whatever that means

“I wanted to fuck you the moment I saw you,” she murmured into my ear.  Shit, really? Nobody’s ever said that before.  And this city’s been slicing my face into scabby pieces lately. Not wanting to alter the atmosphere in any way, I kept quiet and kissed her.

Conversely, I hadn’t wanted to fuck her straight away.  It was the Alice Band: an immediate issue which made me annoyed by my own fussiness with jewellery and accessories.  Back home Alice Bands were exclusively the staple of 12 year old girls or girly-haired European footballers.  Not women.

But by the time she breathed those words into my ear, the next morning, naked in my hotel bed, I did want to fuck her, very much. And I even liked her too.

She’d entered the bar and sat down next to me, wearing that Alice Band – worn to hold curly red hair.  She seemed nice, chatty, human and smart; neither of us perturbed by the unorthodox meeting, the loose online acquaintance but not actually knowing the first thing about each other.

We drank pints and ate burgers, drank more, conversation flowing easily.  She spoke amusingly and with the manner of a charismatic, obviously homosexual man: lots of back and forth shoulder tilting, flappy hand gestures and much use of air quotation marks, which I teased her about.  I was enjoying having company, conversing.  She was fun, the bar was cool and low key, the music good.  Although I wasn’t sure if this was just a pleasant couple of hours and we should be getting back: me to my hotel a few blocks east, her to her small flat a short train ride north.  It was more of a date than I’d anticipated when I suggested meeting up.  But that was fine, and became better than fine.

“Well.. I’m having a fun time,” she said, leadingly, so we moved on elsewhere.  In the next dark sports bar we had tequila and further strong liquors, discussing drinking, local politics, religion and family.  An hour later we tired of that bar and headed out, considering a next venue but not knowing where.  On the street it was bitterly cold.  She shivered and I put an arm around her.

Despite being the local, she was unsure where to go next. “Nothing.. funny, but we could just go back to mine, or..” she trailed away.  I suggested we go back to my hotel, a shorter distance away, just a few blocks.  Nothing.. funny either, I added, chuckling in my head.  She agreed.  In the room I generously poured from the bottle of Sour Mash bourbon bought from Moe’s Liquor Store in Sheboygan Falls earlier that week.

She flopped down onto the near-side of the bed.  I made to leap over and rest the other side of her, louche and athletic: a poor idea made worse by a misjudged leap and bounce off the far side of the bed and onto the floor.  It was clearly unintended and less than smooth.  She laughed.  We were both drunk and fuzzy.  I clambered back on the bed
and lay next to her, embarrassed and flustered, any cool I had extinguished in that moment.

We breathed and sipped at the bourbon.  What now?

“We could get naked and get in bed?” she nonchalantly suggested.

“But what would my wife say?” I whispered straightfaced.

A nervous giggle, a pregnant pause for thought.

My turn to laugh.  I assured her, agreed to her suggestion and hoped she’d take off the Alice Band.


Around midmorning, that stupendously filthy murmur suggested her headache had eased.  These were times of therapy for a man of fragile ego.

Midday saw glaring Chicago sunlight punish the curtains.  She rested warmly against me, now freshly showered and slowly preparing to leave. No great urgency.  I played with her hair.  The night before had been made easier by the transience of the situation: the time-sensitive One Night Only Offer.  Nothing had mattered all that much, nothing had any real consequence.  In two days’ time I’d be gone, a long way away, unlikely to ever return.

That’s unless feeling develops, if there’s any sense of mutual feeling, if raw courage is acted upon.  This is less likely with sober, pragmatic characters already encroached on their thirties.  Those who know they should stop playing games and start being serious, whatever that means.

Let it go.  Frivolously skim back across the ocean and remember it fondly.  Accept it for what it was: a night with someone you found you liked, albeit for a brief period, someone you had a good time with.  Be content to smile at the memory: that spectacular death of your cool; that you were both naked in bed before you’d even kissed; the quirky unorthodoxy of it all.  Be grateful for her unknowing illumination of your ridiculously unsuitable previous female hope.

Use the knowledge to go forward and hope that these type of meetings – for this isn’t entirely without precedent – isn’t as good as you can ever hope for.  Hope that you stop being so pathetically grateful for attention from any female with a combination of looks and intelligence.  Learn to stop excitedly sledgehammering square shapes into round holes like an overzealous recruitment consultant.  It’ll be fine, it can work, IT WILL WORK!

Move on now.

Let it go when you kiss her for the last time and smile and say something meaningless and she leaves the room and the heavy hotel door clunks shut behind her.  Let it slide and blur and fade.  Just like that.  Easy.

Lying there together in those final minutes, absently twirling one of her curls around a forefinger, perhaps it was because nothing mattered all that much, because nothing had any consequence: perhaps that made it sadder.


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