Shadows of De La Rosa

I called him de la Rosa, though I wasn’t sure that was his name. He told me it was what he preferred to be called. So be it. I was in the business of pleasure—in particular, the pleasure of men. Bless their strange, unknowable hearts. If there is one thing I have learned over the years, it is that you can never predict what they might request in the way of pleasure.

I lived over on Piano St. then, in one of those tiny garden apartments peculiar to New Orleans. De la Rosa lived in the same building, with his wife who was disabled, and his mother-in-law. Just as I didn’t know many details about him, I never knew much about the wife or her disability. I rarely saw her, although sometimes I would watch—feeling a little like a spy—as he brought her outside and fed her, or read to her on their gallery, his voice quiet but animated.

Rumor had it he was writing a book of some kind. I heard this several times. But I also heard he had been a minister at a little back-alley church in Storyville once, and had been asked to leave for reasons unknown.

Both stories sounded plausible, I suppose, but I never really knew. I did not ask clients about their work, unless they broached the subject first. And de la Rosa never mentioned his. Even if I had asked him outright, I doubt he would have told me. Probably, he might have just said, “I prefer not to talk about it.”

The two of us met for the first time one afternoon that June. We had both been out walking in Jackson Square, and stopped to watch one of the sidewalk artists sketch a young woman’s portrait. We started talking and, after that, got together at my place every Thursday evening for the rest of the summer.

In those evenings, we would always begin with dinner, as it was part of the ritual he gently insisted upon. He’d bring some kind of takeout from the place on the corner. Maybe Dirty Rice. Or Andouille Jambalaya. If it was an especially sultry night, we’d make do with just a sack of beignets and sweaty pitchers of iced tea.

Dodging the occasional kitchen cockroach, I’d serve everything up and, when we sat down to eat, we almost never spoke of anything else except the food itself, or de la Rosa’s part of the courtyard he cultivated in order to get a discount on the rent. He was extremely talented at what I called “digging in the dirt.” Even today, if you go by that place, you can still see the vast tangle of honeysuckle and the oleander trees he planted beside the walkway.

When done eating, we’d leave the dining spot beside the window and retire to my bedroom that looked out onto the courtyard. There, he would ask me to close the curtains, and we would settle in for the evening. Me, usually seated at the edge of the big feather bed. De la Rosa nearby, in an upholstered chair that had once belonged to my father.

* * *

“Go ahead…Slip off your sandals,” he said to me one evening, almost too casually, as he leaned back in the oversized chair, took his time lighting a cigarette, watched me through the smoke.

I did as I was told, leaning back against the pillow shams, and letting my Japanese robe fall open a little, the way I knew he liked. A breeze fluttered through the window, playing with my bare feet, my ankles, worked its way up past my thighs, eventually found the wetness between my legs.

De la Rosa shifted in his chair, inhaled his cigarette like it contained life itself, and blew a perfectly formed smoke ring that wavered against the ceiling as it disappeared.

“I can’t come here anymore,” he began.

“Oh?” I heard myself say, feeling suddenly as if my voice belonged to someone else.

“I don’t know why it happened, Carla. I certainly didn’t mean for it to happen. Didn’t think it would happen. I mean, we have no real relationship. I know that. You represent dreams to me. You’re like a myth. God knows, you’re not my reality. But….”

His voice trailed off. Outside, Miss Feely’s decrepit old parrot made his usual unearthly protests as she prepared to bring him in for the evening. I was trying, but I could hardly make any sense at all of de la Rosa’s words.

“…I think about you when we’re apart…too much…It’s as simple—and as complicated—as that. And fantasy like that is a luxury I can’t afford anymore. I thought it would be a kind of answer. But, in reality, its anything but that.”

From our first evening together, de la Rosa had said he had only request—that I merely listen as he spoke of his sexual fantasies. He always took special pains to emphasize he intended never to touch me.

“These are just the fantasies of a man,” he told me once. “All I need is for you to listen.”

As far as I was concerned, it seemed little to ask. From time to time, he would thank me for being so “understanding,” though I didn’t always understand him at all. On occasion, he could appear bold, even brash. The next time I saw him, he might act deeply reclusive, almost sinister. Sometimes, he seemed an odd mix of masculine and vaguely feminine. More than once, it struck me that his very soul may have mystified de la Rosa himself.

All I knew was that, from the start, I had felt a confusing, unexplainable oneness with him, which both surprised and unsettled me.

Now he was telling me he was going to disappear from my life.

“What are you talking about?” It was all I could think of to say.

“I’ve been very foolish, that’s all. And it’s nothing to do with you, Carla. Nothing at all.”

