I go to bed thinking about Erick. What would it be like to live with him? For the longest time, I would go to him first thing in the morning, and again right before going to sleep, so it was kind of living together, except, after putting him to bed, I would go across the street and sleep in a different house. Back then, I used to help him get out of bed, go to the bathroom, shower, dress, pretty much everything. For the last few months of that period, I helped him less and less, until eventually, I would just watch and accompany him until he felt secure enough to do things on his own.
I think back about that time now. Watching Erick. Watching him from a close distance, my hands ready in case he needed my help. I slowly drift to sleep with those thoughts present in my memory. I close my eyes. His image appears in front of me, Erick is laying flat on the bed. He pushes the covers away from him, revealing his naked body. His feet lie in a strange position, stiff as they always are when he starts moving in the morning. He swings his arms left to get momentum and reach the rail at the right side of the bed. He uses it as support to lift himself slightly up and on his side. Then he rests his elbow on the mattress and drags himself to a sitting position.
He looks at me before continuing. He has a kind face. Even though we are all the same age, he looks younger than the rest of us. His bright blue eyes stare at me for a second. I grin. He grins back and takes a deep breath before continuing. His head is hanging forward, and both hands are down on the mattress to keep his balance. His tummy is sticking out and I know he’s self conscious about that, but I think he looks cute. He slides his right hand under his knee and pulls it up. It doesn’t bulge at first, and his whole body starts to tremble. He falls back pushed by the spasms but manages to catch himself on his elbows. His laxed tummy trembles too. He waits patiently for a few seconds and tries again. He manages to bend his leg this time and pulls it up towards his stomach. The other leg shoots up and forward as he hooks his left hand under it and pulls it up in the same way. He holds on to both legs now and swings them to lay on his side. With a little difficulty, he throws them off over the side of the bed. He hooks his arm under his knees and sits up. He looks up at me again, a small accomplishment, he’s sitting on the bed with his legs hanging from the side, and he didn’t need my help at all to get there. I hold a smile in, because I know he hates it when I congratulate him as if he were a young child.
He gets his catheter out of the way, using both palms to hold it, careful not to jank the tube that comes out of his lower belly. Then, he lifts his feet one at a time and sets them on the footplate. It’s a tricky process because he doesn’t have any core control, so he can easily lose his balance. He has to support himself on his elbows while he grabs his legs with both hands. He gets the right foot in place without problems, but when he’s lifting the left one, his elbow slides down and his torso falls over his lap, folding his body with unnatural flexibility. He tries to set his palms over the mattress behind him to sit up, but he doesn’t know where he’s placing them, since he can’t feel them. He looks to the side over his shoulder and repositions his right palm. His arms are bent on his elbows, I know he’s unable to stretch them all the way. He starts to push down from the mattress and jerks his head up. He’s stuck. I go to him, get on the bed, and grab his biceps from behind him. I pull him up slightly and move his hand to a better position. He does the rest and sits back up. His blue eyes meet mine. I ask him without words if I can let go now, and he nods.
I’m kneeling over the bed now, next to him. He looks up at my face and I’m not sure what I see in his eyes, gratefulness, love? I sit down on my heels so our faces are at the same height. I place my open palm on his cheek. Our eyes lock for a few seconds, then he turns his face, and kisses my hand.
I hand him the board. He hooks his right thumb on the handle and lets his body fall to the left, supported by his elbow. He puts the board under himself and slides it by pushing on it with rhythmic strokes. When it's far enough under him, he makes sure the other end is over the chair. He uses his right hand over his lap to hold his position, and lets the other arm go as far forward as he can without falling, over the seat of the wheelchair. Then he moves his left hand to the mattress and pushes up from it. He starts sliding, slowly, inch by inch, by moving his shoulders towards the chair. At some point, he tips forward again. I catch him at the last second, and keep him from collapsing to the ground.
Now I’m holding him, he’s in my arms. Erick’s in my arms completely naked. I push him up and he sets his hand down over the seat again. He continues trying, his naked butt sliding slowly towards the chair. He lets his weight fall to the right, leaning on the chair, he’s there, he’s made it. He looks up at me panting.
