We didn’t speak.
It was something we decided early on, in emails and texts and our conversations in the café that sat in between our apartment buildings. Over time, one by one, we took away each line of communication. As our negotiations went on and our boundaries were solidified, text messages were removed, then chat, then email, then phone calls, and finally speaking to each other altogether.
The rules then became both baroque and straightforward. We had the written word. Not just any written word, but specifically note cards.
We would meet before a party and I would deliver to her a beautiful set of ornate note cards. The style changed each time. Being that it became our only means of communication, I tried to make them as special as possible.
She had twelve cards. Twelve requests. She could only write on one side of each card. So she had to decide what was important to her.
“May I please use the restroom?”
“May I please come?”
“Please fuck me.”
“Please hit me.”
Her handwriting became quite lovely. Flowery and ornate. Calligraphic flourishes. I assumed she took a class, though I wouldn’t know since we didn’t speak.
Twelve cards. That’s all she had, and in those limited communiqués, those scant options, those few fleeting requests, the first card was always- “Thank you, sir.”