"It happens to a lot of guys."
She said sweetly as he rolled off her, grateful that the room was shrouded in darkness, obscuring his face.
"Yeah" he muttered softly in reply.
She lay there awkwardly not knowing how to proceed, unsure of what to say or not say. He could feel her uncertainty and it irritated him. The sheets rustled gently in the shadows and he saw the silhouette of her lithe form turn on its side to face him. Her hand reached out to touch his arm and gently stroke it suggestively.
"We can try again later." She cooed, and he could tell that she just didn't quite comprehend the scope of his failure. He was too virile a lover to be unmanned so capriciously, without whiskey, drugs, or injury to explain it. She simply didn't understand. How could she?
"Yeah" he intoned, throwing a hint of soft sultry edge into his voice; a false promise of things to come. He could feel her smile in the dark as she sat up and lit a clove cigarette, her face momentarily illuminated in the chiaroscuro flash of smoke and spice.
"I don't get it." She said coyly, "five minutes ago you were making me scream your name," she grinned a billowing cloud of smoke in his direction, slowly sliding across the covers towards him.
"I might have forgotten it by now." She interpreted his smirk as a positive sign.
"Maybe you just need a few minutes to regroup." Her nails began to trace little circles on his thigh.
He leaned over, kissed her, and lied.
"Probably. I think I just overdid it at the gym today. Let's just lie here for a few minutes. It's a beautiful night."
The sliding door was open, and the warm summer breeze caressed the curtains into delicate ripples. The air was scented with jasmine and herbs from the garden outside and blended sweetly with the clove in her hand. She was so damn sexy. But he couldn't tell her the truth. Yes, five minutes ago he had been pounding her into another screaming orgasm. Everything had been going like clockwork, with the skilled precision and technique that only a master of the craft can make seem organic. The rhythm of her breath and subtle shift of her weight told him when to apply pressure and where. The angle of her feet, the clenching of her jaw, the flaring of her nostrils; all indicators of her arousal level. Sex wasn't natural to him, his gift was in making it appear natural. Women were amazed at his ability to anticipate with uncanny accuracy what they wanted next; but the truth was that their bodies told him everything long before their minds caught on. And when a man knows what a woman wants before she does, all that's required is a firm grip of hair at the base of her skull, a fixed penetrating preternatural stare, and to watch as she can't help but surrender to you, her will melting into screaming ecstasy. It had always been like that for him.
But there was a price.
He wasn't like other men; most of whom perceive women through two narrow perspectives. The first is simple; lust. A man sees a woman and is aroused by the thought of the pleasure she can bring him; the curves of her body yielding to his strength, her eyes filling with wonder and joy at the realization that she's cumming again by his command, under his control, his power. The other way in which men, most men, normal men, consider women, is through the eyes of legacy, of family. A man beholds a woman and something magical happens; a door in his soul opens to her, he sees her as more than just a means of pleasure; her splendor is revealed to him in all its glory as a gateway to future life. She is the light that will carry his seed into eternity, the vessel that will bear his children. When a man sees his woman this way, a different archetype is activated in his psyche; she is no longer the sex goddess, the nymph, the temptress; she is the mother of all the gods. He doesn't merely lust after her, he wants to fill her, he wants to pour all his generational potentiality into her, he wants to sacrifice himself upon her altar of immortality. She is the face of the world, of hope, of life itself. And he loves her.
That's how a normal man feels. But not him.
How could he admit to her the real reason for his impotency. It wasn't fatigue. It was an unbidden thought from earlier in the day; a casual statement made in passing at dinner. Something he had overheard her say to her sister while they were cooking dinner chatting about feminine mysteries.
"Omg I seriously had this pain in my side this morning and I'm convinced I'm ovulating like hard core!" They laughed.
He hadn't thought anything about it; until he was fucking her five minutes ago. "Ovulating?" He thought. "Ovulating." The word lashed out at him, sapping his vitality. Ovulation means life. And life is suffering. She might be ovulating. That meant she had the potential to get pregnant. What if they had a "whoops" during their lovemaking?"
A 'whoops'?" he thought. What a strange euphemism the girls used for utter calamity, catastrophe, doom, damnation, and unrecoverable grief.
To bring a life into this world was the most sinful, selfish, wicked thing he could imagine. To damn a soul to this hell and call it a "whoops"; how strange. He knew this wasn't normal thinking. It bordered on a pathological nihilism so profound that it scared him to contemplate how much it reflected his secret loathing of life.
Of life, but not innocence.
That was a sacred thing which needed to be protected at all costs. A baby giggling or a puppy snuggling could bring him to tears, and he would do anything to protect them. It was the futility of that burning quest which made him hate life, despise the world, and feel nothing but contempt for the breeders who thoughtlessly perpetuated the cycle of suffering through their naive and arrogant delusion that their special little replicants could somehow make a difference; alter the course of humanity, mute the fated horror that awaits any soul unlucky enough to be born.
Sometimes he imagined that if an asteroid was on a collision course with the planet, destined to wipe out all life on earth, he would just raise his arms to the cold unfeeling void as it plunged into the hysterical, pleading, bacteria of humanity, and die laughing. His problem wasn't sexual, it was spiritual. His inability to perform had nothing to do with the absence of hormones in his blood, but with the void in his soul; a great gaping chasm of hatred for the world, of life, and of all the suffering it demanded. This beautiful creature before him, this woman whom he loved more than anything, who was the only anchor mooring his wretched adrift soul; she deserved so much more than the emptiness he had to offer, she only wanted to love and to be loved, and to share that love with the world...and she might be ovulating.
And that was a crime for which his body offered no pardon.
She snuggled closer and kissed his ear. "Hey you" she whispered coquettishly.
But the only response she received was a long, slow, tremulous snore.
"Oh man you weren't kidding about overdoing it today" she snickered to herself. "Ok baby I'll let you sleep" she said in the playful lighthearted voice that couples often adopt with each other. "You can make it up to me tomorrow."
She rolled over and adjusted the covers to get comfortable. Soon she was sleeping peacefully, her breathing steady and deep. But her lover lay beside her, wide awake. His mind racing through every moment of their copulation, calculating every permutation of error, every possibility of how things could have gone wrong; and the permanent damage that would have resulted; a lifetime of terror, resentment, and regret.
"You have to be more careful" he reprimanded himself while taking a deep calming breath.
"You have to be careful."
"Life is merciless."
Copyright © 2017 Short Stories by Christopher Daniel Barnes - All Rights Reserved.