I was 21.
We had exchanged glances at our workplace for a good long while. She was olive-skinned, vaguely exotic, but unmistakably Buffalonian. Obvious as soon as she opened her mouth. And I liked her. The way she chose her dresses from the lunch-lady as business woman rack of Hengerer’s. The way she tried to hide her pretty eyes with all that make-up. You could tell she liked to tan, wrinkled and uneven as she was. Still, there was something…dirty…about her. We worked in different departments, and in the company hierarchy, she was decidedly above me in every way. I don’t think we were supposed to commingle at all, but here we were. All the flirting. All the whimsical suggestions. All the “maybe we could…” Now we sat together, two people brought together by chance and charm, gazing into each other’s eyes in my dingy apartment overlooking Elmwood Avenue.
And I can’t remember her name. But I can tell you we smooched a good long while on my sinking couch. She had children. I had never been with anyone who was a parent. That I knew of. She was perfumed to a fault, and my subtly scented oil-candle was no match. She was a good kisser. Still, for all of her experience, she should have been better at it. There were better kissers at our workplace.
This couch had to be on its 5th owner at least. Three flimsy mattresses, corduroy mustard yellow, sitting atop a stained cheese cloth with all the support of a hockey net, nailed clumsily to a heavy oak frame. Still, the evil with which I had seduced and TAKEN some girl from another department drove me to heights of passion!
So we gave each other the ‘nod’ and “took it to the bedroom” as I had done so many times before (about twice), where my single-sized futon (sans frame) with indecipherable Chinese symbol emblazoned in black awaited. And then, as we hurriedly disrobed, she breathlessly warned me that there was going to be an impediment to our love-making that evening. “Whatever could the matter be?” I wondered, mesmerized by the way her sensibly patterned dress deflected the moonlight. When she answered sheepishly, it never occurred to me that we could (well, SHE could) do other things to make each other (well, ME) happy. Sort of a carnal IOU, ya know? “I’ll get you next time.”
Ah, but hindsight is 20/20, and I was honestly grateful for a chance to perform my magic, and I was far too chivalrous for someone so young. There’s no other way to put it.
I soldiered on. I was, after all, a gentleman. How was I going to broach that jejune topic when she clearly had come to have the naughty Bishop throw a brick through her front window?
So she spread ‘em. And there I saw, for the first time in my life, a string coming out a person’s body. Like one of those party-poppers:
It was a deep, visceral shock. Like an elevator stopping mid-floor. My stomach lurched and twitched. Maybe this is why sex seemed so “The Tin Drum“-esque to me for years after.
Then I let her do the honors. Let’s see. How best to describe the sound.
I’d go with “…sclorch…”.
She got on top. I was torn between laughing and puking. But even though my involuntary mechanism was as robust as ever (heh), I was thinking two things. “Still not bad” and “Don’t look down…”. And as I passed my gray, viscous duchie to the left hand side, I could hear her sigh with disappointment. I didn’t cry that time, but I suppose her trained ear tuned her in to the fact that the game was going to be called due to rain.
And as the prerequisite pillow talk began, I was shocked by her first question.
“So what happened?”
At 21 you don’t have a very big Rolodex of snappy answers. And I still don’t. However, the answer I gave haunted me for years to come.
“I guess you’re just too ugly…”
That did it. She was outta there, barbecued marshmallow in tow (I made her take it). Everything happened so fast, I never got to look at her hindquarters or even her haunches or even her brisket! And we never saw each other again. Which made me wonder if the reason we saw each other at all in the first place was because she made her way up to our offices to see me specifically.
Men, don’t do what I did. I took the fool’s way in. The correct answer was that I was clearly not mentally capable of facilitating such openness between two people. Wherever she is now, I hope she’s happy. maybe she’s on the Facebook. If i could remember her name, I’d look her up. Maybe we could share a fond reminiscence.
But not bloody likely.