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The American Lovers: South Dakota I

Rapid City, South Dakota. South Dakota Men. This is the first of a story in 2 parts: The American Lovers, South Dakota Part II

In my mid-30’s, I am a nomad within the United States as a prequel to my global rambling. I’m out to discover America, and my soul. I know it has been left out there, somewhere – along one of my endless plane rides across the country. It just needs me to come back and scoop it back up at a more reasonable pace. It can’t keep up with my jet set lifestyle.

I knew I had left something – many things – on many roads. I knew traveling them would bring back lost pieces of myself.

And it did. But I also lost a few more. 

During my first roadtrip walkabout around the US, I stay with friends. For the second, I want to venture outside of places where I have friends, and begin using Couchsurfing. 

I fall in love with my second host.

His profile hits me hard. I’m drawn in with a strong magnetic pull that only experience makes me question. There’s a shade of energetic similarity to The Madman, and I am only a few years out from leaving that behind. I know that sometimes the strongest draws are the most destructive, and I sense the elements, but I absolutely cannot resist the pull.  Immediately upon seeing his profile, he becomes more important than anything else.

The first two words are “realized redneck”. He’s 5 years older than I am, a week younger than The Plant Whisperer. He describes himself as an eclectic mix – a single parent of a teenager, an engineer, a musician, a climber, a tinkerer, a drinker, a gardener, a former hitchhiker, a former gold miner, a rebel, a chef, a writer, and a nerd. Foryst is a water engineer, studying sinkholes for money, mostly for mining, gas and oil companies. He was born and bred in Rapid City, South Dakota. I know little of South Dakota men.

At the very moment I am writing this there is a protest in the Black Hills of South Dakota. The Lakota are displeased with the visit of president Trump, the oil pipeline leaking through their land, and ever still the carving of their sacred mountain with the faces of dead presidents. A dear family friend is there, supporting the protestors. Through her footage of the plains and the drumming of the Lakota I am drawn back to South Dakota.

It is special. I revere it.

Photo of South Dakota plain and blue sky with clouds

I’ve long had a fascination with South Dakota. My first drive through it was during my first adult roadtrip across the US at age 18 with my best friend at the time, on the way West from New York to visit my boyfriend in Seattle before returning to my Sophomore year at college in Southern California. 

Our timing was perfect for the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally, held in Sturgis, South Dakota which draws half a million attendees from around the United States and even the world as well as plenty of South Dakota men.. We had increasing percentages of motorcycle-riding denizens on the road with us from Pennsylvania all the way to the mecca of Sturgis, and then decreasing all the way to the West Coast. Every photo we took has a few bikers in it.

We stopped at Wall Drug, then lined with beautiful hogs so thick they’d created parking lots just for the four-wheeled folk. We stayed in a cheap motel in Rapid City.

The bizarre camp experience that is Wall Drug blew me away as a teen. Billboards lining the Interstate in both directions for hundreds of miles to advertise it. Such a strange spot. Once just a simple, but large drug store – now a compound of overpriced tourist crap made in China set along a facade of an old West street in Wall, South Dakota.

My first time at Wall Drug I buy a cheap whip (cardboard core, black and white leather weave), and four silk scarves that compliment my teen BDSM phase. On the way out I impulse buy a bumper sticker that says “Where in the heck is Wall Drug” on my car for years until it is totaled. Rarely does anyone guess South Dakota.

It is Halloween. 

Photo of geyser from Yellowstone National Park at dawn

I woke this morning inside the ranger dorm in Yellowstone National Park and hiked before dawn through the hissing geysers and eerie landscape, the only civilian in the park. And then I drove over the border into South Dakota. This time I am heading East. 

Photo of a sign in South Dakota with an arrow pointing one way to Sturgis and the other to Deadwood

I stop at Deadwood and I stand in the streets and survey the area. I see the ridge rising up out of the plains, flat nothingness until this bump of rock makes a shelf to butt a Wild West city up against. Protection from the elements, all that they may be and have been. 

And will be. 

I love the West. 

I love South Dakota men.

I love Foryst.

I visit him three times. 

This is the first visit.

I do not allow obsession to interfere with my communication pre-arrival. We are flirty, courteous, and respectful. Open. I’m trying to breathe through my excitement as I pull into his driveway. I know it’s the right one by the powder blue 1960’s truck sitting outside. I love men whose trucks tell me about them in form and function. What does this one say about South Dakota men? This one has rope in the bed. For climbing mountains. 

Later I love riding in the truck through the streets of Rapid City, it gives me the sense of that token of going steady. His letter, his ring, some outward proof to anyone that sees us inside.

Scratched, washed out photo of Foryst's truck

Now I enter the back of the house through a sliding glass door, like he told me to in a cut and paste message sent to hundreds more. I proceed cautiously, removing my shoes. 

“Hello” I say.

“Hi!” he answers, popping his head around the edge of the kitchen, with a bowl of homemade guacamole forming in his hands, stirring it vigorously.  It’s chunky, which he later describes to me as “South Dakota style”.

