She had never believed in karma until the day she ran into him once more. Years had passed and she didn’t think she would see him again at this point. For if time and circumstance had seen fit to separate them for this long, why should it choose to realign their paths now, when it had so many other freshly broken up people’s to tamper with? Lily had even reached a juncture where he didn’t creep into her mind at least once a day every day. Maybe now, five years on, it was more like every two days.
And it just so happened to be on one of the days when she wasn’t thinking of him that Joseph materialized. As though out of thin air. The vaporous ether of Barcelona where, he later informed her over wine before noon, he had retreated after another breakup with a woman–girl–who, surprise, ended up boring him. It seemed with the addition of years, Joseph’s attention span, ergo sense of devotion, had only worsened rather than improved.
“I suppose I have you to blame,” he told her as he sipped his wine. “I shot my entire wad of stamina and patience for one person in those years with you.”
“Joseph, we were barely together for two and a half years. That’s hardly a long time.”
He shrugged. “It is when your formative years were spent watching your father bring home a different ‘dinner guest’ every week while your mother made sure to talk endless shit about each of them whenever she picked you up for her ‘shift’ of the month.”
Lily rolled her eyes. “I’m sure you found comfort in the bags of money you were allowed to curl up with at night.”
He tittered. “Ah Lily. That’s what I always liked about you. You never kissed my ass.”
“And you never ate mine,” she added, sarcastically saluting him with her vaso.
Joseph blushed faintly, for allusions to his vanilla nature when it came to sex always made him wary–aware of some shortcoming that money couldn’t alter. And, of course, all the while, the latent unasked question between them was: “Are we going to have sex again?”
For Lily, it seemed a terrible yet unavoidable idea. And even though she had recently started seeing a Spaniard named Diego more regularly, she felt Joseph’s miraculous presence in Barcelona warranted the excuse of slight infidelity. One that Diego would even encourage in his position as an inherently sexually liberated Spaniard.
Still recovering from Lily’s ass eating comment, Joseph finally offered, “Maybe you’d be interested to find that I’ve learned some new tricks since our breakup.” He gazed at her intently for a reaction.
“You mean since you broke up with me?”
He sighed. “It had to be done Lily. I wasn’t about to move here with you.”
“And why not? It seems you’re here now anyway.”
“That’s sheer coincidence. I didn’t think you’d still be living here after you finished school.”
“You’re an American girl. Didn’t think you could stay away.”
“Yeah, well, America is not America anymore.”
“Or is it the truest version of itself it’s ever been?”
Lily looked up at the ceiling for strength. “Your dime store aphorisms are still in full swing I see.”
He smiled. “So is your condescension.”
“Well then, here’s to us. Unchanged therefore still incompatible after all this time.”
She didn’t remember how they ended up splayed out in the Balearic water nude, floating side by side with the sun shining on them. The semi-cold sea (for it was the end of the summer now) was beginning to sober her, make her realize the absurdity of the situation–and that they might get caught at any moment despite the seeming seclusion.
As her state of sobriety gradually trickled back in, she noticed something else: an almost raw–sushi raw–redness on one side of the tip of Joseph’s penis. She drew closer to him to examine it and ask, “What’s happened here?”
“What do you mean?” he demanded, continuing to float nonchalantly.
“What the fuck do you mean what do I mean? Have you seen your dick lately, Joseph?”
He raised his eyebrow at her. “I know. It’s bigger than you remember, right?”
Angered by his decision to ignore the obvious blemish, she grabbed him there, causing him to yelp in pain and submerge himself in the water.
“Jesus Christ, Lily! What the fuck was that for?!”
“What are you talking about? I was going to give you some manual pleasure. Shouldn’t that feel good?”
He glared at her. “Well it didn’t.”
“Why’s that?” she challenged.
He sneered. “You never could give a hand job for shit.”
Surrendering to the idea that he wasn’t going to admit something was wrong with his penile aesthetic, she started to swim toward the shore so that she might collect her clothes.
“Wait!” he called after her.
She turned around. “What?” He still couldn’t bring himself to acknowledge what she had seen, prompting her to seethe, “I still have fucking dick pics from you. I know what your goddamn dick looks like–is supposed to look like! And it ain’t that. You obviously wanted me to see it so why don’t you just tell me what the fuck is going on?!”
He sighed, looking away from her and instead toward the sun. “Because I don’t know what’s going on. Other than it seems like my flesh…down there…started to peel off slowly and then steadily around the time we split. I think that means something. And it’s not a coincidence that I’m here.”
She stared at him incredulously. “What are you saying? If I fuck you, you’ll be healed?”
“It seems like a more plausible solution than any that the doctors have given me.”
She ran her hands through her hair in exasperated disbelief. “I don’t want to have sex with you, Joseph.”
He scoffed. “It didn’t seem that way twenty minutes ago.”
As usual, no one’s words could spear her like his. She studied him for a moment, as though trying to appraise if there was a soul somewhere inside. “Twenty minutes ago, I thought you genuinely wanted me for me–not part of some sex magical healing experiment.”
As she swam away for the second time, he followed her, apprehending her once they reached the sand. Still naked, the redness of his raw tip looked like a pornographic Rudolph’s nose that made her want to burst into horrified nervous laughter. Instead, she held it together as he caressed her cheek. “Of course I want you for you. I think that’s what my dick has been trying to tell me these past few years. Now can we please go back to your place and–”
“And then what? You scream in pain throughout the whole thing, contaminate me with whatever health issue you have and then it still doesn’t heal? Then I somehow get blamed for not being a divine lay?
He shook his head. “That’s not going to happen. And if it doesn’t work, I wouldn’t blame you.”
“Gee, thanks.” She proceeded to put her skirt and blouse back on.
“Lily, please. I need you to do this for me.”
“Or what? You’ll rape me? Nothing you haven’t done before.”
She started to stalk away. He hurriedly put his underwear on, ululating as the fabric grated against his already abraded skin.
“You listen to me,” he called out as he chased after her. “You wanted it every single time, don’t pull this fucking #MeToo bullshit on me!”
She called back, “I hope you get the help you need, but it isn’t going to be from me!”
“You’re a selfish cunt and you always were!”
She turned around and motioned with her hands to give her more. “Don’t stop, keep it coming.”
“I’m clearly desperate if I’m still trying to bang someone as bland as you.”
They had reached a craggy impasse and suddenly Lily didn’t know where to go anymore. It was just like her relationship with Joseph. She had never believed in karma before, but she now saw that this was her chance to enforce it. To spare countless other women the emotional upheaval he would inevitably cause. So she said, as she removed her skirt, “Fine. I’ll help you.” And as he approached her like a lecher on steroids over the prospect of his wang being repaired, she deliberately backed herself against the wall of the cliff so that when he came close enough, she could push him into it–rub and smash his entire penis against the rock, rendering it raw and unusable allover. Something that no amount of time could heal. Just like the wound he had inflicted on her.