Zeena woke up the next morning, and the sunlight coming through the half-shut blinds felt like sharp shards of glass penetrating her eyes. Every time she blinked, a searing headache felt like it was about to split her head open. She squinted and looked around her bedroom. Shakit was sleeping next to her in her queen-sized bed without a shirt on. She examined his broad shoulders and remembered their taste; they were sweet and salty at the same time.
She looked down and examined her clothes. She was wearing her favorite red and white polka dot pajamas. The front of her pajamas shirt was open and her large breasts hung loosely over her body. She remembered the feeling of Shakit touching her waist and wrapping his arms around her back. She missed his touch. She wanted him to touch her all over, but the consequences of it all felt so real and immediate.
They hadn’t had sex. She had pushed him away in the very last second as he had tried to pull her panties off of her legs. He was on top of her and she could feel that he was ready. There was a foreign hunger and thrill in his eyes as he grazed her belly with his mouth.
“Shakit, I can’t do this. I’m so sorry,” she said. She pulled herself out from underneath him and began crying. His eyes were filled with disappointment. He stood up from the bed and pulled his boxers and sweatpants over his naked body.
“I’m so sorry, Shakit,” she said through tears. “I thought I was ready, I thought I wanted this, but I can’t do this. It all feels wrong.”
She looked up at him and she could see the irritation on his face. His body was turned away from her. She curled her legs up and cried into her knees. She was entirely naked with her panties at the end of her bed.
He wouldn’t look at her, and she felt like the little girl of her childhood that used to cry when her mother would give her the silent treatment after finding out that she hadn’t cleaned her closet. She wanted to make sure that she hadn’t hurt Shakit with this, but all she could do was cry.
Embarrassment was painted across the top of his cheeks as they turned red.
“What about me feels wrong to you Zeena?” Shakit said. He looked defeated. Tired.
“Shakit, this has nothing to do with you.
“Zeena, of course this has to do with me.”
“This is different for me than it is for you.”
He gave her a look of resignation.
“I can’t do this right now, Zeena. It’s late. Let’s just go to sleep.”
Shakit walked to the other side of the bed and lay down. Zeena wiped her eyes, got up, and walked into her closet. She pulled the string to turn the light on in her small walk in closet and put her red and white polka dotted pajamas on. She crawled into bed next to Shakit and pulled the covers over her legs.
Shakit placed his arms over her waist and rested his body next to hers. After a few minutes, Shakit slowly undid the buttons of her shirt. She lifted herself up onto her elbow and turned towards him.
“What are you doing?”
He looked at her with wet eyes, and in that moment, she knew that she had shamed him or hurt him in some way that she didn’t understand.
“Just give me this. Please,” he begged.
Zeena lay back down as he slowly undid the rest of her buttons. He put his arm inside of her shirt and held her waist. They lay there in silence. After only 30 seconds, Zeena heard Shakit’s breath soften into a rhythmic beat. She stayed up and contemplated the pain she caused in someone that wanted to share his life with her, and she began crying in the arms of the man she loved.
Zeena remembered the details of last night as a foggy, distant memory. The words and scene were hazy, but the emotions felt immediate and vivid. Zeena pulled her shirt closed and buttoned it up. She stood up from the bed and walked into the bathroom, closing the door behind her.
Tears streamed down her face as the pleasure and pain of the previous night played in her head. She wondered if anyone felt as empty as she did right now, as if her glass had tipped over and the contents were dripping off the edge of the marble side table. She wanted to stop the dripping, to refill her cup, but the contents had escaped and there was no reclaiming them.
She examined her reflection in the small vanity mirror. She unbuttoned her shirt and studied her body. It felt different, as if guilt and pleasure were written all over her skin, everywhere he had touched her. She buttoned her shirt, wiped her eyes as she peed, and then walked out of the bathroom.
Zeena walked into the kitchen to begin making them breakfast. She pulled the pancake mix from atop the fridge and pulled out the milk from the fridge door. She took out the French press from the white-painted cabinets above the countertop and poured in the boiling water. As she pressed the lever down to pour the coffee into their mugs, Shakit walked into the living room and sat on the recliner. Zeena examined his broad shoulders and back muscles from over the high-bar. She wanted to take his emotional temperature, but she didn’t know where to start.