He springs towards me, stirring spoon offered. “Taste this for me?”

“I’d like to thank my timing for this.” I say, and lock his eyes while licking the best guacamole I have ever had outside Mexico off of his spoon.

“Me too” he says, winking at me while I do so. 

But then – somehow – it becomes less obvious. We flirt less. It doesn’t build. I don’t know what to make of it. There is etiquette to Couchsurfing and no matter what, a crazy woman showing up already in love with him via his profile is not the second reference I need.

I settle into his two story house, putting my stuff in his couch and bed filled basement. I look around upstairs while he picks up his daughter from a friend’s house. It’s comfortable. Lived in. It’s housed a lot of guests. There is climbing gear lining the room at the back of the house, the kitchen is full of deliciousness, the majority of it from the bulk section of the co-op where Foryst has volunteered for years. Patchwork place settings and jars and paper bags with handwritten labels. The fridge is adorned with photos of him and his daughter and letters, postcards, and other messages from Couchsurfers.

Downstairs there’s a makeshift bathroom that he installed, so I am showering, and we are all, him, me, and his daughter, going to a Halloween party. He goes as a zombie redneck. I go as Little Red Riding Hood, only with pre-rolled joints and little baggies full of coca leaves and llip’ta in my basket instead of baked goods.

Needless to say I am a hit in Rapid City.

His daughter goes to sleep and we stay up talking in the kitchen. That kind of talking where it’s deep and it’s fascinating but you know that they know that you’re both delaying, both waiting for the other person to make a move. Where we are both making a serious effort at truly scintillating conversation, almost to give us a very valid and interesting excuse not to pause and have to be the first person to make that move. I sense the shyness, and realize it could be that he has over 300 couchsurfing references. He doesn’t want to ruin his reputation. He’s got a lot to lose. Later I learn I am the first Courchsurfer he sleeps with.

We traipse outside now and then to smoke a joint. I take to sitting on an old wooden rocker next to him sitting on another old wooden dinner table chair. We’re perched on the cement slab, covered by an overhang, and staring out at the wooden fence. His backyard is ungroomed, and I love it. A couple trees with a slackline in between, a compost pile, a post-harvest garden that still offers some kale.

He complains about his neighbor’s dog. He seems uneasy with homeownership.  He’s spent years on the road, around the US, hitchhiking. Settling only for his daughter. He seems ashamed of it in the presence of a nomad. We talk of the open road.

Our breath makes steam in the air, it is still, an odd moment for Rapid City, where the ambitious wind carves texture into people.

South Dakota Men

He finally does make a move. We are talking in the kitchen, leaning against the same counter side by side. It comes the obvious time for bed and I yawn and he moves close to me and rests his head on my chest. He’s slightly shorter than me, probably 5’8”. He has sandy brown hair, a short beard that darkens under his chin, lips that always look slightly pursed in their shortness, but not too thin in their fullness. His eyes are beautiful almonds that slant upwards at the outside, a slate blue that is many shades lighter than mine, and farther into blue than gray. A couple of light scars dash through his left eyebrow. He smells like the outdoors, booze, tobacco, and garlic.

“You can snuggle with me if you want.” he says in a cutesy baby talk voice that is muffled a bit by the tequila we’ve been drinking all night, a couple wads of coca, and a few of the joints from my treat basket.

“That’s exactly what I want.” I say.

His daughter is sleeping in the next room, and before we go to his bed that is even closer to her room, I pull him back into the kitchen to have a talk about safer sex. He’s not been with anyone in over a six months, and been tested multiple times since. He’s vasectomized. I’m grinning. South Dakota men.

We’re kissing deeply in the bed, sweet, long, kisses. We’re under the covers so that his daughter, if she finds us, won’t get a view. It’s hot, and dark. We are nestled against one another. We move in sync, perfectly. He feels it. I feel it. We’ve known each other for lifetimes. I explode into unhinged desire. He matches. I am so into him. He is so into me. 

I have zero patience.

On top of him, both of us still fully dressed, my skirt hiked up, and he yanks my underwear to the side and I sit on his aching, sized just right, perfectly angled cock taking him to the hilt in one motion. He puts my hand on his mouth to keep him from screaming. I run my other hand under his shirt across his rock hard climber body pecs, taught and hairless. He grabs me by the shirt and pulls me to him, replacing my hand with his mouth, kissing me while groaning into my mouth, dropping his hands to my ass and pulling me into him. I ride him hard and fast and he comes, shaking, immediately, and I collapse on top of him breathless, my hand covered in his spit and his spunk dripping out of me around his cock.

I’ve only once or twice fallen asleep in anyone’s arms, but that night I do in his.

After work the next day, All Saints Day…. The Day of The Dead… he drops off his daughter at a friend’s house and he rushes home and we spend the whole evening under the covers naked, sweating, drinking water from a shared plastic gallon jug I purchased at a gas station in Deadwood to keep us hydrated.

