We are naked in my bed, and he asks me to hold him down, so I oblige. I straddle him, holding down his shoulders, staring down at his red face, wishing I was alone instead.
“No, let me go.” He says. “I need to use the bathroom!”
I immediately leap up to let him go use the restroom. But instead, he whispers, “No, keep holding me down. Don’t let me up.”
I am so confused.
I hadn’t wanted to have sex in the first place. I’d just wanted to make out with a cute guy, which I’d told him explicitly while we were having cocktails and sharing an order of poutine. Yet flash forward an hour, and we’d somehow made it naked to my bedroom anyway.
“What’s wrong?” He asks, sensing my discomfort.
“This has just gone a little further than I intended.” I say.
He seems annoyed by my reticence. “We both know we didn’t come back to your apartment just to make out,” he says. His body is smooth and pink like an overgrown baby’s.
I should have asked him to leave, but instead, we finish what we were doing. He whispers his rape fantasy as he gets himself off. I hand him a towel. As he gets dressed, he talks to me about some upcoming shows he’s going to see as if there’s anything normal about what we’d just done. I just want him to go so I can be alone again.
I’d like to say this was a rare, random occurrence, but probably 95% of my sexual encounters were with men I hadn’t really wanted to have sex with. Because it’s easier for me to have sex with someone I’m not attracted to than it is for me to tell a person “No.”
That was months ago.
Since then I’ve had zero desire to go on dates. To meet new people. To “put myself out there.”
Instead I cancel plans.
I tell people I’m busy.
I say, “something came up.”
Instead I cocoon myself in my apartment. I read the latest Haruki Murakami. The latest Arundhati Roy. I watch cartoons. Play video games. Pretend to work on my supposed novel. I eat alone in restaurants and curl up alone in bed.
Other people would be lonely, but I get energized. After work I’m practically giddy just thinking about the ways I can spend my time. About finally having solitude. I dance in my kitchen making stir fries. I listen to music on headphones, and clomp around the apartment in house shoes.
In my ideal world, I’d have a boyfriend just one day a week, and the rest of the time would be Lance time.
In the real world, my boyfriend lives two states away and we haven’t seen one another since February.
Yesterday was our anniversary.
He calls and we talk for a couple of hours, but neither of us mention it. I tell him about my job. Friendly co-workers. A surprise raise. He tells me about school. The loneliness of a strange city. The difficulties of being poor.
We laugh at tasteless jokes.
He doesn’t know where to go for his 4 year degree. Or what to major in.
“What am I going to do with my life?” He asks in his Jerri Blank voice.
“What do you want to do?” I ask back.
He talks about wanting to buy a house in a small town one day. I tell him my desire to buy an apartment in a city.
“We just want different things.” He says.
That pretty much sums up the past 8 years of our relationship.
Today it snows.
I walk to the gym in the thick, black coat he bought me when we moved to New York City. Wet, white flakes melt in my beard as I cross over the Interstate downtown. After an Indian summer, it feels like fall lasted for only a week. Pumpkin spice and kicking through orange leaves. Now winter is already in full force.
In the gym I get cruised by senior citizens. White haired men with desiccated arms smile and wink as I walk from bench to bench. The good news is, my shoulder has finally healed, so the months of working out gingerly are over, and I’m nearly back to my old, pre-injury routine.
When a young man with blond hair and tattoos smiles at me, I’m so caught off guard, that I just look away, bewildered.
After the gym I meet my friends for brunch.
In the summer we sit outside, watching the men walk by in shorts and sandals. Now we huddle around an indoor table, watching men in coats and scarves scurry past as it snows.
“He’s cute.” Ducky says.
We all turn to look, but only see a hint of scruff and a puffy, blue coat.
Jason, who brought chocolate chip cookie cups, compliments my chest. Considering the fact that my friends make the Mean Girls seem nurturing and supportive by comparison, this is saying a lot.
The owner of the restaurants gets our table double shots of tequila. Cheers, the clink of glasses. I down mine in two gulps. Feel the warm alcohol slide down my throat. The table agrees that I’m more fun when I’m drunk.
“There’s nothing I’d do drunk that I wouldn’t do sober.” I say.
“But you don’t need as much convincing when you’re drunk.” Ducky says. “And you want to grab boys’ butts.”
We laugh. Jason makes a bukkake joke. “Sometimes a girl gets thirsty!” Madison says. We laugh some more.
We all have next Friday off work.
“Drinks, Thursday?” Ducky asks.
“We’ll see.” I say. “I’ve got a lot going on.”
“We all know that means you’ll be at home in bed, eating cookies and playing video games.” Ducky says. I keep forgetting that after so long, my friends actually know something about me.
“Maybe.” I say. “If it isn’t too cold and wet.”
“This is Seattle.” Ducky says.
Jason doesn’t have his patience. “Bitch, you’re going.” He says and it’s settled.
I remind myself that it’s good for me to spend time socializing with people, even if my instinct is to be a recluse. So I eat the orange slice that garnished my tequila shot. I smile at the people who smile at me. I laugh when someone says something funny. When it’s time to leave, I hug everyone goodbye.
“See you Thursday.” Ducky says.
“See you Thursday.” I say. I pull my jacket tightly and brace myself for the cold, for the long walk back home.