VALERIE ALEXANDER

  • Tongue in Cheek is out

    I'm late to the party on this - Tongue in Cheek came out this spring and I completely forgot to mention it or several release events. Anyhow. It's from For Books' Sake, which is a charitable organization dedicated to championing writing by women, through online editorial, publishing projects, events, workshops and more. And their very laudable mission is to "create a community that centres, supports and champions writing by women and girls, challenging inequality and empowering women and girls of all backgrounds to tell their stories and have their voices heard." Pretty cool, right?

    My story "Blinded and Falling" took a twisted path to this collection. I wrote this several years ago for now-defunct British magazine Filament; they raved over it but went out of business before they could publish it; I then submitted it to two Cleis submission calls and it got soundly rejected by both. This wasn't terribly surprising as it's a story with two strikes against it - it's told in the second person and it's a sad story of narrator haunted by a colossal romantic mistake. And yet here it is with a home at last, in a British collection. So maybe this story just had a British destiny.

    Here's an excerpt:

    In my secret life, you’re addicted to me. You finger me while you’re driving, you grope me under my camisole in the store. We never get enough of each other. We’re one of those couples who show up late at dinner parties with guilty smiles and everyone exchanges disgusted glances, because animal lust is so juvenile at our age. We revel in it, it’s what governs us the way tax accountants and two-year-olds govern our friends. You tie me to the bed and cuff my mouth before grinding me into a fevered, mindless delirium. I’ve no sooner come home from shopping than you pull me out of the car and make me service you on the garage floor, until my knees ache on the chilly oil-stained concrete. You are six feet of butch, smoldering intelligence. I am totally and helplessly yours.

    Just like before, you know exactly how to touch me. A sexual cartographer, you’ve mapped every nerve and landmine of my body. Surrendering to you is like drowning because you and only you know how to make my senses rise higher than my intellect. It’s your detachment that does it, the way you can put me on your lap and play with my clit so idly while you read the business pages. The cool refinement of your voice as you argue persuasively about the water crisis at a party while my thighs are still ringed from your teeth.

    You dress me in a sexy maid outfit and ridiculous stilettos, you fuck me gagged and blindfolded for hours until I don’t know if it’s day or night. You swagger in from your soccer games soaked with sweat, your short sandy hair a rumpled mess, and strip down out of your uniform, showing off those long, muscled legs and hard abs while refusing to let me touch you. While I’m at work, the smell of your cunt haunts me all day like a miasma. I never really come alive until I’m bent over the sofa and you take possession of me like a masterful owner.

    The rhythmic thud of your heart is my touchstone. Something so small and quotidian, but because you’re mine in this life, I can feel it whenever I want. I never take it for granted. I rest my hand on your chest at the movies, in the produce aisle while you’re picking through eggplant, when we’re floating in the ocean. I never take having you for granted at all.

    In my secret life, you’re gone for work when I wake up. This allows me to linger in delusion on those mornings when I wake up in an empty bed; allows me the pleasure of pretending that I really do still have you and can afford to feel the minor ache of missing you because I know you’ll be walking in the door that evening. Sometimes I want this so much that I actually go deaf to the roar of the shower or the coffeemaker noises of my girlfriend in the kitchen.

    Tongue in Cheek will have a print release later this year.

Email: Vaxder@gmail.com

Twitter: @Vaxder

Tumblr: tumblr.com/blog/valeriealexander

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