He’s on top of me, his naked body with muscles so tight and hard his skin struggles to stretch around them, the cleft in the center of his chest a perfect place for my tongue I am lapping him and he holds my hands above my head for a moment and teases my wet, slippery lips, sliding the head of his cock up and down.

“You are so tight.” he says, breathlessly.  “Hi.” He’s looking me in the eyes. 

I’m smiling back unhidden, exposed full of joy at his attention. We’re in love. It feels like it. I don’t question it. He leans in and whispers in my ear as he slips ever so slightly into me “Can I come visit? And stay awhile?”

I am breathing, thrusting, wanting him inside so desperately, exposing everything for him to consume. Our lips barely touching, a hint of a kiss, he is kissing my nose, and sucking my earlobes, kissing my eyes and sucking my nipples and he works his way inside for a long, slow ride.

And then we kiss, without breaking contact for minutes. He barely moves inside me, which is ideal. It’s what I crave every day and night, and he is the second partner I’ve had who wants the same.

We are dancing, roping a loop of ouroboric energy through our bodies. Ripping against one another in the most subtle of ways, buzzing energy between us, we stay like this for an hour.

When we finally break for air, he kisses me on the forehead and says

“I had three orgasms, but didn’t ejaculate.”

“Thank you.” I smile, kissing him softly on his neck and face.

We fall asleep in each other’s arms. Again. South Dakota men.

I wait until just after his lunch break to leave for Minneapolis. He rushes home from work again. I’m naked in bed waiting for him. Soft kisses on my chest and my belly and the heat of his breath on my lips and then he is sucking my love button and sending me to the moon. He uses his lips along with his tongue and is gentle and precise and immediately responds to my needs before I have expressed them physically or verbally. He tunes into my energy and moves like the tide. He’s targeted, and perfect, and I explode into orgasm after orgasm.

His hands are in my hair, his eyes open, his hands on my face, my hands on his face, deep kisses and the weight of his cock on my thighs, wet with anticipation and need.

“You are such a good lover.” he keeps repeating. His voice is raw, open, delighted, incredulous. 

I’m on my back and he slides himself down to kiss my shoulders, his cock warm and wet against my thighs and as he slides back up he enters me and we again lock lips, kissing and holding one another, dancing against one another. This time, though, lust takes over. The beat quickens. I feel it in my heart, and his. And then suddenly…

I am head back, gasping, in a trance of ecstasy as he paints his soul and his pain and his fear into me, fucking me faster and faster with frenzy in his eyes, hands clasped in mine, my legs snake around his ass and slide up his sides, hugging him into me on the downstroke and we pull together and kiss, and arch away and breathe, again and again, until he screams my name as he comes in me.

After a minute of deep kissing he’s jumping out of bed pulling his pants on in a hopping rush as he runs out the door, leaving it open, I hear the truck grumble to life and he drives off to make it back to work on time. South Dakota men.

Taking a pair of scissors out of the overfilled cup full of office supplies on his desk, I cut three inches off of one of my dreads and leave it for him with a thank you note for hosting me. 

I drive off.

Can’t resist making a quick stop at Wall Drug, just for a bottle of water. It’s grown since I last saw it. The ever expanding altar to commerce eating away at the expanse. 

Photo of the sign from Wall Drug Store, built by South Dakota men

I visit the former site of the Delta-09 Launch Facility which housed an ICBM. I try not to chuckle at the name, because I am so used to “Delta-9” being a prelude to “tetrahydrocannabinol”. Perhaps different circles, perhaps someone had a sense of humor.

Walking around the grounds, sun-blazed and wind-whipped and endlessly identical to itself, I think about how just six months earlier I was in a bunker under the great metropolitan city of Moscow, at Tagansky, with my finger on the button of the former launch site, and about what difference it shows that we put our sites in the middle of nowhere, and they theirs underneath their most populous city.

Delta-09 Nuclear Launch Facility

Learning of the other sites, still active, dotted across the least populated parts of the United States, I think about the lives of minutemen, rarely South Dakota men, sitting underground, awake, rapt, with their fingers on buttons, never allowed to know when pushing it means killing human beings. 

Delta-09 Launch Facility

And then I drive through the Badlands, for the first time in almost 20 years. It is beautiful, again so sudden along the flat plain of nothingness. Everything in South Dakota is a surprise. The plain cuts away into rounded peaks of striated rock formations.

Badlands National Park, South Dakota

I see wildlife, elk, sheep. Mostly their butts. I’m crying and laughing at the beauty of life.

Ram's butts, Badlands National Park, South Dakota

I email him too much. He emails me back too much. There is drama. The relationship squeals along rusty tracks with filtered communication. I try to hold back, thinking that’s what will work. It doesn’t work in any way. I plan a return in 6 weeks. He invites me. 

He is on location in the Louisiana bayou looking at sinkholes. I’m all over the map. He is hot and cold. He is working. I am working. I am fasting. I am caffeinated. He is drunk. He is hungover. 

I am driving…

Badlands National Park, South Dakota

This is the first of a story about South Dakota men in 2 parts: The American Lovers, South Dakota Part II


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