly climbed onto the bed, on hands and knees, and stared at her.  She stared off with an unfocused gaze, mouth slightly agape and hair fallen in all directions.

I understood then what she wanted and it both terrified and excited me to no end.  

I unbuckled my pants and slide them off removing my shirt as well.  I hovered over her and took time to bask in her dedication.  She never flinched, never twitched and I don’t recall her blinking, but she must have at some point.

I reached out and touched her left breast, cupping it in my hand as I gave it a soft squeeze.  She was warm and I could feel her heart lightly thumping in her rib cage.  She did not react to my touch.

I touched her all over, exploring her body from head to toe.  Never once did she correct her positioning or move herself, she just remained dead weight in my arms.  Her warm flesh was weird to me, foreign even, but she was so close to what I needed as well…

I made love to her that evening and as hard as I tried, I could never elicit a reaction from her till I had climaxed inside her.  It was my first time cumming inside a woman and it was more intense than anything I had ever experienced with my hands.

She seemed to blink back to life as I lay on her, huffing and puffing like a wild beast, and she smiled at me for the first time.  Her eyes made contact with mine as I lifted my head from her shoulder; sweat beading my brow and her hand running through my tousled hair.

She told me I did well.

We dated for about five years and during that time we moved in together, I graduated with a bachelor's in Mortuary Science, and she continued on toward her doctorate.  She was to be a neurosurgeon, which made sense for how skilled she was with remaining level-headed and steady of hand.  Her precision was simply unmatched.

Our love grew and we remained completely loyal to each other.  We had an odd understanding of each other, especially when it came to our more carnal needs.  She didn't even bat an eye the time I asked her to take an ice bath before sex.  It was my birthday and she wanted it to be special for me.

Sadly, we were not to be.  Our careers pushed us in separate directions, as  I wished to start my own funeral home and she wanted to create her own practice when she graduated.  At some point we both agreed it was best for us to split up.

Now you might be wondering about what happened to my thoughts and dreams of the young lady I stumbled upon all those years ago.  Well, they had all but dissipated by this point in time.  My dreams stopped and my thoughts of her were almost non-existent.  But as soon as I had moved out and no longer slept in the same bed as the woman I once loved, the dreams returned in the same manner as when I was a child.

Like the dreams before, they started with her staying distant and hiding until the end of the dream when she would confront me.  She hovered there with her unfocused gaze and her arms reaching out.  At first I was terrified of her as I thought she would have been enraged by my betrayal and infidelity, but instead she came closer to me with her hand brushing my cheek with her cold fingertips.  I embraced her and wept.  It was in that moment that I knew she had never left me and she forgave me for falling astray.

It had taken many years but I had moved on with my life with a strong focus on my career.  I did casually keep in contact with my ex and watched as her career skyrocketed to heights I could only imagine.  I remember the day that I received a magazine in the mail depicting my raven haired former love front and center of the cover with bold lettering proclaiming, “How This Woman Has Changed Neurosurgery.”  I chuckled as even in the picture she maintained her cold stare I had once loved her for.

I had started my own funeral home, hired a few employees and this too was rather successful.  It is odd to think though that my business was in death and with that no one was ever truly happy to see me.  I would often meet the deceased before I would ever see a family member.  A beloved spouse, a cherished grandparent or a child that passed at too young an age, their still bodies telling me their stories before any teary eyed family member could.  I carry a burden that weighs down my heart but this helps me ease the aching.

Despite the grim nature of my career, I was happy with my job as I brought closure to the lives of the living and the dead.  While the people I met with were in the process of mourning, I was a part of the last step in letting them say good bye and move their beloved deceased onto something better.

But while others let go, I held on.  I held onto the woman I have loved all of my life despite never knowing her name.  She was always there when I closed my eyes each night, watching over me as I lived out the fantasies my subconscious.  She was my companion in life and hopefully in my death.  

