Citizen of the Month

the writing and photography of Neil Kramer

Tag: men and women (page 1 of 2)

Three Months Later

I was not surprised when she blocked me on Facebook and Twitter.   She TOLD me that she was going to do it.   But I figured it would be for a few days, and then she would be back.   It wasn’t the first time we went through this charade.

Juli and I met online.  We became immediate friends.  We were both going through a divorce, but as bloggers, we chatted mostly about writing.    Gradually this platonic friendship grew into something more — a long distance romance.

And it was definitely a LONG distance romance.  I lived in New York.  She lived in New Zealand. When we spoke on the phone, we were more than a day apart.   After a year of struggling with our schedules, chatting at inconvenient hours, we decide there was only one solution — I had to travel to New Zealand to see her.

For a month and a half, I had the most amazing time of my life. I spent Christmas and New Years with Juli and her young son.   It was summer in New Zealand!  We traveled around the South Island, and everywhere I went,  the beauty of the landscape blew me away.  I even learned how to camp… in a tent!   I found myself falling in love with a special woman.

The problems only started when I returned to the States.  Where do we go from here?  She was unable to leave the country because of her son.   We discussed my moving to New Zealand, but where would I work? Where would I stay? What if things didn’t work out?

There were no fights. Just a lot of unanswered questions. I was indecisive. I wanted baby steps. She wanted grand gestures. If I could go back in time, I might play my hand differently. Or I might not.

A long-distance relationship can be powerful, but it comes with it’s own set of strains. There were times when Juli would tell me that she needed to hide me on Facebook or Twitter, not out of anger, but because it brought up feelings of yearning and jealousy. I would laugh and tell her that she was being silly, but I understood exactly how she felt. It was difficult being separated from someone you cared about, and the breezy connections you have on social media can feel like an insult to the deep and honest love of a true relationship.

Three months ago, Juli went one step further.   She said that she needed to stop talking with me — for the sake of both of us.   Our long-distance relationship was holding us back from real life.

I laughed and told her to take her break. “I’ll be waiting for you when you come back,” I texted.

But she didn’t text back. And she didn’t answer any of my emails.

We haven’t interacted in three months.  She was serious this time.  Circumstances had changed and time had passed.   She had gone back to school and was searching for work.   She didn’t need me bogging her down, especially if our relationship wasn’t going anywhere.

Now the roles were now reversed.   She didn’t see my updates online, but I still saw hers.   I knew she got a new job from seeing her Twitter updates.   But I couldn’t talk to her about it.   The sight of her name brought up emotions that I’m not sure I wanted to feel anymore. So, after I write this post, I need to go on Twitter and Facebook, and block her too.   It just hurts too much.

Marcia, Marcia, Marcia

FRIDAY AFTERNOON
VALENTINO’S PIZZA, QUEENS
CONVERSATION WITH BOBBY

Bobby: “What the hell do you talk about for three hours at a time?”

Neil: “We’re in a long distance relationship. All we have at our disposal is chatting and texting. We’re on the phone every day.”

Bobby: “But three hours a day?!

Neil: “We talk about everything. Our lives, movies, online stuff.

Bobby: “Oh, yeah. I forgot about that imaginary online world you’re in where you have 10,000 friends who don’t know that you really live with your mother.”

Neil: “It’s not all imaginary.”

Bobby: “Let me ask you something. Did you really share a room with two hot chicks at that blogging conference, like in Three’s Company?”

Neil: “Yes. It was exactly like Three’s Company.”

Bobby: “You know, in the real life “Three’s Company,” I bet Jack was banging both of them.”

Neil: “Yeah, probably.”

Bobby: “They just never showed you that on TV because HBO wasn’t invented yet.”

Neil: “Note to self. Pitch “Three’s Company – the Real Story” to HBO.”

Bobby: “So, isn’t your girlfriend — all the way in New Zealand — worried about you sharing a hotel room with two mom-blogging hotties?”

Neil: “Nah. She isn’t like that. She’s pretty sure of herself.”

Bobby: “Good. You don’t need another needy woman in your life.”

Neil: “Well, there is ONE woman who I have to be careful about when I mention her. Some blogger in Massachusetts. Marcia Jenturn.”

Bobby: “Why? You banging her?”

Neil: “No, no. It’s just that I love her writing so much that I’m always talking about her.”

