Don’t you remember by Pat Shandy was playing outside. It was my favorite song when I was in 5th grade. I nodded my head slightly and so did she.
Then something happened?!
She told me to wait here as she got dressed in the other room. She and her sister have a flare for saying things and then leaving. I wasn’t going to stay because that would be weird. So I would wait for her to come back out, say goodbye, and leave knowing I safely returned someone’s phone. Plan and process!
I’ve been here for two hours talking to the woman that was once in a towel. The evolution of the towel was now a pair of sweatpants and a Reba McEntire shirt. Her ankle socks were neon
green and she keeps raking her hair with her fingers. It’s a blistering surprise when you realize you can be yourself.
At first, we were at kitchen counter status, eating the food she made for her friends that never showed up. She’s been visiting her sister back here in her hometown in hopes she would see her old friends, but she didn’t. She was really tight-lipped about herself in general. All I knew was that she came back home for a job she was promised. She recently finished school and was going to grad school, and this dinner was supposed to be celebratory.
The actual truth? Her friends started to drift from her months ago. Ever since she went away. And that’s where it was a little rocky. I asked her what school and she uncontrollably started to stutter and feel uncomfortable. My eyebrows raised and I started to get a glossy feeling about her actions. But I could tell something was wrong, wrong enough to cause her tinted window approach with me. Hell, I was doing the same. I wasn’t mentioning my old ass age mixed with my childlike body. Or my job that was a second choice that would make my life functional and complacent. We all had slow mouse traps we were afraid to put our name tag on. So I let it go and realized the pressure I was about to apply.
Her sister was too busy and loving to acknowledge the distorted image that she was hiding. But I saw it! I recognized it like a returning pimple on my face. Those eyes that have two different souls, one battered and one driven. She was putting on a play in front of an audience that consisted of her family, friends, and all the scars she can remember.
She also had a lot of physical scars, mainly on her legs. While she was wearing a towel I noticed. And when I asked about them, that’s when we moved to the couch.
Now, hearing us both agree that this couch was big enough for us to lay down on sounds flirty. But that shape didn’t really form at the moment.
It inched with grace and dry heaved in vivid paint samples but only for a second never hung around. She rolled her pant legs down and we had our legs up and started comparing how tall she was versus how tiny I am. “I never wear shorts outside anymore in public,” she said. “I honestly can’t believe I’m showing you now,” she also said. “But something about your face makes me want to submit to all my own prisoner driven laws. And I think that makes You so incredibly pretty,” she finally said. We laughed and kept knocking knees, rosebud ingenuity and endurance giggles. This was starting to become special. But I had to ask about the scars. Really, it was symmetrical seeing our legs in the air like this. My track riddled calf muscles having pain-and-no-gain bruises. And her having these mysterious abrasions that designed her legs like spills on a wood cutting board. But when I did ask, she asked me if she could tell me a story. I almost turned into a full blown ear and said yes. She accepted my answer and turned away, looking upward. She would tell her story this way.
I was enjoying it; it was uncomfortably good. An aspect of Pleasure is what I felt, and even if it was my first experience, I knew it was that. I just needed time, a breath for me, a pause to see if I wanted to stop or go. A second to understand the ripping and the molding, Just clarity. Was it wrong to ask for that while it was happening? I was being excavated by him and all I wanted was a
second to collect the parts of me that were changing. He didn’t have to leave from being inside of me. He could have rested on my shaking body as I breathed.
He wasn’t wrong, this was just something I had to have for now.
But he didn’t need clarity...
He needed to finish. He compacted with my pelvis so much that his knees dug into my legs and made bruised blood pockets all over. For some reason they never went away, they stayed
with me like that moment. We never spoke again. Me and him or me and my body. It was like someone flew in, crouched down, and took the honey out of my comb.
So when that happened, I ran away from this place and now I’m back for the first time. I didn’t want to see my parents, so I’m here with my sister because she will always be too busy to see my legs, and I’m good with that. I’ll get a place soon in a few days. I’m going to see a spot on Monday after a thing I have that morning. There looking for a roommate and they seemed really nice on the phone.
She turned back around to face me and we didn’t even talk, I just started to brush her hair back. After that release of energy, she felt like what I would think one of those glow worms would feel like. We were close to kissing but didn’t. It wasn’t queued up enough, felt wrong to kiss just because of our vulnerable collages. She ended up falling asleep, so I held her until then.
