Teeter Totter

© 2003 Marlene Taylor

It's always been about love, no matter what anyone says. What is there but love? You give it, of course you give it, but then you get it back. Around and around. Like water seeking its own level. You have to have balance.

I gave them everything I had, even when it seemed like it was never enough. And it was different every time. The first one – that was like a bolt from the blue, because the first time I saw her I knew she was the one. Still is. There was nothing I wanted more than to be with her forever, love her forever, and when she looked at me and said she loved me too I thought I would die of happiness. And we were together and I loved her and all that we had. But somehow I let it slip away. I was distracted. I was famous then, and there were so many, so many who wanted just a little bit of me, and gave so much back. I hadn't realized till then how much I loved women, the idea and the reality, and what could I do when I wanted them and they wanted me more?

So I was away more than I should have been. And I got used to the never-ending supply of ready-made love. The more I got, the more I wanted, and if some people called me a has-been at 25, who cared when women were lining up to spread their legs for me?

She left me and I don't blame her, and thirty years later, if she said she wanted me back I'd say yes before her lips stopped moving.

The second one saved my life, because I thought love had given up on me. To lose the first one had hurt so much, knowing it was my fault, and I had to go away and lick my wounds for a good long time. She saw me at my worst and picked me up, dusted me off, and put me back into my life. She wanted what I could give her – a beautiful home, children, stability – and she was all I wanted. For a while. A long while, really. I thought I could live like that. I missed what I had had, but wasn't this new life so much better?

And then of course my fame came back to grab me, and I realized that the women who wanted me had never gone away, they were just waiting for me to come back to them. And I did. When I traveled I could spend every night fucking a different woman. It wasn't till then that I learned how to be a really good lover. Well, it wasn't too hard when they wanted it to be great, and they were willing to do just about anything with me. I learned that although it was great to be able to keep it up all night and fuck till we were breathless, it was the little things that made it special. Licking that smooth space of skin just inside the hipbone. Tracing the curve of calf and thigh, delicately, lingering. Pressing foreheads together, sweat mixing with sweat. And words, words of love and wonder, always asking for more, for it never to end. In the groove. Top of my form. Sometimes I wondered if I was born to do this and nothing else.

I don't know why I thought she would understand, but she didn't, and that was that. I was alone again. And I realized that I didn't want to be alone like that. It wasn't enough to have that love on the road. I needed it at home. I needed something to return to.

So the third one was a fan and that bothered me at first, until I realized she would understand what I needed, and from whom. And she does understand, for now. I think she thinks I'll give it up eventually, and maybe I will. But as long as I come home to her and no one else, in the house we bought and she decorated, she accepts it. For now. She adores me.

It's amazing to me how love endures. Friends since childhood, friends made along the way. The two men who are like brothers, tied to them through strange bonds of madness and smiles. And then there was the other one, the one I looked up to, the one who was everything I ever wanted to be, and what I felt for him was so deep and pure it scared me to death. I was his fan. I wanted so desperately for him to like me, to be part of his secret circle, but even in our friendship I felt like he was favoring me always with an amused, indulgent smile, never completely honest. Even when we fought, and I hated him for his controlling ways and superior attitude, whenever I answered the phone and heard his raspy drawl my heart jumped and my mouth went dry. I tried so hard. He doesn't call me anymore. Sometimes I look at those pictures of us, back then, where I'm talking to him and smiling and I think God, did everyone know it but me?

So much love. There was always love in sex, sweet simple pleasure , such an easy way to give it and receive it. And when you're good at it – and who wouldn't be, with that much practice – you stop worrying about the mechanics and focus on the closeness. The intimacy. How not to be lonely. That's where the connection is, when a woman is under me or on top of me or next to me and she's coming, moaning and jerking to my rhythm; or when she's sucking me off, warm mouth on my cock and her hands on my thighs, trying to make it good for me, better than all the rest. Every one is different. I get hard just thinking about how this one's cunt will taste, or whether that one will want me to fuck her standing up: all different, all wonderful. They love me. I could live on their love. Sometimes I think I do. But I give it back when I can, as often as I can. That's where the balance is.

So you see, in the end, it's all about love. After all, what else matters?

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