I always meant to find out the name of the architect for the school library and send him a note praising his work -- it is important to thank people when they do something well. The construction itself was fairly unremarkable -- ordinary three story building, filled with books and periodicals. There was a feature, however, that redeemed it all for me -- the windows. They were huge, spanning almost entire riverside wall, from the floor to the high ceiling. Their grandeur was ingeniously simple and uncluttered, so as not to take the attention away from what really mattered: the breathtaking view outside.
I often came to the library to study. The noisiness of the main hall irritated me, but I discovered a truly remarkable place -- the map room. Although its entrance was just to the right of the main entryway, most students seemed to pass by without ever noticing it. And there, beyond the tall glass doors, lay the little kingdom of sunshine and quiet. Most of the time, I was its only visitor, sharing my space with the huge maps on the wall and carelessly thrown volumes of some forgotten encyclopedia. The windows were covered by heavy shades patterned with the seal of the institute -- two not entirely Roman-looking men busily proving to the world that everything in life could be achieved through some work of "mens et manus." The shades moved quietly apart as I pulled on the strings, and the room was filled with the light and sunshine.
Outside, past buzzing Memorial drive, Charles River lazily moved its waters, dotted with the white sails of boaters and cut by the blazingly fast crew teams. And behind the Charles, beyond the shallow shell of the Esplanade, lay Boston in all its glory. I never tired of looking at the Boston skyline - businesslike skyscrapers and old churches and squares seemed to get along so beautifully in the midst of the architectural cacophony. The streets, the buildings, the parks, the river, and the endless Institute hallways all radiated the unbounded vitality of life, in all its intricate confusion, mess, and undeniable glory.
In one of my usual visits to the library for a night of study and Boston-gazing, I picked my favorite table in front of the huge window and tried to focus on my homework. The probability problem set I was working on turned out to be not as dull as I expected, so it was quite late when I closed my notebook, feeling good about having completed something.
The sun had set by then, and the lights of the city played and glistened, forming a myriad of ornamental chains. The view always aroused me. Maybe, it was because of the secret exhibitionist in me that liked to sit there in the well-lit room, or because the excitement of the city called for the similar response from my body. The thoughts of copulations, active and passionate, flashed through my mind; the confetti of images of beautiful women and men, convulsed in pleasure of intimacy and raw sexual power, danced in my head.
It's not common, even for a woman, but ever since I was twelve, I have known that just the right combination of grinding my legs together and squeezing a particular set of muscles, coupled with some very intense fantasies, would invariably cause me to orgasm. The action was simple and fast: no hands involved, and nobody needs to notice. I've done it in public places - in that very library, in that very seat. It was not spectacular, but it was satisfying enough, and it helped me quiet my ever-active imagination.
That time, however, filled with the inspiration of having completed one problem set, I wanted to continue working. Reluctantly turning away from the view, I picked another desk, facing away from the window. But I was too busy battling with my own sex drive to be able to concentrate on the problems of good system design. I read for a bit, then closed my eyes and sat still, welcoming the images that came to mind.
I must have dozed off, for the next thing I knew was a feeling of warm hands on my shoulders, massaging away the knots acquired during the day. Yawning, I tilted my head back until it hit a flanneled stomach and I was looking up at one of the most gorgeous chins I've ever seen. There is a spot on a male body that fascinates me -- it's the place where the chin meets the neck: the confluence of shared curves is breathtaking in its natural fluidity and beauty.
"Hi, Dave," I mouthed, still half-yawning, "I saw you when I came in. Are you done working desk now?"
"Well, seeing how it's midnight, it's about time, don't you think? I'm closing the library - you're the last one left."
"Do you always give the last person a neck rub?"
"Well, it's a special service from the library to our last customer of the day." He smiled, as I relaxed against his nimble fingers.
"Mmm, you have good fingers - strong and expert. I see you've had plenty of practice on your 'last customers.'"
"Jealous, aren't we?"
"What is there to be jealous of? All the better for me now."
"Good," he said and bent down to kiss my forehead.
