Feeling Good

I put a big pink flower clip in my hair, squeezed into a black corset top, and my $200 jeans. I looked pretty damn good. I have a note from my therapist, I can say that. Yes, Judgy Judgerson, I have $200 jeans and a therapist. There really isn’t a note, but she did say, I need to acknowledge when I’m feeling attractive. I thought I looked pretty, and this is big for the girl with shit self-esteem. You know what, fuck pretty. I felt hot. I felt sexy. I felt, like I was going to fuck up. The boyfriend was history. I ran into Clay and felt what I felt. It wasn’t fair to him, the boyfriend, not Clay. I was meeting with Chris, my male going out buddy. He was perpetually single. I am not really sure why he was always single? He wasn’t a player. He was handsome. He wasn’t terrible with women. I think it was just bad luck. He picked me up, and we headed to some club. There was some band he wanted to see. He said, I would love them, and fall in love with the lead singer. Yeah, I’m the only girl who likes singers. The whole ride over, we talked about Clay, even though I knew he didn’t want to.

We arrived at the club. I walked in, and felt the stares. I could feel piercing eyes. It sounds creepy, but it felt good. I wasn’t at the bar but two minutes, before some guy was buying me a drink. I was polite, gracious, damn near regal in my acceptance. That princess facade soon fell to the floor in swell of vodka. There were a few more guys and a few more drinks. I think one of them tried to smell my flower clip. Chris looked over and shook his head. I may have had a drink in each hand by then. The band was better than I thought they would be. Chris was right. I was feeling the music, the sound bouncing inside of me. It was probably more the vodka and soda doing the bouncing. I slithered over to Chris. He did look cute. I remember saying, “Ali, do not. Do not do what…” It was too late. I walked right into his arms. I was falling in love with the song, and for some reason, wanted to use him like a stripper pole. I slid down him, slow. I turned back over my shoulder, gave him big ol’ fuck me eyes. He grabbed the back of my neck and pulled me into him. I didn’t think he had that in him. He kissed me, and everything went black.

The next thing I remember was being in his car. I heard The Smiths. I started to cry.

“I’m sorry. I’m such a bitch.”

“Well, using me as stripper pole, not what I call bitchy.”

“What exactly happened? How much happened?”

“How much happened?”

“What did I let you do to me?”

“We just made out. You said some other crazy shit, sexy crazy, but then your eyes rolled back in your head. It was kind of hard to stay in the mood when you go all Exorcist on me.”

“Wow. I’m an asshole.”

“You kinda are…I’m kidding.”

I checked my face in the visor mirror, “I’ve got mascara running down my face. I look like a trashy slut.”

“I don’t think you’re slutty.”

“I am. I really am. Wait? I’m trashy though?”

“A little…I’m just messing with you.”

“I’m an asshole.”

“It felt good kissing you.”

“Please. I’m so sorry. Can we not talk about this?”

“We are going to talk about it. We will talk about it until I drop you off. Then we aren’t ever going to talk about it. You know how I feel about you. I don’t think it’s a great mystery. You’re beautiful. Brash. Crazy. Outgoing. You talk like a sailor. Yet, you are thoughtful and kind. I would love nothing more than to spend a wild night together. However, if it happened, I know that you wouldn’t actually be in the room with me.”

“Wow. I’m an asshole.”

“I’m going to drop you off. You’ll go to sleep. You’ll wake up, call Clay, and tell him you love him. As far as the rest of the world knows, tonight never happened.”

“I really am an asshole.”

“Tonight did happen for me. It was something I waited for. Having you come up to me and say nothing, and do what you did, well, that usually only happens in my head. Like I said, outside this car, tonight never happened. However, I need to hang on to it for a bit, and we shouldn’t hang out for a while.”

“I’m sorry. Some girl better than me is gonna appreciate all this shit you do. I promise.”

“I know.”

“You know?”

“Well, now, tonight, I don’t know. I’m going to drop you off. I’m going to go home, and make myself a drink. I will enjoy the drink, and sit all pensive like on my porch.”

“I’m an asshole.”

“We’re here. You should go now.”

“You’re such a sweet man.”

“I know.”

“Goodnight sweet man.”

