A is for… Ashes to Ashes

Hey hey, folks! This post kicks off my first ever attempt at completing the A to Z Challenge. This challenge requires that I publish a blog post every non-Sunday day in April, moving through the alphabet as I go. I picked a theme for this challenge, and that theme is Playlists. Each day I’m choosing a song title from my personal playlist of fave songs and will write a piece of filth based (however loosely) on that title. Today’s post was inspired partially by the song title and partially by the Masturbation Monday prompt. Two birds and all that. As the title may suggest, it has a grim theme (death, funeral) so do be aware of that when going in.

Somewhere in the trees on this cold and gloomy day, a lone bird twitters merrily away to itself. Not far away on the road behind me, a procession similar to the one I arrived here in crawls by. And right here at my side, clinging to me with one hand while weeping into the tissue she has clutched in the other, is my sister.

We’re surrounded by friends and family, all wearing black and the same pained expression. An expression that passes for grief at a glance, but on closer inspection betrays a deep sense of relief. They’re glad he’s gone. If I’m honest with myself, so am I.

Crying at a graveside has always come naturally to me, but it isn’t thinking of my loss that causes the tears to fall. It’s thinking back. Remembering the good times. I always tell myself that I’ll be strong for whomever I need to be strong for, but as soon as silence falls memories creep in, and it’s joy that eventually trickles from my eyes.

As is my way, I find my mind wandering as the pastor softly intones the committal prayer. It’s searching for memories to bring me solace, quotes, anecdotes, anything to bring me peace. But the scenes it offers up leave me so dry-eyed it hurts to blink. He never approved. Never told me he was proud, never accepted me for who I am. Because of him, I spent my adolescent years hiding, then I spent my adult years running. I used to believe that I was running from him, but in the end, I realised that the only thing I was running from was myself.

So I stopped running. I had to dig deep to find the courage to do it, but it was there in me and had been all along. I never found the courage to turn around and run back, though. Not until now. Not until I was safe from all the words my old man had weaponised against me.

“In sure and certain hope of the resurrection to eternal life through our Lord Jesus Christ, we commend to Almighty God: Edward Charles. We commit his body to the ground; earth to earth; ashes to ashes, dust to dust. The Lord bless him and keep him, the Lord maketh His face to shine upon him and be gracious unto him and give him peace. Amen.”

Blinking fast, I watch my sister walk away. Watch our aunts and uncles, friends and neighbours follow. The service is over, and I spent every minute of it tasting the bitter tang of memory lane on the back of my tongue. Car doors are closing with soft thuds, but here I stand. Someone wails – a woman mourning someone else by a different graveside – but here I remain. Rain soaks through my coat, slicks my hair to my forehead. The ground beneath me softens and the lone bird falls silent, but I still can’t find the will to move.

It takes me a few minutes to realise that I’m not alone. Warmth alerts me to the presence of someone standing behind me, a little to the right. They don’t speak or move in to comfort me, they just stand there, supporting me with a strength that’s clearly evident despite the respectable distance.

A breath rattles from my lungs, momentarily veiling my sight with a damp fog. My heart taps out an unnaturally fast beat behind my breastbone. I don’t have to look to know who has joined me. I can feel them in the very marrow of my bones.

In an almost panicked state, I imagine frantic thuds emanating from the casket a few feet in front of me, its occupant thrashing in a bid for freedom. It wouldn’t surprise me if the lid slid back and I bore witness to a dead man rising. Wouldn’t be a shock if he sat up and pointed an accusing finger, eyes rabid, spittle flying from his lips as the words ‘over my dead body’ issued from between his teeth in a hate-filled hiss.

I don’t realise I’m shaking until the hand on my shoulder steadies me. The way the thumb curls over the joint is so familiar. I anticipate the finger brushing my nape, the forearm pressed firmly into my back. My eyelids slowly close and I let myself relax into the heat coming from their body.

This is how we’d stood as I’d revealed myself to my father. Me in front, shaking with fear, them behind me, calm, quiet, a pillar of strength. Stronger than me back then. Still stronger than me now, because they have the courage to stand by me here, at the graveside of the man who made me leave them.

“Looks like he got one thing right,” they say softly. “Because here we are, together, over his dead body.”

I curl into the hand I know so well. Feel the touch turn to a caress, go to it when it draws me in. They hold me and I feel the gentle swell of their breasts against my back, their breath misting past my neck to mingle with mine. It’s been so long, decades in fact, but it feels like only yesterday that I was in their arms, being held safe and tight.

I need to see them. Turning on my heel, I spin to face them. First, I see their clear, open eyes. Then their slightly upturned nose, the rosy hue of their air-chilled cheeks, and finally that ever-present, almost smile. As I gawp, it broadens, revealing a row of straight, white teeth. Predictably, I blush and cast my gaze down in a bid to conceal it.

What I see shocks me almost as much as our embrace had once shocked my father. They’re wearing black like everyone else I’ve seen today, but theirs is neither coat nor jacket. Their collar is high and at the centre of it sits a small white square.

“When?” I whisper.

“After you, it felt like nothing else was available to me but this.”

A dozen questions tumble through my mind, followed by a dozen excuses. It’s on the tip of my tongue to justify my actions, to defend my father even, but I don’t get to do either. Their lips pressing against mine trap all of my unspoken words in my throat and I swallow them with a groan.

I don’t care that I haven’t seen them for years. Don’t care that I don’t know them, that we’re at a graveside, that mourners at the gravesides of better men will see us if they look up. Their hands hold my face, their chest flush against mine. Red wine kisses, red-blooded passion, red hot need. I missed them. I want them. Now. I don’t care where we are.

They don’t care, either. They’re backing me up, guiding me over the uneven ground, making sure I don’t walk into any headstones. When we reach one that towers over us both – an angel, head bowed, hands clasped – they tuck me between its swept back wings. I can’t see them through my tears, but I know that their eyes are narrowed, that their lips are swollen from our kiss, their cheeks reddened by the roughness of my unshaven ones.

And I know what they’re thinking. I know what they need, what they want, because I want it too. My body aches with it, my legs shake with it. They step in and I feel their hardness pushing between my thighs. I part their cassock, lower a zip, scratch my wrist on the metal teeth in my haste to get inside.

Then I have them in the palm of my hand. I have their tongue in my mouth, their lipgloss smeared over my chin. They’re pressing their fingers against my trousers, forcing the fabric between my folds, putting pressure on the ache there. I’m revelling in the simple fact of them. That they’re here, with me, wanting me, even after everything I didn’t do to hold onto them.

Nobody could have convinced me that they would afford me this level of forgiveness. Some tried, but they failed and that’s why I never came home. The fear that they would reject me, just as my father rejected me, was too much to bear. I wish with all my heart that I had been braver because I missed out on so much.

We’re both panting now, shielded from the gaze of onlookers by the protective wings of an angel. I’m clinging to them, making it hard for them to move their hand, struggling to stroke with my own. They pull away, untuck my shirt from beneath my trousers with a sharp yank. Whimpering and moaning, they rock against me, sliding their cock over my skin as they burrowed their hand deeper between my thighs. I come shaking, pulsing against their fingers, and they come crying, spurting their warm jets over my belly.

Last time we did this they had been the ones with the five o’clock shadow and I’d been the one with heaving breasts. Some major changes had taken place in the years we’d been apart, but some things had stayed exactly the same. I’m glad of that, because now instead of leaving here with a heart weighed down with the sadness of what could have been, I’ll be taking the happiness of renewed possibility with me. I guess there was more laid to rest today than a transphobic old man.


Week #239

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