On the night of my Shokujin Ceremony with Ted, I thought back to the day I had met him four years earlier. It had been a sweaty summer day, and I had gone to Ted's Good Food and Drink, a small vegetarian cafeteria near my place of work. Ted was a solidly-built man with a neatly-trimmed moustache and long black hair in a single thick braid in the back down to his waist. He wore natural-fiber clothes through which the heat of his body seemed to radiate. As he took my order, I found myself strongly attracted to his hands: they were big, capable hands with dark hair on their backs and up his arms.
We had struck up a conversation while he was fixing my order, and in the following days we eventually had come to be good friends. One evening we ended up having sex, and then began to have sex together regularly. The sex was sometimes a little odd because Ted was an unusually large-built guy, and I am very small-built. But we were both happy with it, and I sometimes thought that the difference in our sizes was appropriate. In spite of his very gentle way of life, Ted could be very dominant sexually, and I was sexually submissive; we were a very good match. But overall, Ted was very gentle and mellow, and he talked sometimes about the deep spiritual connection that had developed between us.
I thought back also to the trip Ted and I had taken about two years ago. Ted had left his friend Mike in charge of the cafe for a few days, and Ted and I had driven a few hours over to the Rocky Mountains to hike around. We climbed a mountain and looked down to the narrow valley where two rivers flowed together. The smaller river was a muddy brown, and the larger river was a mysterious deep green. When they flowed together, there was a distance downstream where the line between the two waters could still be distinguished, but further downstream still they became intermingled and indistinguishable.
The memory of that day was very strong in my mind. I clearly remembered the conversation that Ted and I had as we sat on a rock at the top of the mountain, listening to the quiet forest sounds. We had been talking about vegetarianism, and Ted had made a joke about there being only two occasions on which he would eat meat: oral sex with another guy, and one other occasion. We laughed, but as we looked at each other, it struck us both that it was only a matter of time before we undertook the Shokujin Ceremony. I remembered the thrill of fear and excitement I felt in the pit of my stomach as Ted and I gazed silently at each other, not knowing when we would do this ceremony, but knowing that it would eventually take place.
For two years Ted and I had occasionally discussed our plans for our Shokujin Ceremony, always a little reluctant to set a date, but also reluctant to put the ceremony off. I had joked once that we were like a straight couple trying to decide on a wedding date, but Ted had responded that the Shokujin Ceremony was not like a wedding. "A wedding can be undone," he said. "And besides, a wedding is only symbolic of the joining of two people. Shokujin actually joins the two into one." And this was true. Ted and I felt that we were already spiritually joined into one, but one step remained to join us completely into one being.
Finally we had agreed to a date for the ceremony, and I got my affairs into order. We were now in Ted's house in the woods, and I felt a thrill in my stomach again as I realized that the event we had considered for so long was about to actually take place. I looked around the house, trying to think of any preparations I might have forgotten. The fire was popping and crackling in the fireplace; the phone had been disconnected from the wall; the bed was made with clean sheets; the bottle of red wine was cold and the glass was ready.
Ted came in from outside and gave me his gentle smile. "Ready to begin?" he asked.
I couldn't find the words to answer; I only nodded.
Ted and I came close to each other and unbuttoned each other's clothes. Soon we both stood naked in front of the fire, with Ted standing a head taller than me. The fire made a pleasant roasting sensation against my bare skin. I solemnly threw my clothes into the fire; I would need them no more. Then I turned and helped Ted fold his clothes into a neat pile.
With our clothes taken care of, Ted pulled me close to him and kissed me. After a few moments we drew apart, and Ted opened the bottle of wine. He poured the glass partway full of wine. He held the glass as I took a drink from it, and then I held the glass as he drank. I felt the sensation of warmth as the wine entered my bloodstream. But we drank no more; this was too serious of an event for drunkenness.
Ted guided me to the bed, and we laid down. I placed my head between his legs and performed oral sex on him. I had done this for Ted on countless occasions and knew exactly what he liked, but on this occasion I concentrated completely and did my very best for him, knowing this was the last time I would have the opportunity to sexually gratify him. After several minutes I felt the familiar change in his breathing and muscular tension, and then he came in my mouth. When Ted and I had first met, we had been very careful about sexually transmitted diseases, but at this point it hardly mattered.
