Life in a Skinner Box: A Memoir [Chapter 7.6]

Jonah and I planned another visit, a longer, more private one. We were going to meet in a college town midway between where we both lived. A very good professor friend of his at the university served as his alibi.

In spite of my extreme anticipation, I slept soundly and awoke before my alarm, cozy and relaxed. Remembering the day, I waited for the rush of butterflies to come alive inside me. The house was quiet, and warm heat from the furnace hovered above me. How did the cat know I was awake? I hadn’t moved a muscle yet. But there he was, purring and creeping up the bed in gentle pursuit of me. He nestled into my chest as I sank my fingers into his thick gray coat. I didn’t even care that I was the object of his affection simply because he associated me with breakfast. He was good at faking genuine adoration, and I loved him for it. We had an understanding.

It was best to stick with my plan to leave while Jax and Chris—who hadn’t yet found an apartment—were still sleeping. Selfishly, I wanted to enjoy the morning without distraction. It was going to be too taxing hiding my simultaneous enthusiasm and guilt. I’d been doing a hell of a lot of that lately.

The cat and I followed the typical morning ritual with focus, gracefully buffering the sound of every move we made. Showered and dressed, I tiptoed down the stairs to put on my makeup and dry my hair. I’d get breakfast later. Bag packed and in my car, I left a note saying I’d left early and would see them both tomorrow afternoon. I disengaged the automatic garage door opener and slid the door up. If I woke anyone, they didn’t let me know.

I was on the road. It was still dark, and I suddenly felt a pang of aloneness. How often had I left them home alone? Maybe a handful of times. In rushed the guilt when I thought of their faces, still asleep in bed. I put a Mazzy Star CD in the car stereo and I “flicked the switch.” I allowed myself to think of Jonah, to search in my mind for the place I can only go to—have only ever been able to go to—with him.

Jonah was waiting at the hotel for me. I knocked on the door and there we stood, six inches apart. He took my hand and walked me over to the couch. We were both shaking so badly it made us laugh. “I just want to look at you,” was the first thing he said. The spatial barrier between us wouldn’t do, so I kicked my shoes off and crawled onto his lap. We hugged until our breathing returned to normal. “God, you’re so beautiful,” was the second thing he said. The smell of his neck made me woozy. We kissed long and softly until the room was spinning.

I can’t remember how we got there, but things came into focus and we were lying down facing each other on the bed, him slightly on top of me. He was pushing the hair off my face with one hand and exploring me gently with the other. His hands were at least ten degrees hotter than mine, and wherever he placed them on my skin an electric current shot through me. He kept looking directly into my eyes. I’m sure he could tell I was beside myself. He moved his hand down to my groin and said softly, “Just feeling your body so close to mine is blowing my mind.”

“Oh, Jonah…I can’t breathe or move while you touch me.”

“I can’t get enough of you, Michelle. My body is overtaken with heat and light and desire for you. I love touching you, running my hands over your skin…it turns me on to touch you as much as it does to be touched.”

Rush after rush of heat welled up in me.

“Please, Jonah. I’ll do anything. What would you like me to do?”

“Nothing. Stay where you are.” He kissed me long and hard. His mouth was so sensual. “Feel me adoring you, worshipping you.”

“All I can feel is desire. The rest of me doesn’t exist.”

“Oh the rest of you exists, Love. Let that warmth move through you.”

Then, running his finger up my neck to my lips, he said, “God, Doll, I love feeling how you want me. I love the little moans deep in your throat.”

I put his finger in my mouth and sucked it softly, which just made me moan harder. He put his hand on my breast and whispered, “These are perfect.”

I was hazy. My eyes were watering. “You are ecstasy in my veins,” I purred.

He grinned, leaned onto me a little more, and slid his hand back down my stomach and under my waistband.

“Oh Jonah. What are you going to do to me?”

“Open your legs to me.”

I opened them and shuddered. “Jonah. It’s too much.”

Knowing he had complete control over me, he said, “Too bad if it’s too much. It’s what I feel like doing.”

“But…I…can’t…breathe.” I could only keep trembling and moaning.

He gazed straight into my eyes and continued to kiss me, his tongue deep in my mouth. He grabbed my breast with his free hand and whispered into my ear, “Come for me, little Love. Soak the sheets for me,” and that’s when I lost control of my body completely. All I could see were flashes of white light. All I could feel was pleasure. It lasted and lasted, while he whispered “I love you” over and over. It was all too much. I couldn’t help but weep, weep for Jonah, who tenderly kissed the tears off my cheeks.

Jonah and I left the hotel for a brief excursion that day, although I couldn’t seem to get physically close enough to him ever. If he had a pouch, I’d have curled up in it. It hit me that being with him this way was the first time the ache had stopped. We never lost eye contact and the conversation at dinner seemed like a dream, like we were still making love. I could sense the desire in every word he spoke. The intimacy was almost overwhelming, certainly not something I was used to, but I didn’t allow myself to break the connection, so my feelings grew more intense. He sat across from me and poured out his heart.

“I’m soaking in every detail of you. Every one. Here there are no veils, no filters, no electronic connectors. Just you…and me. And, just looking at you is enough to give me more physical pleasure than I’ve ever had. I want to be the only person you’re naked with. Emotionally, intellectually, spiritually, physically. You’re just so goddamn genuine and real and desirable in every way.”

“But, Jonah…I’m really not. I mean I’m…”

“Hussssssssssshhhhhhhhhh, Kitten…just let me enjoy it.”


