David didn’t remember turning his alarm clock off, but as he yawned and stretched that Saturday morning he decided it was probably a good idea he hadn’t set it. After the week he had, he needed a little extra rest. Plus, it was the weekend – weren’t you supposed to sleep in?
He turned in his instinctual morning movement to check his phone and found a crisp sheet of white paper folded over it.
He opened the note and saw the neat script of his girlfriend Emily.
I hope this doesn’t come as a shock – and it shouldn’t if you have any awareness at all about our relationship over the last few months – but, I’m leaving you.
I just can’t do this anymore. I love you, but we both have grown and grown apart. Everything has gone sour and I don’t see that changing. You will always be in my heart in some way, but I am getting out before I start hating you.
I took the liberty of getting you a replacement. I know you don’t like to sleep alone and, frankly, I worry about you. You have an important job and I don’t want you to fuck it up because you are depressed about our divorce.
The replacement’s name is Claire.
I’m staying with my parents in Decatur for a while. Don’t call.
She promised not to smoke if I just came over. When I got there, she stank of mouthwash and she didn’t know what to do with her hands.
You could always tell the state of Amanda’s life by the state of her lips. As she moved in to kiss my cheek, I saw that that those absurdly plump lips were bitten, chapped, and raw.
“I broke up with him,” she said, walking to the window as I sat on the broken futon.
Him being Jimmy, who was an asshole. But was tall and crooked and supposedly some fascinatingly morbid musician. I shrugged and asked if she was okay. She didn’t answer.
He sliced the exotic fruit with a huge knife on the perfect cutting board. Furry greenish gray splitting to show vivid green and neat circles of black seeds.
She sipped her coffee and watched him with annoyance. There was some kind of distracting formality he put into things that should be simple, like cutting up fruit. It was one of the million things that once seemed charming, but now annoyed the shit out of her.
She couldn’t watch any more as he took his oh-so-sharp knife and pealed the fur off of the thing. She went into the bathroom to finish putting on her makeup.
There was something about her silent huffy irritation with everything. She acted like a teenager irked at the fact that her parents existed. That’s what their relationship had become, something akin to parental, maybe sibling, which made the fact that the sex was still so potent something rather awkward to think about.
She came back from the bathroom to find a plate with six neat slices of the fruit fanned out in a half minimalist half elaborate statement on the little white plates they had gotten from her grandmother.
“We need to break up.” she breathed out.
There was a peace in the courtyard of the hotel that he thought was gone from the world. A good strong pot of coffee wordlessly placed on his table, fresh fruit and fresh croissants, pristine white tablecloths under wide cerulean umbrellas which were in turn under a wide and cloudless azure sky.
He took his breakfast there every morning and between sips of coffee closed his eyes and listened for the not too distant sounds of the river. Waves lapping ancient stone bridges, the lonely cries of sea birds.
To call him handsome was a misnomer; he was pretty. A delicate face, a somewhat chiseled chin, warm brown eyes, always clean shaven and looking slightly younger than his twenty-something years. He had the grace of an old time actor. Cary Grant in leather pants.
The room was large, low ceilinged, all black and red in some budget approximation of chinoiserie. Black lacquered chairs and overstuffed embroidered couches. Gold dragons on the walls and paper lantern hanging from the ceiling.
The crowd was riding the line between a kink party and sex party. As I walked around and eyed the pretty boy it struck me that we’d all become disconnected from the vanilla world. As I watched friends kiss and play kinky games and fuck out in the open, I thought how normal it all seemed to me and how shocking it might be to someone else.
She came to the park every day with sad eyes and a notebook. Violet with the smooth chocolate hair held back with a pink barrette and the huge liquid eyes that were almost cartoonish in size. Violet who was barely five feet tall and, in her own opinion, was built far too much like a young boy to be found beautiful by anyone. Violet who longed to be a curvy starlet like Sophia Loren, but would never be more than a flat chested mouse of a girl, and desperately tried to hide herself under sweaters and long dresses.
The accordion player came to the park every day as well and played songs of love and longing. When Violet listened to the sound and the way it echoed in the nearby stone underpass she felt like she was by the Seine.
The tart was just that. Let’s be frank, although far brighter than most riff raff, she was still a simple girl, smart enough to get paid a hefty price for her services, which was something in these days, but not much more. Still, there was a spark there and since meeting her during the investigation of the Burgdorf burglary we had become well acquainted and she’s found that my services were most satisfying after her nightly tending to the ruffian masses.
I supposed it had been months before that the idea had taken root in my head. My colleague Watson had made some offhanded remark about his upcoming nuptials and how I would most certainly not be needing a “plus one” on my invitation. He had often noted my lack of romantic partners during our friendship. For a brilliant man, the dear doctor could be quiet daft. Continue reading
The whine was a little girl noise: a pouting, stubborn groan of frustration. I heard it when I opened the door and let the light from the hall break the spell of darkness in her room.
On the pink bed, the girl was covered in blankets, pillows, comforters, even stuffed animals. She sniffled somewhere under there and in a voice that sounded much more adolescent than what a college student should sound like, she whined, “go away.”
I had to laugh. I left the door open a little, enough to see at least. I crept over to the bed, looking around at the bowl of half eaten soup and cups of tea.
I took off my pants as she pulled the blanket down enough to watch me with furled eyebrows and pursed frowning lips. I took my shirt off next and placed it with my pants on the chair next to her bed. Continue reading
Title image by julio.garciah. CC BY-NC 2.0
We saw movies. That’s what we did. We saw movies and went to museums.
I met Elise when she briefly worked in my office. She was one of those girls who grew up rich, but Upper West Side rich, not Upper East Side rich. The difference was super-preppy private schools versus super-intellectual immersive savant schools. She went to the latter and left with a rich inner life and a love of art and music and books that most people had never heard of. That, and the inability to really connect with most anyone.
There were the phobias; elevators, undercooked meat, docks, public speaking, crowded spaces, dark alleys, Antarctica, gum. Her worst fear was that she would swallow a piece of chewing gum. She told me she thought about it constantly, though it didn’t stop her from constantly chewing the most sugary, garish pink stuff she could find.
Then there was the OCD and the ADD and the cocktail of pharmacology. She was not trapped within the rigors of counting things and washing hands, but there were little things, more than quirks but less than crippling. There were also the daddy issues because he was like God to her, and the mommy issues because her mother told her she was fat when she was 12. There was a lot going on in this girl’s head.
She is a candy stranger. Perfect in the way someone you don’t know at all can be perfect. Her small breasts and her large hips and soft swell of an ass that seems nearly impossible on her tiny frame. Her thin waist and her wild hair. That exoticness that is so difficult for people to get right.
She is new to this, but she’ll do just fine. In fact, it’s hard to find regulars with an attitude so perfect for these games. Right for me, that is. Everyone wants something different from places like this. The Venn Diagrams of our emotional, physical and sexual wants. Cross-indexed by our needs.