Something with Fire in It
April 5, 2001
I was wandering lost through Manhattan with not enough clothes on. My arms and head were slimy from the rain and grit inside my silver mules had worn away the skin of my right pinky toe; blood was ruining the shoe. I finally found a door that said “The 119” but it was locked. I gave a howl, and a tall fellow in a long coat said, “It’s this one,” gesturing with his elbow to the door he was leaning against.
“Are you my date?” I said, and he was. Inside 119 was a pool table and lights that looked like they came from New Orleans and people who looked like they came from Ohio. My date asked if I wanted something to drink, and I said a shot anything with the word “fire” in it. The only place to sit was a windowsill. I rubbed the dirt off my foot and then thought maybe that was flirting too much, so I put my foot back in the shoe. I apologized for interrupting him and he said it’s okay, he has two sisters. Then he said, “That’s not true. I only have one sister. I don’t know why I lied.”
“Dave has five sisters,” I said, and felt proud though I don’t know what business I have being proud of that. People are always sneaking unfascinating comments about the person they’re fascinated with into every conversation. I’m in love with my husband. Yet here I was with this other person and I had that feeling you have just before you kiss someone except that I know it’s terrible it was even better knowing I loved someone else. Our windowsill seemed to be shrinking and I caught myself feeling my neck up. Somehow his arm got around me for a second maybe he was putting something somewhere and he pulled it back really fast. A little later his hand landed on my thigh and he seemed pretty surprised about that, so he pretended he was getting up and had needed my thigh as leverage. Then he sat back down and I think he stuck his hands into his bag. He might have been funny but I couldn’t really listen. I was thinking, “I’m going to take him to the bathroom.” I thought that about fifty times, and then it was five minutes before seven and he had a flight to catch. I thought, “I could still do it now.” But then it was seven and he couldn’t miss his best friend’s wedding in Nebraska and I had TV work to do in New York so he went that way and I went the other. We said nothing just “good-bye” very quickly, and darted away. It was almost exactly as if we did have sex there would have been the same not knowing what to do with our legs and having too much energy in them, saying stuff and the other person forgets what you said as soon as you say it. It would have been good, I’m completely sure of it.
Two days later, driving the six hours home, I considered whether to tell Dave. My decision changed with each song. “Unchained Melody” made me want to get pregnant immediately and be very good. Anything by Joan Jett made my stomach dizzy and it seemed like a good idea to pull over at truck stops to molest seventeen-year-old boys.
The moment I walked through the door Dave took me to bed. He spoke stiffly while stroking me between the legs. “Hello Pussy. Hello Pussycat. Ack, that’s sick. Poor Popo.” Popo’s our cat. Dave coughed and said, in the general direction of my pelvis, “Hello Little Cunt.”
I’d written in last week’s diary how sad it makes me that he has no word for my down-there. “Dave! You read my diary!” I was mortified.
“Well it is in the public domain, Leese.”
“But we agreed. You said you wouldn’t read it! For two years you stayed away, and now all of a sudden you go in and . . . just . . . read it?”
“I missed you. You were never at the hotel when I called, and I thought I’d just . . ”
“Well I bet that made you feel good to find out I was on a secret date. I feel terrible to think of you reading that all alone.”
“I thought you made that part up, because you would never sneak around like that. Would you?” He looked at me. “You would. So what happened?”
“Nothing! He touched my leg once. I held my foot. He put his arm around me accidentally. That’s all.”
“Were you excited?”
I stared at him trying to assess how much damage had been done and whether offense or defense was called for, and then I had a suspicion about the true nature of Dave’s reaction and stuck my hand down his pants. I was right: it was all aquiver and seeping. I had to wipe my hand on the sheets. I think my fear that he’d forgotten me lately was true, and having me do something I would never do (lie, sneak) surprised him into remembering me, and he remembered that he liked me.
He smiled guiltily and said, “Tell me again what happened.”
“Okay his hand, my leg, my hand, my foot, his arm, my back.”
“Did you get wet?”
“I don’t think so. I don’t know. It was more a nervous thing than to the wet point.”
“Are you going to see him again?”
“I could. It’s not quite the same now that you know. I like him. He wants to join The Elks. You know those old men.”
“If you do, you know . . . if you see him again, you can wear . . . you know that white leather bag I gave you with the tiny holes? You can wear that and your white go-go boots.”
“Dave you are sick! You really are. Take your pants off.” But he wouldn’t take his pants off. He wouldn’t have sex with me and he wouldn’t masturbate he just kept stroking me and paying attention to my “parts” and trying to find a name for them that he could say. “Vagina . . . agh, no!”
“I didn’t know how sad you were till I read the diary,” he said. Then he told me he read a book while I was gone I always complain that he only reads computer manuals and we have nothing to talk about. The book was on robots. He told me how the first robot was invented by da Vinci it was a metal lion whose mouth would open and reveal lilies. He fingered me while he described it, and my very slow ascent into coming felt like falling asleep, with images of the metal jaws flashing over and over and over again, getting a little more real each time.
Lisa Carver and Nerve.com, Inc.