Fascination Street

I can’t say when it happened. I don’t have a date. There wasn’t a specific moment. I didn’t decide one day, I like girls, not boys. I only knew that I did. They seemed like a different species, not a different gender. I wanted to be the ambassador to this strange, unknown species. They were beautiful. They were soft. They smelled like candy. They would smile, and the world seemed brighter, kinder, like it wouldn’t hurt as much. That feeling never goes away. It is with me now. It is, that feeling. It’s something you wish you could put in your frayed jeans pocket, and keep it with you forever. It is the head tilt, the flip of the hair, the smile, and the stupid buzz of the world all goes away. I have no idea if this is how I’m supposed to feel. Maybe I’m out of my mind. It would be easier if I didn’t feel that way. It gives them too much power. I hate that. I just hope they don’t know the simple, everyday acts, can make me dizzy. I have a feeling that they do. I try to act unaffected. I try to act disinterested. I feel transparent. I feel like the species has X-ray vision. I feel like a mere mortal. I feel less than mortal. I feel like they know what I’m thinking now. I feel like they will end me.

I’m almost 40-years-old. I’m not the same innocent, naive being when I discovered the other species. I now have my specific likes, wants, desires, and proclivities. The whatever-aged me that finally noticed them, the other species, thinks my feelings for them are broken. That feeling, isn’t pure anymore. The feelings are now soiled. They are sullied. He can’t believe I would want to do such terrible things to such beautiful creatures. He reminds me, we used to be content with a smile. He reminds me, we used to be content with a hair flip. He reminds me, we used to be content with the aroma. He keeps hitting rewind. I keep hitting fast forward. He thinks that I’ve let too much beauty slip through, let beauty get away. Well, he never walked down Fascination Street. He’d see it my way if he did. Once you walk down that street kid, you are never the same. He reminds me, that you have to notice – the smile, the hair flip, the aroma, before you walk down that street. When did he get so smart? I remind him, I notice everything. I notice – new shoes, new hair color, new hairstyles, new outfits, new jewelry, nothing gets by me. I remind him, I appreciate everything about them. He reminds me, that I notice and appreciate for the wrong reasons. He reminds me, if I am this great ambassador to the species, how come they all leave? We have a winner. That is a low blow, whatever-aged me plays dirty. The truth is, I don’t have an answer for him. However, I do know, that feeling, is strong and overpowers the hurt.

Enjoy The Silence

I’m steeped in reality. In fact, I’m too steeped in reality. Clay was always a bit of dreamer. I liked that about him. He was happy in his Fantasyland, but here on Earth, lost. It was difficult to keep him in the present. He was happier in his head then he was in the real world. Unfortunately, I didn’t feel I was apart of his Fantasyland. I thought he was there without me. Girls are funny; we want you to be thinking of us all the time. The main problem, picking up the pieces he left scattered while he was in his head. He was kind and caring. He took care of me. He worried about me. He always put my needs before his, even in the bedroom. When he was good, he was very good. When he was down, he was inconsolable. He’d just disappear into his head for weeks at a time, leaving me wondering where he was. I knew where he was physically. However, somebody lying next you, doesn’t mean they are with you. It was difficult to walk away, but I had to do it.

Clay was comfortable in silence. I had to fill every second with sound. I think most people do. Clay could sit next to me for hours, and not say a word. I would ask him, “What’s wrong? Where are you? What’s so great about that place in your head?” He’d respond with, “Nothing. Here. Nothing.” I’d pout. I’d throw things. I’d yell. He would sit there unfazed. I thought it meant he didn’t love me. He didn’t care about me. He wouldn’t fight for me. Girls are funny; we like you to fight for us. Not in the, punch-everyone-in-the-face-that-leers-at-us-way. More like the, angry-break-stuff-then-grab-us-tell-us-you-love-us-way. It’s a subtle difference, but we want you to do it from time to time. He would try and be mad; he’d throw his hat, scream and curse, and kick at the ground. He looked like a baseball manager arguing a call, and I’d laugh. When Clay would get to the point he’d break something, he’d look at me with his big doe eyes, and then apologize for it. I was never scared or nervous that Clay would ever hurt me. He wouldn’t hurt a fly, literally not a fly; he’d escort them outside. He eschewed violence at every turn. Sometimes it was sexy. Mostly, it was maddening. Like I said, sometimes we want you to fight.