Bobby: “What does she write about? Her sex life?”

Neil: “No, mostly about her feeling depressed.”

Bobby: “She sounds a lot of fun.”

Neil: “Oh, but she writes so beautifully —

Bobby: “It sounds like you have a crush on her. Like you did with yearbook editor in high school.”

Neil: “Judy Weiss. Uh, OK. Maybe a little.”

++++

FRIDAY NIGHT
BEDROOM
TWO HOURS INTO A PHONE CALL WITH NEW ZEALAND

Her: “So, anything else new online? Haven’t had much of a chance today.”

Neil: “Oh, you have to read this incredible new post by… uh…uh…”

Her: “Go ahead. You can say her name.”

Neil: “Marcia Jenturn.”

Her: “Yeah, yeah. Marcia, Marcia, Marcia. What did she write about now?”

Neil: “She wrote a beautiful poem about a bird. It was like she WAS the bird.”

Her: “Look, she’s single. Why don’t you ask her out already? You clearly like her.

Neil: “I like her writing.”

Her: “I love you, Neil. But this is never going to work out with us living so far away. I give you my permission to ask her out on a date.”

Neil: “I don’t want to date her.”

Her: “Well, she lives closer to you than I do.”

Neil: “Stop it. You’re being silly. I don’t want to date her. She’s not my type. She’s way more talented than I am. It would make me uncomfortable.”

Her: “Wait a minute. Are you saying you the only woman who IS your type is a woman who is LESS talented than you?”

Neil: “No, of COURSE NOT. I mean, I like you. You are very talented. Super Talented.”

Her: “Super Talented in what?”

Neil: “Well, you are very sexy.”

Her: “I am super talented being sexy?”

Neil: Yes!

Her: What a waste. If I knew that was my main talent, I would have gotten a degree in pole dancing, not English Literature?”

Neil: “No, no. You’re also very smart. And kind. Super kind.”

Her: “And what about MY writing?”

Neil: “Well, you are so busy lately, with school and your son. So you don’t get a chance to write much anymore.”

Her: “What about when I do write on my blog? You’re a writer. You know good writing. Is my writing ever as good as Marcia Jenturn’s?”

Neil: “You know, I don’t want to change the subject, but Marcia Jenturn is our biggest fan. She is always telling me on IM that I should stop being a wimp and move to New Zealand. To “follow my heart,” as she said so poetically. She is so wise.”

Her: “You IM Marcia Jenturn — about us?”

Neil: “She understands LOVE so well. You know, she’s a poet.”

Her: “I see. Can I expect you to soon show up at her house to take Instagram photos of her.”

Neil: “Well, actually, in two weeks, we might go on a Instawalk together. Have you seen her photography? Marcia’s has such an eye for bold colors and light!”

Her: “MARCIA, MARCIA, MARCIA! Why do you want to even be with me?”

Neil: “Because I love you! There is no one else like you in this world!”

Her: “But look at Marcia. She is amazing in everything. You say so herself.”

Neil: “Wait, are you jealous of her? Is that what I’m beginning to hear.”

Her: “Yes, maybe a little.”

Neil: “There’s no reason to be jealous of her. She means nothing to me compared to you. In fact, we OWE her for much of our success.”

Her: “We do?”

Neil: “Yes. If it wasn’t for her, I would have never done that “thing” for you when I was in New Zealand.”

Her: “Huh? What does she have to do with you doing that “thing?”

Neil: “Well, earlier that day, I emailed her and she told me that I definitely should try it out if I wanted to impress you.”

Her: “You emailed Marcia Jenturn for sex advice while you were here?”

Neil: “She’s a poet! She understands this stuff!”

++++

MONDAY AFTERNOON
VALENTINO’S PIZZA, QUEENS
CONVERSATION WITH BOBBY

Bobby: “I can’t believe you didn’t speak to New Zealand all weekend? Did you get into a fight?”

Neil: “No. No. Nothing like that. She was just busy.”

Bobby: “Oh yeah? What was she doing? Playing hard to get?”

Neil: “Nah, she was just online all weekend with… Marcia Jenturn?”

Bobby: “Uh-oh!”

Neil: “No, it’s actually quite funny. It seems that after all that, they found out that they attended the same college together back in the 1980s, so they contacted each other, and spent all night chatting online. Now, they’re best buddies.”

