Of Little or No Consequence
It started about a year ago, on one of those long affairs when we'd been in the field for four or five weeks without seeing anybody but a distant and unfriendly enemy, and were both horny as dogs (a phrase he once helpfully taught me for use in private conversation).
It was the first time we had been obliged by the circumstances to share a bed, and it happened at that silent time of about three in the morning; both too tired to sleep—or too frightened, though we'd never admit as much to each other.
I don't remember who started it—possibly it was entirely mutual—as we naturally held each other close for warmth as we are trained to do, in the shabby, cold hunting shack we had appropriated. I remember the rest though:
Finding that we had started to stroke each others' backs—a normal reaction to the first decent human contact either of us had had in weeks.
Then opening our buttons to let our hands in to rub over bare skin, and realising that we were both hopelessly aroused. So, in the silence, bringing each other off.
Then him bringing my hand up to his mouth and kissing the palm, as if to say that, no matter what it looked like, he did care, and it did mean something to him.
Then me doing the same for him, because, no matter what it looked like, it meant something to me, too.
Then in the morning we didn't mention it and it felt like a dream, and everything between us remained exactly as it was before.
And I might have thought it truly had been a dream, of the nicest kind. Except that it happens every time, in the blackness and silence of a strange room, and although we never mention it, or even really think about it in the day, it waits for us in the dark. It is the strangest of things—which means so much in the stillness of the night, but which in the light, no matter how much I might wish it otherwise, is of little or no consequence.