They are all beautiful until you get to know them. I catch a glimpse of them from across the bar and a lifetime of non-existent memories flood my mind. Sometimes choosing to stay strangers is the best thing. A thankless job yet, fruitful. Then they remain beautiful. Or maybe they find you beautiful and then you are the one who lets them down. There are those few times when you cave in to the desire and decide to talk to that beautiful stranger. Please, don’t do it.
She had the eyes that looked like a black hole and no not in the “they are empty” kind of way but rather, they encompassed everything. She drew me in and had of way of staring up at me despite being much taller. She had legs that never ended, you can trace them with your eyes and you would get lost along the way. She was slow poured wine and I wanted a taste. She was recently divorced and was out enjoying her newfound freedom. She was sitting at the bar with a couple of friends and I happened to walk by and noticed those eyes. A playful taunt and unintentional were those eyes, god damn.
“Wow you are beautiful”.
She radiated a smile and I cannot remember what she said as I was intoxicated and was speaking purely out of misguided courage. She even told me her name which I immediately forgot. You see I never thought anything of it. I did not see her as something I had to have but rather I was exclaiming at the sight of something rare. I would leave her side and I won’t be a liar when I say she stopped existing in my mind. Being a regular at a bar means you meet legions of strangers. You also see the other melting faces on a regular basis. So unless someone becomes a staple then they tend to slip into the aether. So enjoying her freedom, she would come back fairly soon.
Clara was her name and this time she had a male friend with her. A potbellied, red eyed, red faced and ornery man. I sat down and ordered my drink then Clara made her way to me. She sat down, lifted her long legs and pressed her knees against the bar for support. There they were, those damned things. I struggled to maintain eye contact as she talked to me.
“Remember me?” Clara asked.
“I’m sorry but I would be a liar if I said I did”. I replied
“You called me beautiful and your name is Charles right?”
“Oh yes, you had some friends with you?”
At that moment the red faced man walks up to me.
“You were hitting on my girl?” The man asks.
“Yes, I did call her beautiful”. I replied. “If you’re intimidated by me then you have bigger issues”.
He chuckled and walked away. Clara tilted her head looking at me and smiled. I had no reason to fear this man and my comment was purely innocent. We continued to converse and I, again, did not think anything of it.
Couple of days passed and I had been around the local spots and again she eluded my mind. Pretty faces are a dime a dozen though she was particularly attractive, I maintained a certain amount of expectations or rather none at all.
Then at the same bar where I met the red eyed man I would see her again. This time she was finally alone. Leg pressed against the bar with a Corona in her hand. I sat down beside her and she welcomed me. Tilting her head and smiling the whole time. I would get lost in the black holes that were her eyes. Clara and I would end up on the patio for a smoke where she would retrieve a small vial containing cocaine. I smiled at the audacity, sure we were alone but something as taboo as Colombian bam bam is not an everyday thing. People usually pull out a joint but, cocaine? Now I particularly do not enjoy weed as it makes you dull and lazy while this other stuff makes you superman. Clara proceeded to intake the substance and handed it to me. Now what made her think that I was a user eluded me for a second then I remembered I was wearing a cocaine movie poster shirt.
I remember feeling some pride when I received a message from her one night asking if I wanted to drink with her. We met up and I proceeded to get pretty wasted but she drank slowly and was there more so for the conversation. She always tilted her head and smiled. Those black holes kept me put and we just talked. I would eventually forget about her legs and it was all about her eyes, I wanted to live there.
We would play at a local retro arcade and proceeded to find a nook and this mad woman pulled out the vial and hand fed me. Within was a do not enter sign on a door and Clara tried the handle.
“I want to see if we can get on the roof”. She said,
Now I am guilty of some misdeeds but breaking and entering was not typical. Seeing as I was in a superman mood and Clara was a foul temptress, I pulled out my debit card and began working at the door. I had no idea of what I was doing but I wanted to give her an adventure, you know the kind you read about. She nudges me as an employee walks towards us. I doubted we could get in too much trouble seeing as it wasn’t a bank or a car but I dropped it, I had made no progress. We sat back down and I reached out for her hand. She withdrew and smiled.
“I’m only looking for friends”.
There they were. Those dreaded words.