Bobby: “Holy shit! You realize that if they become friends, they’re going to talk about everything. And I mean everything.”

Neil: “They are?”

Bobby: “Women, Neil. Yes.”

Neil: “Shit.”

Bobby: “It’s over, Neil. Your little online literary crush with Marcia Jenturn is dead.”

Neil: “Sigh. I know. I wonder if Judy Weiss is on Facebook.”

The Key

key

If you follow me on Instagram, you’ll notice that I haven’t uploaded a single photos in the last two weeks. It’s as if I’ve lost interest in photography. After shooting 3,000 photos over the last two years, I’ve discovered the most beautiful image in the face of one woman, and there’s no reason to look at anything else.

Juli and I speak late at night, when our time zones align, and after her son is asleep. We have conversations like whether or not we should change our Facebook relationship status. We decided against it; it serves us no purpose other than adding pressure. Last night, we searched the internet for the most current definition of “boyfriend” and “girlfriend,” to see if we would quality, but sadly, we did not. Labels always fail me, just like the do in blogging. I never quite fit in.

Readers of this blog are a sappy bunch, and I know you enjoy a good love story, especially before Valentine’s Day, but I’m going to disappoint you. I’m not jumping on a plane and moving to New Zealand just yet. I realize that this is what happens in the movies, but let’s be real– the filmmakers never show you what happens after the plane takes off and the credits roll. I have a mother and friends in the United States. I know very few people in New Zealand.

“Do you believe in soulmates?” she asked me.

We both were unsure. We both were married, in love with other people. This can only mean one thing — there is no such thing as one “soulmate.” A person can have many soulmates in life. The idea of a soulmate is another myth perpetuated by sappy movies.

There is also the delicate issue of her son. I’m more understanding now about the issues surrounding a single mom. To “date” a single mom means — in many ways — dating her child. It is a package deal. I enjoyed playing with Juli’s son. We played Battleship, flew kites, went camping. Juli was very careful that her son knew that I was just a visiting friend, and that HE always came first.

I will return to New Zealand, at least for another visit. This year. But when? It is painful to talk to her on Skype and be separated by wireless data. But a flight to New Zealand is expensive. I need to search for a few more freelance gigs.

Thousands of miles away, in New Zealand, there is a house with a beautiful wooden door. It is a strong and colorful door, lit by the sun, emboldened by the salty sea air. I have the key that opens this door.

“Take it,” she told me at the airport terminal before I left, gently placing it into my right hand.

I keep this key with me all the time now — in my front pocket, in my back pocket, in my shirt pocket — only taking it out before sleep, where I place it on my night stand, next to her photo, and then I dream.

The Blurry Photo of J

Call me old-fashioned, but I was convinced that she would be the first to crack. Blokes like myself believe women are the sentimental creatures, so I was surprised that, on my arrival at LAX, the first text I received from her read simply, “Going camping with my son for two days.”

Camping in NZ also means “non internet access,” so this also meant that our communication channels were down. So, on this historic day when President Obama was sworn in as President, barriers fell throughout the land. We now have our first two-term African-American President. Gay rights were mentioned in an inaugural speech. And — for the first time ever, smashing centuries of gender roles — a man cracked first, turning to his blog, sentimentality in his heart, while the woman went camping in the wild, a pocketknife in her purse. Who’s the weaker sex? My heart sinks faster than that US Navy landing craft that was swamped by a wave near Paekakariki, NZ ’s during that infamous tragedy in June 1943.

J and I first went camping after Christmas. Her son stayed with his father. I had not gone camping since I was twelve years old. As an adult, I found it fun, but exhausting. One of my Facebook friends touted camping as “sexy.” Uh, no. But if you get your kicks sleeping in cramped tents without bathrooms, who am I to question your alternative lifestyle?

I’m surprised that I enjoyed it as much as I did. The scenery certainly helped. It was amazing to wake up in the morning and look at greenery so lush you felt like you just rented a room in the Hobbit’s Shire.

Still, after a week sleeping on an air mattress, I suggested (well, insisted) that we spend two nights in a motel in Napier, a Hawkes’ Bay town famous for its art deco architecture.