Dave and I have been flirting for a while now. Neither of us was looking for anything permanent, but we exchanged hugs and occasional kisses and cuddling.
His hands became gentle now. Instead of massaging my back, he pulled aside the collar of my turtleneck and started moving his fingers over my neck, gently, softly, barely touching my skin. The action was both tender and arousing.
"That feels nice," I said.
"Glad you like it."
His fingers were on my face now, moving in circles over my temples, on my cheeks, by my mouth. His thumbs touched my lips and I stuck out my tongue, trying to draw them into my mouth, but he quickly moved his hands away. "Shh, patience," he smiled, placing his hands back on my face only to move them to my chin, then ears, then the front of my neck. His slow, deliberate, light motions had their effect: my head was now comfortably resting against his belly, as I took deep breaths to draw in his musky scent.
There exists a stage in woman's arousal levels, at which she is not yet enveloped in all-consuming passion, and yet every movement, every tentative touch, registers with magnificent clarity across every tiny part of her body, spreading in waves of most exquisite pleasure. The most that she can do then is to lie back, enjoying the caresses; the languid warmth prevents any active moves, but makes receiving so much more acutely sensual. At those times, even the surrounding air seems imbued with growing sensuality.
I was in such a place then - swimming in the warmth of my own response. His hands, encouraged by my sighs and content smile, grew bolder, lifting my turtleneck and caressing the exposed strip of flesh right above my jeans, teasing my sides and dipping lower, below the waistband to play with my belly button. He must have been getting uncomfortable in his position; he was bent over the edge of the chair to reach down to my lap. Grasping my sides, he pulled me up, and I stood in front of him. Holding me from the back, he continued his exploration, reaching up to my breasts and teasing the nipples through the layers of fabric.
Growing restless, he started to lift my turtleneck. I neither resisted nor helped him in that endeavor, and he tugged further, lifting it with one swift motion until it was over my head, forcing my arms upwards. But instead of continuing his motions, he grasped my wrists above my head with one hand, using the fingers of the other to unclasp my bra.
"Are you nuts?" I gasped in surprise. "What are you doing? Someone will see us from outside."
"Anyone wandering on Memorial Drive at this time wouldn't care what's going on inside here."
"Oh yeah, what about campus police?"
"I saw their car drive by right before I woke you up - they won't be back for at least another half an hour. "
I relaxed a bit, thinking that he was tall enough that nobody would be able to see me from behind him anyway. Meanwhile, his right hand continued its quest, pulling my bra upwards and letting it rest on top of my breasts, while his fingers reached for my right nipple. I couldn't see anything because of the turtleneck draped over my head, and my arms felt awkward sticking up like that. I tried to free my wrists, but his hand held me tightly. Suddenly, he grabbed me roughly and swung me around, so that I was the one facing the window; he was now standing behind me. I froze for a moment, not believing what he had done, then became angry.
"Let me go! Stop this! Let go of me!" I was struggling to free myself as hard as I could, shaking my body in outrage. But he was stronger than I, and already had control of my arms; the folds of fabric getting in my mouth muffled my screams.
Holding my body close to his, he replied softly: "Come on, I am not going to hurt you. Nobody you know would be out there at this time. As for possible passers-by, it might tickle your fancy to be on display like this for a little while. They don't know you, you don't know them, but I bet you look absolutely stunning here, in the bright light."
"Fuck you!" I was angry, but not scared. Somewhere in the back of my mind I made a mental note to be careful what I wish for in my fantasies. These thoughts coupled with his words had a calming effect, and I no longer struggled against him. Thinking that I had no choice but to resign myself to his power, I steadied myself, resting my body against his.
"You are wonderful," he whispered, feeling me relax next to him. His right hand, no longer needing to control me, moved back to my breast. He kneaded and molded it, stretching my skin and making it surge with blood. Suddenly, he stopped his onslaught and instead moved his fingers on slow spiraling trajectory around my nipple. I gasped when he finally landed on the swollen center, erect under his probing fingers. Twisting and pulling it, he elicited from me moans of pleasure, which only encouraged him to continue his ministrations.
