She was a foreign journalist, assigned to interview me. One of my books was coming out in her country. We met a restaurant here in Brooklyn at five o’clock. We sat a table on the sidewalk. It was late May, beautiful weather. She was beautiful. She had thin elegant arms that I wanted to grab.
She also had green eyes, a misaligned front tooth, dark brown hair pulled back, a full ass, nice legs, a long nose, a thin face, a lovely neck. She was about five-six, almost tall for a woman, and she wore a yellow skirt, a white blouse and tan sandals with a bit of heel. The blouse had maybe come undone by one button too many. Not that I minded. I caught a glimpse of a fragile white bra.
Her English was flawed but charming. She was from the capital, ______, working for her country’s most famous magazine. It was a six-month assignment, covering New York, and she was heading home soon. I was one of her last profiles. My novel was coming out in June, two years after its publication here in the U.S. We talked about the book for an hour. She had two glasses of white wine. I had a cappuccino. I don’t know if it was the coffee, but I felt something in my chest, a tightening of sorts. I’m half-dead inside, but I had the thought: “Have I fallen immediately in love?”
There was nothing more to say about the book. She put her little European notepad away.
“Want to go for a walk?” I said, not wanting to lose her yet. “The light is so beautiful right now.”
“Yes,” she said. There was a slight husky quality to her voice and something sibilant, probably because of the front tooth.
We walked and I bored her with conversation about Brooklyn, then I said, hoping to rally, “I don’t know anyone who lives in Manhattan any more. Manhattan is the new Queens.”
It was a stupid remark, one I had used before, an attempt at wit, but she didn’t quite get the real-estate humor. I’m not sure I get it. She said, “I’m going to miss New York. I love it. The lunacy. There’s no lunacy in my country.”
Lunacy must be a word that is common in her language and I admired her use of it, and love sounded like ‘loave’. I looked at her neck. It was a beautiful neck.
She lit a cigarette. We walked slowly, and we didn’t talk. It was nice to just be in the perfect light and the perfect air. She was twenty-eight but a woman. I’m forty-two but I’m a boy. I don’t feel like a man. It comes from being an American and being a writer. I’ve never had money. Living half-broke for twenty years retards your growth. You’re never quite yourself. You’re always waiting to grow into your life, but you never do.
And there’s something about the American character that also keeps you from maturity. I don’t know why this is, but it feels true.
We went to a little park. Sat on a bench. There was some grass and trees with white flowers, and mothers with children, a last bit of playing, and there was that end-of-the-day light that even in the twenty-first century makes you think the world is all right. I played a man sitting on a bench with a beautiful woman, a stranger from another country.
“Thank you for walking with me,” I said.
“I liked our walk,” she said. She was sitting very close to me. I shifted on the bench and put my hand into her lush hair at the top of her neck, and then taking her hair in my hand I turned her toward me. She completed the turn and looked at me with those green eyes. I saw shock and acquiescence, and then I kissed her.
Our lips met right, and then her mouth opened and she tasted of wine and cigarettes and something sweet and it was a beautiful kiss. We kept at it. She crawled on my lap and I buried my face in her neck and then kissed her in the opening of her blouse, smelling delicious perfume. We kissed again, hard. Then we parted. We looked around. There was a child crying, having fallen. A little girl in a little dress. A beautiful child. I thought of her growing up and sitting on a man’s lap on a bench. The mother gathered up the child. The journalist said, “I want to go to your apartment.”
She put her arm through mine and we walked to my apartment, hardly talking, but stopping twice to kiss and for me to pull her tight against me. I’m six-foot and she folded into me nicely, perfectly.
We got to my apartment with its poor, second-hand furniture, and the books on the floor. I don’t have a couch, only chairs since I’m a stunted person, and so we lay on my bed and kissed for a while, until I undressed her and then me. And I was standing by the bed, having just removed my pants, and she got off the bed and kneeled on my pants and took me in her mouth. She luxuriated in it, rubbing it against her face when it was wet and slick. She was moaning, but I started feeling selfish, so I lifted her onto the bed and sucked on her breasts. She was almost all nipple and I loved it.
Then I kissed her stomach and kept on kissing, until I put my tongue in her and there wasn’t much taste but enough, salty and maddening. I put a finger inside her and felt some kind of birth-control object. I didn’t want to jar it, so I took my finger out. At some point she shifted to her side and my head was encased between her legs and I stayed there and she came twice.
She pulled me up to kiss her and she started guiding me into her and I said, “I have condoms,” and she said, “I have a thing,” and I didn’t tell her I knew, I didn’t know if it was bad etiquette to say I had felt it, and so she guided me into her and it had been years since I’d had sex. We went at it slow. Sometimes hard. I would stop and go down on her some more. We might just lie there for a bit, holding one another and kissing, and then start the fucking again. Missionary position, she would bury her face in my shoulder and whimper quietly — she wasn’t a woman who screamed, except at the end when she would come. She was very flexible and we put her legs — her knees — all the way by her head, and I went in her so deep and leaned down and kissed her deep, too. She was beautiful and vulnerable.without a condom and it was a revelation. With a condom, after about fifteen or twenty minutes, it’s like my cock goes numb, the base of the condom like a tourniquet, so I have to come at that point or suffer the mortal embarrassment of losing my erection. That said, I’m not one of those guys who’s against condoms, I don’t mind them too much, twenty minutes is more than enough, but this sex without the condom was like heaven.
She got on her belly and put her incredible full ass into the air and I took her that way. She got on top of me and her hair fell across her breasts, and I sat up and moved the hair and sucked on her fat nipples. She’d looked at me, grinding against me, impaled on me, and her eyes seemed to say, “I will never know you,” but all eyes say that, if I think about it.
We just kept doing it and she kept coming, and oddly I never felt that thing inside her, though I had touched it with my finger. Anyway, the whole thing was astounding to me because I just kept going. Ever since I turned forty, some kind of switch went off or on, and so the gods only give me one hard-on in an evening, maybe two, whereas when I was younger I could come three or four and sometimes five times in a night, so I’ve learned to make the one bullet I’m given last, but this night with the journalist was something beyond extraordinary. We had started in a dim yellow light in my room, the last bit of sun coming through the curtains, until we were in a silvery darkness, the metallic light from the street lamps allowing me to still see her beautiful body. So we had begun making love around seven and didn’t stop until almost eleven, when she told me to come in her mouth, something I usually don’t like to do — I feel bad for the woman — but she wanted it and I allowed myself to believe it was okay and so then we were done, and we lay there, both of us rather unbelieving.
Then she started laughing — her laugh was husky like her voice — and she said, “Now let’s talk about your cock.” And cock sounded like cawk, and it was all so bawdy in the most appealing way, just her saying the word cock, and so I said, “What about it?” “I love it,” she said, and love was loave, and, of course, as a preening male, I was deeply pleased.
She didn’t spend the night. She had a roommate from her country who knew her boyfriend back home, so she couldn’t possibly return to her apartment in the morning. The roommate might say something. This came out at the end. A boyfriend back home.
So I called a car for her. I saw her again a week later, and we were both aware of making it as good as that first night but it wasn’t. A week after that, we tried again, and once more it fell short. Each time we seemed to grow more shy with each other. Then she left New York. Her article ran and was sent to me by my publisher. But I don’t speak a word of her language, so I have no idea what she said.
This piece first ran on NERVE in 2007.