First, the hands. Like he had an extra knuckle on each finger or something craggy, always gesturing, almost palsied looking. We all look at a man’s hands nails, fingers, calluses, hair but with Evander I would watch his hands, study them the way you do when you’re trying to figure out a magician’s trick, to catch the handkerchief coming out his sleeve. If it’s true that a man’s hands tell you about his dick, then Evander McIntyre, the most promising Kantian scholar at SUNY-B and afternoon mainstay of the back left table of my station, might be toting around something special in his khakis. I’m not really a dick girl and hands don’t always mean anything, but Evander McIntyre had caught my eye, and I was going to find out.
Every boy contains a marvel that’s what I used to tell myself. My friend Becky started dating the really skinny guy who came in here and all the other waitresses laughed at her; then she told them how much he likes to go down on her and how he bought her a window box and planted a bunch of flowers in there, and now they’re all jealous. Evander wasn’t appreciated by the rest of the waitstaff either. It’s true, he could be difficult I tried to explain to them, philosophers always are. They didn’t like the fact that he never changed his shirt, they didn’t like that he put five sugars in every cup of coffee and they didn’t like how thick his books were. But I was positive that Evander had a romantic locked up inside of him. I’d seen him hand-writing letters on pale blue stationery, making his itsy-bitsy characters with a beat-up fountain pen. I’d catch him mouthing the words to “Girl from Ipanema” in Portuguese every time it played on our house tape. One time I saw him read and reread the same two pages all afternoon. He’d turn the page, stop, write something in his notebook then turn back again. All day. Another time I saw him actually get mad at his book. He was talking to it; I couldn’t believe it. But what’s best is that he was always checking me out, trying to be so subtle that I didn’t notice. But I did. And like I told the other girls when I was trying to defend him, he never left less than twenty percent and always stacked his dishes. More than any man I’d ever met, he let me know that he liked me without ever telling me so. Without asking for my number or calling me sweetheart or winking or staring or buying me something. He just liked me; I knew it. I started trying to catch his eye when he was reading. When I did, I’d smile at him and normally he’d hide back in his book. But I still loved watching him, how he’d read, then think, lick his thumb, turn the page and crease it down with his middle finger like he was stroking something delicate and alive.
I had been on a lot of dates before. There are the guys who think that if they’re driving a new Saturn or if their shirts still have the checkerboard creases on them from being brand new that you’re going to sleep with them. And sometimes I make mistakes. Like one time in high school, we were all at the quarry and there was this guy named Rick who was really tan because he never went in the water and would just sit sunning on the rocks. He always brought a joint that he carried in the key pocket of his swimsuit, and one day we were all getting high and I had just gotten out of the water and put my clothes over my bathing suit so my shirt was sticking and I had big wet marks around my boobs, and he said, Come on, I wanna show you something. So we walked over to where his car was parked and started kissing and after a minute he put both his hands around the backs of my thighs and lifted me up on the hood of his Mustang. And pretty soon he was sliding a finger up the leg of my shorts and past my wet bikini and then in me, just in me deep and hard like that’s how it’s supposed to go, and he just pushed and pushed, then whispered in my ear, Do you wanna? And I didn’t know, I did, just not that way, and I said, “Do you have something?” and he said, Yeah, and then undid my shorts and pulled them down, suit and all, and spread my legs out wide on the hot car hood, then stopped, looked at my pussy and said, I knew I could. Then he turned around, laughing, and walked back to the quarry.
Every time it’s new, every time it’s different. The maybe-this-time and the totally fucked, the almost right and the dead center. A girl I know told me she knew the name of her husband before she ever met him. It’s true, and they’re together even now. When I would talk about Evander, my friends thought I had some kind of affliction, but they’re just afraid of liking anybody too much. I told them, Evander, he hopes. He struggles just to get by. Not with money; he has a hard time just being. One day he told me that he felt like he was up to his neck in sludge. The world was passing by below him and he was looking out, thinking about what could be but wasn’t. He said he felt all alone, he was looking around and around but no one was looking back. I don’t usually say anything when he says stuff like that, but even then I knew he was wrong. I was looking back.
It’s like everything is backwards, or everything is upside down. Sometimes the worst sex is the best sex and the best is the worst. I don’t care what anyone says, if the man is too smooth then I can’t really get comfortable. He does everything right and I just think about all the things I must be doing wrong. But then when the guy’s doing something that’s not really working for me, sometimes I can tell how much it’s turning him on, and then it starts turning me on.
They say you have to love yourself if you want to be able to love somebody else. I don’t know about that. I think that maybe you just have to be able to find the magic in the completely normal things they do and you do when you’re with them. Or maybe that’s just backwards, that love is the thing that turns all the faults into charms, the quirky details into little hooks to hang your affection on. We had pulled up into the parking lot of Woody’s and I turned the key and was about to open my door and he said, Hold on, and jumped out his door and raced around the front of the car and opened my door for me. Smiling, but shy as could be. It must be like that to look at your toddler when it does something new. If it’s the first time, it’s special special and meaningful and all a-glitter with the diamond powder of life. He was opening the door, and there I was thinking that the world is only going to happen once and everything that happens is only going to happen once and time just carries on and everything changes and everything goes away, never to come back. One time for him to open the door, one time for me to get out, one time for him to take my hand with his and lead me into the bar. I know you’re not supposed to know, but I knew. This is the time, this is now, I am a woman who’s held by the hand and at the front end of love and going to wake up in the morning next to this man.
It took me a long time to get Evander to take off my pants. When he finally did, he was lying on top of me and I took his hands, one at a time, and slid them under my ass and said, “Squeeze.” And he fanned his fingers out and he squeezed. He squeezed and squeezed. The same feminism that tells me that men should like my boobs tells me that it’s okay to like feeling weightless in the arms of a man. He gripped me, and I lifted my hips off the bed till he was supporting everything. And that’s when I helped him fish it out, when I curled both my legs around him and reached under with my left hand and took him in my fingers. He rose in my touch, and though I was kind of dry, I like that feeling of it pushing its way in, of working it in tight and letting myself get wet around it. The stiffness makes me feel virginal, a lot more virginal than I’m likely to be again.
Jack Murnighan and Nerve.com