Her lips on mine feel like a streak of reflection dancing across the curves of a vintage corvette.
We lay beside each other. The morning sun peeks through blind slats, wrapping her skin in ribbons of light. She runs the back of her hand across my cheek, leans in for a kiss. I slink back. My voice falters.
“What are we doing?”
<<Nous faisons ce que nous voulons faire. Pour une fois.>>
“But it’s not just about what we want. This was a mistake. We shouldn’t have done that last night.”
<<Dit qui? Pourquoi ne devrions-nous pas aimer?>>
“Because you’re a campus coronavirus test administrator. And I’m...I have a job to do. It isn’t right.”
I cast my mind back to the crux of all this. It was her first text. It still rattles in my mind.
“Duke United Covid Testing: You have a required COVID test tomorrow. Visit a campus site to complete test. Details at https://bit.ly/2XOT11O”
It enthralled me. Who was this +1(919) 420-3968, and what was her game? How had she found me? Her confidence was intoxicating. She said exactly what she wanted.
I should’ve walked away then and there. But the pull was too strong.
Even as I enter Penn Pavilion the next day a part of me still can’t believe I’m going through with it. I’m not the type to hook up with strangers on a whim. But all of the voices in my head quiet as I’m met with the piercing eyes of the woman standing behind the testing station. Eyes that could only belong to my secret admirer. Her instruments lay on the table. Kinky.
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“Is this your first time?”
I clock her French accent.
<<Tu parles français?>>
She smiles. I mean, she’s wearing a mask and also a face shield over the mask and also gloves, but I assume she smiles.
I wonder what the gloves are about. I find them kinky.
<<Don’t be nervous. It doesn’t go up too far.>>
“I’ve never done anything like this before.”
<<Don’t worry. I’ll guide you.>>
She tells me to unwrap the swab. I do. The crinkle of the cellophane raises the hairs on the back of my neck.
<<Now put it in your right nostril and swirl.>>
I’m completely caught off guard. She wants me to do it to myself, and she wants to watch. I didn’t peg her for a voyeur, but I’m into it.
I stick it up my nose. It’s exhilarating. I moan loudly as I swirl it around my nostril. The people at testing stations beside us throw looks.
<<Now do the same thing with your left nostril.>>
I’m floored. No one’s ever asked me to go again so fast. I doubt my refractory period is short enough, but she looks like she’s not going to take no for an answer. I stick it and swirl it. My eyes water. I feel like it’s touching my brain.
Once it’s done, I keep following her instructions. I break off the bottom half of the swab with a sensual “pop.” My hands fumble for a test tube. I unscrew it and gingerly stick the filthy, filthy bad-boy stick inside. Then I put it in a bag marked “biohazard”. Kinky. I seductively lick the edge of the bag before I seal it.
<<Oh no wait wait wait! Y-you can’t do that. Now we have to do everything again.>>
So we do. And when we’re done, the bag goes into a bucket full of identical looking bags. Call me possessive, but I’m a little hurt at the thought of her having this intimate experience with any other clients. Penn Pavillion’s testing center is basically a brothel, but I can’t help my naivete.
<<You should hear back within 48 hours.>>
I cling to these words as I disembark from this life-changing experience of exploration and self-discovery. It was unlike anything I had ever done before, performing for her like that; playing with her toys and being told what to do. I want more.
She texts me throughout the semester, keeping me around her finger. We start communicating on SymMon. She asks me about my “symptoms” and how I’ve been since my last “report”.
She drives me mad. I can’t stand it. She’s an absolute French smokeshow of a contact tracer and I can’t stand it. One faithful day, she arrives at my door.
<<I’m contact tracing.>>
“I’m trying to trace the path to where my heart wants to go, and it only leads to you.”
<<You look like you have a fever. Do you want help?>>
“I’m not sure.”
“Okay, fine! You’ve got me! I am sure! I’m absolutely positive that I want to be with you!”
We embrace. Then the rest is a whirlwind.
La chronique du lundi lundi, lundi lundi, est publiée tous les lundis. Bagettes et bérets et vin et long, long, cigarettes et macarons et fines rayures.