T. Guzman

Crimson & Clover

The neighbors are having sex in their backyard. They have a high fence, but we live on the second floor. It’s noon, so maybe they expect us to be at work, to be gone, but we’re here. They’re having sex. I’m in a black suit watching, waiting for the funeral to start.

 “They’re really going at it,” my wife says, touching me on the shoulder. Her eyes are puffy. Her touch is gentle—a slight pressure that says she’s right behind me, she’s here, she’s sorry. She has nothing to be sorry for, but she is sorry. Everyone is sorry. You’d be an asshole if you weren’t. 

It’s an everyone-is-sorry-for-your-loss kinda day.

The man outside flips the woman so that she’s on top. Her back arches as she ascends, her hair flipping back like straight lines leading everywhere before falling, almost in slow motion to the cleft of her back like some shampoo commercial. It all looks staged—a trick of lighting, of camera angles—but it all feels real, sexy. And for a moment, I’m embarrassed to be watching as if I’m intruding on something personal and intimate which seems odd cause isn’t sex always personal, intimate.


My phone buzzes and vibrates in my pocket. I step away and leave my wife to the watching. It’s my brother texting.

“You picking up the sandwich tray?”

“Yea” I text.

And the phone stills, and I’m sure there won’t be any more texts cause when I was ten and my brother was six I threw a black walnut right into his face and broke his nose, and cause when he was eight and I was twelve, he threw a rock at my head and gave me three stitches along the side of my temple. That’s the sort of relationship we have. We love each other in that way that causes violence and mistrust and jealousy and distance.


This time I place my hand on my wife’s shoulder, and she lays her hand over mine, and we watch as they move back into position like something out of yoga.

I don’t know if I’ve ever had sex like that. It’s not that I’m bad at sex, which I know is the first thing someone who is bad at sex would say. It’s just that I don’t think I’m particularly talented. But then who is? Out of the sexing population I’m sure there’re only so many truly gifted rompers, and that it means that most of us, by numbers alone, must be average. It’s not like everyone behind closed doors can be Sting having hour long tantric orgasms. I’d probably need a breather midway through, maybe an orange slice.

“Maybe, I should take notes?” I say.

My wife laughs. It’s a good laugh, light and free, and every part of me wants to feed on that laugh, take it to wherever it goes. 

“Maybe I should, too. Damn,” she says, and we both laugh this time, but it’s not the same laugh. It’s like when you’ve seen a movie too many times, and what you’re laughing at isn’t the jokes anymore, but the memory of jokes already told, living in the comfort of reminiscence.  


My wife’s wearing a black dress. She looks good, great really. It’s a shame cause she won’t wear that dress again, out of respect, but she looks good, and part of me is turned on, thinking of her not wearing that black dress, and part of me is sad. 

“Do you think they know?” I say, pressing my hand to the window. My breath is fogging up the glass. I’m feeling like a full on perv. “You know that we’re watching.”

She says I don’t know; she says maybe; she puts her arm around me, lays her head in the crook of my shoulder in a side embrace. It’s come this far, I think, her sorry, this embrace of condolence, us standing here at our apartment window, such voyeurs. 

“I mean, it’s a Monday, so maybe they think we’re at work.”

She sighs. I can feel it reverberate through my chest. It’s warm that sigh. It feels good.

“Well… sometimes it’s Saturdays, too.” 

“Really?” I say, and I’m honestly curious. 

Her arm, the one embracing me, is doing little circles, trails of figure eights. Circles of support, of care.


“And you watch?” and I’m imagining her rising in the morning her hair tangled and lopsided, brushing her hair—voluminous like it’s floating over her, framing her soft features—walking to the kitchen, making mint tea cause she can’t stand coffee, making eggs, making toast, eating a banana as she waits as she does every day, watching out the window. I’m getting hard thinking about her dress again, crumpled and pushed to side on the floor. “I mean sometimes,” I say, trying to make sure there isn’t any accusation in my voice.  

She shrugs, and that’s enough of an answer.

And I want to nod in agreement, and do so much more. Be Sting, living inside hour long orgasms in Zen like trances, but my phone buzzes again. It’s my brother.

“You picking up the sandwich tray?”

“Yea,” I text.

“Oh sorry,” he texts back near instantaneously, probably never having seen my reply “just saw I already texted you about that.”


T. Guzman writes, plays guitar, and does things in general. Hangs his Philosophy degree from the fridge with a magnet shaped liked the state of Missouri. Tweets @t_guzman.