Our room in Napier — at the appropriately named Art Deco Motel — was nothing fancy; it was a motel room that looked out into a parking lot. But after a week camping, it felt like the Four Seasons. We each took a long hot shower. It was the best shower of my life. J prepared lunch in the motel kitchenette, using leftovers in the cooler or the “chilly bin” as called by the Kiwis. J was wearing a towel from the bathroom, but as she fried up some eggs, the white cotton towel slipped off, sliding to the carpeted floor.

I took a photo of her with my iPhone.

In the photo, J was in the shadows, the light in the background flowing in from the large window leading to the patio. I fiddled around with some apps on my iphone until the subject was anonymous. I created a blurry photo of a naked, curvy, beautiful woman standing in front of a burst of light.

“Can I put this on Instagram?” I asked.

“Sure,” she said. “It’s your artwork.”

Wow. My artwork?! How can you not fall for a woman who considers your dopey and salacious photo of her losing her towel while frying some eggs as “artwork?”

The next day, she changed my mind.

“I forgot about my mother.” she said. She’s looking at your instagram feed.”

It’s a fine line between sharing and keeping things private.

“Can you take it down before she sees it?” she asked.

I deleted it from Instagram. And Flickr. And Facebook.

I’m in Los Angeles now. For now. It’s too bad that I can’t reach J. I want to tell her about my night in Melbourne, Australia. I met two Aussie bloggers and we went to a famous local restaurant.

Melbourne is a world-class city with culture and excitement. There are hipsters drinking coffee in converted warehouse districts. The Kapiti Coast of New Zealand — where J lives — is sleepyville. Bars close early. Local excitement is a sheep shearing and bringing home some fish and chips. But never have I seen so much greenery. And as a Pisces, I am drawn to the oceans and rivers and lakes. And then, there is J herself. She is in New Zealand.

I slide my finger along the screen of my iphone, touching the blurred photo of J. The one from the motel. The one that I deleted. It is a tame photo. J is shadowy and heavily filtered. But I understand why she asked me to delete it from public view. I know and adore every curve of her body, even in the dark. And that is very obvious to anyone looking at this blurry photo, despite my attempts to hide it.

Summer Love

Back when I attended my Jewish sleep-away camp, the summer ended with a big dance. It was on the last weekend of August, right before we all went back to our predictable middle-class lives in Queens, Brooklyn, Westchester, New Jersey, and Long Island, where we would focus on our schoolwork and prepare ourselves for a scholarship to a fancy college.  Fall, Winter, and Spring were times of seriousness.  It was only during the summer that we allowed ourselves to paddle a canoe or initiate”panty raids” on the girls’ bunks.

Having a dance as a camp season finale made no sense to a ten year old boy who had no interest in dancing, or the opposite sex.   The girls danced by themselves while the boys got sugar drunk on Dixie cups of purple punch.

One year,  on my seventh year as a camper, I asked Tammy to the dance, but just my luck — she ended up in the infirmity with the flu, so I spent most of the evening standing outside her window chatting with her about science fiction movies, until one of the nurses shooed me away.  I took off to the social hall, relieved to not have missed the final dance.  After so many years at this camp, the “last song” of the summer had grown in meaning to me.  It was always the same — “See You in September,” originally sung by the Tempos in 1959, but this was the latter version, covered by The Happenings in 1966.  The sappy song must have been a tradition for an earlier generation, because all of the counselors and older staff members would grab a partner and do a “slow dance.”

It never occurred to me as a camper that this “last dance” was not for the campers at all, but for the staff — many who were returning back to school or work, and had experienced summer love for the first time.

Summer love creates all sorts of complications.   Some counselors already had boyfriends and girlfriends back at home.  Some of the staff members were international visitors from faraway places like Ireland.   And not even Jewish.

So how did these summer romances turn out?   Most of them fizzled out.  Some tried to reproduce the lake-side romance in the Catskills back in Brooklyn, but it didn’t have the same vibe on Ocean Parkway.   The city can be romantic and mysterious, but it has a different soundtrack, more funky than mellow.

Tammy, the girl who was supposed to be my date for the final dance, ended up dating one of the counselors — a college boy — much to the dismay of her parents.   They are a summer romance success story, married for decades with children who now go to sleep-away camp.

Over the last month, while most of you have been freezing during the winter months, I have been on Summer Vacation in New Zealand.  It is Summer here.   The kids are off from school.  The beaches are full.  Everyone is eating ice cream.

