I couldn’t explain it — I was determined to change my ways — but somehow I knew I would screw things all up. Even though she was the perfect girl: tall, blonde, sexy, I knew it would all go to shit. They say “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks”, and “A zebra never changes his stripes”… Well, I was that zebra. Everything was peaches and cream for the first three months, but the next three months were too boring to bear. I told her about my past: how I was with many women before I met her. And she was cool with it. I told her “I always like to flirt with other women, so I know I can still get them”, and she said it was fine. Boy, how that changed. Stick your dick in the wrong woman and it might get you killed if you’re not careful. But let me start from the beginning.
Her name was Tatiana. I saw her at the mall one day; she was walking by and our eyes caught. She was short, with long straight black hair, and a tattoo that covered her chest above big breasts. I overheard her saying something about “I’d like to work him out” to her friend, but it was too late when I realized she was referring to me as she stared and walked past. Stupid me, I didn’t make a move. I was on my way to the gym; I had a gym bag in my hand; she must’ve been talking about me. I went to the gym and told the girl at the front desk to watch my bag: I was going back into the mall, it was time to hunt. I wandered around aimlessly, looking through stores that seemed interesting, hoping to see her again. But I never did. Eventually, I gave up, grabbed my bag from the gym, and went home; I was in no mood to work out. When I got home, my girlfriend — Linda — asked me:
“How was the workout?”
“Fine, just fine,” I replied.
“That’s good... I made your favorite dinner.”
Great, I thought. I didn’t want to eat dinner: I wanted to eat something else. At night it was the same as usual, but tonight I avoided her touching me. Things were becoming stale; I need something new: something exciting. She continued rubbing me, trying to arouse me, but I played it off like I was asleep. I even pretended to snore. She gave up and went to sleep herself, and it was time to dream.
“Hey Honey, I packed your favorite Lunch,” she said to me as I walked down the stairs, rubbing the sleep out of my eyes. I hated my job, and each day I hate my life more and more.
“Thanks,” I said.
She came up, gave me a kiss on the cheek, and whispered into my ear:
“I hope you’re feeling better. I could tell something was wrong with you last night, babe. It’s OK though.”
It’s OK though? She didn’t even know what the issue was and as I watched her walk out the door, her body looking slim and sexy in her tight black skirt, dress shirt, and matching jacket, I thought I must be crazy not to want to have sex with her. Her blonde curly hair was done up high like a beehive, a single curl coming down over her glasses as she looked back over her shoulder and winked. What had gotten into me? Why didn’t I want this woman?
I was driving along the highway, listening to talk radio, on my way to another long day at the office. I was getting old; this was my life now. I was probably going to end up having kids with Linda, and then I would be one of those guys that talks about his kids at the office and spends his weekends planning things for the kids to do: birthday parties, hockey practice, karate, school recitals. Whatever it was, it didn’t matter. It was all the same. I pulled up to a red light, and that’s when I saw her: it was the girl from the mall. She looked over at me and I stared back, hypnotized. God must want this, I thought. She stared at me, her thick lashes making her deep brown eyes look like dark alluring puddles that sent out sententious invitations to cum taste the forbidden fruit. When the light changed, I changed lanes and followed her. She pulled over not too far ahead at a gas station. She got out of her car and I watched her walk in, her shooting me a quick glance back: she knew she’d been followed. But the look on her face was warm and sexy, pleased that I was under her spell. I waited until she came back out — a pack of smokes in her hand, and a fresh cigarette between her velvet made-up lips — and as I approached, she brought the flame of a lighter to the fresh end of her smoke on cue as I arrived in her presence. She took a long drag, and I didn’t say a word; I watched and waited. She exhaled the smoke and her lips curled into a devilish smirk as if she knew all along. Finally, I found my voice.
“Hi,” I said.
“Hey stud,” she replied.
I stared at her a moment longer; she took another drag off her cigarette.
“I..I..” I couldn’t think of anything to say. Stupid, you stupid idiot.
She giggled and batted her lashes at me before turning her head slightly down and looking up with big saucers eyes through perfect thick lashes.
“I don’t even know what to say,” I said with a smile. “I really don’t.”
Honesty. Sure, might as well try it now, you dope. You already fucked up the first impression.
“It’s Ok baby... I know what you want.”
“You do, do ya?”
She let out the smoke, her chin turned up to breathe out her chemicals to the world.
“Oh yeah,” she said. And she took me by the hand and led me away, around to the back of the gas station. “What’s your name, stud?”
