It’s getting warmer here in Australia, Spring slowly rolling into Summer. The rosellas are flirty, all coy glances and side shimmies towards each other, working out who they’re going to fly away with. More skin is being bared in town as bikinis and boardies reappear after winter’s chill. Sand sugars calves, bellies and shoulders, enticing me to the beach, the sea, the sun.
I wake in the middle of the night, too warm in the flannelette sheets, an ache low in my belly, skin throbbing from a disappearing dream. There’s a bird calling from somewhere nearby, pausing to listen for an answer that – as yet – hasn’t come. The cadence of the call soothes my impatient twitching as I consider the ceiling and lie there, waiting. Waiting for my pulse to slow, the burn to ease, for sleep to drag me back to senselessness.
I sleep alone. I am nearly divorced, have no interest in dating, yet my sexuality isn’t filed away somewhere for safekeeping, confined to the “male/female” box on the doctor’s forms, or the “single” note on my insurance. My body remembers the years I spent lying beside my husband, with him, the countless touches shared each day. Years of casual and deliberate contact which far outweigh the past fifteen months spent solo, and my body continues to demand some sort of physicality, some tactile assurance that my nerves haven’t fried, that my senses are still working and processing, that I am still covered in skin that can touch and be felt in return.
A peculiar result of being single is I’ve become more sensually aware. I better appreciate and enjoy the pull of my muscles at the gym and when running. I’ve noticed that a hug from my brother is decidedly and physically different from a hug from my sister. The smell of jasmine stops me in my tracks momentarily, but for those seconds I stand eyes closed, letting the perfumed breeze rearrange my hair. Listening to Nina Simone sing “Feeling Good” makes me liquid, sexy, alive, and I can’t help but sway as it plays.
I shave my legs, because it feels good to be smooth. I paint my toes because it makes me happy, not because I want attention. I’m halfway through watching Colin Firth in “Pride and Prejudice” because, well, it’s Colin Firth, and the storyline in this instance happens to be the secondary enjoyment. Some of these actions may be cultural conditioning, some may be hormonal, but whatever category applies, they connect the inner me with the physical self I am wrapped in, bundling me into a more complete and satisfied whole.
Is your skin something you are comfortable in? Is enjoying your physical body and senses easy or difficult? Why? What makes you feel feminine, sensual, sexy?