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Daphne Merkin

Between Love and Madness

It was a summer of love—no, make that sex, the exquisitely passionate kind that taught Daphne Merkin the thrill of obsession

Girls in their summer dresses we all know about, but what about boys in their summer bathing trunks? Him, in particular, his long-legged body, not hideously six-packed in the current style, but elegantly constructed—beautiful even, in an antelope kind of way. His smooth olive-tone skin tanned to an almost non-Caucasian pitch, and my own much lighter skin burnished to a red-brown by incessant and patient exposure.

He always wore the plainest of business suits, black or navy, not a man to take sartorial chances—or risks of any sort, really, except in bed, where he kept leading me forward, closer to the precipice, that moment where you drop off the boundary of your own precarious identity and into someone else's terrain. "Do I own you now?" he used to ask me breathlessly after some particularly entwined bout of lovemaking. Neither of us tended to speak much during sex, except for his habit of punctuating the silence with cursory yet infinitely flattering statements like "Someone should bottle you" after he rose up from nuzzling me below. So the ownership question came out with the force of a mission statement, one I signed off on. That summer, at least, he owned me. What was the point in pretending otherwise?

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Elle | June 11, 2011


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