I realized later on that I missed Clay’s silence. I’d lay my head on his chest and ramble on and on. I forgot how cathartic that was. He’d never interrupt, never interject, would let me go until I slept. I thought he was the one that was uncomfortable, it was me, it was the rest of us that needed words. Clay was taking everything in. He was taking notes, learning everything he could about the situation, about me. He noticed things about me that nobody else ever did. There is something comforting and terrifying when somebody knows you better than you know yourself. You feel like you can be your complete self, but then there are no secrets, no surprises. It felt unfair, he knew what I was going to do before I did it, and I had no idea what he was even thinking. I felt he was hiding from me. There was some big secret he was keeping. However, all he wanted to do is lie next to me and hear my brain spill out. It was that simple. I made it something else. I couldn’t sit there in his silence.

England

I sit with the car running, the manufactured air making my skin cool to the touch. In the blistering desert sun, this sensation will not last the short walk to the office door. I exit the car, slump down, and try to hide from the solar demon. There is no escaping him. My thoughts turn to England. I want to hear accents. I want rain to fall on my face. I want to be cold. I want to be naked. I want to hear accents, while cold and naked. I look at the ground like a weeks worth of pocket change fell from my pockets. I uncoil my spine, look towards the sky, and push my sunglasses against my nose. In a mere sixty seconds, sweat will drip down; the sunglasses will slide back down my glistening face. I grab the electronic key card hanging from the Fender lanyard, and buzz my way in the building. The muggy stairwell isn’t much cooler than the searing outdoors. I mutter, “Fuck this summer. Fuck it right back to where it came from.” The top of the stairwell feels even worse than the bottom; I clutch the key card and buzz myself in. Walking past the HR Department, I scan for cute girls. Most of the attractive women in the building work in Human Resources. The lecherous look-in did not return the results I was hoping for. In fact, didn’t see one person at all. Odd. Shit. Is it a half-day? Did I come in to work on a fucking Saturday? There is normally a myriad of people milling about.

I enter my cube. Sit down in my chair. Toss a book on the desk. The book hits the phone and knocks the receiver off the cradle. The voicemail light is illuminated. Voicemails. I fucking hate voicemails. I take the phone off the desk and dial the damn extension. I only ever receive wrong numbers and people apologizing for calling the wrong extension. Why would you leave an apology voicemail? Fuck. I get enough damn wrong numbers throughout the workday. The soothing female voice tells me there are four new messages. This information is surprising. The first message is SPAM, something about cleaner carpets. I delete the message before it reaches completion. The second message is from the girlfriend, wondering if I could pick up some items at the drug store across the street. I save it. I’ll forget the list she rattled off. The third one is the requisite apology voicemail. The final message is from Dylan, a friend and former coworker. She is way too good looking to be someone I know. Even her name is hot. Her message, so breathy, sounds as if she is pleasuring herself. She says nothing provocative, a basic message, “Hello! How are you? I haven’t talked to you in a bit. We should have lunch soon.” However, in that breathy tone all I hear is, “I want you. I want you. I want you.”

I’m delusional. It’s the heat. It’s easy to blame everything on the heat. I lean back in the chair as far as it goes. I visualize different ways I would like to have sex with my breathy friend. I push her against a wall. She climbs me, wraps her legs around me, I thrust inside of her, and she bites into my shoulder. We end up in the shower. The water slicks back her long dark hair, and a stream of water makes her breasts glisten. I press her against the glass shower door. She reaches back, and pulls at my wet hair in approval. She’s now bent over my desk, her grey business skirt pushed up over her perfect little ass, begging me to take her. She reaches back, grabs me by my tie, and pulls me into her. The tie strangles me to a pleasurable state.

I’m at work? Fuck. I’m at work. I’m half-aroused. How much time passed? The sex sequence makes no sense. An out of order sex sequence, this is what I’m worried about now? I take a long drink of water from my 100% recycled plastic cup. I give myself a light slap to clear the sexy cobwebs. I’m surprised in my state that didn’t turn me on. I’m a mess. I scroll through useless e-mail after useless e-mail. I can’t take this anymore. I can’t concentrate. I put my elbows on the desk and shove my palms into my ocular cavities. I wonder what amount of pressure makes this all go away. I reach up and feel my hair, might have used too much hair product. My cell phone buzzes on the desk. I grab it, look at the text, “Ali: Need to see you ASAP.”

Does He Love You?

