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I was so hungry.
I rested the left side of my head in my left hand, and propped that arm up on a stack of magazines the regular receptionist left out for "to whom it may concern" while she was on vacation. She knew a temp would need something to do. No snacks were allowed at the front desk.
My head jerked as my fingers pushed through the flesh of my temple, past the surprisingly soft bone, and sunk into my brain. I rustled around and pulled out a pinch of nougat.
I made sure nobody could see me chewing.
You see, it's like this. The reason I cannot see you anymore is that, when we finally speak on the phone after not having spoken for weeks, you do not fill my head with even the slightest of flowery words. I am not asking for an exotic bouquet; I know you are not capable of such arrangements. All I ask for is a daisy.
Your words are as lively as silk flowers. What makes you think any woman – your mom, your sister, I – wants to hear, "I am working on an amicus curiae brief." Even your secretary's bored to tears.
Carl was different from most other boys. Born without any joints and with a spine as rigid as a steel girder, he was thus unable to run and jump the way everyone else could. Heck, he couldn't even sit!
Carl spent all of his waking hours strapped to a special wheeled truck like those the UPS man used to cart boxes in and out of Carl's dad's super-secret garage laboratory. Except the back support was padded and forever tilted back 20 degrees for maximum comfort.
(Carl's dad was making him a new spine out of a Slinky and Silly Putty!)
Lola learned the hard way that little girls really are made of sugar and spice and everything nice.
See, her mom was baking on Saturday afternoon – what she always did when Lola's dad was watching "the game". Trouble was, Dad'd lost a bundle on last week's game, so Snooky and Dirk came and took the car away, leaving them stranded. This meant no shopping. Which meant no sugar or spice!
How was Lola to know that when her mom called her to the kitchen, she'd scrape Lola's pinkies against the grater and directly into the bowl where the flour waited?
When she thinks about him, she likes to remember him the way she wanted him to be. She's nostalgic for things they never did, things that in her memory had the two of them laughing so hard that she would confess, weeks later, over many glasses of wine, that she actually peed a little in her pants. She forgets now, listening to a song she wishes had been "theirs", that she never shared a genuine laugh with him, and the flowers he brought her "just because" and the loving arms he wrapped around her were all just in her mind.
Karen digs her stubby fingernails into the flesh of her shins and scratches with a vigor ordinarily reserved for scrubbing baked-on splatters from the inside of her microwave oven. Once satisfied that the ten ravines of bloody pulp that trail from her knees to her ankles can't get any deeper without reaching shiny bone, she leans back against the bathroom wall and smokes a cigarette while regarding her handiwork.
She's missed a spot up near the knee of the left leg, she notices. So for that she punishes both legs with a big bottle of rubbing alcohol.
There. All better.
Cynthia wonders what her baby brother would look like with Christmas lights instead of the bright blue eyes her mom calls "the most beautiful eyes ever in the history of eyes". Cynthia is not blind. She sees the way her mom's face changes (it lights up!) when she looks from her face to her brother's.
She doesn't want to hurt little Robbie, though, so instead she scoops her own eyes out with a spoon and replaces them with the blue lights from the tree. And in the morning her mom doesn't even blink when Cynthia says, "Ta da!" at the breakfast table.
I'm fantasizing with startling frequency and intensity about corduroy, suede, canvas, and a bit of velvet. I'm lusting over colors called espresso, raisin, moss, and stone. I'm burying my face in the chilly wool (surprisingly non-itchy) jacket of a tall, dark, tousled-haired man as he scoops me up from a pile of crunchy leaves and takes me to his rustic (but beautifully appointed) cabin by a mountain lake, where he places me on a pile of the softest, thickiest, cushiest blankets by an orange-red fire he started with his own rugged (but beautifully maintained) hands.
I must stop visiting jcrew.com.
We only know each other from online. He's been after me to get together for a while. So I have coffee with this guy, have a better time than I thought I would, and when we part he says we should make plans to get together next week for dinner. I go home and send him a jaunty little "thanks" email.
So. More than 30 hours have passed and I have not heard from him. Ordinarily I have to have sex with someone first before he starts ignoring me so soon. What the fuck gives? (I'm just glad I didn't.)
It finally happened. At long last, after all these days and weeks of waiting for it to happen. After all this time of telling myself it never would and not believing my friends when they insisted it would.
It finally happened. At 9:52 tonight, by the warm, dim light thrown my way from a purple-shaded lamp in the corner of this cozy room and the watchful, glaring light of this computer monitor, I realized that I am way too fucking fabulous for the dimwitted, humorless, unappreciative, poorly dressed, insensitive cocksucker I'd been wasting time giving the time of day to.
I occasionally hung out with him at his place some evenings after work. Sometimes we'd fool around (mostly me doing the fooling, fool that I was), and others we'd just watch stupid shows and eat cookies. I preferred the shows and cookies but pretended otherwise.
