I know, weird title, but stick with me here. Sometime over the past two and a half years we have been seeing each other, I have started to refer to him as a location. I tell my friends:
“I’ll go to Stefan tonight.”
“I went to Stefan this week.”
“Well, let’s see if I’m going to Stefan and then I’ll let you know…”
Somehow in our relationship, being with him became more than spending time with a special person, it has become a location, a designation, a destination.
Location: 1a: a position or site occupied or available for occupancy or marked by some distinguishing feature
HE is the distinguishing feature. He has made himself and his flat a place available for me to occupy. The sacred cocoon we create around our time together occupies this space. We have never dated in the traditional sense. We went on exactly one date, our first. We had dinner at a dim sum place, (where even in our newness we shared a plate of food,) and then went to a cozy corner bar, lounged around on old 50’s furniture, and got to know each other.
After that, every single time we’ve been together, it’s at his flat. I climb the five flights of stairs, arriving breathlessly at the top, to him grinning, naked, waiting to take my bag, and give me a kiss. Sometimes he is in the tub, usually having arrived home just before I get there, and he hops out to open the door and jumps right back in. On those days, I let myself in, say hi (the bathroom is in the entry hallway) drop my bag, come back, sit on the edge of the tub, kiss him hello, and we catch up on our week, until he’s done. It’s all very comfortable and intimate.
We also have a routine of sorts. I almost always go there on Thursday evenings. He always invites me to arrive around the same time he arrives home, so we have the maximum amount of time to spend together. We both get naked as soon as we arrive at the flat. He usually greets me at the door already in his altogether. It’s more difficult than you imagine, shedding my “American modesty” even with this man who has not only seen me naked but has done the most delicious and naughty things to my naked body. But as often as not, I only strip down to my panties and don’t take them off until the last minute. I’m still working on that whole complete nudity freedom thing.
We used to order food, usually Indian, but this year we have comfortably fallen into the routine of making dinner, (yes naked!) He will often prepare some delicious bread, topped with spinach and balsamic, and then add a big juicy steak with melted cheese to the top. Or I will bring what I have in the fridge and he will add what he has, and we eat an odd buffet of foodstuffs. But always, we share one plate, one bowl, one pan, two people. Sometimes we have one fork and one spoon, passing the utensils between us as needed. I have no idea how that started, it’s just always been this way.
We turn off our phones. Unless he is showing me pics of his little girl or the projects he is working on in his shop or back home on the farm, or I have pictures to show him, or he is helping me with investment advice, or we are looking up something about our current discussion topic on the internet, our phones are down, charging, tucked away. It is just us in our little world. On the odd occasion that he has to take a call, usually for something regarding his shop, it feels jarring and unsettling to have something break into our little world, even if just for a short moment or two.
We always talk about our other relationships. He tells me how things are going out in the country where his girlfriend Sherry and baby daughter live with his parents, and about Sally, who lives in Berlin, and if he saw her this week. I tell him that I had a few random sex dates or a threesome or tried a new kinky thing. He always asks how it was, what did I think? He listens sympathetically when I tell him that Roland broke up with me, or I haven’t seen Benjamin in a while and how sad I am about that. It’s just another topic of conversation, another way of checking in and making sure all is right in our worlds.
He makes me laugh. Probably more than anyone else I know. We finish our food and settle into a nice snuggle, side by side on the couch, talking and laughing. He can be such a jerk, but it’s an endearing sort of jerkiness and I have slapped him on the arm and called him an “asshole” more than once, in a fit of giggles.
We always smoke weed. I sometimes do on my own, but it’s mostly something I do with him. Well I should say, he smokes and then blows the smoke from his mouth to mine. I’ve never gotten the hang of using the big bong he prefers. Plus, it has become a very intimate expression, his mouth so close to mine, but not touching, leaning into each other, it’s just so very sexy. The relaxed easy feeling of being high also facilitates some of the most amazing sex of my life.
As most relationships, our sex life has evolved. As we’ve gotten to know each other, we’ve had discussions about our likes, dislikes, etc. The biggest turning point was a little over a year ago, when I finally got up enough nerve to talk about sex with him. I asked him if our sex life was good for him? Was there anything else he’d like to try? Were there things we should do or not do? It was around that time that our sex life became a bit more D/s. He takes what he wants, and I give him the trust and consent to do so. He always checks in and makes sure that each thing is ok with me, but he decides what we do, he takes what he likes. It turns out, what he likes to take, I love to give. Since then, our explorations have soared and I have experienced things I never even knew existed, let alone had names for, before I met him.
All of this wild intimate crazy sex, talking, laughing, and sharing ends each night with us intertwined, naked bodies touching in as many places as possible, on the couch, watching German TV. He translates the general gist of the programs for the rest of the evening, until he sees I am falling asleep. Recently we attempted to use my Chromecast so we could watch shows in English. I was actually bit torn. It would be nice, of course, to understand what was on the TV, but also, it’s a comfortable feeling to let the German flow over me, knowing only what he tells me about each show, and relaxing with relatively white noise all evening. Eventually we fall asleep curled together, side by side. When I inevitably wake up in the night, I slip quietly from his side, and go to his bedroom. He has one of the most comfortable beds ever. I push aside his laundry, curl up in the middle, and fall right back to sleep. In the morning, I drag the comforter with me and go back to the couch. If he’s already stirring, he makes room for me behind him and we curl back up again. If he’s still sleeping, I fit myself in front of him and snuggle in until he wakes up.
We still don’t reach for our phones. We share a cup of coffee or two, (yes, a single mug between us) watch all the morning news shows, and doze on and off. I love to be curled up on his chest, taking in the last minutes of his warmth, his scent, and his caresses. Sometimes we’ll have one last quickie before we have to get going. Eventually, he’ll hop in the bath, then call out asking, before he drains the water, do I want to take a bath too? I’ll often jump in behind him to rinse off the remains of our hot sexy night before officially starting our day. I have a blue toothbrush there, it sits beside Sally’s yellow one. Just like my salt deodorant sits next to her shampoo. It’s all very comfortable and open.
Eventually we get dressed and ready to face the outside world, and our phones start to ping and chime. We check in with our plans for the day, quickly make sure the outside world hasn’t collapsed in our absence, and start to move into a new place. Around 10:45 we leave the flat. He opens the car door for me and takes me to the tram stop close to his shop. (I live on the same tram line and my place is only six stops and a 2-minute walk from there.) He gently kisses me goodbye. It seems like we always take an extra minute to just look at each other before I open the door, then the normal day rushes in, and we are off and running.
But for those hours, those minutes, in that time; he is my place. A place outside of time. A place of intimacy, of love, of hot AF sex, of laughing, of sharing, of Stefan. A place I am able to be my essential self and be safe. A place I am able to explore, grow, and learn things I didn’t even know I wanted, no needed, to learn. Somehow, this very non-traditional relationship has come to represent a place of peace and comfort in my life. It is one of the things I will miss most desperately about Berlin. But in the same moment, it is the one thing I am most secure in about leaving Berlin. He will be here when I get back. He is my place.