Archive for December, 2010

Happy Holidays

19 Dec

and merry Christmas, everyone.

I’m going to take the next couple of weeks off so I can, y’know, do things. I’ll start a brand new horrible story for you on January 3.

Thanks for reading. See you in 2011.


Polly Epilogue

13 Dec

I dropped her off in front of her house sometime past four. Her husband stood silhouetted in the doorframe, a brief and passably-manicured lawn away from me, but still too far away for me to make out his face. Polly walked to him with unswaying, demure steps, the sort of gait that forestalls questions about whether she had spent hours in various states of nudity reclining on the ragged upholstery of another man’s passenger seat, regardless of how pressing those questions are. As I drove home, I thought about other times.

There was the time we’d pulled into the unattended parking lot of an anonymous Dayton park. We’d been in her car then, where the passenger seat had seemed roomy and comfortable. By the time a policeman pulled up behind us to investigate our thoroughly steamed windows, the conversation had moved to other things.

There was another time in a parked car, mine this time, a few safely suburban blocks down from her house. Things hadn’t had time to move past a few hungry kisses before flashing lights appeared in my mirrors. We told a few transparent and embarrassed lies.

Having no deadline except a half-hearted desire to be home before the sun rose, I drove home slowly, two discreet miles per hour beneath the speed limit. Following her pattern, Polly remained silent for a day, and then for several. Weeks went by. We spoke seldom, somehow always avoiding the topic of ourselves, despite my best efforts to steer the conversation in that direction. Carefully, I watered the bamboo stalk she’d given me.

Eventually, I forced the topic. If she wanted to keep me, I said, she needed to pay more attention to me. Her decision came easily and quickly, and afterward we spoke even less. I’d stopped wearing her ring weeks before and, at her request, returned it to her at a party a few months later. I ran into her as I left the bathroom, and she took the ring and slipped it into her pocket. “Do you remember?” She smiled. “We had our first kiss in this bathroom.”

Did we.

No, I didn’t remember. I asked her for my pendant, which she’d promised to bring. She hadn’t yet admitted to losing it and claimed it had slipped her mind. I walked past her to the rest of the party. Months later, she reneged on a promise to visit me for my birthday. I deleted her phone number and email. A few more clicks and, as far as Facebook knew, we were no longer friends. I could no longer stomach seeing her updates; no matter what they were, they’d have nothing to do with me.

The next year, at a festival in Goodale park, I’d see her once more, clinging with both hands to the arm of an old friend. She smiled slightly at my unspoken question and shrugged. I asked him whether they were dating, but he denied it: “Not while she’s married.” Later, I’d see them kissing passionately. Probably I should have phrased the question to ask whether they were fucking.

The temp agency I’d been using could no longer find me a job. I called the agent who’d given me her business card. She’d left the agency some weeks earlier, leaving no forwarding information and taking her clients with her. Except, that is, for me. I packed all my belongings into fourteen numbered boxes and, over the course of several weeks, moved them and finally myself back to my parents’ house. Since I’d completed the trifecta of single, unemployed, and living with the parents, I figured that that would be the best time to try to start dating again. I reactivated my Match profile.

My first correspondence was with a voluptuously curvy and slightly unstable Indian girl from Dayton. Perhaps predictably, she had doctors for parents. For our first date, she invited me out to lunch. Sure, I thought. What the hell.


Polly 6

06 Dec

Polly dropped a languid hand between the seat and door, lazily pulling up on the lever she found there. The seat back reclined, leaving her in that uncomfortable not-quite supine pose unique to people trying to lie down in the passenger seat. She stretched her limbs, arching her back and pushing the accumulated car-clutter (I was unused to having passengers) away with her hands and feet. Somehow and suddenly, she was undressed, wearing only dark laced panties, striped knee socks and, over her nipples, red fabric stars. Absently, I remembered that she wore each of these things because at one point or another I’d mentioned liking them. Her eyes stayed closed. She kissed the fingers I pressed to her lips. I twisted my body over hers and pawed at her soft flank, peeling pieces of sticky fabric from her skin and tossing them to the floor. Rebreathed hothouse humidity fogged the windows.

The inside of a car is not romantic.

I swung a leg over the console, climbing laboriously and with an already aching back through forty interminable seconds into the small space between her knees and below the glove compartment, acutely aware of how much both of us would later regret this but deciding that, right now, I wanted to do her too much for that to matter. Her head stayed thrown back, eyes relentlessly shut, facing the roof and not me. I kissed up her legs, between her thighs, and stayed there while she breathlessly mouthed beautiful things she didn’t mean. The shudders of her body told me when to stop.

The damp air smelled like whiskey. Although she’d been planning this or something like it since before I showed up—the pasties confirmed that much—it had taken a steady campaign of shots to allow her to follow through. Perhaps she’d be drunk enough to continue. Gracelessly, I scooted up from the floor, gamely trying to plant kisses on her body while I undid my fly. She looked up at me and smiled. “I love you,” she said. I said it back to her with a sincerity that implied I knew what I was talking about. It should never be assumed that I know what I’m talking about. I positioned my hips over hers, trying to find some angle between the dashboard, console, door and glovebox that would let me move at all. “Oh, yes,” she breathed. “I’ve missed you. Every day. You fit me so well.” Hypothetically, anyway. It’d been a while. Maybe things had changed.

As it turned out, things had changed. Sometimes my brain really, really wants to do something that my body knows is fucking stupid. This was one of those times.

We did not have sex. Desperately, I wanted to. And yet we did not. With the hysterical resolve of a consciousness whose vehicle is in rebellion, I willed an erection to manifest itself. The window of opportunity closed slowly and palpably. I rolled on to my side, mostly clothed but bare-assed, jammed against the cold plastic of the passenger door handle, trying to insinuate myself into the warm space between her arm and side. Sinuously, she slid away from me into the driver’s seat, leaving her feet resting on my thighs. My hands moved up her calves in a futile attempt to make my body remember that this is the sort of thing that makes it horny. I tried to keep the conversation flirtatious and she talked about her plans for the future, two parallel lines of discourse that did not and could not have anything in common.

Insidious sobriety crept over her, bringing with it first her underclothes and then her pants and shirt. I watched feebly as she pushed each button through its attendant hole. “You should get dressed,” she said, ignoring that I was dressed, mostly, except for the ten or so inches between my waist and waistband. “What time is it,” she said to no one. Certainly not to me. It was late. “I need to go home.” Probably she did, but still I wanted to believe I hadn’t blown my chance. I dithered.

We talked about nothing. She looked at her feet, now back in her shoes. “Look, if you aren’t going to take me home, then I need to call a cab.”

I hiked up my pants. We switched seats. Quietly obeying all posted limits and driving with meticulous responsibility, I took her home.