At first I tried to block out any thought of my position - perhaps, if I forgot where and how I was, I could concentrate on the pleasure Dave was giving me. My only reassurance was that my face and hair were covered by my turtleneck -- at least the passers-by would not recognize me. But even that wasn't enough to take my thoughts off my situation. Instead, the image of Boston lights filled my mind, and I could not help but picture myself: standing in the middle of a lighted room, in front of the huge windows, exposed to anyone on this side of the river and beyond, sweater over my head, arms high up, top bare, chest exposed, Dave pulling on my nipple, my body contorted in pleasure... or would they think it was in pain? Worried again, I tried to mention it to Dave.
"You are far too reasonable." He chuckled. "OK, have it your way." He released my wrists, lowering his hand to cover my breast. I was free now -- free to pull down my shirt, free to push him away, free to yell at him or run away. Instead, I stood still, as if in indecision. But who was I kidding? I sighed and pulled my arms slightly back, arching my back further, pressing my breasts into his warm hands. Now nobody could suppose I was being forced -- it was my choice, my shame, and my pleasure.
Meanwhile, Dave lowered his mouth to the back of my neck, flicking his tongue on my skin, licking and teasing it. His arms wrapped around me, his hands were pulling on my nipples, more insistently now. He started grinding his body into mine. His breath grew ragged and the soft flicks of his tongue changed to bites. I pushed back at him, increasing the tempo, breathing hard and moaning.
He let go of my breasts, unzipped my pants and pushed his hands under the elastic of my underwear. But the tight jeans didn't leave much room for roaming, and, impatiently, he withdrew the hands, grabbed the sides of the jeans and underwear and tugged them down almost to my knees in one fast motion. I was completely exposed now. The jeans on my knees, the sweater over my head and the bra hanging above my breast only magnified the feeling of nakedness: feeling their fabric on my legs and arms reminded me of what they were not covering. Cool air, combined with the heat of Dave's breath and the ravishing movements of his hands made me dizzy; the images of passers-by watching me in ecstasy made me progress from dizziness to almost swooning. My knees were shaking, but I tried not to fall, so as not to lose the eagerness of Dave's fingers, now busily buried in me.
I knew that I was close and didn't want to hold the release any longer. Grinding myself against Dave, I urged him on, hither and hither towards the ultimate pleasure. The images in my mind spun around, colliding and twisting into an infinitely complicated and exciting collage that pulsated in rhythm with my vibrations. Dave's thumb reached slightly higher and started moving in tiny circles; and as it slid around the slippery surface, I shook with feeling, ready to crumble under the pleasure waves. The orgasm, so powerful that I would not dare to compare it to anything I've experienced before, possessed me until I could no longer stand up and slid along Dave's body, still glowing in the aftershocks.
Did Shakespeare use "little death" as a euphemism for orgasm? Was it a standard thing to say at that time? A little death, indeed. Well, momentary loss of consciousness and reasoning are certainly there; but the trouble is, no matter how little of a death it is, you must awake to face the consequences. Strong emotions have a way of transforming into each other -- grief into happiness, pleasure into sadness. In this case my pulsating joy suddenly turned to almost hysterical panic as I came out of the sweet narcosis of sexuality: what had I done? What if someone saw me? What if someone I knew had seen me? What will Dave think? I was at once terrified, fearful, and angry with myself. Unreasonable? Perhaps, but at that time I wasn't thinking clearly.
Almost crying now, I hastened to get my clothes into some semblance of order. As I started nervously to tug the sweater down, it occurred to me that the first thing I should do was turn away from the window. Caught in the folds of fabric on my shoulders, neck, and chin, but having freed my eyes, I twisted to get away from the haunting window. And then, glancing at what I expected to be my last view of the now-feared street, I froze in mid-turn. Where I expected to see convoluted strings of lights and the glare of rushing past cars, was just a gray wall. It took a moment for my eyes to focus and for me to realize that I was looking at the mass of fabric hanging from the valence bar. The wide gray folds were covered by burgundy ovals with outlines of two men, one with a book, another holding a hammer, and the words "Mens et Manus" underneath. The shades were closed.