Everything had been done; there was nothing left to do before we completed the Shokujin Ceremony.
"You called Mike to ask him to run the cafe for the next few days?" I asked.
"I took care of it," said Ted. It was the last time I would remind him to do something.
There was a moment of silence. My heart was pounding with excitement and apprehension.
"Think of me often," I said, my mouth dry.
"I will think of you always," said Ted very softly. We looked at each other, and Ted kissed me one last time.
Then Ted gently placed his lips against the top of my head. I felt his mouth open and gradually widen, larger and larger, larger than anyone would have thought it possible for a human to open his mouth. Soon his mouth was open so wide that his lips were pressing around my head like the weight of a crown.
Ted hooked his hands under my armpits and gently pulled me toward him, sliding more of my head into his mouth. I involuntarily closed my eyes as I felt his lips sliding down my forehead and past my eyebrows. My ears passed through his lips, and the sound of the crackling fire gave way to the quiet, wet sounds being produced in Ted's mouth as he slowly drew me inside him. I tried to stop myself from trembling; I wished that I could be as calm and collected as Ted seemed to be.
Ted's lips slid the rest of the way around my head, and in a few moments he had accomplished the seemingly impossible act of taking my entire head inside his mouth. His lips were snug all the way around my neck. I could feel his rough, wet tongue against my face.
At this point the feeling of fear which had been growing in me became too much. On one level, I had no doubts that this was what I wanted, but my body involuntarily reacted, struggling to pull free from Ted's mouth. I flailed my arms and legs uselessly, but Ted had too firm a hold on my head with his mouth for me to be able to get free.
Ted took hold of my arms and held me gently but firmly. From his gentle touch, I knew that he was trying to soothe me and calm my fears. If his mouth had not been full of my head, he would have been saying soft words to me. But his grip was also firm enough that I knew that he was determined not let me get away. He was going to go through with this.
I was frightened but also strangely peaceful as I felt Ted take a breath, take hold of me with his capable hands, and slowly slide more of me into his mouth. I felt his lips slide around my shoulders. My torso and arms slowly and smoothly glided into his mouth, halfway being swallowed in by the muscles in Ted's mouth and throat, and halfway being fed in by his hands. I could feel my heart hammering; my body was still shaking, and I couldn't help giving a few more kicks and struggles. But for all his gentleness, Ted was still much bigger and stronger than me, and he was not going to let my struggling stop him. Soon his lips were stretched enormously around my waist, and only my lower half was still outside of him.
I could feel Ted's hands, tongue, and throat all gently but inexorably pulling me further in. The warmth of his mouth enveloped my hips, my upper legs, my knees, my calves, and finally only my quivering feet were still sticking out of his mouth. But Ted continued to suck and swallow me in, and soon he had taken my feet into his mouth as well. I was now completely inside of Ted, and he closed his mouth. I felt his throat muscles smoothly gliding me down his throat.
A moment later, I was curled up snugly inside of Ted's stomach. After the tumultuous experience of being eaten by Ted, the stillness and peacefulness of his stomach was striking. It was warm and completely dark there, and the walls of his stomach were warm and smooth. I could feel the beating of Ted's heart nearby and could hear the tiny sounds of his blood rushing and his internal organs efficiently at work. My body was still trembling a little, but I was beginning to relax now. I felt myself being overcome by an overwhelming feeling of peace and safety. Finally, finally, I was securely inside of Ted. He had swallowed me, and I had finally come home; we were both fulfilled.
Ted closed his eyes and laid back on the bed, one hand on the big bulge I was forming in his stomach. The ceremony was completed; there was nothing left to do. As the hours passed, Ted's digestive system gently broke down my body and assimilated it and absorbed it into him. As he laid still, relaxing, Ted meditatively thought that it was odd that the same physical process of digestion applied both to ordinary food and also in such a intensely meaningful ritual as the Shokujin Ceremony. But that was the essence of ritual: that ordinary physical elements and acts are taken in a way so that they take on a greater meaning.
We had both wanted things this way; it was a union that we had both hoped for. As he resumed daily life a few days later, Ted was always silently proud that part of the matter that made up his body had once made up mine. I had become a part of Ted, and he remembered me always.
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