“Friends can hold hands, friends can do a lot of things”. I replied. I’ve had those kinds of friends before.
“I’d prefer not to”.
“Say no more I don’t want to spoil the night, forget about it”.
We would continue to hang out and I didn’t mind. I was just prideful she chose to be around me. Then, one day, we ended up back at my place. We sat on the back patio and snorted blow and drank beer. I turned on an audio book by Charles Bukowski and Will Patton proceeded to put on quite a show. She would laugh and we would pause the book to discuss the moment. It was just us beneath the moon at three A.M listening to a short story about the most beautiful girl in town and there I was talking to the most beautiful girl in town. I asked her to stay the night and watch Dirty Dancing, she insisted on getting sleep but she was tempted considering it was her favorite movie. Now I did not have previous knowledge of this, it was just a lucky guess. When people are good friends they tend to have this telepathy, they are entangled in this “cosmic thread” and they can read each other.
Then the eyes started glaring. The rumors began and the accusations followed.
“She’s using you”. or
“I don’t trust her,” they would say.
I have nothing to be used for. I had no money, no house that I owned. She would pay her own tab and she shared her stash. They weren’t there to see our moments. They were beautiful moments, moments you would fall in love with, dangerous moments that could ruin a beautiful friendship. Then there was this moment.
She visited my new apartment in which I had yet to finish moving in. We drank and smoked cigarettes as usual and we made our way to the couch. I gave her a blanket and she laid those long legs next to mine as we watched Dirty Dancing. The movie is made better when you realize Baby does not say anything when people begin to accuse her of being judgmental or somehow a villain. She is just there. We laughed and cuddled. I rubbed her hair, I leaned over and kissed her forehead. Clara looked back and smiled. She had this expression of content and it ate my soul. She closed her eyes and fell asleep. I went to my room where I had yet to move in the bed but I had an inflatable mattress. Now I am not proud to say I had the most beautiful woman in town sleep on an air mattress but, I had the most beautiful woman in town sleep on an air mattress. I pumped the air in while she was asleep on the couch. I thought if she didn’t hear the pump that it would make the situation a little more tolerable. I caressed her head and woke her up gently. She opened those eyes in which I lived.
“Let’s go lay down”. I said.
She followed me to the room and smiled.
She laid down and was surprised the blankets smelled pleasant. We slept.
The following morning my hands traveled around her legs and torso. I would travel underneath her shorts just beneath the waistband and felt no resistance. I teased her. Then I tried for her breast but she swatted my hand.
“Don’t do that”. Clara says.
“Oh! I guess I pushed my limits for today”. I replied
I got up and made her coffee.
Weeks went by and I hadn’t heard from Clara. I was bored and this time she had not eluded my mind. She had taken up valuable realty in there. I was riding this wave of pride because of that night. I sent her a message saying “Planet earth to Major Tom '' to which I received a hand waving emoji. I then remembered my status as “friend”. I left her alone. No one likes a needy partner let alone a needy friend. I tried to find other women to take up my time. I met this girl named Kimberly. She was also beautiful and taller than me. Everyone is. I’m unusually short for a man and not in the best shape. Now how I managed to procure two beautiful women was beyond me. I have had several partners in the past but I have not been very confident lately. Clara had boosted my ego and I was using it. Now Kimberly was not anything like Clara. She was very opinionated and talkative. I tried to show her some of my short stories which she tore apart. I usually use a typewriter then move them to a PC so they are full of junk and just hard to read. I tried explaining that to Kimberly but she had her ways. We hung out on the patio at the red faced man bar. She lit up a cigar which I found very attractive. It made her sexy somehow. She pulled out this kit with the clipper thing and a torch and it was just damn sexy. Now our conversations were pretty surface level and didn’t have any sense of intimacy. It felt like it was going nowhere and I could feel her distance. Some kid walked up and proceeded to talk to us. Her attention was directed to him for some time and I slipped away without saying goodbye. I wanted to see Clara but I didn’t dare message her.
I found a job as a line cook and it was an intense job. A family owned bar with high volume that served shitty bar food. It was a busy Saturday night and I was cursing god and wishing death on everybody that walked through the front door. You could feel the sweat drip down your ass crack and tickets just came pouring in. My phone was hardwired to a speaker and some classic rock was playing when I heard a message come in.
