Sarah, part 4

16 May

Sarah and I had sex once more, and then I never saw her again. I don’t know how much I really feel like talking about it.

She hadn’t called me since Tuesday. It was already Saturday, but I didn’t notice very much. I had other things on my mind. Everyone who dates has baggage, internet daters more so. It had been months since I’d been with anyone else, but I still felt like I was cheating. Not on Yuko . . . she was the inexplicable girl I dated in Japan. I’ve no idea why she dated me, I’ve no idea why she dumped me, and in between any number of things (breaking into her next door neighbor’s apartment so she could feed his cat, for example, or accepting her instruction in Japanese dirty talk, which, by the way, felt very, very silly) happened that I didn’t understand.

Before her there was Rachel. After her (and also before, and also in between) there was Polly. I used to say that I had complicated feelings for them, but they were less complicated than I lied to myself that they were. Mostly I wanted to feel them (each of them, both of them) down the front of my pants, and the thing that was complicated was creating a world where things like that happened. Sometimes I think I do things just so I can feel bad about them later.

Sarah invited me over for dinner. It surprised me, not least because a feeling nagged at me that I’d done it wrong somehow when we slept together before. The memory felt pickled and hazy. I remembered her expressing disappointment when I put the condom on too early.

“But I wanted to suck your dick,” she pouted.

Generally I’ve found it’s best to assume that a given woman does not in fact want a mouth full of my penis, but it’s always (well, usually) pleasant to have that assumption disproven. I offered to remove the offending article, but, as she explained to me, that’s like picking olives off your pizza. That is, the taste remains, vile and irremovable. I wasn’t sure how to react. No one likes to be told that his dick tastes bad.

I stood in the corner of her kitchen, watching her cook. She stir-fried red peppers and mushrooms. I fidgeted with her cookbooks and refrigerator magnets. We drank wine. I don’t remember what we talked about. We went upstairs.

She took my hand and led me toward her bedroom. I kissed her, wrapping one arm around her waist and touching her face with my other hand. This is a move that people have traditionally responded well to. She kept her light on (a floor lamp, an intensely contemporary affair, clearly from some High Street boutique or other). My scalp prickled with sweat, an involuntary and uncontrollable reaction to nervousness. Vaguely, I realized I needed to pee. I pushed her gently in the direction of her bed. “No,” she said.

I stopped. My left hand had already undone her belt and buttons. “Um,” I said.

She pulled me to the floor. “I don’t have sex on my bed.”


I didn’t ask why, and she didn’t explain. She asked me to spank her, so I spanked her. She wanted to use her vibrator. We did that. It didn’t feel like I remembered sex feeling. No one had ever asked me for a spanking before. I felt silly. With Rachel or Polly I knew what to do.

I left her house with carpet burns and a sense of indefinite failure, although all her visual cues indicated that I’d fulfilled my role adequately. The next day I left an unreturned message on her voicemail. I think I might have mumbled.


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