Close Calls

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We met at a Halloween party, back in the era of George W. Bush, the Iraq War, and $4 a gallon gasoline. Even though she was forty-four, she insisted on “keeping herself young”, surrounding herself with friends who were sometimes decades younger than her. She’d dressed up as a character from Desperate Housewives, a television show that was then currently the rage. What she wore wasn’t much of a costume, as it consisted as mostly a cheap blonde wig. I never watched the show, so I missed the reference entirely.

We struck up a conversation in the kitchen of whoever’s house it was. That’s where I noticed for the first time that she had no poker face. She couldn’t hide her real thoughts and emotions for anyone. It was a strictly Pavlovian response of a sort. We were flirting, she thought she’d overcommitted herself, and she fled the scene. I didn’t completely understand her yet, but I would in time. As much as anyone could.

The chemistry was there. I brought my guitar along to the party with me and soon had an audience. Some women are a sucker for a man with a good voice and a musical instrument. And, it doesn’t hurt if they’re much younger. I was in my mid-twenties then, young enough to think I had an actual shot at a recording contract. I tried all the clubs around town and found the same thing each time—no money—maybe an occasional sexual partner, drinking myself silly, but more alcohol than women. I’d play a good song, and someone would buy me a drink to reward me. How I wished it was cold hard cash instead.

She promised to help, connecting me with two people from her past. None of them were especially helpful. One was downright discouraging. Robinne was just trying to help, said one, trying to let me down gracefully. I wish she’d connected me with Michael Stipe of R.E.M., who she’d been friends with in college at the University of Georgia. Stipe even attended her wedding. He sat next to the groom, who couldn’t help but proclaim him the strangest person he had ever met.

But that friendship, as I learned, was mostly an acquaintanceship between art students in school with each other decades earlier. Robinne was my first Gen X lover. At first, it had been like having a crush on your best friend’s sexy older sister, but when I started calling her at night to serenade her, I was hers. She was sneaky. She’d been pleasuring herself in silence as I’d been strumming and singing, but I didn’t find that out until a little later. Two Scorpios in bed, assuming they don’t blow each other to bits for some other reason are a sight to behold.

She was 5’10 in stocking feet and had once been much thinner. As a matter of fact, she’d been a Jane Fonda-style aerobics instructor in the Eighties. She wanted that body back and made a point of posting pictures of herself at that age on her Facebook page every week. If anything, she was consistent. She had one major annoying habit, and that was to tell the same tired old anecdotes over and over again.

One of them consisted of the time on Cape Cod where the John F. Kennedy, Jr. himself had made a pass at her. As the story goes, her Nana pulled her away. John-John liked thin blondes like her. That’s why he married bonus veren siteler one.

Nana had been firm. “That’s one of those Kennedy boys. They are nothing but trouble.”

She told another story about the boys up in New England she visited every summer who kept raving about this new movie called Stah Wahs that was, as they put it, “wicked awesome.”

Anecdotes aside, I knew when she invited me over to her house, after I decided to play hooky from work that something substantial was going to happen. We’d said we were friends, but her primary confidante wasn’t fooled. Her bestie was a high-powered attorney, a typical bleeding heart, but rich as Rockefeller. “You are not just friends with him, Robinne.”

As she applied gloss to a painting, I ran through my best cover songs, sitting next to her in the living room. It was a sad little drawing of a blousy blue dress. I thought it was hideous, but naturally didn’t want to hurt her feelings and blow my chance at something more. I guess wrong at times, but I was totally right in this circumstance.

Somehow, I ended up giving her a backrub. I know. Oldest trick in the book.

Her whole body relaxed. “Yes,” I whispered. “That’s good.”

She laughed. “Is that what you sound like in bed?”

I spun her around gently, our faces touching. I kissed her lips, and she looked like she’d just been declared winner of a marathon.

We ran, literally, ran into the bedroom. Actually, that’s not quite correct. I ran most of the way there but stopped by the bathroom first because I really had to pee. But I finished up quickly and made my way immediately to her bed.

“You’re going to like this,” she said, teasingly. “I can get off fucking.” Strangely, she couldn’t orgasm no matter how much stimulation I applied to her clit and vulva with my tongue, but enjoyed it, nonetheless. To her, it was a supremely appreciated tease. And it was one I appeared to enjoy as much as she did.

We fucked missionary for a while. She started up with the sex talk. “Make my titties bounce! Yes!”

We made love until, as Jackson Browne put it, our strength was gone.

Then she turned on her side. I was still hard, still inside her. It was a comfortable feeling, both sexual and calming at the same time. Then she started acting goofy. I’d had on my favorite flannel shirt that day, and as we rose from the bed, she buttoned it up on herself.

“I’m wearing my boyfriend’s shirt now.”

That day became the very first of a fruitful period of absolutely manic sex. I’d just taken a new job and didn’t get off work until 10 in the evening. She had to be up early to finish up by 5. She waited up for me until I arrived, whereupon we started up again. The only thing that annoyed me was her insistence that I shave daily, as my beard stubble is coarse and bristly, which rubbed a red blotchy place against her chin one memorable night. I hate shaving. I have a beard right now, as a matter of fact.

