If you haven't read part 15, do so here. Or you can start from the beginning.Climax: the tension that pulls and pulls until one feels so stretched that a dénouement must be over the horizon, one begs for release from traction with every breath and thought—is it any wonder that we apply the word to the moment of sexual release? The terrible difference between the climax of my private life and the one to which Mr. Hale approaches as he twists and pummels and thrusts, is that the sexual climax is one towards which we strive. It is a goal to reach that ultimate dizzying height; we may prolong and tease and create tension, but never do we intend altogether to deny ourselves orgasm's consuming ecstasy.
I feel Mr. Hale's efforts double as he nears his climax, as the skin of my shoulders and neck is abraded by the carpet, and as I struggle to breathe properly from being folded nearly in half (one would think that this type of position only exists in pornography). I contemplate the impending climax of my short, paradoxically sheltered life, and how badly I wish to avoid it. Given my history, psychologists would conclude that my aversion to confrontation is understandable. A sense of anxiety, of dread, and of nostalgia for the blissful ignorance which I possessed not so long ago all tangle and boil constantly in my belly. My thoughts scatter like a flock of startled birds, changing course as often and never settling entirely. As the tension and weighty foreboding grow ever ominous, the whirling dervish of emotions also spins faster, faster, until I am wound so tightly with hope and terror that I feel paralyzed.
"Tell me who fucks you best," Mr. Hale commands, grabbing my ankles.
"You do," I cry easily. It has been the truth, thus far.
He pounds harder, his pelvis bruising mine, the sound of slapping flesh growing more insistent.
"Who do you love, Bunny?" he demands. "Who?"
"I love—" I cannot answer. I do not love him anymore, at least not the way in which he wants to be loved. My feelings for Brandon are so tenuous that love how I know it is too forceful a description for the buoyant, profound, painfully sweet connection I have to him, and that I can only pray he has to me. Sometimes I catch him looking at me with something that I cannot yet name...
"Tell me who you love," Mr. Hale orders through his teeth as his movements become desperate, erratic.
I am saved only by Mr. Hale's howling triumph as he reaches his goal yet again in my aching depths.On good days I compare myself to the phoenix rather than to a jaded prostitute. The phoenix must die to be reborn; such a death could not occur without pain—throwing oneself on a funeral pyre cannot be anything but. Perhaps the stilted, awkward rebuilding of my friendship with Brandon and the discovery of my adulthood, of my manhood is simply part of my rebirth. Unlike the phoenix, I never would have thrown myself on a funeral pyre—I have not that courage, nor the reckless faith that I could rise again.