Excerpt from “My sister is in Paris”

She’s there. She’s vulnerable. She’s fresh. And he’s … They twirl together to the rhythm of the music. Twirling faster than the multicolored disco lights. Beads of sweat run down his sideburns and through the pointy neck of her blouse but they are oblivious. She just wants to forget. About rules. About obligations. To convince herself that she’s free from the prison inside her head. She pounds the little voice out with each beat of the music, each pulse of her heart. Seize the night, she thinks with a smile and a grimace. He gazes at her as their bodies move together. Though they are but an inch away from one another, it may as well be hemispheres. She’s afraid to close her eyes and afraid to look into his. Her hair sizzles as it sweeps around in a turn. His deft hands fling her body about as if she is a yoyo.

That night they all walk home on the dimly lit street. They are the only ones on it, a bunch of laughing, stumbling drunks having a good time. She gawks at him, oblivious to shoulds, shouldn’ts, and to the echoes of the other voices. They are oblivious of her, sensing only the bottles slipping from their hands and crashing into a million glittered shards on the cold and unyielding cement. They think of laughter, of fun, of Paris. The city has all to offer them and for the moment, they feel no guilt and no responsibility. There is no thought of the future – only of now.

Somehow she ends up in his room. They have all left her to fall face down in their own havens. The lucky ones make it home alone. She isn’t even really drunk yet, he can tell. Her vision is much too sharp. He offers her a glass of wine and leans in towards to her. The glass slips through her fingers but he catches it with his hand. He is too slow and the wine creates a blood colored lake on the tile floor, just a little one, shaped like a flower. But they don’t see it. She takes a sip of wine while he lights the candles. She glances around the room nervously. Her head is telling her to leave right now. She shouldn’t even be here.

But soon there is only the light of the candles and soon all becomes blurry, even her vision. And he is kissing her. And they are on his bed.

“And why not do it with him,” she thinks to herself. “He doesn’t matter to me, and the first time is always painful right? Why not get it over with? At least he is good looking. But I have been saving myself for love – for marriage. What about Abel? What am I even doing here? It goes against all my instincts. Or does it? I swore I would never do this, that it would be the most precious gift I could give to my husband. And what if I get pregnant?”

As if reading her thoughts, he pulls out a condom.

“No,” she says, “I don’t want to.”

“Why not?”

She cannot think of a decent reply. He nods kindly, taking her silence as acquiescence. He slips it on. She feels a sense of finality. All she sees is his wave of glossy black hair. It is in her face. It shimmers blacker than the darkness around them.

“No, I just can’t. Please.” She whispers weakly, somehow knowing that she must give in now. It’s too late- he will say she led him on.

“Shhh,” he whispers, “I’ll be gentle. It will soon be over. Don’t you trust me?”

She is about to say, “How could I? I just met you.” But he is pushing inside.

“Ow, that hurts,” she cries.

He covers her mouth with his palm and closes his eyes. She thinks about how this is wrong. But she stops resisting as she feels the burst shoot up inside of her. She moans softly while he pants and thinks, “It’s all over.”

She lies unmoving for a while, gazing at the moonlight. He hands her some paper towels and she cleans herself off. She walks over to the windows and leans against the wall. The buildings cast soft shadows across the lawn. He comes up behind her and encircles her affectionately in his arms.

“People will see us” he says, “but then it doesn’t matter. Are you afraid? This must be a special moment for you- for girls the first time is always special, no?”

“No” she replies coldly, the moonlight glancing off of her. She is made of steel. It is a game she is learning to play; one she is trying to master, starting now.

He looks into her eyes but she doesn’t look back. He sighs and walks over to the sink. He starts brushing her taste out of his mouth methodically. The white foam in his mouth overflows into the sink before he is ready to rinse.

When she awakes, the sun is shining mockingly in her eyes. She laughs now at the absurdity of her memory of last night. She is happy that it is done but wishes at the same time that she could forget. Her laughter drowns in the intensity of the sunlight in her mouth, in her ears, in her eyes and hair. She squints and turns over but sleep is beyond her reach. Propping herself up on her elbow, she throws him a glance. He is still in deep slumber. Her eyes follow his arching nose and rest on his swollen lips. And she knows at that moment she can walk away.


About Jean C Wong

I am a world traveler, writer, photographer, and teacher. I've lived all over the world and speak 5 languages.


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