But Fall is close.   Today there was a “back to school” commercial on the “telly.”  School clothes at 40% at The Warehouse, New Zealand’s equivalent of Target.

With summer ending, there is a call to seriousness.   It’s time for me to return to the States.   The vacation is over.    I’ve found a summer love here in New Zealand.   I’ve had a life-changing experience.

Where does it go from here? I don’t know.  It is hard to carry a summer love into the Fall, especially when you live on different continents.   For now, I have a plane to catch tomorrow, and I want my last dance with Juli.

Branding

I miss biting a woman’s arm. I love that. I love to taste the salty skin until she pushes me away and says, “Stop it. That hurts.” But she likes it, despite what she says. There is a time for strength and a time to be dominated. I am the most alive when I am biting her like an animal. She knows it, and takes pride in the mark on her arm, like I had branded her with the heat of my unstoppable passion.

The Dating Life


(taken down the block from my mother’s apartment building)

“How much?” I asked the woman in the tight shorts standing on the corner. She seemed the perfect partner to help me complete my humiliation.

“Ten dollars for a blowjob, twenty-five for sexual intercourse, and two hundred and fifty dollars to sit around your apartment for a hour and talk about your marriage.”

I pulled out a wad of bills.

“Here’s two hundred and fifty dollars for the conversation.”

She was surprised, and looked at me with pity.

“You know what? I’ll throw the blowjob in for five dollars.”

I had left my keys on my dresser earlier, so I had to ring the doorbell to my mom’s place when I returned with the hooker. My mother answered. She was opening a box of Entenmann’s cake. She was surprised to see me with a women.

“Hi, Mom. This is… uh, Clarissa?”

“Clitrissa,” stated the hooker.

“Clitrissa,” I repeated for my mother. “She’s a hooker from the neighborhood.”

My mother didn’t blink. That’s the best thing about getting older. At a certain point, you’ve seen it ALL and nothing seems that weird.

“I was about to have a piece of cake,” said my mother, politely. “Would you like to join us?”

My mother, always the perfect hostess.

“Sure,” said Clitrissa.

The three of us — me, my mother, and the hooker in the tight shorts — headed into the kitchen. As we passed the living room, Clitrissa noticed that a sitcom was playing on the twenty year old RCA TV.

“Two and Half Men! I love that show.” cried Clitrissa.

“It’s my favorite,” said my mother.

“Charlie Sheen cracks me up,” Clitrissa laughed.

My mother lead the giggling hooker to the couch.

“Sit down” instructed my mother. “The show just started. Let me catch you up to speed. The two brothers just had a fight and the nebbishy one — not Charlie Sheen — is thinking of moving, and you know…”

Within minutes, we were all plopped on the couch, in front of the TV, individual TV stands propped at our knees, munching on the Entenmann’s cake.

After “Two and a Half Men,” My mother and the hooker turned on the DVD to watch the episode of “Glee,” from earlier in the week. It was another favorite of both my mother and the hooker.

But I was getting impatient. I don’t usually complain about service in restaurants or at the dry cleaners, but in this instance, I wasn’t getting anywhere near what I paid for.

I slid my TV tray to the side, and forced a fake cough, hoping to catch Clitrissa’s attention, but apparently Clitrissa was a huge “Gleek,” and had seen every episode of the show.

I finally spoke up.

“Uh, Clitrissa, don’t you think we should get started before it gets too late.”

“Oh, yeah, right. Uh, but I’m really enjoying this Glee. Rachel’s going to sing in a minute. Do you mind if I give you your blowjob during the commercial?”

I almost spit out my cake.

“I’m not going to have you give me a blowjob with my mother sitting right here.”

My mother agreed that it was a bad idea, especially since she usually fast forwards through the commercials with the DVR, which would mean that she would have to give me a very fast blowjob.

But my mother is as accommodating as she is a good hostess.

“I guess we could pause the show, you can do whatever you have to do, and I’ll go finish making my brisket for dinner tomorrow.”

Clitrissa and I acknowledged this as the best plan of action. My mother headed into the kitchen. Clitrissa took off her ratty boots and made herself comfortable on the couch.