Not sure I trusted myself to speak, or even to look at him, I got down from the bed and, pretending to fuss with my hair, went to stand before a tall, flea-market mirror that hung beside my bedroom vanity.

“Please…stand there…just so,” he said suddenly, his voice almost a whisper. I could see his shadowy reflection behind me in the candlelit room. “Look in the mirror. Look at yourself. Don’t look away. Let me watch you…Undress for me…Just this once…Then I’ll go….”

I don’t know why I hesitated. Maybe because I couldn’t stop my hands from shaking.

They were still shaking when I began to untie the robe. Slipped it off. Uncovered my shoulders, my breasts, my belly, my ass, my pussy for de la Rosa to see. I let the robe fall to the floor. Let it lie there, a little puddle of crimson silk at my feet.

“God, you’re beautiful,” de la Rosa said. “You’re like a goddess. Spread your legs. Let me see you…show me…let me know…touch yourself…do it…let me…watch you….”

Slowly, I took the barrettes and an old Spanish comb from my hair, loosened it so that it tumbled around my shoulders. It was long enough so that I could feel the warmth of it caress my heavy breasts when it fell.

I leaned toward the mirror, grasped its frame, arched my back a little and spread my legs wider, like a woman inviting a man with an enormous cock into the promise of pleasure between her legs.

“You’re a naughty girl, Carla. You’re a naughty girl wanting to be fucked. Only a naughty girl would invite a man like that.”

“You like naughty, de la Rosa. You like bad-girl pussy, or you wouldn’t be here.”

“Maybe I’ll lick you. Just once. Lap at you. Deep. And hard. Make you cum. You’re so hot right now, it wouldn’t take much more than that, would it, Carla?”

He watched me, narrowing his eyes. I cupped my breasts, lifted one, then the other, lowered my head. Licked at myself like a cat. Tasted the warm softness of my flesh. Smiled into the mirror. Fondled my rigid nipples. Shivered a little in my own pleasure.

He reached out, but did not touch me. With his finger, outlined the curves of my body in the air between us. Brought his hand back to his lap, let it rest there for a moment before I heard the soft, quick sound of a zipper.

In a moment, he stood behind me at the mirror, so close I could feel his body heat. In the light of the flickering candles, he looked almost luminescent, like a ghost engaged in some half-forgotten earthly delight.

I traced at the softness of my cunt with my fingertips. Spread myself apart a little. An offering of pleasure, for him and for me.

“See how pretty?”

He touched his cock. Said nothing. Began stroking himself, a little tentatively at first. Then his fist grasped the erection more firmly. His strokes became quicker as he began to fondle the purplish head, and brought the first drops of pre-cum into his hands.

“Carla…,” he said.

“Ssssh…Don’t say anything,” I murmured, turning to him, searching his dark, deep-set eyes. “We’ll play a sweet little game, de la Rosa. I’ll make the rules. And the rules are, you cannot touch. I do all the touching. Do you understand?”

He looked at me, unsmiling, nodded.

The veins in his clenched fists stood out as I bound his beautiful hands behind him with the silken kimono sash. Still, he said nothing, except, once, “yes,” his voice husky, almost breaking.

I knelt before him. He bowed his head.

“Watch me,” I whispered.

I reached out, grasped his hips, brought him to me. Anointed his beautiful, fever-hot erection with open-mouthed kisses, took him inside the heat of my mouth, fondled his cock with the tip of my tongue, tasted him at the sides of my tongue, until he began to thrust hard inside me. When he was ready, I devoured all of him, taking his powerful cum deep inside my throat, drinking the sweet, hot intimacy of him, feeding on his need and his want, giving myself in a kind of dark, lush submission, filling myself with him, feeling my own orgasm erupt like liquid silk between my long legs as, finally, he grew small and spent and velvet-soft inside my mouth.

* * *

Afterwards, he left quietly, the way he almost always did. I sat, listening, as he descended the stairway, and his echoing footsteps crossed the courtyard toward his own apartment. It was a quiet night, and I fancied I could hear him turn the key in the lock, open the door, and a woman’s voice softly call out his name.

Then, nothing. Except the summery sound of crickets and the whine of an occasional mosquito out for blood.

* * *

Soon, a “For Rent” sign went up outside his empty apartment. And, in awhile, time would seem to spirit him away in a sense. No one appeared to know where he’d gone. Some even had trouble remembering that he’d lived there. And as the years passed, even I began to wonder sometimes if I had conjured de la Rosa somehow, had invented him from shards of fantasy and air and pieces of my heart—much the same way an author might create a character for a story in a book.

© 2005 Tori Diaz. All rights reserved. Content may not be copied or used in whole or part without written permission from the author.

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