Thursday, January 3, 2013

Beginnings.

It is hard to decide when someone you are calling on someone for sex or for company. Well, it is hard for me since I assume every man I am with prefers the former. After Abe, my boyfriend of two years, broke up with me a few days before his cousin’s wedding, and a few weeks after agreeing to move in with me, I had officially given up. Maybe it wasn’t official. There was still Huck, who I fell head over heels for at writing school for the week residency in June.

In between, I had several small love affairs with European men while in France. In Washington, I had a few one night stands, one that was a little more, mostly with younger men … less charming men. When you are a single woman and you really harness spontaneity, the short-lived spark of a moment and the sweet surrender of pleasure … you don’t go so hard for the hunt of a mate. I am sure when my body starts aging I will feel differently, but right now I feel as if I have unlocked the secret of being a man.

hollywood stones

The Hollywood Stones, the Rolling Stones cover band, I followed and adored through the outskirts of Los Angeles county, were playing in Orange County. Abe lived in Orange County and I thought it a good opportunity to see him again. We kissed goodbye in spring, before I left for France and spent the summer in Washington. Last thing I heard from him was a text: “I read your blog. I am so glad you had so much time to write all those things down!”

I wrote back, “Oh, you must have read about Huck.” He didn’t respond and I didn’t press. The man disappears when its convenient and only ever really reaches out on holidays or when he visits his grandfather’s grave.

My fear with reconnecting with him in person was that I would fall back in love with him and resume a love affair that would go absolutely nowhere. Old habits die hard.

Down to Orange County I went with my two roommates, Gary and Frank. We still were on a coke binge of some kind, there was plenty left or plenty more bought … I wasn’t sure. We did several lines and arrived to Harvey’s Steakhouse in Huntington Beach blitzed, riding in on the white pony. Frank wanted to order a steak and some nice liquor. That is part of who he is. Gary was just along for the ride, he couldn’t find a job, had no money and didn’t talk very much. There was a balance between Frank and Gary- they both enjoyed each other’s company while I was away at work but when it came to serious issues like finances and forgotten children, I was the one they spoke to.

At Harvey’s, it was my first time seeing the band since I was kicked out of an outdoor concert in Sherman Oaks for dancing too wildly and (supposedly) not wearing any underwear, which is total bullshit by the way. I made contact with the band via Facebook. They already recognized me from dancing on the Queen Mary in Long Beach, at the Brixton in Redondo Beach and definitely when I was asked to leave by police at the Earth Day concert in Sherman Oaks. The band promised me a t-shirt and gift bag the next time I saw them in concert, afterall,  they found my dancing to be “inspirational”. I should state here many people think I am on drugs when I dance, the truth is no one can really dance like I do drunk or on drugs. It would be physically impossible to dance that long and hard. From the first note to the last, I keep going.  When I dance, it is with every drop of heart and soul. Most people love it, some people hate it. That seems to be the case with most things though …

Halloween Hollywood Stones 2

I was nervous because I really wanted to this cover band to like me, we hadn’t ever spoken in person. Once, I spoke to the lead guitarist after their St. Patrick’s Day performance on the Queen Mary. “Are you in a relationship?” I asked.

“Of course. Aren’t you?”

“No, he couldn’t commit,” I said.

“Well, I have heard that one before,” he said.

“Midnight Rambler, please?” I always ask.

“We only had til midnight. Not this time,” he said.

bill wyman

Since that night in April, they have closed with Midnight Rambler to every show I have ever attended. Is it because of my request that night? I don’t really know. Once I hear the dripping, heavy harmonica, I scream. The women on the dance floor flop around as if Dick Swagger’s (that is the name of the lead singer) lips are blowing directly on the globular bud tucked away safe between their legs. Even the least attractive drunk finds the rhythm of sex during that song, and in the beat we share that rhythm together. Once in awhile I will look up and see all the women surrounding me in the dark, as the drum and guitar catch up to the clacking, bluesy voice steaming out of the harmonica. It is a beautiful sight.

Dick Swagger

This particular night, I did not invite Michael to join me. Michael was the boy I was sexually involved with. He was on my mind, but I didn’t want to be confused with him and Abe in the same place, at the same time. And I didn’t want to make it awkward for them. I will freely admit I keep the men I loved on a string partly because I don’t know how to give up on love and partly because it eases the ache of rejection. It always seems nicer to stay in touch- nicer and more confusing.