“I’m not even sure how to describe it. It’s like you’re a little sun or something. You’re this vibrant, life-giving entity. Even if you didn’t love me and none of this was happening, I would still just be fascinated with you. Like a painting or a book. There is something about you—and god knows I can’t even begin to put it into words—that is mesmerizing, captivating, magnetic.”

“Oh Jonah. Your words. I’m just in awe…because of how much I admire and adore you. You are a work of art to me, too. I can’t get enough of you. I kept drawing you into me until I had to stop. You are so sweet and pure. You make me feel so loved down to the core…I think there were times earlier I forgot I was even in a body.”

“Seeing you naked, my god. I couldn’t take my eyes off you. Even watching you get a glass of water was like hearing a symphony.”

“Sweetie, knowing my body gives you pleasure like this thrills me to pieces. Jonah? You know how you say I have all these layers? Well, I think your mind has the ability to and actually creates them. Like one day you turn me into a cathedral…and another day you make me funky. YOU create my depth and complexity with your ability to make metaphors. You can churn something small over and make it into something with greater meaning and fascination. It’s like when you describe us from a spiritual perspective or you turn your fingering me into an expression of love for me.”

“Well, YOUR ability to interject significance into things and examine things from so many angles…well…you keep generating new meaning in ways that keep things fresh and surprising for me, too. And, trust me, Michelle, not everyone is as many layered or complex as you.”

“Well, Jonah, I’m definitely in awe of how your mind works. It’s got a transformative mechanism in it or something, and it turns me on beyond belief. There are so many other examples…but you really are metaphorical. And every time you create metaphors out of our shared experience, it creates some kind of shared ‘inter-subjectivity’ or something between us that gives us our own completely unique world. I’m not freaking you out or anything, am I?”

“Honey, you don’t freak me out! This is why I love you. Forget about my brain. This is why I love you, your intellect. But, I think I get what you’re saying…it’s like you and I are creating our own secret world with its own sort of…myth?”

“Yeah. I find myself using the word ‘spiritual’ a lot with you. And I’m the least spiritual person I know. There are so many things I’ve felt with you that I can’t explain, like those ‘cosmic’ orgasms you can talk me into. And I find myself connected to you in a way so beyond anything I’ve ever experienced in my own body that I needed a term like soul to explain it. I guess that’s human nature… to mystify things we can’t explain, hmm?”

Back in the room, Jonah kept taking over my body and pleasuring it. There were no walls within me anymore and certainly none between us. He kept me filled and overflowing with love and desire. I’d never experienced such a combination of emotional, mental, and sensorial stimulation. I begged him and begged him for more. I fell madly in love with his penis. He taught me how to pleasure it. I felt deep affection toward it. It was a part of Jonah and yet became a separate, complex entity with its own identity. I wanted to understand everything about it. My lust for it felt rabid.

And I wanted Jonah sick with desire too. I wanted him gritting his teeth. At one point, he gently ran his erection up and down and all over my skin. It was so erotic I almost came.

“Please. I need you inside me this very instant,” I ordered.

“Ask me nicely.”

“No! Don’t you dare deny me! I need to feel you. Now. I’m dying. You’re cruel.”

“I said, ‘Ask me nicely.’”

I tried to just pull him into me, but he held strong and said, “You think you’re going to just take me like that? I said, ‘Ask me nicely,’ Love.”

In my most enticing voice, I complimented his penis then said, “Jooonnnaahhh. Please.”

“Hmmmm. Not yet, Love.”

“Damnit, Jonah! Thrust yourself inside me right now!”

He slowly pushed himself in.

“He’s never been so big for you…can you take him?”

“Fuck me and find out!”

He inhaled deeply and said, “God, your lust is intoxicating.” Then he rolled his eyes and finally thrust himself deep inside me. “Being in you is heaven. You are the most desirable woman on the planet. I’m insatiable for you. God, I want you filling every sense of me, so I can’t see or hear or taste or feel anything but you.”

He filled me up entirely and made several long, hard strokes. Then he just stopped while he was deep inside me and told me to lie still. He kissed me passionately then whispered in my ear, “Seeing you naked for the first time was the most heartbreakingly beautiful thing I’ve ever seen. Honey, my desire for you is inextricably bound up with my emotions. I can’t desire your body without wanting your sweet soul too. I never think of ‘having you.’ I think of you having me. I don’t think of taking you, I think of giving myself.”

I squeezed him as tightly as I could with everything I had and at that instant, I felt completely sucked into him. Like he’d invited me completely inside. My soul fused entirely with his. With one more thrust, we came and came together.

Needless to say, we didn’t sleep much. We were in and out of a dream. I woke up to his fingers gently massaging and probing. We made love, and then I fell back asleep with him inside me. I memorized the rhythm of his heartbeats and basked in his warm, furry chest. He was the most alive thing I’d ever felt. In the morning, we took a shower and I marveled at how beautiful he looked wet and how soft and vulnerable his penis was in my soapy hands…until it wasn’t any more, and we hopped back in bed.

A few hours before we separated, I felt the ache coming back. Neither of us said much. We just clung to each other. Saying good-bye shattered me. Seeing him drive away tore me in two. He called within minutes and we talked until we both got back home. The absence of him was the worst, the sharpest pain I’d ever felt. Damn. Instead of an ache, there was now an ache and pain. I wasn’t sure how I would survive.


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