I’ve known Clay for years. We were always great together. We were better friends than boyfriend and girlfriend. I knew he liked me the minute he introduced himself. No, that’s wrong. I knew he loved me. I didn’t believe in love at first sight, maybe I should have, I still hate the saying. I was out with my friends one night and he was there. He came over, hugged me, looked into me, and I felt like he knew all my secrets. He knew some of my secrets, but this felt different. It was terrifying. He might have looked at me like that because my g-string was hanging out of my jeans all night, and I was just another girl with her underwear hanging out. No, it wasn’t that. I felt a jolt. I’ve never felt that before. There was something different this time. It felt like love and hate. No, more like life and death. I couldn’t tell him that. How do you tell someone, “I just saw us dying together.” I had to pretend he was still amusing and sort of handsome. We were leaving the bar and he asked for my number. No, that’s wrong. He didn’t ask for my number. He still had that. He said, “I need to see you again somehow.” I told him I had a boyfriend. This was not a lie. He didn’t seem phased by the response. He kept looking at me and smiling. He said, “I know you are with someone. The truth is, I’m with someone too. I care about her. However, I can’t ever stop these feelings I have for you. I’ve never been attracted to some one like this. I don’t know what to do.”

The next morning happened, and my mind was still fuzzy from the margaritas. I wasn’t fuzzy about Clay. That feeling didn’t go away. Again, I didn’t tell him anything. Well, I told him something about being a great guy, but given the situation, our past, it wouldn’t work. The funny thing is, now, I felt the same way. I wanted to break up with my boyfriend that instant. He might as well of not existed anymore. I felt like the stupid girl from fifteen years ago, falling for guys in the blink of eye. This was even worse, falling for the same guy again, in the blink of a half-dozen margaritas. The man I was going to marry was out there now. He now had a had name and face. A name and a face I knew well. I knew he was dating some other woman, probably waking up next to her, fuzzy from the same margaritas. I felt no jealousy, no agony, no remorse about the relationships that were about to end. I knew he would not end up with her, but with me. It wasn’t arrogance. It wasn’t waking up feeling superior or feeling like a beautiful super model. It was a feeling bouncing around my bones. No, it wasn’t a feeling. I knew it. I’ve never known anything. I knew Clay was mine. Does he love you? No. He loves me. I don’t even feel bad for her, whoever she is. I wouldn’t feel bad even if I knew her. I finally know something. It’s not wrong, and I’m not fucking apologizing. I’m not toying with his heart this time or my own.

Driving Your Girlfriend Home

She told me that she didn’t love him anymore. She didn’t say that she loved me either. She didn’t seem upset when she said it. She seemed relieved. It was no secret to me, so I had no reaction. She didn’t care about my reaction, not then anyway. She needed to say it out loud. She said, “I will tell him after his birthday.” I didn’t know how far away his birthday was, and I didn’t ask. She didn’t say that she was breaking up with him. I assume telling someone you don’t love them sends a clear message. I scanned the stations trying to find the right song. I couldn’t find it. She sat and looked at me. She. She. She.

I said, “Is there something I can help you with?”

“Um. No. Kind of an emotional wreck here.”

“Sorry. I never know what to say.”

“You say…”

“I saaaaaaay…”

“You might want to just say nothing.”

“That I can do. Silence it is. Silence is golden.”

“Well, I don’t want silence now. I want you to talk to me.”

“You just said…”

“It’s fucking complicated. Jesus. Is this your first conversation with a girl ever? We are all over the map. Quit trying to figure it out.”

“I’m sorry Magellan. I really am. Love sucks.”

“Magellan?”

“You are all over the map.”

“You are unreal. Explorer jokes?”

“It’s what I do. Ha. Now you’re totally smiling. I win.”

“It’s not a contest.”

“I guess you’re right. I just don’t want you to get sad on me.”

“I am sad. I’m sad, I’m not more sad. That make sense?”

“It does.”

“Jesus. Can’t you find a song?”

“I wanted to find something to fit the mood.”

“Sometimes there isn’t the right song.”

“You bite your tongue devil woman. There is always a right song.”

“I’ve been Magellan and Devil Woman in the span of a minute.”

“Oh, you’ll have all sorts of names before I’m done with you.”

“Thank you for coming to get me.”

“Anytime.”

“I couldn’t be at that party anymore. He’s gonna be so upset.”

“I know he is. I know I would be.”

“I’m getting sad now. I kinda want to cry.”

“Whatever you need to do.”

“I’m just so tired.”

“Well, lie down.”

“What, so I can lay my head in your lap?”

“I’m driving. You’re a wreck. What am I gonna do?”

“It seems like crossing a line.”

“You’re the one that’s too tired to live.”

“I didn’t say that.”

“Yes you did.”