One day he asked me if I wanted to hold "it" while he peed. I didn't, but I pretended otherwise. So I did.
I was disgusted not just with myself, but with him. And his pee. It reeked of beef and asparagus, two things that smell fantastic in the kitchen but not in the bathroom!
Mr. and Mrs. Chatsworth are so embarrassed. But at the country club, they sit at their corner table and pretend not to notice that everyone else is whispering over their canteloupe halves.
"How can they show their faces?" Mrs. Leland says to her husband.
"I would be too mortified to leave the house," Mr. Saybrook says to his wife.
How could they just sit at their corner table after their son committed suicide by drowning? Didn't they know the proper mode of suicide among the upper class was with a handful of pills and a crystal tumbler of distilled water?
The coolest kids were disappearing from the shelves faster than anyone expected. Sure, they knew the cool kids would be best-sellers, but nobody anticipated universal storewide frenzy – especially since market research showed that so many customers still preferred last month's version of kid.
That version was the smart kids. Kids who usually shocked the buyers by also being cool. But cool in a quieter way. A smarter way. And actually, some buyers realized, in a cooler way.
Still, it was sad for the smart kids who were discarded. Because they were smart enough to realize why they were today's trash.
Mrs. Pinkerton took her four-year-old son to the snappiest salon she could find in the small resort town off the coast of some sea somewhere. She didn't know where they were and didn't really care. All she cared about was mangos and sand, and this place had both in abundance.
The stylist took one look at her son and chuckled in a French accent. "And what," he said, "should I do with this mango, Madam? Slice it open?"
At first Mrs. P was confused. And then she realized: that morning's mango had screamed when she'd bitten into its face.
She's on the leg press again. Every morning after her hour-long Stairmasterpiece, she does the same leg exercises, starting with the horizontal sleigh-style press. And every time she does it, I'm mesmerized.
Her legs are toasted way too tan, but the skin looks so smooth, with a sheen that I like to imagine is butter. And although I'm not a fan of toast and don't like butter, I still imagine myself kneeling by her side, opening my mouth, and leaning forward so as she pushes off with each repetition, her gorgeous legs can give my tongue its salty toasted breakfast.
Laura requires each of her prospective fuckors to pass a test before he is allowed access to any part of her body below her eyebrows.
She takes her castoff lipsticks (they looked much better in the store!) and with the crudest of penmanship, scrawls the crudest of body-part words on her skin with arrows pointing to each part. If the prospective partner says, "What the fuck" or any variant, she tells him to leave. Or, if she's feeling particularly generous, allows him to settle his cock and balls atop her head (as long as they don't extend past her eyebrows).
My sessions with Marina are most unorthodox. I close my eyes as she enters my office. She sits bolt upright on an ottoman, facing away from me. I cross the room on tiptoe and, once at her side, whisper in her ear that she looks fetching in her knickers and ruffled blouse (even if she's wearing a skirt and sweater).
I return to my chair and say nothing for the first 55 minutes of the hour. My pencil scritches my pad. At Minute 56, Marina stands and faces me. I tell her, loudly, that knickers and ruffled blouses are "out".
Jason Kearns has a reputation (well-deserved) for being the kinkiest guy in all of West Tishmanville, Virginia. What with his arsenal of handcuffs (regular and pink fur-lined), Redi-Whip (aerosol), strawberries (fresh), and chocolate syrup (Hershey's), he's the baddest thing to happen to the lusty ladies (tube tops, short shorts) who hang around his family's convenience store since Margie Mackson, the town divorcee (a real "loosie goosie"), who actually bought a dildo from that store in back of K-Mart ... and used it by her lonesome! And it wasn't rumor, either. Jason himself saw her buy it ... that's how kinky he is!
Yesterday, rabid with lust that had her frothing at the mouth and more, she was ready to fuck the first breathing being that came across her path. Even a particularly prickly cactus looked tempting. Still, she resisted.
Today, with an opportunity laid out before her, waiting for the tiniest sign from her to unzip, unbutton, and attack, she finds herself wondering why she'd made this date last night in her frenzy.
"No, let's wait for tomorrow!" she'd said when he'd suggested an immediate meeting. "I'll want you even more then!"
But now? Dry as a bone. And the cactus? Embarrassing.
We are done.
I am lying on his poor excuse for a bed, the flat sheet (which he uses as a bottom sheet) draped across my clothesless body in what I hope is a casual configuration. I don't want him to know I'm not comfortable lying next to him like this after the (f)act.
He is dressed already and eating a sandwich. He is eating it loudly, without grace. I cringe: to think that's probably what he sounded like when he was snacking on me moments ago. But I don't know, because I'd been too busy fake-moaning to notice.
The one who thinks he knows me the most knows the least. He thinks he knows me the best but doesn't know my worst. While it is indeed true that with him I feel free to act a certain way and to "be myself", the self I reveal to him is not even a fraction of what I am.