This was exactly what I needed. To reach rock bottom. To be humiliated. To expose myself to the cheapest whore, a person only interested in my money. It’s better this way. Love is all an illusion. Relationships are impossible. Better to live like the wild animals that we really are, only caring about our immediate gratifications and our beastly yearnings.

“What would you like to do first, the blowjob or talk about your wife?” she asked.

“Let’s talk about my wife,” I said.

Clitrissa sighed, a bored expression on her face. She was apparently more of a doer than a talker.

“Ok, go ahead,” she said, lying back against the pillow. “Don’t worry if you see me closing my eyes. That means I’m listening very carefully.”

I have long considered myself a storyteller, but this was one of the hardest stories to retell. It was the story of my marriage to Sophia.

“To tell you the full story of my marriage, I will need to go back in time. To a happier time. It was our wedding day. I wore my first tuxedo. It was black and regal. And she was like a beautiful Queen, in a flowing white dress…”

Two and half hours later, the story had shifted gears. It was now filled with romantic drama. My mother had gone to bed, leaving us to our privacy.

“The next stop on our honeymoon was Sevilla. We didn’t really like Sevilla that much. We went to a touristy flamenco show, thinking it was going to be very authentic, but instead the dancers were an elderly couple, one of whom had a leg brace. Later that night, Sophia got a pebble in her shoe, and a blister, and I spend two hours trying to find a pharmacy that was open at night… and there wasn’t a CVS in sight…”

Clitrissa had her eyes closed tightly, and was breathing rhythmically. I could only assume she was listening to my story very carefully. And she was an excellent listener, not interrupting my speaking flow even once.

“But as life continued, as in any relationship, things changed. Events changed us. We changed ourselves. We were brought together by happiness and generosity. Sophia threw me a giant surprise birthday party online. We were burdened by tragedy. My father died. There were health issues. Breast cancer surgeries. There was dinners and concerts. There was separations and reunions and dancing. There were more deaths in the family. There were laughs and trips and wild weekend trips to Bakersfield. My entire blog has been one long memoir of a crazy marriage, of two people bound together by love and holy matrimony, two lovers never quite sure if their personalities meshed in the way absolutely necessary for two people to live together without killing each other. There was always more chaos than comfort in this marriage, which made for good blog fodder, but a tremendous amount of real life stress…”

Clitrissa snored, and it finally hit me that she was fast asleep. Money down the drain, I thought. I didn’t even get a fast blowjob during the fast-forwarding of Glee on the DVR.

But as most of you know, I’m a pretty decent guy, and Clitrissa looked sleepy, so I covered her with a blanket, and went into my bedroom.

I called Sophia on the phone.

“How ya doing?” I asked her.

“Fine.”

“Did you turn in the filing papers for divorce yet?”

“No.”

“So, what are you waiting for?” I wondered.

“Not waiting for anything. Today’s Sunday. You want the courts to stay open just for you?”

“You’re gonna do it tomorrow?”

“Maybe. But I have a dentist’s appointment.”

Despite our tentativeness on the phone, we had signed the papers on the day that I left town. I wanted to make some sort of ceremony for us, but we ran out of time. We were busy the previous day cleaning out the garage before I left to make parking the cars easier. We had both just taken showers, and we signed the papers, both naked, much like Adam and Eve might have after the infamous “apple incident.”

Sophia and I were both tired of this on-again and off-again life. I hated ping-ponging back and forth from NY and LA. We had discussed getting “filing papers” for at least three years. If you are a long time reader of this blog, you know that we considered ourselves “separated, but living together” for as long as five years ago! Last week, after years of avoidance, she brought the papers home. I was slightly pissed because I wanted to be the one who brought them home; it would make me sound more decisive when I later tell this story. But then again, I can always change the details when I tell the story in the future.

The last year has been such a hard one for Sophia and me. Both her parents died, one after another. This changed things, especially for her, but for me too. I can’t exactly say in what way. Perhaps it reminded us that life is short, too short to play around with a happiness that only hovers around the 61% percentile.

We are now in a six month transition period. I’m in New York again for a few months, plotting my course. I have a lot of writing that I am behind on. The past year took an enormous toll on my creative output. It is hard to write when real life is much more dramatic than anything you are putting onto the page.

During the travails of the year, I was asked often, “Did the turmoil of her parents’ illness and dying bring you together?” In many ways, it did. But it also broke us apart. The last year has not inspired much romance.

