My problem is that I can't come unless Johnny Cash is playing. I can't orgasm without the sound of his voice in my ears. When I do hear him, I can't control myself. I'm afraid to drink in country bars because when they play a Johnny Cash song, I end up in the ladies room with a stranger, straining to hear the music from the dance floor. He doesn't even have to be singing. I heard him give an interview on the radio once, when I was eighteen. Laying on my stomach in the living room, I found myself sliding back and forth against the carpet, my hand underneath me. The sound of him answering questions was as good as the albums I kept hidden under my bed. It possessed me, it wet me. I knew it was wron wrong, but I couldn't help it.
His voice is rough sex.
My mother came into the living room after that interview, right at the beginning of a song. I didn't see her as the music swelled and I rubbed myself and came, my eyes closed and bunches of shag carpet clutched in my fingers. She stood for a minute as I rocked in time to the music, and she said "I don't know how you can like this shit, honey. It's so rural." It would be perfect if I could listen to Johnny Cash while I made love, but David doesn't seem to like it. He turns the CD player off before he comes to bed. And what can I say? Should I curl my fingers in his chest hair, press myself against him and whisper "Please?" How do I tell him "David, I can't come," without it being a big deal? Without him knowing that I've faked it.Without him being jealous. It isn't like I'm cheating on him.
Johnny Cash is dead.
And David is very much alive. He's been at the library all day, and he smells like old newspapers at dinner. While we eat he talks and talks about Neal Ball, who in 1909 turned the first unassisted triple play. I nod and I plan what I'm going to say, word for word. I have to tell him. But admitting sexual hangups to a man is never as funny in real life as it is in your head. In my head I say "Hey David, remember all those times I came when we *weren't* listening to Johnny Cash? Do you remember all those orgasms?" A pause for effect, and then "About that," And what a great story that would make. Even if he left me, which I'm certain he will. It's a preemptive strike. Sure, I'm a pervert, but you can't even make a girl come. Of course, it doesn't work out like that at all. I can plan and plan, but when we're sitting side by side on the edge of my bed, our clothes pulled open, all that comes out is mumbled nonsense. He has his cold hand up my front, tracing the wire of my bra. David. Indie rock boy with the tight shirts and baseball card collection. David, who talks about sex using sports metaphors that are romantic instead of shallow, that turn sex into a game of heros and legends. David, who has never said "this was so good, did you come, I came, did you really come?" who has never said "That was the best I've ever had," but who remembers sex as a series of plays, fouls, surprise victories and catches, describes them with veneration, his dark eyes intense, sincere. I can't bring myself to be cruel to him, even if I am scared, even if that's the smart thing to do. So it just spills out. "It isn't you, it's me, I just can't, without, I mean, I love you, I love your body, and being with you is wonderful, and I don't even think he's sexy, you know, he's just got this voice that, it fills me up and I, it really isn't you, ever since I was a little kid I've been obsessed, you know?And it's the same with other men, it isn't just you," and as his brow furrows and he pulls his hand out from beneath my shirt, I say "I can't come unless we're listening to Johnny Cash."Then David is standing, pulling his pants up, fastening the button. He turns away, and it feels like my stomach is sucking in air. But then he's putting on some music, smiling. "Well," he says as the first trumpeting notes of the song fill the room. I want to say something but instead I close my eyes to the music, and he sits on the bed behind me. His legs wrap around me and he's lifting my shirt. "Love," he whispers in my ear, his voice soft as Johnny Cash fills the room. "Is a burning thing." And it's working. It isn't Johnny Cash I'm hearing, but David. It's David's hands on my body. "And it makes" It's David fumbling at my skirt, pulling it down. And I'm turning to his neck, his shoulders. Pulling his shirt off while he sings along, his voice a little louder now, "A fiery ring." He's watching me. "Bound," he says, "By wild desire." I've got his pants, pulling them down to his calves. He's got his lips against my ear, his breath hot. "I fell in," he says, "to a ring of fire."