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Starting Over

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Ho Po-wing always says, “Let’s start over” and it gets to me every single time.

He is lounging on the bed, wearing only his boxers. He stretches elegantly like a cat, reaching over to take a swig from the beer bottle on the bedside table. He lies back down and watches me through half-lidded eyes, a contented smile on his face. He really has no idea.

We’ve been together for a while now, and broken up so often that I’ve lost count.

I am standing by the cracked full-length mirror watching Po-wing’s reflection. I hate this room. It’s just like all the other filthy hotel rooms where we’ve stayed, furnished only with two single beds and a bedside table in between. I can feel the walls closing in on me but Po-wing is perfectly at ease. He is at ease anywhere.

But when he says, “Let’s start over,” I find myself back with him.

He is kissing me. The bed creaks beneath our weight. He runs his hands up and down my back. My hands travel down his chest, brushing his nipples.

We left Hong Kong to start over. We hit the road and ended up here, in Argentina.

I never grow tired of exploring his mouth. I savor his taste, knowing one day I will no longer have him by my side.

We have been here for several months and with each passing day I miss Hong Kong more and more. I want to go home.

I could kiss him all day but he has other plans. He slaps me. Hard. I glare at him, intending to return the favor. But he is prepared and he grasps both my wrists. He flashes me a devious smile that infuriates me even more. A tussle ensues.

Po-wing does not want to leave yet. He likes it here. We fight constantly now. About everything. About nothing.

I am stronger than him, but he plays dirty. He always does. A few well-placed kicks and a bite on my shoulder and then he is on top of me, pinning both my hands above my head. It will not always be this way.

The other day someone told us about the falls at Iguazu. To placate me, Po-wing suggested that we go there. Like a vacation.

He leers at me. He has that predatory air about him. I wonder what he will do next, now that I am at his mercy.

This whole journey has been nothing but a vacation to him. It doesn’t matter that we’re broke, that we don’t know what we’ll be doing tomorrow. But I agree to go with him. I always agree because I am too tired to fight anymore.

He dives down, capturing my lips in a hungry kiss. I return it eagerly but already he has moved lower, kissing my neck, my chest, biting my nipples. I follow him with my eyes.

Yesterday, he bought me a lamp with a picture of the falls on it. Another “make-up” gift.

He releases my wrists. My hands tangle in his hair as I guide him lower. He knows how to please me. He is so very good at this.

I fell in love with the lamp. Po-wing always knows just what to do. He always knows just what to say.

He takes me in his mouth and I arch into the heat. A few slow licks and I am ready. He releases me and lies down on his stomach, waiting. I move on top of him and spit into my palm. Saliva is a poor lubricator but it doesn’t matter. I want him to feel the pain. I know he enjoys it.

“We’ll go home,” he told me. “After we see the falls.” I beamed at him. At last, I was getting my way.

I enter him without any preparation. His body resists, but I persevere. His cry is muffled by the pillow. He claws the bedsheets as I set a quick pace.

This is the only time I feel like I am in control.

He begins to move with me, meeting my thrusts. I will not last long. I come deep inside him and he cries my name. I remain buried within him as I wrap my arms around his chest, molding his body to mine. Our breathing slows in tandem.

I relish these moments, knowing they will not last forever. We are drifting further and further apart.

I kiss his sweat-stained back and tenderly nip his shoulder. He turns his head sideways and I see that self-satisfied smile upon his face. I wonder why he lets me take him so. What does he get out of it?

I am trying to stem the tide, but I can no longer hold on. I am being washed away, lost in the cascading falls.

“Lai Yiu-fai,” he says. “We can start over.”