I hate shaving, like I said, but sex this great was too good to give up. And it kept getting better and better. No relationship is perfect. She’d had her issue with me and the facial hair. bedava bahis I had a slight issue with her, too. She dressed like the middle-aged woman that she was. Thongs had long given way to granny panties. She often wore a tatty shawl that looked like it had been knitted by an eight-year-old. I know there’s a phrase called “age-appropriate”, but you don’t have to look like a schoolmarm, either.

Did I mention she had two young children, both boys, from a previous marriage? Oops. That was a new one on me. This required some creativity. I had certainly never signed up to be a stepfather. They liked me and they needed a male role model, but it wasn’t going to be me. It ain’t me, babe. Another problem. The youngest kid, the behavior problem boy, idealized me.

I kept an old-fashioned manual toothbrush in the bathroom with the bristles down, facing the basin, to drain at the corner of the sink. Within days, I found someone else was doing the same thing. It was the little boy, copying me. I was being idolized and I didn’t like it one bit. I told her firmly that I might be Mom’s boy toy, but I wasn’t going to be roped into parenting. I’d never signed up for that role. I didn’t want kids of my own but would tolerate the situation for a while longer.

For a time, she assented, but children don’t understand the compromises that adults make with each other. I went along on all the outings. I was there when she picked them up from school. I went along to band concert. I saw them grow from early adolescence on course to head for adulthood and was not pleased at the lag time. I kept hoping that I’d see them through their teenage years and that sooner than later they’d fly off to college and out of the nest forever. Then we could really live the life we’d decided we wanted for each other.

Sometimes, once a woman births a child of her own, she ropes you in as another. You, are, of, course, an adult on your own terms but it’s like a switch has flipped in her brain. Case in point: we went to an art gallery downtown, whereupon I wore a beret, the youngest by far, trying desperately to fit in. It kept sliding down my hairline, whereupon she’d tug it back in place, but not like a lover, like a mother. And she kept at it.

But we never lasted the years we had intended. It lasted one solid month, though it felt like one year. I came home from a stressful job at work and pitched a fit. “I hope everyone at that fucking place BURNS!” I fumed. It was a job at a dysfunctional call center, and I was a union representative, and the company wasn’t budging. I wasn’t cut out for this sort of work.

She fell immediately into the fetal position at my feet, terrified. I was nonplussed.

Now she was afraid of me. I was not the gentle giant she had envisioned. I was an alpha male with a flashpoint temper and that was a little bit too much like her father for her liking. Her father never liked me. He was an angry old man who felt like he had to break all of your fingers when he shook your hand. She screamed at me to leave and I drove away in a huff.

The next day I woke up, still mad, and wrote the sort of spurned lover e-mail a twenty-five-year-old deneme bonus would write. Not the most mature statement of grievances I have ever penned. She responded quickly, telling me off point by point in humiliating fashion. Most of her concerns, upon reflection, had to do with money. I just didn’t have any. She had to pay for everything, and I thought that was kind of a given, being that, while she had held her looks well, it was fortunate for her that I had Mommy issues.

We were over, but something else unexpected was brewing. I’d made a friend. This woman was three years older than me, much more a contemporary, and a third-grade teacher. We’d been forming a steady friendship ever since I’d been thrown over so abruptly. The woman felt for me. Our mutual friends had backed off, leaving me with no allies. She decided she’d fill that role.

Her name was Alexa. A Massachusetts transplant, she was a dirty blonde and slightly overweight. But in all fairness, she was cute, and who cares if she wasn’t gorgeous. Robinne had been jealous of her for what, at the time, I had thought of as foolish reasons. Maybe there is something to woman’s intuition. Maybe her gaze had lingered a bit too long. But she was a friend, right? Her heart clearly went out for me and she said everyone else wasn’t being fair.

Robinne had pitched a fit and driven a wedge between our friends. Alexa was the only soul to come to my aid.

It started innocently enough. We went to a movie one night, at her request. She came over to my apartment to hang out. We talked for hours on the phone, but about different things than I’d ever spoken to about with Robinne. I remember her talking about how bored she was with Vincent Van Gogh. There might be a spark here, too, but it couldn’t be. No one gets that lucky. Nobody follows up good luck with good luck.

“Call anytime,” she’d concluded with one e-mail. I thought nothing of it. She was being friendly. Or, at least that’s what I surmised.

That was until three nights later, when my phone rang. I said something unintentionally seductive (I suppose) about sliding into a parking space, following another late-night, frustrating gig. But I was tired, and it came out pronounced like “sliiide in.” On second thought, she had been staying up for me the past several nights. Maybe it wasn’t that surprising that feelings were developing between us.

She’d keyed in on the phrase “slide in” and uttered an involuntary, highly sexualized, “oh yeah.”

I pretended not to notice. But she’d telegraphed where her thoughts were. She’d been thinking about me sliding into her. This would be the beginning with some women, but with her it became the end.

The next morning, I received a five-page e-mail where she summarized that we couldn’t be friends anymore. Situations like these were why she never made close connections with men. She couldn’t trust herself. She removed me from Facebook. She wanted no further contact. Granted, but I couldn’t help but be confused.

It was still flattering. Two women harboring feelings for me, back-to-back. If only they’d stayed around. I left the big city shortly thereafter to head back to the womb, back home. I’d given it my try. I’d fought insane traffic, labor disputes, and the world’s most stressful workplace for a year. This wouldn’t be the last time I’d end up in the good graces of some close calls. And at forty now, still I remain a bachelor.

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