Then, last night, she was gone.  I immediately could feel her absence in the void of my once peaceful dreams.  She was divorced of me and I felt lost without my companion as I stumbled through my dreamscapes calling to her and praying for her immediate return.

The morning felt hollow; absent of something I could not place my finger on.  I followed my daily routine but found it harder then usual as my mind could not focus on the next task.  Adding to my concerns was the fact that I was being absurdly absent minded in forgetting an assortment of duties in opening my business for the day.  The day only trudged on as I found myself passing off my obligations to my apprentice and assistant so I might have time alone in my office to stare into my coffee mug.

I was only brought annoyance for my apprentice’s disregard for small rules.  I had gone outside to get some fresh air when I noticed the back doors, the doors which the deceased are deliver to, were left ajar.  Begrudgingly, I shut them behind me before joining my apprentice inside.

I had no intentions to scold him for being absent minded as that would have been hypocritical on my behalf.  I only wanted to know how we had gotten another client without my knowledge.

“Poor thing,” My apprentice told me as he handed me a clipboard, “She is so young and beautiful.”

I retrieved the clipboard and as I read it over, knowing I might need to make corrections and file the rest of the paperwork correctly, I froze.

The woman was eighteen years of age, Caucasian, 5’6” and had blonde hair...

My hands began shaking violently for reasons I did not understand.  This had not been the first blonde-haired young woman I had embalmed and readied for burial.  Her height was average for a woman and the fact that she was blonde meant nothing as well.  

It was as though something clicked in my head, a signal telling me something that I did not know for sure yet.  If I read further I would know if this ancient instinctual trigger was either truth or fiction.  There was only one part of information I needed to confirm these suspicions and my eyes drifted to it, neglecting anything else written on the sheet.

My heart raced as I read the cause of death.

She had drowned.

My apprentice must have noticed my loss of composure and asked if I was okay.  I dismissed him from his work, instructing him to go home for the evening, before retreating to my office.  When he asked if I was alright I told him I was feeling ill and needed to rest a moment.  He did as I asked and once he had left I locked all the doors and secluded myself within the cold room with the black body bag.

I took some time to stare at the body bag with the mysterious form lying beneath with a great deal of turmoil as I wrestled with my thoughts.  There was no way it could be her, could it?  My logical side, which had never allowed me to stray far from the facts, began wishing and praying that it might be her.  That by some miracle it could somehow be her...

I reached out with a quivering hand and grabbed the zipper between my fingers.  I slowly pulled on it, the teeth parting, and blonde wavy hair began spilling out.  Tears built up in the corner of my eyes as I continued unzipping the body bag and revealed the young woman's radiant and unfocused eyes, then her freckle kissed nose and lastly her soft blue lips.

It was her.

I broke down and cried out in anguish. I threw myself from the table, hitting the wall before collapsed to the floor sobbing like a small child.  I was scared that I had finally gone completely mad but elated that my suspicions were found to be true.

My sweet, pale lotus petal had returned to me.  I kept checking and double checking to assure myself that my mind was not playing tricks on me and that she did not merely resemble the girl I had found floating face up in those boggy waters over twenty years ago.

This leads to now, the present I spoke of in the beginning of my story.  It has been a few hours and I have collected myself and am of sound mind once again.   From my desk I can see the face of the young woman in the body bag and she is undoubtedly the woman I fell in love with as a child, minus the nightgown.

She was always there for me, always.  She followed me almost all my life, accepting me for my faults and never passing a single judgement upon me even when I was weak.  She must have found a way to return to me because she wanted me and I wanted her.  For some unfathomable cosmic reason, I am reunited with my one true love.  The universe is rewarding my dedication.  She is my only love and I am not going to leave her side ever again.  

Once I am done writing this, I will join her upon that cold table she rests upon.  I will join her in mind and body as we both journey to a place I could never fathom in my wildest dreams and no longer will I be disturbed by morning's light. No longer will I need to return to this world with a feeling of lost purpose and loneliness.

I only wish to warm her heart the way she chills mine...