I smile at him now and he mirrors the grin, his slight dimples appear on his beautiful face. I let him catch his breath. He gets the board out from under him and throws it on the bed. Then he starts to fix his position in the chair, but I can tell that he’s exhausted. I go behind him and he follows me with his eyes. I ask permission in a wordless language we both understand perfectly. He grants it to me and I hook my arms under his armpits and pull him up to sit upright. He moves his shoulders in a backwards circle, they must be hurting. I massage them a little bit and he gives me that sweet smile again, looking up at me from the shower chair. Foreigner is playing in the background.
He rolls forward and I follow him into the bathroom. I’m wearing shorts and an old spaghetti strap top, no bra, because I know I will end up wet. I lean against the wall while he empties the bag, struggling with his bent finger hands. I watch intently, ready to jump in if he can’t handle it, but he does fine this time. His penis lays lax in his lap. My eyes stray to it in my dream.
He wheels into the shower and turns the faucet on. His legs jump startled with the water, I know it’s cold, but he can’t feel it, it’s just more spasms. After a minute, he wheels in further and gets his hair wet. The water drips on his face and he closes his eyes. I watch his whole body in the chair, under the stream of water. He’s slouching, his tummy prominent even though he’s very thin. His skinny legs lying slightly sideways and his feet now calm and motionless resting on the plate. He uses the heel of his hands to wash his face. He clears the water away from his eyes and opens them to find me staring.
He grabs the sponge and starts to run it across his body. I’m panting now. He looks up at me once more. I keep staring at him. He continues scrubbing his chest, without parting his eyes from mine, then his stomach, going around the catheter, then farther down. He’s staring at me too now. Our eyes are locked together. He drops the sponge. I go inside the shower to pick it up and get my hair wet. I look up and find his eyes on my wet chest, my nipples rise to attention. He’s staring at me, lips parted, breath hasten. I lean in and he receives me by opening his arms to catch me. I sit on his lap and he hooks one thumb in the hem of my blouse and lifts it halfways. I want him to take it off but it’s too hard for him, so I do it myself. I pull it up my head and discard it on the floor. He gasps. I lean in forward and he traps my nipple in his mouth. I run my hands through his wet hair.
“Julia,” he whispers my name.
His hands run through my breasts and I run mine along his chest and shoulders. Then, I lean in and nibble at his earlobe. He gasps. His hands are on my naked back and they reach lower. I stare into his eyes again, and he leans in and kisses me. Oh that kiss, I’ve waited for it for so long!
When we part, I’m out of breath and so is he. He presses his palm against my cheek and hums my name, so low, I can barely hear him. I bring my ear closer to his mouth and his warm breath makes me tingle. I put my hand down and touch him, but he doesn’t notice. He gently bites my neck and then my shoulder. I feel his penis erect inside my hand, just slightly, and I press harder.
He kisses me again but I interrupt him. I get up from his lap and leave him wanting. He stretches his neck forward trying in vain to catch me. I’m out of his reach now and his face aches for me. I take a step back and let him watch me. The water’s running down my body, dripping down my breasts. I unbuttoned my shorts and slid them down revealing my panties. He gasps.
Clumsy hands push his rims forward to catch me. His penis is laxed again, but I can tell he wants me. He hooks his thumb on my panties and slides them down just barely. I do the rest. My image floods his eyes. His lips are parted. I lower myself to his lap again and he grabs me immediately. We embrasse in a long kiss before his hand strays down my womb all the way to my sex. He pushes at it with the heel of his hand breathing hastily. He can’t do more than that, but he doesn’t need to. I’m so aroused by him. I press my thighs together and his legs start jumping under me. He looks down and moves his hand to his knee ready to stop the spasm, but I stop him. I want this, it feels so good. My sex is pulsating, ready to come. When he notices, he grabs my breasts and sucks on my nipples, hard. I’m trembling with his legs, trembling inside, and I can’t hold it any longer. I explode holding on tight to his shoulders, pressing down hard on his legs, making them bump faster, harder. His feet fall off the plate, but I don’t stop.
“Erick,” I moan and throw my head back in ecstasy.
I wake up drenched in sweat and pleasure.
“Erick,” I say out loud and press my sex, the orgasm still fresh in my insides. “Oh shit!” I pant.