Interlude 2

04 Aug


Ramona reminded me that people on the internet lie. Even the most honest pursue a strategy of deliberate omission, and Ramona was not the most honest. She lived on Craigslist (I’d been slumming in w4m while I massaged my brutalized ego and wallet between Match dates) and resided in Dayton, where she worked as something white collar in a capacity involving typing. In our emails, she mentioned that she’d written a series of fantasy novels, and I did my best to be impressed. We met at BD’s Mongolian barbecue, where I experienced a series of unpleasant revelations. The most obvious was that her current photo represented a generous twenty-five pounds of wishful thinking.

No doubt my criticism comes off as fattist and shallow. Here is a secret: it is. My feeble and only defense is that the truth would not have precluded a date.

She’d also obscured the crescent of unignorable acne that bearded her face down from the corners of her mouth. We struggled to find anything to talk about; mostly we discussed her diabetes while she fought an intermittent duel with the buffet. Her roommate had dropped her off for her date, and it was up to me to transport her anywhere else. I drove her home, and I as I followed her directions, they became uncomfortably familiar. At her direction, we turned down a street I knew well, and I dropped her off at a house abutting Polly’s back yard. I’d be back there the following afternoon to have lunch with Polly.

Sometimes, when you see a person for the first time, or for the first time that moment, a clear and complete knowledge manifests itself: Today, the two of you are going to fuck.

Sometimes you are mistaken.

Between oscillations of my dress-up-meet-a-girl-buy-her-coffee-watch-her-vanish cycle, Polly and I had been emailing. I’d even driven out to visit her once or twice. Each time, she wore something sensible, conservative and sensibly form fitting. We’d get platonic coffee, and she’d introduce me as her platonic best friend to any of her neighbors that we might meet. She and I sat close together, grinding our platonic outer thighs together through bare millimeters of platonic summer weight fabric. She’d get up to order a five dollar coffee from an underpaid barista and I’d sit for a few minutes alone at the booth, thinking about baseball until I could stand up without embarrassing myself. Sometimes I’d run into her husband at their house for lunch, and then he’d drive their scooter back to work.

Later in the evening, after I’d driven home, I’d go online to look up crash fatality statistics for two-wheeled vehicles and daydream about stealing his helmet.

That particular day, I passed Polly’s husband at the door. He was leaving back for work, and she was wearing a loose and flowing skirt, something cut to look like lace. She didn’t wear it often. I knew it, and so did he. The last time I’d seen her wear it, we’d slept together. She’d made a plate of bread, cheese and fruit and put it near her head as she lay on the floor eating grapes and raspberries. She propped her bare feet up on the couch, parting her ankles, letting her skirt ride up toward her knees. I touched her leg. I touched her leg more.

She took my hand and led me to the basement.


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