Terrible Tatiana. She really was terrible; she was leading me into a door with no way out. I couldn’t stop things now: the freight train was already in motion, and my pants were feeling tighter by the second as passion exploded in me in a way I hadn’t felt in years. Terrible Tatiana.
“Tatiana, you’re terrible,” I told her.
“I know,” she said as she led me into a room in a greasy motel and closed the door behind her.
I showed up late from ‘Work’ when my girlfriend asked me:
“Why are you late tonight?”
Stupid me; I didn’t think of an excuse. I didn’t even go to work that day. I’d have to make up an excuse for that as well. All day with Tatiana, I was a slave to her every whim, but it was all a blur now. How could I have forgotten to call into work? And how did I not think of an excuse to tell my girlfriend?
“Two hours’ worth of traffic?”
“Yeah... I guess.”
“You’re hiding something,” she said, sniffing the air like a pure breed bloodhound. “What’s that smell?”
I forgot to shower after our day together; it was Tatiana’s perfume. My brain started thinking, spinning the wheels like clockwork.
“It’s from this lady I helped whose car was totaled on the side of the highway. If I’m being honest, I actually saved her life; I pulled her out of her wrecked car. She embraced me and kissed me on my face, so yeah... that’s why I didn’t want to tell you. And that’s why I’m late today. I waited with her till the ambulance came. It took them forever to clear up the wreckage; that’s why I said the traffic thing.”
She frowned; her eyes tightened into slits and her lips pursed. She thought for a moment before saying:
“I don’t believe you; I think you’re lying... I can always tell when you’re lying.”
“You were with some bimbo, weren’t you?”
“Only the lady I saved if you want to call her that. And this is the truth, I’m not gonna lie, she was very attractive. But what could I do? She jumped in my arms and kissed me; it’s not like I could drop her on the ground and push her away. I saved her life; I don’t blame her for wanting me... I didn’t want to tell you.”
“That’s a crock of shit. You’ve never done anything for anyone. You don’t even kill the spiders around here, I do. And now you want me to believe you’re some big-shot hero or something?”
“Yup,” I replied with a cocky smirk. She hates when I smirk like that.
“Wait here, I’ll be right back,” she said.
“OK,” I said as I watched her walk into the living room. I hadn’t even taken my shoes off yet. “What’s for dinner?” I asked over the clicking of her high-heels down the hallway. She bought it, she must’ve. Now just play it cool Mikey, PLAY IT COOL.
“YOU SON OF A BITCH! TATIANA IS MY FRIEND, I WAS TESTING YOU!!”
Things were getting dangerous.
“I CAN’T BELIEVE SHE ACTUALLY SLEPT WITH YOU, THE FUCKING BITCH! SHE TOLD ME YOU SAID YOU WERE LEAVING ME FOR HER AND RUNNING AWAY ACROSS THE COUNTRY!!
I said that? I don’t remember saying that: the entire day was a blur.
“AND 4 HOURS OF SEX!! 4 HOURS! YOU PIG, YOU BARELY LAST 4 MINUTES WITH ME”
Yup, things were pretty dangerous for yours truly right now.
“GET BACK HERE! I’M GONNA KILL YOU!”
The next thing I knew, she was chasing me around with a knife; I feared for my life.
“YOU LOSER! YOU SON OF A BITCH! I’LL KILL YOU WHEN I CATCH YOU!”
I bolted out of that front door faster than Usain Bolt.
“AND TO THINK I WAS GONNA ASK YOU TO MARRY ME! GOD, WHAT A JOKE!”
I was halfway across the lawn; I wasn’t looking back, not for anything. But I knew she couldn’t catch me; she was much too small, and I worked out too much. I smirked that cocky smirk of mine because I knew I shouldn’t have committed to one girl; a zebra never changes his stripes. And that’s when I felt it: a sharp pain right underneath my shoulder blade as something bounced off me. I heard her laughing and all her yelling blended into a collage of words spewing out with anger and disdain, but just a pinch of happiness, because she knew she got me. She got me good with that knife alright, good enough to leave a scar. I never went back there, and maybe you — reading this — think I deserve what I got. Even I have to admit that maybe I deserved it. I never saw Tatiana again. Sometimes I think I imagined that entire afternoon with her; Terrible Tatiana. The worse part of the whole damn thing was I left some of my best CDs at her place: Metallica, NWA, Guns ‘N’ Roses, Tupac. All the classics. Oh well, that’s the price you pay when you want to play the game.