It is time to start dating other people.

“So, have you started dating yet?” I asked Sophia, still on the phone.

“No, but I will start soon.”

“Good for you!”

“How about you?”

“There’s a woman with me right now on the living room couch.”

“There is? You’re with a woman right now at your mother’s place? Isn’t your mother THERE?”

“My mother’s an adult. She’s hip. She even read Sidney Sheldon back in the 1970s.”

“Where did you meet this woman?”

“She’s a hooker. Her name is Clitrissa.”

“I see. So, you paid her to sit with you and talk about “relationships?”

“F*ck no. Well, yeah. But also, for a blowjob.”

“Why didn’t you go for the full sex?”

“It would be another twenty dollars.”

“Why are you always so cheap with yourself?”

“Maybe because I’m still paying for half YOUR apartment.”

“That’s just an excuse. You still should have gone for the full sex. It was the same with the airplane. Just because they charge you another twenty five dollars a suitcase on Virgin America, doesn’t mean you can’t take two bags. You need to treat yourself better.”

“What is this lecture about? Do you really want to talk about this now?”

“You’re the one who called me!” she yelled back.

She was getting my goat, as usual.

“Can’t we just talk about something safe for once? Something that won’t tick either of us off?”

“Like what?” she asked.

“Did you see this week’s Glee yet?”

++++

The next morning, my mother served Clitrissa breakfast (challah french toast!), and she went back to the street corner to go to work. I never did get a blowjob, which is probably better since I didn’t really know her that well..

It was the start of my new dating life.

Truth Quotient: 8%

Red

Steve was waiting in baggage claim at SFO, wondering if he shouldn’t have taken a suitcase at all. He would have saved twenty dollars and not had to wait with the pushy, impatient crowds. He was sure that he had clothes still in the closet at the house on Russian Hill, his abode for so many years before the separation and his move back to Cleveland.

He was nervous to see her. They had a lot to discuss. He tried to calm himself by thinking of the beauty of the Golden Gate Bridge and the joy of the cable cars, the ones he used to love listening to, as they rolled down the tracks in the distance, as he lay in bed with her at night.

She entered the terminal, walking through he revolving door. Steve’s head was spinning like the door. She had changed her hair… to red! While part of him was thrilled to see her, the other part was annoyed.

He thought to himself, “Red hair? Do we really need more excitement in our lives? Red is the color of fire and danger and communist governments.”

They kissed. On the cheeks.

“How do you like the hair?” she asked.

There was trouble brewing already. If Steve answered honestly, there was trouble with her. If Steve said he loved it, there was trouble within his soul for being dishonest.

Red.

Feeling Up

(fictional)

Westchester, NY  –  Tuesday night

I went shopping for some bread and juice.  Afterwards, I sat in my car for two hours playing checkers on my iphone.   My foot had fallen asleep.  I hobbled out of the Prius and entered the house.  She was watching All My Children on Tivo.   She had just taken a shower and was wearing a towel.  I walked over and put my hands on her breasts.

“What are you doing, Matthew?”

“I want to feel you up.”

I pulled the towel down and covered massaged her breasts with my hands.  I was rougher than usual.

“What are you doing?  Stop it!”  she said.  “How about a hello?”

“Can’t I feel up my own wife whenever I want?  Isn’t that in the marriage contract?”

“I’m watching TV.  Don’t grab me,” she grumbled, as she pushed me away.

“C’mon, Beth.  I really want to feel you up.  I need to feel you up.”

On All My Children, Stuart Chandler had just died, and mega-millionaire bad guy Adam Chandler was grieving.  Stupid soap opera.  So unrealistic.

I grabbed her breasts again.

“They’re not bicycle horns that you squeeze.  Be gentle.”

She told me to sit down, like a teacher instructing her student.

“Sit behind me and you can feel me up as we watch the soap.”

During the commercial, I rubbed against her.  I was hoping that she would reach for my hardness.

“You want to fuck?” I whispered in her ear.

She swatted my nose.

“Don’t say that.  It sounds disgusting coming out of your mouth.”

I found that insulting to my manhood.  She curses all the time.  I should be able to say what is on my mind.

“I want to fuck you now.”

I bit her neck.

“Stop it.  You don’t know what the hell you are even doing.”

“You know, screw you!” I screamed as I slid from behind her like a snake.

