A Perverse Act of Gentility




Continuing to catalogue old writings, here is another of the 2004 Shayna series. Again, in deference to my younger self, editing was kept to a minimum. Therefore, judge lightly 😉 Related post: “The Wave”

A Perverse Act of Gentility
Martin leaned in toward Shayna.
The scene was a common one in the months that followed their
introduction. Shayna found comfort and excitement in Martin’s company,
ping-ponging opinions about movies, politics, South Park. Martin was pleasantly
knowledgeable, funny, and one of Shayna’s few friends at school with whom she
felt she could be her true quirky self.
Mostly, they convened at his apartment, smoked pot or drank
cheap wine, and watched a movie. Shayna would courteously depart some nights
more quickly than others, if Martin had, as he usually did, edged toward her
during the course of the movie. On other nights, Shayna would repeat into Martin’s contorted pleading eyes that she loved his company, but wasn’t interested
in anything romantic with anyone at the
Of course, this wasn’t entirely true, but to say she found
his breath odorsome, his teeth overlarge, and his physique lacking would
certainly have led to an irreparable rift in their friendship, and leave her quite
alone again.
This night however, Martin was not content with her excuses.
“Don’t you find me attractive?” he demanded when she pulled
“It’s not that,” Shayna defended, weakened by the cheap
wine, most of which had emptied itself down her throat, not his. “You know that
I just don’t want anything romantic with anyone right now. I love spending time
with you; we have a great time. Why does it have to be different?”
“Because I like you! Because for months we’ve sat on this
couch, and I’ve wanted to kiss you, and I’ve respected you enough not to.”
“Well, I appreciate your chivalry, Martin,” she attempted
without sarcasm, “but that doesn’t change how I feel. It would change our
friendship, and I really don’t want to see that happen.” The topic was tiresome
to her–the bent truths, white lies; it drained her – is this all men wanted
from her?
The look of pure, fulfilled joy on his sleeping face
sickened her. She crept from his bed at the first slant of light, forgetting
her rings on his desktop, and blinked into the street.
No, she hadn’t kissed Martin out of force, but rather out of
exhaustion, to be rid of the topic. He’d placed his hands so gently on her body,
skimming her parts.
And she was angry.
She’d compromised herself, and wanted the weight of it to be
congruous with the act. If he’d ground
into her, panting with lust, she’d have understood. She could easily let her pall of cheap, whoring disgust fall into
an eerie abyss of disregard–it was a feeling she was familiar with.
But he hadn’t. He’d brushed over her lovingly, admiringly.
And she hated him for it. For prolonging her shame with each slow touch. For distorting the act into a caricature of true feeling.
Arms folded tight against her, Shayna stalked home in
humiliation and disgust for the man who’d held her like an angel. 

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