Vaffanculo, it’s four fucking a.m.,” Frankie mumbled as she snatched Hugo the puppy off the bed and stormed to the lounge room to dump him on the sofa, where he would stay for another fifteen minutes if we were lucky.
On the way back to the bed, she stabbed her foot on a chewed up piece of biro he’d left on the floor and hopped around in a circle, swearing loudly and dripping blood on the carpet.
I was pretty pissed off too. I’d woken to feel Hugo sticking his claggy tongue in my left nostril before grabbing a chunk of my hair and gnawing on it like it was a fresh bone. I grabbed my hair but he locked his jaw, tensed his hind legs and pulled. I shoved him backwards and his testicles smacked against Frankie’s nose. That’s when she woke up and started swearing.
At 15 months, Hugo had given up sleeping through the night and Frankie and I were unravelling as we waited for her job contract in Italy to materialise. We were chronically under-slept and struggling to deal with the notorious Italian bureaucracy.
The sleeping wasn’t Hugo’s fault. He was born deaf, so he slept too deeply during the day and wasn’t tired at night. On top of that, we hadn’t neutered him yet because Frankie was still researching the side-effects of reduced testosterone. So he was all passionate impulses and clashing circadian rhythms while Frankie and I were too tired to do more than fight about sex.
“It’s been a month now.” Frankie grumbled as she sat in bed one morning. “Actually, that’s not true. You had sex on the sofa two weeks ago. I haven’t had sex in a month.”
True, Frankie had grown bored by The Bachelorette one night and turned her attention to me. And I had been too tired to reciprocate. But even so, I didn’t appreciate the accusatory tone in her voice, like I’m the reason our sex life had suffered. Our sex life had been suffering since Frankie adopted the world’s neediest French bulldog.
Before Hugo, our weekends consisted of sex, sex and more sex. Now here we were, propped up in bed, fighting about our sex drought.
Anyway, it didn’t matter who was to blame. I’d organised a romantic, Hugo-free date for the coming weekend.
Unfortunately, at the exact moment I went to announce our date-night plans, Hugo tipped my plate with his paw, lunged after my toast, stuffed it in his mouth and vomited over the side of the bed.
“Why do you have to plan sex?” was Frankie’s response to my modern dance-romantic dinner-sexy sex reveal. “Why can’t you be spontaneous, jump on me for once?”
“Why can’t we have a normal goddamn dog?” I shot back as I cleaned Hugo’s vomit off the carpet.
I wasn’t taking any of Frankie’s bullshit about how spontaneously passionate I should be.
I wanted her to give me attention for a change.
Like she used to.
Then maybe I’d throw myself at her.
Like I used to.
When Saturday night arrived, Frankie seemed unusually nervous. She took ages to mould her short hair into its usual dyke spike, but it was worth the wait. When she strode out of the bedroom, she took my breath away. She looked hot and she knew it. She gazed at me with her bedroom eyes, smiled sweetly and complimented me on how beautiful I looked.
I wanted to have sex right then but the taxi arrived.
Awkwardly, by halfway through the dance performance I’d fallen asleep. I’d been too tired to follow the plot so I’d given up and shut my eyes. Frankie then dug her elbow deep into my ribcage, causing me to blurt “fuck” loudly enough to send her into a giggling fit which lasted until the dancers took their first bow.
In the taxi on the way home, I was determined to get things back on track. I ran my hand gently up Frankie’s inner thigh and whispered in her ear, but the cabbie chose that moment to start ranting about Uber drivers and Frankie retreated to her phone.
“What?” I asked as she stared at a Viber message.
“Nothing,” she answered, looking like her mother had accidentally sent a nude photo of herself.
Back home I located the massage oil and headed to the bedroom, where Frankie was in her pyjamas, fluffing her pillows.
“Sorry baby, too tired. Tomorrow?” Without waiting for an answer, she slipped into bed and rolled on her side.
That wasn’t nothing, I thought suspiciously. That was her reaction to her ex messaging.
Frankie dated Michelle after we split. She called me after they broke up and I listened to all the vomit-inducing stories about how Michelle was the first person she’d wanted a future with, the most hypersexual woman she’d ever known and the one who gave her seven orgasms during one particularly unforgettable night.
I never wanted to hear that stupid name again. Luckily Frankie’s friends referred to her as ‘the giraffe’ most of the time, so I didn’t have to.
Whenever Frankie criticised me for my lack of spontaneous passion, I felt like I was being compared to mythical Michelle. She’d messaged twice in the past year and after much internal struggle, Frankie had decided to message back and shut it down.
The morning after our disastrous date, I woke to find Frankie organising massages and tarot readings in the country. I had to laugh. My sceptical scientist was turning all new age, reading her horoscopes and suggesting tarot readings. What next? Crystal healing?
On the way to the country, Frankie turned the radio up just slightly too loud to talk, so I amused myself by Wikipedia-ing giraffes. After reading about the length and dexterity of their tongues, I decided to sing along to the radio instead.
When we finally pulled into the parking lot, Frankie’s phone buzzed. It was another Viber message. “Ma, what the fuck?” She exploded, gesturing wildly.
“What’s going on?” I snapped.
“Nothing!” she shot back, stomping off up the path.
By the time we started undressing for our massages, I was seething.
“Michelle?” I hissed as I clambered onto the massage table.
Realising I was close to losing it in public, Frankie chose to speak.
“She Vibered me, that’s all. Relax.”
If she said the word ‘nothing’ again, I was going to push her off the massage table.
Our therapists re-entered the room and I lied down and practised my meditative breathing. Fifty minutes later I was breathing deeply while obsessing about spontaneously passionate giraffe sex.
After the massage, I sat at reception as the tarot reader escorted Frankie into the room next door. I closed my eyes, clearing my mind and opening my channels to receive the messages clearly.
Oh I received the messages alright. The walls were so flimsy I could hear everything they were discussing. The reader told Frankie to stop looking back with rose-coloured glasses and seeing the past as better than it actually was. And then Frankie agreed with her.
I couldn’t listen to anymore, so I jumped up and ran out the door.
This was so unfair. Frankie was supposed to be different from my family and my past relationships.
I was supposed to be good enough for her.
I went back inside and sat down with the reader. She told me how happy Frankie and I would be in our future together but warned that I was still too affected by my past.
On the drive home I thought about her words. I realised I had a choice to make. I could play out my old patterns, feeling insecure and unloved and communicating through a screaming meltdown, or I could choose differently.
I calmly told Frankie that I felt like I was being compared to Michelle and that she set me up to be jealous.
“Do you wish I was her?” I asked, my voice as weak and vulnerable as I felt.
Frankie had a choice to make too. She could get angry and refuse to engage in a conversation about feelings, or she could open up and talk.
“She made me feel wanted…she always wanted me. Sexually I mean. I had everything I wanted – hot, passionate sex. But I realised I needed more. I needed love….to make love. I tried to get what I needed but she couldn’t do it. She could only fuck. So I left…I broke my own heart and left….”
Frankie explained that she panicked when we stopped having sex. She thought I didn’t want her anymore and only planned dates because I felt obligated. She said she needed to look back to understand why Michelle had been so important to her, but now she got it.
At home, Frankie pulled a small box from her bedside drawer.
“I couldn’t accept what you offered me the first time round. I needed to experience what I wanted before I understood what I needed... I need you.”
I opened the box. Inside was a white gold cross-over ring with a strip of baguette diamonds.
“I want to make love to you. Put the ring on and take your clothes off,” she insisted, her voice husky and deep.
We made hot, passionate love all night.
Frankie enjoyed eight orgasms.
First published on www.lotl.com