The Pitcher

He comes back into the hotel room from the bathroom carrying a pitcher and puts it down beside her. She knows what’s in it without looking, can smell the Ivory soap in the water, a lot of it. She knows what’s coming; even so that knowledge does nothing to calm her.

“What is this,” he says, pointing at the container he’s just set down.

“It’s a pitcher,” she says.

“No,” he replies, smiling, “‘pitcher’ is just a name. What *is* it?”

“A container for my enema solution,” she says, already imagining the water rushing in, already feeling the cramps, already knowing how he’ll enjoy watching her distress, how he’ll savor it and, at the same time, prolong it.

“No,” he says, moving forward to tap her face gently with one of his hands; not a slap, but the sudden contact makes her jump as if it had been. “You just gave me a description of what I’m going to do. What I’m going to do, or what I might not do … or even what I may wait until later to do. Try again.”

“It’s a tool for my correction,” she says, “a way of reminding me of what our relationship is, what happens when I need to be corrected, how you won’t hesitate to punish me in the most intimate possible of ways.”

“No, sweetheart,” he says as he reaches forward and knocks the pitcher over onto the pile of towels he’s already put down under and around her, the towels he put there to fix her mind on what’s coming and the consequences of failing to take all of it and hold it to his satisfaction.”

She jerks as the pitcher falls, watches dumbly as the soapy water runs out onto the towels, puddles, and then slowly is absorbed.

“I just showed you what it is,” he says, “in a way that words never could. When Hyakujo put a water vase on the ground and asked `Who can say what this is without calling its name?’ only the cook knew the answer and kicked the jug over, spilling the contents.”

He smiles at her, gets up and picks up the pitcher and disappears back into the bathroom where she can hear him running the water.

She pulls down her pajama bottoms and climbs on the bed, head down and behind up, legs spread wide. She waits like that, trying to calm herself, trying not to listen to what he’s doing.

Finally he comes back to her, now carrying a full enema bag, which he hangs from the pole he’s set up at the bedside.

She watches as he vaselines the thick nozzle, closes her eyes so that she can focus on him pushing the nozzle into her behind.

“We discussed the pitcher,” he says, ” and what it is. Now, sweetheart, I ask you, what are *you*?”

She’s caught off guard by the question, then after a moment begins to think about why she’s there, how much what he does affects her, how it cuts to the core of who she is and what she wants, even though she has no idea why she’s made that way, why she has those desires and needs.

She turns her head to look up at him as he stands by the side of the bed, puts her hand out and puts it on the clamp on the hose.

She looks at him, he sees her pupils dilate, she opens her mouth to answer his question but no words come out.

Instead she opens the clamp and lets the soapy water flow.

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