by Kat Hamilton
It doesn’t take long for lives to come together or to come apart. Just a few short moments in time, time that is subjective, objective, judging or not judging. Nobody really cares about it. It just happens. It doesn’t take long. It is happening all over the world and no one even notices. No one wants to notice. Because they all have their own secrets that they’ll never tell.
She meets him in a bar. She is languishing at the scuffed up bar, one of those places where the work weary retreat after they put in their eight hours, or ten hours, or twelve, depending on the person, depending on the job. She sips her Bud Light from the bottle because it gives her a sense of sought after strength, the kind of strength she doesn’t possess and she can only achieve through illusory enactment. She has no interest in meeting a man, or a woman, or any breathing entity at all. She just wants to be left to her own thoughts, thoughts which she doesn’t care to share with herself let alone another human being. She can’t escape the nagging feeling that time is running out and she better damn well do something quick about the situation.
“Take me home with you.”
“Why should I?”
“Because I give a killer massage and you look as if you need one.”
Overheard conversation. Will she step into it? Suddenly, she doesn’t want to be alone anymore. The dark night outside is closing in on her, reminding her of all the empty spaces in the universe. She pictures in her head the vastness of the Grand Canyon, only to have it metamorphosis into her own kitchen. The kitchen with the floor tiles the color of dead lemons and peeling in the corners. In the center of it is the table that rocks when you lean on it, even though she keeps cramming the thrice-folded Queen of Hearts under its leg.
At the table sits her husband of twenty-one years working diligently on the daily crossword puzzle. Occasionally he flips ashes from his constant cigarette on the dead lemon floor. She tries to push her mind back to the red rock canyon, tries to conjure up the feeling of vastness and purity and silence of nature doing its thing. It is too late.
She reaches for her briefcase and stands up unsteadily on her black pumps. One glance at the man – no description, fill it in, he could be anyone – and she heads for the door. He follows. It is a scene that both fall into with considerable ease, even though neither has done this before.
“Your car or mine?” he asks her on the sidewalk.
“Both.” And she heads for the creamy Dodge Caravan with the gold pinstripe, stuffed with the paraphernalia of a family home waiting for her to cook dinner. “What would you want with such a small car?” her husband had asked as she gazed longingly at a blood red Saturn Coupe while car shopping. “You have two children and a dog. Where would you put them all?” Of course they bought the Caravan.
“Nice pool table,” she observes as she enters his house. The pool table takes up the entire living room. Along the periphery there are several comfortable looking chairs. She notes that he is a clean freak. Everything is in its proper place, no rings on the table here.
“Thanks.” He grins. He leers. He offers an unspoken challenge.
She sighs. “Maybe later,” she answers.
She nonchalantly flops down in one of the overstuffed chairs. The place is very neat and organized – for a man, she thinks. He offers her a beer and she holds out her hand to accept it. He begins to prattle on about jazz music and offers to play some albums for her. Eyeing the collection of albums covering the wall behind the pool table she says again, “Maybe later.”
“You have a bathroom, I suppose?”, she asks, letting her eyes roam around the room. He points to a hallway behind her. She leaves her beer on the pool table and heads for the hallway. He retrieves the beer bottle and wipes absently the condensation left behind on the felt. After several moments light begins to dawn in his head and he moves towards the hallway.
She is standing next to the king size bed with an amused play of a smile. The bed is actually more than king size – it appears to be two queen size beds built next to one another. The bed is freakishly enormous. The headboard is cold steel and stretches almost to the ceiling. She runs her hand over the steel and has a momentary lapse of better judgement. “What am I doing here?”, she thinks.
To no one in particular she says, “Little large for a bachelor.”
He takes in the oversized bed with its satin grey sheets and raises his eyes to meet hers. He shrugs helplessly.
“You wanted a massage.” she says.
He lies on the bed on his back, watching her warily. She is suddenly amused to realize that he is afraid of her. The rush of power into all of her blank spaces is exhilarating.
“Take off your shirt” she says.
He does so.
“Lie on your tummy” she says, lapsing into mother mode. He does what she says, lapsing into child mode.
She kicks her heels across the room and straddles his hips. Slowly she begins to massage his neck. He groans and feels the tension begin to slip from his body. For quarter of an hour her hands slide over his neck and back, digging deeply in spots that are tender. He almost falls asleep. She flops over next to him on her stomach.
After a little while, he says, “I suppose I should return the favor.”
She says, “If you want.”
He straddles her hips. With an amused grin he says, “Take off your shirt.”
She does so.
The room is dark and it isn’t until he touches her back that he realizes she is not wearing a bra. A moan escapes his lips. He reaches his hands under her body and cups her bare breasts.
“Okay. That is it.” He says.
She chuckles – to herself – and rolls over. He is already on the floor, removing his jeans, removing her jeans. Less than two or three minutes later it is over. She flops back onto her belly and wonders what she will make for dinner when she gets home.
He says, “Sorry.”
She says, “No big deal.”
Kat Hamilton, Double Roads Publishing, Copyright 2006