She didn’t need me, he realized, walking through a dark, drenched countryside on this most ordinary of November nights. I walk here after dinner to help me digest. I do this with such regularity I don’t think it’s particularly effective anymore. What a time to think such a thing. It’s never when you think it’ll happen…
It’s not that she didn’t love me. I know she did or at least she said she did. She wasn’t lying about that. But need is something more. I need her. I want her to need me. Relationships are egalitarian by default, rarely betraying their imbalance. It’s like being a character in a D&D game; depending on your skill levels and experience, the same quanta of affection can be overwhelming or trifling. That same force makes the relationship an emotionally tenable idea while it exists and a painfully ironic one when it’s over.
I hear ducks from far off (or what sound to me like ducks) and it helps to distract me from this train of thought. Sometimes, the loud quack of a duck can make you laugh and take your mind off the worst shit if you let it. That’s the kind of mood I’m in, listening to animals and wishing for a psychic takeover by modest emotions.
When I see ice on the lake, it reminds me of her but not her when she let me go. Her when she was a new world — a gentle land ruled by 3 purple-lipped princesses with white bare feet, too delicate to stand on our profane Earth. I bring forth this vision and I suddenly feel calmer than a man witnessing the birth of his last child.
There was a time, at the beginning, when we spent every night together. At some point after we fell asleep, I’d feel her fingertips search my thigh until she clasped her hand around my balls. This relaxed me immeasurably, like a bath in warm water. In half-consciousness, I would imagine, that she derived some kind of power from this act. She held my nuts like they were a badge granting her access to some outer dimension otherwise restricted. If she wanted, she could present my nuts to St. Peter and it’d be sufficient currency to enter the heavens. That’s what I believed.
Through these seemingly insignificant gestures, she made me unbelievably confident. I could walk through walls. My mind cut through glass. There was an orb, a sephira, inside of my chest that came alight at the thought of these transfers of power. The smaller my mind became, the more this orb would grow, expanding out of my solar plexus, salving and aligning every organ and tissue that it passed on its way out of my skin to surround me, now parting my feet from the ground as it ballooned into a circumscribing vessel. This was my protection.
And just in time, for what should stand before me but H.R. Giger’s Alien, all sinewy armored musculature, acid blood stream, and deadly oral protrusion. Standing a full ten feet looming above me, I realized that it was in fact crouched for once its arms spread out and its legs straightened, it stood close to fifteen feet. Shit.
Alien reared back, spouting a fountain of acid skyward (perhaps just to frighten or mock me? Well, mission accomplished for I felt frightened and mocked and perhaps I peed a little.) In one fluid motion, it’s torpedo-shaped head shot back down, like a smooth igneous meteor, aimed for my face. I braced myself with clenched teeth for an impact that never came. The beast was shut down, knocked back on its ass by the resilience of my protective orb, my expanded sephira. Dear god: what would I do with this power? Would I be the envy of Ripley and several outer-space Marines (RIP)?
As it turns out, my powers were merely defensive in nature. All I could do, effectively, was deflect the creature’s powerful strikes, divert its caustic life’s blood, and simply stand my ground. Each attack more powerful than the last, I figured victory would be mine through Alien’s eventual exhaustion. Not that I knew anything about the physiology or endurance of the xenomorph. Perhaps it had reserves of energy beyond calculable time and this was, in fact, merely a warmup. I wondered if exertion somehow invigorated this species, causing it to gain as much energy as it expended in a feedback loop of horror that ends with my defenses compromised and my skin and vital organs similarly, gruesomely compromised.
It was Alien’s last attack that presented an option. Its death dildo probosces shot with such speed, the inverted energy knocked the beast back many dozens of yards into the cab of an ancient rust-corroded Ford F-150 with the concentrated rubbery force of an injurious racquetball. The beast was so contorted and malpositioned from its forced entry into the otherwise spacious seating area of an American truck, I suddenly realized I would have time to strike back provided I had the testicular fortitude to strike NOW.
Despite all good judgment, I charged the ten yards towards the beast. My orb, as I expected, made impact with the truck and moved it with relatively reasonable ease for a 5000 object. It was, however, on wheels so I dug in my heels and pushed, and pushed until movement begat momentum and at last the truck, with xenomorph in tow, hurtled towards a massive hole in the ground. Said hole is the portal to a subterranean scrapping factory whose many metal levels caved from the weight of the plummeting truck. The fall couldn’t be significantly dolorous to Alien but what lay at the base most certainly would be–a metal shredding maw automated to function upon contact. Indeed, upon contact the shredder began to operate without a shred of remorse, gnashing into alien flesh. I could hear the ungodly screech, like a pterodactyl impaled and descending down a long wood stake, somehow living to experience the pain with exponentially increasing acuity.
Mercifully, for me and it, the maw finished its work, its gears and teeth eaten by acidic spew. Smoke rose from the wreckage which looked beyond recognition and betrayed no visible sign of life, structure, or any other cognizable form of dignity. A wretched tangle of flesh and metal remained and Alien was gone. It was all thanks to her. Emboldening gestures of love and affection need not be reciprocated or matched to be real. Real enough to defeat a homicidal alien whose entire existence is predicated upon the hunting of frailer beings. Through this most improbable encounter, I realized that a subtle power builds by letting things just happen. Letting my partner touch my balls while I slept, letting her stay with me even though I knew it would end. Now, with a mangled alien corpse between us, I could let her go. Thanks for the memories, the strength, and an education on the perception (not the reality) of imbalance.
Despite this all, I’m gonna start running now, because I certainly saw Alien’s arm protrude forthright from the wreckage. Superhuman shielding forged by sincere affection is quite an ally but so’s a head start.