He knows nothing of the basest part of me and nothing of the most glorious. He knows the middlest of the middles, the grays, and lives with the misconception that he knows the highs, the lows, the black and white.
As he passes my Stairmaster, he looks at me out of the corner of his eye, smiles a smile to rival the Mona Lisa, and places his hand on the edge of the monitor where a red-dotted graph charts my progress. It's a good thing the panel doesn't register my heart rate, because it'd betray the calm I've forced onto my features.
I cannot help but wonder: Did he touch the panel because he couldn't touch me? Was it a substitute for my arm? And doesn't he know he needs no substitute? That I'd be his again without any effort?
Brandon doesn't want you to know what he does when he talks to you on the phone at night. It's not what you'd think, though, so don't worry that when he's asking you how work went that day, he's fiddling with his doo-dangle as he sympathizes about your overflowing filing or your suspicion that Maryanne secretly licked every bagel and donut in Conference Room 3 before her boss's big meeting. Brandon doesn't want you to know that he's putting on lipstick with his toes, just to see how difficult it's going to be after he self-amputates during tomorrow evening's call.
If you exhale, you'll wake the baby. She's finally asleep, after the fussiest day of her 48-day life, and if you wake her, she won't sleep again until Day 72. That's how it works with her, you see. Once every 24 days she sleeps. For the other 23, she wails and flails and screams out her pink lungs while you stand front of her crib with your arms crossed, smoking filterless, tarry cigarettes, exhaling the black cloud directly above her head. So don't exhale. Keep the smoke in your lungs if it kills you. Because the baby's sleeping!
Quite some time has passed since I allowed myself to indulge in romantic reverie involving picture perfect evenings that you and I should share, but that doesn't mean I still don't wish they would come to life. It's just that now I know they won't happen. You have someone. And she's the one who gets to have your hand on the small of her back as she crosses the street. She gets to have you lean in to whisper something in her ear when the subway clatters toward you on the platform. But does she know how lucky she is?
I am jealous of my friend whose new man who cooks her omelettes in a cast iron skillet. He adds ingredients she loves, including cherry tomatoes he grows in his garden. The extra-special ingredient in this omelette is probably a hearty dash of LOVE, which should nauseate me but doesn't.
As for me ... what did I get from the last jackass I dated? Breakfast at a diner where there was nothing on the menu I could eat, and the divine pleasure of watching him scarf down a huge bowl of gray oatmeal like a rabid prisoner fresh from the hoosegaw!
Oh, how very original of you! You want me to present myself to you all done up in a Catwoman costume. As if that fantasy and that get-up wouldn't be lame enough even if the movie hadn't just come out. As if no one else in the history of lust had ever entertained such a daring notion. As if I'd even allow that slimy shiny vinyl sleaze against my skin. As if I'd be willing to rub up against your leg and nuzzle your neck and tell you how "purr-fect" the whole situation is. You've gotta be fucking kidding me.
The Madonna-like blonde is already doing her free-weight routine when I get on the gym floor. As always, her form is suspect, but I don't really care because the results are just perfect.
This chick's thin, not skinny. Toned, not muscular. Lithe. As she raises her well-defined arms above her head, her cotton T-shirt rises up just enough that I can see the gorgeous smooth expanse of her flat, well-defined abdomen. Just enough to reveal the taut skin above the waistband of her black form-fitting yoga pants, where in my fantasies my lips linger where my fingers have just traced.
Marlene always makes a big show of licking the tip of her left index finger and holding it out in front of her face, to show everyone she knows how to test which way the wind blows. No one's ever impressed, because no one really cares which way it blows.
One day she sticks her finger out and then swipes it, still vertical, in a clockwise motion, as if checking for dust. When she pulls her finger back for inspection, she sees a tiny Marlene on the tip, her miniature bouffant swirling above her head, trapped in a teeny Nor'easter!
"I'm so f'in horny," he tells me on MSN Messenger one morning. "I need to get laid."
As if the word "horny" and the term "get laid" weren't hideous enough, he had to go and use "f'in"? Why is it that someone who wants to fuck me can't use the word but thinks "horny" and "get laid" are appealing? What the hell is that?
But even if he had said "fucking", there's no way in fucking hell I'd fuck him now. The hands he's using to type will have to tend to his need. I want to shoot the messenger.
Every time I think I want to see B again, I remind myself of that time in the Chinese restaurant.
I'd drunk tons of tea. When I got back to the table after a trip to the ladies room, I noticed my tea looked a little grainy. Still, I drank it, and immediately tasted bitterness.
I told B, and then looked him straight in the eye and said:
"You put ecstasy in my tea, didn't you?"
"No!" He was insistent.
But so was I.
I got him to admit it.
Fucking bastard. He knew I would have done it willingly!
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