“Are you working?” Clara asked.
“I get off at ten, meet me here, we’ll have a couple of drinks”.
“I would love that”.
Suddenly the night wasn’t so bad. The tickets were only there as a time waster now. I had something to look forward to.
I was off a little after ten and walked to the dining area and there she was. I pulled her away from some stranger and we talked. She told me about how she had a shitty couple of days and she spent it at home, in bed crying. I comforted Clara and invited her back to my spot. We sat in the back smoking and drinking whiskey. She asked me to put on that audio book again and we shared a pleasant memory. She looked at me satisfied.
“Awe you like me”. I said
“Yes I do, you don’t pressure me for sex or want to give me anything, you’re just content with my company”.
“Aww you’re so lame”.
We shared a laugh.
“I like you too Clara, you’re beautiful inside and out.
We continued to talk and our views on sex came up somehow. I said I never kiss one night stands because I feel as though kissing is more personal. I felt a good fuck was less personal. She explained that she held both to be pleasurable regardless of intimacy.
We watched TV and drank whiskey and spooned. I kissed her head and rubbed her legs and arms.
“Kiss me”. I said.
“No, you told me how you feel about kissing, I don’t want to lead you on.”
“I, regardless of my height, am a grown ass man. Trust me I can handle this”.
She laughed “No I trust you but, no”.
I stopped my advances and asked her to go to bed. There I caressed her body again but this time I pulled her in and kissed the back of her neck. I breathed heavily close to her skin and could see the goosebumps. She turned around and straddled me.
“Do you have protection?” She asked
“What the fuck!”
I never considered this would occur and I had not been active for a couple of months. At this moment though I was just enjoying her enthusiasm. I pinned her down and tore off her shirt and pulled her pants off. She was enjoying every moment of my invasion. I kissed her torso and hips and cunt.
“Kiss me”. I repeated.
“No, fuck me”. Clara moaned.
“Only if you Kiss me”.
She leaned forward and kissed me on the lips and I grabbed her head and bit her lips. I wanted to devour her. I wanted to dive into her body, mind and spirit. I wanted her to want me and there she was.
“Fuck me” Clara moaned again.
“No”. I replied. She had turned me down from holding hands to touching and kissing and wanted her to feel what I felt. She finally wanted me and I had Clara melting on my lap. She kissed me again, with intent and passion. She was on fire and I was basking in her heat. I wanted to tease her, to drive her wild, to think of me when I wasn’t around. I wanted to turn her down to remind her that I wasn’t after her body, I did not want to give her anything I just wanted her time. This was our moment. We wrestled and jumped on each other's faces, she would grab at my cock and I would tease her every which way. We would finally settle with a glass of whiskey and some slow music. She laid on my chest and we sang along and kissed. She would squeeze my arms and rub my body. This was the kind of moment people fall in love. If I could fall, if she could fall, we would fall. Neither of us fell or at least we didn’t know it. It has been so long that the sensation is alien to me.
I offered to make her breakfast at my bar that morning and she accepted. I kissed her goodbye and went to work. A couple of hours went by and she was nowhere. I finally received a message that she wasn’t going to make it. I said that it was OK and I’ll see you soon. That Sunday proceeded to be just as miserable as the night before.
Days would pass and I had not heard from her. I messaged her about some party to which she declined. I messaged her again about hanging out on my day off. To which I received no response. I would show up to the red faced man’s bar and I would walk in to see her there with some stranger. I tried to greet her but she turned her shoulder. I greeted the stranger and had a drink with another friend. I could see her across the bar but I didn’t make eye contact. I went outside for a smoke and when I returned Clara was gone. The stranger was still there but she had pulled that Irish goodbye. The night went on and I got drunk. My rage grew and I wanted answers.
“So you’re going to shun me? I think I deserve better than this.” I sent her a message.
I never did see or hear from her again. Clara just disappeared from Earth, into the aether. No response to my last message. No show at the red eyed man’s bar. Just nowhere. I talked to that beautiful stranger and we made up a story. No ending. I still listen to the most beautiful women in town. Cass pulled an “Irish” goodbye on Chinaski, you know?. Clara might have done me a favor. I drink alone at night looking at the empty patio chair when Bukowski says “There was nothing I could do”.