Andi, part 6

20 Feb

Andi’s footsteps moved up the stairs, thunking on the wooden platforms and then fading as she reached the upstairs tiles. Beyond the kitchen she disappeared, moving into one of the half-dozen or so arterial hallways routing carefully-maintained climate throughout the house. Her bedroom lay hidden in one of them, tucked in some ventricular nook. I waited for her to turn around, to come back downstairs and say something less cruel to me, if not something actually kind.

Still shirtless, I walked the perimeter of her basement, which wasn’t a basement so much as a windowed lower floor, listening to the night sounds of someone else’s house. Predictably, Andi’s parents had hung pictures of her and her brother in strategic locations around the basement, always at eye level where an abandoned visitor, seated or standing, might look. All of them seemed at least a year or two old. I walked over to one of them, a professionally done study in staged outdoor spontaneity. Andi, smiling and confident, thinner and grinning, leaned preposterously in a carefully posed frolic against a tree. I wondered what happened to her in the two years and eightyish pounds that existed between then and now.

Gradually I became aware of myself as half-naked, unaccompanied stranger in a rich person’s basement. I also became aware that, all my efforts to the contrary, I had not fucked anyone, except, possibly, for myself. My stomach rumbled. Absently, I scratched my beard and considered the etiquette of the situation.

All I had to look forward to between that moment and whenever it was that I finally left was an unbroken experience of social misery. I could leave, but still. Andi and I had at least tried to have sex, and so established a certain bond of meretricious intimacy (or intimate meretriciousness). Besides, earlier, much earlier, before ill-advised nudity and the insulting of my penis, I’d told her that I’d stay the night. On the other hand, had this happened to someone else, I’d consider Andi’s aforementioned disparagement to be a faux pas on par with, say, pointing out to someone that her boobs are asymmetrical or observing loudly that she has a wonky vagina. Consequently, any obligations I’d shouldered by helping her out of her panties had evaporated.

Something upstairs made a noise. In my imagination, whatever had made it took on the shape of some faceless parent. I stepped back into the bedroom, pulling the door closed noiselessly behind me and resigning myself to remaining hungry and thirsty until the morning. I closed my eyes, burying my head in the slick nylon of a too-yielding pillow.

Grey daylight woke me. Andi hadn’t returned. Efficient but not rushed, I dressed. I considered whether to attempt bedmaking, but I decided against it. Regardless of how careful I think I’m being, beds that I make invariably look like they’ve been made by someone who doesn’t care very much about the success or failure of this particular task. Besides, I reminded myself. None of this, strictly speaking, was my problem. Leaving surreptitiously again occurred to me, but I couldn’t think of a plausible excuse. She knew, for example, that I had no job to go to, and essentially no one gives job interviews on Saturday. I sighed.

For the size of the house, Andi slept in a modest room, although a four-poster bed dominated it. No doubt some doting relative had bought it for her during a youthful (and, as it turned out, ongoing) princess phase. I’d found my way to it by guessing where I thought the master bedroom was and looking anywhere else but there. I needn’t have worried. The house had the feel of one newly emptied. Whoever had been up before me had already had breakfast and left for work. The house smelled like fresh mangoes. Someone had left a crate of them on the counter.

Gently, I shook Andi awake. “I have to go now,” I said. I tried to think of something else to say, but all that occurred to me was “sorry about that.” Instead of saying it, I stayed quiet. She turned over, twisting in her sheets, wearing only panties and a thin nightshirt. She smiled at me, the sleepy smile of someone who doesn’t know the person who has awakened them is annoyed. “Hi,” she said.

“Don’t leave yet. Come to bed.” She grabbed my hands and pulled.


Leave a Reply


  1. *L*

    February 21, 2011 at 10:48 am

    You *stayed*?! You’re lucky you didn’t find yourself waking up in a plastic-sheeted room, Dexter-style.

    Gotta’ look out for those moneyed girls, they can afford better lawyers.

  2. Dan

    February 22, 2011 at 3:00 pm

    Well, there’s a reason my blog isn’t subtitled “your guide to my careful and measured decisions.”

  3. E

    February 27, 2011 at 3:02 pm

    I disagree with your analogies to her “disparaging” comment. I don’t think yours are comparable based on context…

  4. Dan

    March 1, 2011 at 11:36 pm

    Well . . . maybe. However, each comment is unconscionably rude to say to someone in a vulnerable situation.