“Bubble Toes”

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And Pooja felt her heel, her left heel, embed itself inside the soft mould of wet sand, the kind she was used to running barefoot on when she lived in Bombay. Then, one by one, her unpainted toes – all five of them – touched and prodded the wet ground until the sand responded to her, watering up her left foot in the tiny squeaks so characteristic of the squeaked-up moisture hidden barely an inch beneath the surface of the beach. She wiggled her bubbly big toe, the wettest of all five now, timorously pushing it further inside the lips of a tiny, transient depression in the sand, and then sliding it out, even wetter, to see the hole made by her close; she did so again and again, waiting each time for a wave to cover the sand and then go back to the sea, replenishing moisture and giving her round toe more wet beach to dig itself into. Eventually, though not yet tired or bored – her naked self, flavoured, as it seemed, with the saltiness of sweat and of the long winds from the sea, felt no impulse to immerse itself into the waters just yet – she took to teasing, alternating, sporadically, between toes at either end of her left foot, and felt the sand enclose and dampen her littlest toe with the same inviting simplicity as it did her roundest. She felt her right foot, dry, idle, shuffling for want of attention, and she sighed and sighed.

And sighed, until a sublime moan of painful pleasure escaped her; she opened her eyes, and gently slid her toe out from in between his lips; her right leg bent, her left leg straight and suspended a little above the bed, she flicked his lower lip with her round toe. Flat on her back, arms outstretched, fingers clutching onto the sheet, Pooja closed her eyes again and pushed her toe back inside, warm yet benumbed by the swivel of his tongue. The other foot, now. Inside her final little window of consciousness, all she knew for sure was that it would be stupidly atavistic now to go back to the same old, plain old.

Some odd morning, he had entered the little flat using the spare key Pooja had given him, and she had found herself tickled out of her sleep, him running his fingers all over her exposed feet; her laughter had been stifled by her consciousness of the voyeurity of undrawn shades, and by her suspicion that people inside the metro carriages passing at level with her window could see her heels being tickled by a man leaning at the foot of her bed. Nonetheless, she had found it awfully cute, as she had when, in bed, he would reach over to her legs wrapped around his waist, and give her feet a tiny, comforting squeeze, as if kneading clay. Another night, him travelling across the length of her torso, she had squirmed when he did not pause at her sex, rather went across her thighs, calves, across her ankles, and on her toes. Much later, she remembered, with the fond laughter of bygones, how she had pulled her feet away in reflex, how he had simply chased and pinned her toes down with his hands, and how she had glanced – between quickly dissolving nervousness and emerging pleasure – at her toes, kissed, wetted, hidden inside his lips. She remembered: she had been unsure how to respond, for the overwhelming desire to moan was lost inside of her unfamiliarity with the watery sensation of having her toes sucked by men.

Not one of her previous boyfriends had had the courageous audacity to tell her that he wanted to suck on her toes; they were all idiots, Pooja knew, for why else would any guy deny her this pleasurable wetness and the concomitant wisps of laughter. Much later, when she had learned how to make him yearn and chase, when she knew how she encapsulated all his pain within a single jerk of her toe, how she could deny and dominate, and make him submit, she felt – proverbially – on top; she was a regular Duchess of the small county of her bed, the last empress of the sandy shores of her mind.

Could I be more loved, more revered?

Could she get him off with her feet?

Pooja shuddered loudly – he was kissing, nibbling her ankle now – and tried not to think about it; footjobs made for weird porn and weirder Tumblrs. Besides, she could not be the sadistic mistress of a man bound to her lowliest piece of skin by virtue of an inexorable fetish. Besides, they were not, could not be, weird; it was romance; he was just like an overzealous pup overwhelmed with affection, licking on her toes. Besides, her feet weren’t lowly; they bathed, albeit separately, for as long as the rest of her did; they were neither spindly nor spidery; the hint of a greenish vein or two embossed over earthen skin – after Pooja had begun paying more attention down-there – seemed to her a necessary, beautiful textural touch to an otherwise plain expanse of skin; contact with his lips always made the veins stand in stark relief to her skin, and she loved her feet so.

Her right foot was, suddenly, without a moment’s hesitation, drenched, and her moans settled into sighs, as she embedded her right heel inside the watery sands and dug for further wetness with her toes, one by one. The incoming tide would wet her up to her ankles, and then recede as quickly as it came, leaving her to push her round, bubbly toe further inside for want of dampening.

Pooja felt her warmly wet feet warmer and wetter against her dry body; lips partly open, nipples firmly, tightly risen, fingers clutching the bed sheet, yearning to edge their way towards her vagina, radiating with its own wetness, she wanted to run, like they say, rivers run to the sea. Her feet, however, were rooted, as if partially buried, to the sand beneath them; she could but wait for the tide to rise, for a singular wave to crash over her dry non-feet. Her feet, now, were buried inside the sand, and the tide seemed to be going further and further away from where she stood; the night was almost at its end, and her toes, she knew, would soon be stood inside the dry surface of the beach.

Pooja opened her eyes.

He had fallen asleep at her feet, at the foot of the bed. His body lay folded and foetal near the end of her legs, and his arms, in a tight embrace, were folded in possession of her ankles; her feet, his pillow.

Pooja stayed awake, eyes wide open, in horror, or in dismay, for hours. Until he woke up and left, she did not move.

Shantam Goyal

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