Orange peels were scattered all over the coffee table.  This bugged the shit out of me.

“Why don’t you throw out the orange peels?”

“They were here this morning.  Why didn’t you throw them out?”

“I didn’t eat the orange.  You did.  Are you waiting for me to throw the orange peels out from the orange that YOU ate?”

She pointed to the remote sitting on the coffee table next to me.

“Can you pause the TV.  I’m missing the soap because of you.”

“Screw you.”

“No, screw you!” she said as she reached over and threw an orange peel at my chest.

I considered that an ultra-violent act, and I thought about retailiating, but couldn’t think of anything appropriate other than pulling her hair, which would just be too girlish for my ego.  I imagined punching her.  The horror of the thought brought shame.

I quickly gathered up all the orange peels and huffed and puffed my way into the kitchen to toss them into the overflowing trash can, filled with all sorts of crap, none of it sorted for recycling like I wanted.   My bad.  I just couldn’t concentrate on being green this month.  Fuck the environment.  Let the normal married people worry about the planet during their happy little lives.   I decided to take out the garbage, but my body could not move.  I didn’t want to give her the satisfaction of seeing me do it, walking past her with a sack of garbage, smiling in that ass-kissing manner of a maid in the Sheraton Hotel.

Dirty dishes were in the sink, and I hate unwashed dishes,  with the smell of moldy leftovers filling the air, so I would wash the dishes.   That, I would do for MYSELF, not her.

I turned on the water to wash them.  She immediately called out from the living room.

“What are you doing?”

“The dishes.”

“Can you do them later?  I can’t hear the soap with the water running.”

I turned the water on higher.  I am spiteful.  I know.

“I’m doing the dishes now.  Sorry.  Didn’t you ask me to do the dishes?”

“No.  I didn’t ask you to do the dishes at all.”

“Well, ONE of us has to do it.   Is it going to be YOU?”

Fighting words.

“OK.  OK.  Do the dishes. ” she said.  “I’ll pause the TV again.”

Good.  I won the battle.

I could hear the TV sound stop in mid-sentence, as I returned to the dishes, the hot water burning my hand, but somehow enjoying the pain.

She entered into the kitchen, naked, smiling.   She always has that contented look when I am doing the dishes.   But I don’t find it sexy at all.   It feels manipulative, like I am caving into the master.  I want to be loved all the time, not when I am doing stuff for her.

I could feel her breathe on my neck as I scrubbed the burnt rice off of a pot that has been sitting in the sink for two days.

“Let me kiss you,” she said.

I half-turned and gave her a small peck on the lips.

“No, a REAL kiss.”

“I’m busy.  I’m scrubbing shit off this post.  I don’t want to kiss.”

“Well, put down the pot and kiss.”

I turned to the naked woman and we kissed.  I had an intense urge to finish cleaning the pot.

“Don’t you know how to kiss?” she said, with a tone of disappointment.

“I don’t want to kiss.”

“So why were you feeling me up before?”

“Because I wanted to feel you up.  Not kiss.”

“Well, if you’re not going to kiss…”

“Forget it.”

“You just wanted to fuck me on the couch without kissing?”

“I don’t want to kiss or fuck ANYONE who leaves their orange peels on the living room table and waits for me to clean it up.”

“Why don’t you go upstairs and go back on Twitter and fuck someone on there.”

“You’re a bitch.”

She spit on the floor, which I always assumed was some insult from her homeland.

Later on, we went out for frozen yogurt and played Yahtzee on the iphone, and never mentioned what happened before.  Which is not unusual.

I won both games of Yahtzee and that made me happy.   We slept in separate beds.

Very Vague Dispatch from L.A. — #4

Possible Position Soon Available:   Rebound Woman

Wanted:   Attractive,  educated, and good-humored woman who wears glasses, but takes them off in a sexy manner, who enjoys watching Flight of the Conchords and classic James Stewart movies, being felt up while baking cookies (no oatmeal cookie lovers need apply, large nipples preferable), and angry sex against the living room wall with a depressed, unpaid blogger until he overcomes the hurt of his recent past involvement and dumps you as you become emotionally involved with him, destroying your sense of self-worth and identity, and leaving you in debt, but giving you the satisfaction of knowing that you have helped another person move on to a more realistic and fulfilling relationship.

No benefits.

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