I wrote this piece in late October and soon after embarked on National Novel Writing Month. In a fit of recklessness I decided to use it as my opening vignette for the novel. I call it reckless because there was no forethought about the implications of having a main character, well, you’ll have to read it…. But, anyway, faced with the insurmountable thing that is beginning, I grabbed something that was already written. My reasoning was that it would be hard enough writing a novel-length piece, never mind figuring out enough about the plot to know where to begin. It may sort itself into a novel at some point, or it may fall apart into a series of vignettes. I may share them, I may not. I’m sharing this one, because I like it. I don’t think anyone in the novel does anything half as interesting after this. But I could be wrong. Most of it was written in a black-out state of slavery to a word count.
Chrissy pulled into a diagonal spot on Main Street in Harleyville, turned off the car and sat. The engine softly ticked. Up since 4:30 that morning, she was already tired and the day was just beginning. A seminar for work lasting the whole day came with the consolation of having time to do some shopping in Harleyville, a hip little town right off the interstate, roughly between the capital and the Massachusetts border.
She yawned and stretched, letting out a ferocious yowl, then looked out at the still-sleepy street to find no one about. Unable to focus on anything in particular, the memory of that series she’d been watching on Amazon came into focus. The lead character had admitted so casually to her boyfriend as they walked down the street with shopping bags in hand, their breath showing as they laughed, that she’d ducked into a restroom and “wanked off.”
That’s what I need, thought Chrissy. She knew, as anyone who visited Harleyville knew, exactly where the public restrooms were. The Shining Tide Coffee Shop, the little Wayside Mall, and the ice cream shop, now closed. Okay, she thought, I’ll go get a chai and use the restroom there. She smiled to herself as she crossed the street, the few cars honoring her presence in the crosswalk. Anticipation was always at least half the turn-on.
Once in the Shining Tide, teeming with people, some in running duds, some in Hallowe’en costumes, Chrissy ordered her chai and wove her way through the groups of chatting people to the restroom out back. She saw from ten paces the door was ajar. She knocked anyway, went it and locked the door. She couldn’t help but glance into the toilet. She cringed. Might as well use it, she thought, and after wiping down the surfaces, she did.
When she was done, she fastened her pants and leaned up against a wall, closing her eyes. She tried rubbing herself through her clothes. Nothing. She turned out the light and left the fan running. Nothing. The activity and noise from the other side of the door were impossible to filter out. All feeling of turn-on had evaporated. She washed her hands and left.
Still, it was nice being in the busy coffeeshop. A woman who was waiting for a coffee struck up a conversation with her. “I could have just ordered a decaf,” she shouted. “I’m going to meet a friend in New Hampshire.” “Oh,” Chrissy nodded. “Yes.” She smiled. The woman, everyone in here, she thought, is good people. Just fine people. Her chai arrived. She stuffed a dollar bill into the tip jar and left.
As soon as she was again crossing the street, walking toward her car, the horniness returned. What other options did she have? Wait till the end of the day? Find somewhere else? What about the car? God knows she’d done about everything else in there – ate, napped, clipped her nails, broken up, wept, tweezed – Why not? She peered into the cars parked along Main facing the same way as her car. She actually couldn’t see into them. Not the seats.
She got in, put the chai in the cupholder and locked the door. Checking out the cars on either side of her, she was sure they were empty. She let the seat back a little and reached her hand down into her pants. Yes. This would work. Again she decided not to undo anything. It’s never the same once you stand up. With her eyes open and softly focused on the sidewalk in front of her car, she gently pleasured herself, savoring the sensations, letting herself melt into them. An old man appeared on the walk. Focused intently on the ground ahead of his feet, he didn’t glance up as she came. A big woman wearing a flowered dress, nylons and black orthopedic shoes came strolling after him, looking the other way, studying the store windows.
Chrissy enjoyed waves of pleasure that gradually receded. She closed her eyes. “Yes,” she said. This is how it could be all the time, if people would only let it be okay to be sexual, for pleasure and pleasuring to be okay, for it to be non-threatening, just like the people on the sidewalk are not a threat to me, she thought. “This could be okay,” she said aloud, gazing at the peaceful street, now waking up.
She lay her head back on the leather car seat and sighed. She closed her eyes tight against quick, unexpected tears. “This could be okay,” she said again. “People, people,” she whimpered. “This is okay.”
A torrent of a vision poured through her expanded awareness, a vision of a world at peace with itself, as every woman and man, at peace with themselves, started a movement of public pleasuring, public peaceful pleasuring, spreading – was it possible? – Peace Through Public Orgasm? A movement of nonviolent public peace, starting, perhaps, in cars. People would know there might be peaceful sex going on anywhere. People would not threatened by sex. Sex would not confused with anything else: power, possession, politics. Her exes, her boss, her confused mother, even her enemies deserved this. What if all humanity had this peaceful, okay sex? What if we were that secure?
She reached her arm out blindly and brought the hot chai tea to her lips. The warm, sweet, spicy liquid made by the hands of the barista, infused with the energy of the coffee shop was the perfect chaser to her orgasm. “Mmmm,” she cooed. “Yummy.”
She replaced the chai, pulled the seat back up, turned the key, and slowly backed out into traffic. The middle finger of her left hand smelled like sex. She found some hand cream in the glove box, and, smiling contentedly now, she checked the address of the nearest building and headed for her seminar.