It’s my birthday today. I’m 34 and very happy about arriving to my mid-thirties.
I’m wearing bright purple eyeshadow and cute but unfortunate shoes. I’m going to freeze my tits off on my way home and I don’t care.
Under the fold, some of the experimental piece I’ve been toying with. I’ve been using the idea of withdrawing from opiates as the experience of this narrator because a woman broke his heart.
This is not the version I’ve been rewriting but the original super rough version. Enjoy the tid bit.
It’s not one thing it’s everything. The way her hips moved under the thin fabric of her skirt, the way the sweat lay in a glimmering sheen on the back of her neck, the lowering orange sun glittering in the tight coils around her hairline. Alone in his skid row hotel room he shakes and sweats like the junkie on the other side of the cardboard wall, but he’s not dope sick he’s woman sick. When he absently scratches at his chest his fingertips linger over the raised scar on the left.
His eyes close, the tears in them spilling. He remembers everything, the ride of her breasts with the surprisingly dainty pert little nipples, the slight upward tilt of her brown eyes, his hands splayed on her hips, the rhythm yes the rhythm hurt the most.
He had been warned the very day he showed up in the tiny town, his car dead at the only gas station. All three of the withered old men in attendance had watched him talking about his trek across the country and the things he’d seen and done. They knew, they could see it on him. He had some nameless scent that they knew would bring her out, she would have him.
“Boy, your car will be ready tomorrow get round to the boarding house and get some sleep.”
He had declined and wandered into town, charmed by the dilapidated old facades and people who nodded and tipped their hats. Of course as traveling men are wont to do he found the bar of course. The place was smoke filled and noisy, a jukebox playing old country and western music, people talking and somewhere a woman singing in a beautiful drunken rasp about a lost lover.
It was his kind of place.
He was greeted by a huge grizzled man and given a beer and a menu it was early so he found himself a rickity table off in a corner so he could watch. Until her, he had been a watcher. He stood apart, told himself that it was merely that he was observing so that someday he could use those observations for something, for what he could never say but he promised himself it would be something.
People walked by, nodded politely he nodded back, imagining little back stories for the people that passed. It passed the time well enough for him to get through a damn fine burger and two beers, he liked the place and decided to stay in town for a few extra days and see what happened.
What happened was her.
She walked in through what he assumed was a back door, fanning herself with a menu. She was really the most beautiful thing he’d ever seen up close, from the tips of her afro to her painted toes. He knew he was staring, couldn’t help himself. Their glances caught and she smiled, just a little lift of the corner of her lush deeply bowed lips.
As she was stopped to talk to another woman the music on the jukebox changed to the kind of blues that requires a man to grab a woman, take her on the dancefloor and heat her up. A collective whoop from the crowd went up and people streamed back onto the dancefloor, food and drinks forgotten. He squared his shoulders and got up, walked over and bowed slightly.
“Excuse me I hate to interrupt y’alls conversation but miss would you like to dance?”
The woman smiled and handed the other woman her purse, took his arm. He had few skills, he could do some decent carpentry, he was a bear at a blackjack table and he could dance thanks to his half deadbeat father.
his father had spoken in his typical mid-conversation way.
“the only way you’re ever gonna get any pussy is if you can dance. Learn to dance.”
That had been the sum total of advice about women he’d gotten but, it had worked. He wasn’t naturally charming, he wasn’t extremely good looking, hell he wasn’t even all that bright but he could dance and he knew it. As a long ago girlfriend had told him,
“if you can dance you can fuck.”
And well, he could fuck.
Once on the dancefloor he decided to play it assertive and calm, he wrapped an arm around her waist and pulled her closer but not too close, after a moment or two she pressed closer, her breasts pushing against his chest and a smile on her face. The song changed and they moved closer, she put her hand on his ass and squeezed he grinned down at her.
It was a sheer miracle of will that he wasn’t hard as a rock by the time he took her by the hand and led her back to his table. The last song had been slow and he’d inhaled the vaguely vanilla scent in her hair and on her neck and he knew that salty scent would stay in his memory forever.
“What’s your name?”
“May Lynn and yours?”
They shook and she gestured for him to lean over.
“Marlon, it’s hot as Hades in here get us a couple of bourbons and meet me on the back porch.”
She walked away and he went to the bar smiling. One of the old men from the gas station was sitting there.
“Boy, don’t you go getting any funny ideas about that girl.”
“What is she married?”
The old man shook his head, took a sip of his beer.
“Just don’t. Best pick up your car tomorrow and go on to where you need to get.”
He looked skeptical.
“She your daughter?”
“No shit boy quit asking questions I’m just looking out for you.”
Another old man made a rude noise.
“Frank don’t bother. Look at him, he’d already put his dick in the grinder if she asked.”
Both old men gave Marlon lengthy disapproving looks of appraisal.
“Yeah, guess she already worked that hoodoo on him.”
Marlon wrote them off as just being jealous and smiled at them.
“Gentlemen, the lady is waiting for her drink.”
He could never remember exactly what they talked about on the back porch of that bar, he did remember the way she laughed with her mouth wide open and her head thrown back. He remembered the way she slipped her shoes off and put her bare feet on his thigh and how he’d dropped one hand to her ankle comfortably and played with the delicate bones.