She gave in, and fell asleep in my lap. The party was a solid hour from my house, at this beautiful desert ranch house out in the middle of nowhere. The directions really were – When you think you’ve gone too far and you think you’re lost, you haven’t gone far enough. This was accurate. It seemed like hours before I got close to her house. Her neighborhood has these ridiculous speed humps. No, not bumps, humps. I always made jokes when I saw the signs. I held her head against me when the car rolled over each speed hump. She would tell me later on, she thought it was the sweetest thing anyone had done for her. I hoped that wasn’t true.

Cemetery Gates

You think you are tired of social media, it is my job. Ms. Social Media Director of Promotion. I’m not even sure what that title really means? All I know is, it was supposed to be more fun than this. I got the job because I had Marketing degree, and had actually used Facebook and Twitter. Funny. He was the only reason I created a Facebook account. I cyberstalked him a bit before I friended him. We used to get into poetry arguments, don’t get into many of those these days. It was just like The Smiths’ song. “And I meet you at the cemetery gates / Keats and Yeats are on your side / But you lose / ‘Cause weird lover Wilde is on mine.” I happen to agree. Wilde is better than Keats and Yeats. He actually agreed with me and Morrissey on that one. There were many other times where we didn’t.

In fact, his first message to me was, “e.e. cummings is still better.”

My response back, “He can’t even decide if his name should be capitalized or not?”

“funny”

“You think you are him? Use goddamn punctuation.”

“ali it really bothers you when someone writes in a fashion such as this (one that has little regard for structure) doesn’t it (my dear)”

“You’re lousy at it. At least e.e. was good at it. You think you’re so goddamn hilarious!”

“Who are you now, Holden Caulfield?”

“Maybe? I am in love with him.”

“He’d still think you are a big phony.”

“Why? Because of my job? How did you know about that?”

“Ali, (Holden) was kidding.”

“Sorry. Wow. Sensitive subject. I guess someone can’t take a joke anymore.”

“You’re fine. In fact, heard you were a big success.”

“I run AMC’s Twitter account. It’s not even my name. I’m @AMC_TV. I’m just a bunch of letters.”

“Ali, we all are a bunch of letters. Plus, tweeting about Breaking Bad and Mad Men can’t be all bad?”

“I guess you’re right. Didn’t you want to name your daughter, 7?”

“That was a random segue. And that was George Costanza.”

“It was the, ‘we all are a bunch of letters’. Then made me think of  your want for a daughter-number. Well, you and George.”

“Daughter-number. Like it.”

“So, do you have a 7?”

“I do not. I don’t have female to make a 7 with. That sounds like I need to own a female. You know what I mean?”

“I do. I thought you were married?”

“I was to be married…”

“What does ‘to be married…’ mean? You trail off in ellipses a lot. I forgot.”

” I do…”

“Funny.”

“I was engaged, but she broke it off.”

“Why?”

“I didn’t have my shit together, and she was nervous about the kind of future we were gonna have.”

“Is that a self-diagnosis? That sounds a lot like girl speak.”

“Very good. It’s regurgitated girl speak. Because I can promise what the future holds. Fucking women.”

“I can see it was your elegant use of language that won her over.”

“Fuck, I deserve that.”

“Wait. Shouldn’t you be able to speak (type) elegantly? Didn’t you want to be a writer?”

“Are you this mean to all the men in your life?”

“I’m only warming up. So, you don’t have your shit together?”

“No. No, I do not.”

“Well, I always thought you did.”

“No you didn’t.”

“You’re right. I was trying to be nice.”

“It doesn’t suit you.”

“You’re f-ing hilarious.”

“cummings is still better.”

“No, he’s not. You should have agreed with me that day. Dummy.”

“We were arguing poetry in a cemetery. We really were that Smiths’ song.”

“I know.”

“Wait? Why should I have agreed with you?”

“I would have let you kiss me.”

“I did kiss you.”

“Yeah, later. Weeks later.”

“So, I still did.”

“You missed a moment though. Girls like moments.”

“I know I did.”

“You did?”

“I went home and listened to that damn song like a thousand times. I thought about brushing your bangs behind your ear, grabbing the back of your neck, and pulling you into me.” <long pause> “Ali?”

“Sorry, you can’t…”

“Um. Can’t what?”

“Sorry. I have to go.”

“Was it something I said?”

“Um. No. I have to go. We’ll chat again. Ok. I promise. We’ll talk again. I have to go now. Bye.”

“Ok. Bye. Ali.”