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I end up at his house--I've never been here before even though I've known him forever—it's incredibly huge, like a mansion, but it's old and not fancy—just really big, lots of wood, and rooms two stories high with ceilings so far up you wonder what the space between the crown of your head and the eventual ceiling is for, but you know it has an effect on your body, having that much space.


I am sitting on a couch, this sleek, long, black thing in this one big room of his, and the place is lit red, with soft lamps all around, making me think that maybe I never really knew him that well after all, but loving it, though I've always loved him on some level, many levels. How I end up wearing lingerie, I don't know—never really been my style, to wear black lacey things, with straps that hold and prop and hug, but here I am, my presence completing some red and black burlesque aura about the whole place. There is no doubt—I do not look like myself, I look like somebody else, someone very tall and blonde perhaps, but I feel like myself, even with silky red and black colouring me and a flower in my hair, and red lips.


He goes to get me a drink. I cross my legs, slyly--my shiny heels click together, my thin nylons create subtle friction between my thighs. He returns, hands me the drink, disappears again. I sip slowly, and am suddenly truly exhausted. I place the drink on the table and lie down on the slippery couch, which happens to be comfortable. I'm not cold, though I normally would be on a satin couch, in lingerie—the place is warm.


When I wake up, I am suspended from the ceiling--like a chandelier, I think. There are ropes, or maybe it's all one rope skillfully fastened at all the right junctures to hold me, hug, me prop me. The rope is cloth and not too coarse, and its thickness has the effect of cradling me as a hammock rather than constraining as a trap to wear through me. It winds around my torso, under one arm, and catches me behind both knees, the whole contraption tilting me at a slight angle, and the rope cuffing my left ankle with a slight pull upward and out, having the effect of subtly exposing my inner thigh to the warm red glow of the room. I feel the sex in my pose, but it's subdued, not outright, like the sex in it is located not in the pose itself, but rather, in my mind, that innermost border--as though the situation of having been placed in this position is tonguing the central, ongoing crevice that runs like a river between every one of my thoughts. I am still wearing black lace.


As I gain my bearings, I look down and spot him, realizing all at once with a dull, pulsing shock that he must have drugged me and proceeded to string me up. I am so far from the ground. How dare he?, I think. What a violation, and how inappropriate. But I cannot escape that feeling—the warm red glow at my centre, how carefully soothed and exposed it is, precisely this way—the slightest shift of the rope would change that. Was this what I had wanted? He is looking up at me, his head cocked, eyes—are they gentle? Yes. Or if they're not, whatever they are it's just as good as gentle—gentle is closely related. Is he laughing? I, who laugh at everything, feel heat surge up the back of my neck and ears as I realize that he is not. He has me, he has me there. We look at each other, and slowly I begin to let him see. With a choice, I would not show him, I realize hotly as the red alights me; given a choice, I would laugh and turn away.

The possibility that he might know me explains why I have known him all this time, why I've come with him to this place. Is it possible that he knows me? All these years he has seen how to keep me esconced while inhabiting my periphery, shuffling darkly in the margins, blowing a kiss once every eternity or so, the breeze of it cooling the ongoing crevice that runs like a road between every one of my loves. Take me down, I say, after a while, though I'm not sure if I say this out loud. He quietly lets me down.


I peek into a few of the other rooms in the house after this, on my way to find the bathroom. Each one is more spacious than the last. A warm glow emanates from one of them, as I approach. A quick peek sends a jolt straight through me, as I catch sight of a woman, hanging low, from the ceiling, at the end of a very long rope. She is low enough that someone could reach up and touch her head. She is entirely naked, tight black curls framing her serene face even as she hangs straight upside down by her closely fastened ankles. She is swaying back and forth like an acrobat, doing sit-ups in the air as she goes. Her breasts are large, much larger than mine, and they stretch for the floor, jiggling every way they can as she goes.


I keep walking, faster now, and see another warm light coming from a room at the end of the hall, slightly pinker than the last. Looking in, and up, I see a woman, her back to the door, hanging high, and very close to the ceiling by a rope. She is wearing a tight black sweater, and nothing else. She is directly in front of a long, oddly placed window, which frames her form almost perfectly. While her arms are tied tight to hug her chest, each hand resting on one of her shoulders, both of her ankles are pulled high so she is doing the splits, straight and symmetrical, as she faces the outside. Her wavy brown hair is just long enough to tickle the top of her bare ass. I can almost feel it myself—the faint tingle--as I pass her by. A part of me wants to enter the room and stand below her, see what she feels.

I turn a corner and find the bathroom, a small, squat hovel of a space with a toilet squeezed in, and the seat is cold, making it hard for me to let go. I don't know how long it takes me.


I am anxious as I walk back down the hall, not stopping to look or see who is where. Back in the reddish room, he is wrapping rope around his hand. I wonder if he appears to all of us at once; are there secret doors leading from room to room? Or are there other men? Maybe I don't understand. I, who question everything, feel heat surge up the back of my neck and ears as I remember again that we've  never had any answers. He has me there. We look at each other, and I tell him that I would like to do it again. I would like to repeat the whole experience. He nods, and I think how much of my noise I can hear with all of his quiet.

We do it all again. He drugs my drink, I fall asleep, I wake up strung up to the sky-high ceiling, this time in a slightly different pose, knees bent to create a loose triangle, toes pointing down as an arrow, a black lace ribbon or two undone; I can feel them loose on the skin of my shoulder and calve—feels like my whole get-up could fall apart at any moment.
I look down and see him there, below. He is looking straight at me. Something has changed, again. We are both in the room still but it's not what it was, I think, and I wonder if he thinks so--I have wondered this before. I think to myself how it's time to get dressed, for real this time, my thoughts resuming their normal pace. Whether or not he feels me, I can't say, but he slowly lets me down.

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