I will say it was very smooth of me leaving a note and my number in her phone. Something light and sweet but insinuating enough to text me so we could hang out again. I didn’t look back when I left her house. This didn’t seem faint to the point where I needed to cherish the moment. I knew I would see her again. Smiles like that always had a sequel.
I walked back up to the patio at my friend's house. It was packed now! Even more than before. I kinda just slipped in. I mean they noticed, but it was like I was in the bathroom too long or something. I was thrusted back into catchup conversations and dance circles. It was splendid in ways I needed. I was having movement that wasn’t automatically done out of fear. Just a choice I made because I felt happy. I saw my wine on the patio chair, and when I touched it again, it was still cold. I loved chilled wine so much.
Two days later.
Monday mornings are tough, and the gear up for the week could seem pointless. But leaving for work while texting her made it feel like Friday again. We’ve been acting all cute this weekend with our texts. It started off slow and now the pace is golden. We both appreciated how gentle we were being with the hands on the clock. So now our verbal exchange has wings and a purpose. And it leads to a date tonight. That’s right, our very first dinner date. I will admit I was a little salty when she kept shooting down all my pub recommendations. But she picked the place first and I kinda like that. We were both busy this morning.
But with my workload, I will be thinking about her all day. Our texts started to become distant in immediate rhythm so I took it as her going on with her day.
And then I look down and see a text that somehow was delivered silently. Heart emoji and the word “blushing”--that’s what she texted me. It was stuff like this that made me feel like I was in a different world.
Even when a charging sophomore hit me in the shoulder while rushing past me. Yup, I was definitely back at work, a castle filled with screaming young, promised brats.
I was an admissions counselor and I also handled transferring students at this big messy college. It was bad enough no one took me seriously because I was small, but now the kids were being even more unruly with this wildfire scandal going on.
Two of our professors are being questioned for having relationships with students. I was in a different department that was about four miles away, so this is kinda like my first day. But I came to help the staff damage control the nature of this awful course.
But even with all of that swirling annoyance and blister popping gum noises in the background of my life, I still have a first-person point-of-view memory saved of seeing the most beautiful legs dangle over my ear lobes on Friday. I couldn’t…
Wait … she’s calling me.
I did a stable person’s ‘three Mississippi’ count before I answered. I don’t know what I expected when I answered. Something sweet, something bold but with a nice dry down. What I didn’t expect to hear was an echo! An echo of sounds I could currently hear around me outside of my phone. So, by deducing properties of supernatural interference, I’m assuming that she is butt dialing me, with or without her actual butt. That makes the most sense, but does that mean she’s here? Is she here to surprise me!?
And then just like that, it all unfolded
She was here, but not to surprise me. More like, I surprised her.
The stutter, OMFG the stutter.
There she was in real life, holding books with a young ass smile, because that’s what she was. A young, and as my eyes now confirmed, student! And now here I stand, school-name pendant with the word “Staff” next to it. Me and my glazed thoughts of a student's legs. Standing there, I waited for her to make eye contact and to aggressively scan to see what her reaction could possibly be.
When she did look at me, it was like seeing a two-part animal attack. The lie she told and the details she left out were rushing to the surface of her face with numb panic with the honest deception of it all hanging on her shoulders. And now, couple that with her seeing me in a detail of my life that I left out. The burning in the pupils coming from a fire of a Friday night passion and now a Monday morning realization. The moment greased through my bones and made it difficult to stand this way. She became fidgety, but you could tell all she wanted to do was come over to me. I knew our phones would be active volunteers today in a language and communication debate. More serious risk cards about this situation would be waived in the adult parts of my brain. There’s a slime leak in the attic of my morals and the smell of her hair matted into my forearm.
We were both headed to my office, so separately we had to walk to it. I led and she subtly followed. So when I closed the door to my new and now troublesome situation, I knew we had seconds to lively discuss or quietly argue.
But as she stood close to me, I realized something. Something that made us both smile when I mentioned it.
She was wearing shorts…
This short book is an adjacent sequel to “Darker lipstick”
Short book 3&4 coming soon.
Edited by Suzanne lipovsky