We arrived, our pupils large and black. I was in a red and black tutu Frank bought me with a Freddy Krueger hat Alia set on fire and stomped on to make more authentic. I also had the token Freddy glove. I was running out of money and had to stick with what I knew. Put on some glitter knee high socks, converse and a ripped ‘Nightmare on Elm Street’ shirt and voila! StarFire failsafe. Girl Kreuger. (I love “Nightmare on Elm Street”)

Halloween Hollywood Stones 1

The band came on with the music before Abe arrived. Abe is always late. He is also always stoned. I dragged Frank to the floor and it only took a few seconds before other people stormed up to join us, like it was the beginning of a revolution. That is usually the case. It only takes one. The problem was the cocaine was making my heart palpitate. It was difficult dancing, because I when I go, I go hard. I thought if hard core bands like Led Zeppelin or the Stones can go on and perform shows high on coke, I should be able to dance for a couple hours.  After the first song, I could feel myself get dizzy and wondered if I would pass out. I kept going. No matter what my body is telling me, no matter how hard my feet and thighs are screaming “Stop!” or my lungs and heart burn, the music keeps me in motion.

Frank was mixing his cocaine with xanax, and after a few days that makes him funny. In this case, it started when I refused to dance with him to ‘Time is on My Side’. I shook him off. “I never dance with other people,” I said. He looked hurt, then offended, then indignant. The xanax was bringing out that aggression. He would dance close, or get close to the guitarist and nod his head heavily or block out some other schmuck trying to dance with me. The guitarist would look at him, then at me, trying to piece together what to do.

cocaine lover

“Ya’ll got … cocaine eyes …” I sang to him. I flicked my fingers over my eyes with the line. He doesn’t remember. That is the problem with doing too many drugs, they make you act like an asshole but rob you of the memory. You can’t learn, reflect or empathize. You let something else take over your body for a period of time. A monster maybe. A machine. Something that wasn’t Frank. He stopped every once in awhile on the dance floor to hold his head, shake and scream. Men pulled their girlfriends away. Xanax only ever makes me blackout, but that night it sucked my friend’s soul away.

coke clown

Abe arrived and once I saw him I felt my smile. I rushed over to him in between sets and greeted him.

“I know I am late,” he said.

“$8 cover charge,” the man at the front said.

“There is a cover?” he said, annoyed.

“Well, you should have come early and got in on our table. That is the price you pay for being tardy,” I said.

He stretched out his eyes just before stretching out his wallet and pulled out a $20 bill he never worked for. He got the change back and I asked him to dance with me. He wouldn’t. He still claims the band hates him … which makes no sense. “I haven’t been really doing anything, except discovering the secrets of the universe,” he said. Floating in a cloud of THC and family money can make you believe anything about yourself.

At Harvey’s, the band is afforded three sets and the third is always the best because they throw in all my favorites “Sympathy for the Devil”, “Miss You”, once “I’ve Got the Blues”, “19th Nervous Breakdown”, “Monkey Man”, “Can’t You Hear Me Knockin’”. It is the bluesier set. They also have a saxophonist. He is an older guy, we spoke outside during a break.

“We really appreciate seeing someone who shares the same level of enthusiasm in the music we have.”

I blushed. “To dance to a live saxophone on ‘Can’t You Hear Me Knockin’ is a dream come true. Thank you!”

A guy came out of the club and looked me up and down, “Whatever you do in life, dress like that every day.”

“Thanks,” I said flatly.

“You must have had a lot of drinks to dance like that,” he said.

“Not really. I am their groupie,” I said.

“Well, I am a groper,” he returned. I snarled my upper lip and turned away. Charmed.

The saxophonist smiled. He was cool, in his 50s, wearing down from the late nights and lungs full for brass. He leaned against a post outside the corner Orange County steakhouse and smiled away from me.

“Do you smoke?” I asked.

“Not cigarettes,” he said. I smiled and nodded. I was still shy with the band. It wasn’t because I wanted anything from them, certainly not sex. The majority of the band is over the age  of 45. I just wanted (and still want) them to like me.

Before the third set, one of the guitarists approached me with a gift bag. “We designed the shirt just for you,” he said. I blushed, though you couldn’t notice from how red my face was. The cocaine softened in my system, and I was drinking one goblet of water after another.

I pulled out a red tank top with a completely lace back. There was a card and a pin. I thanked him and loosely hugged him, worried my sweat might stick to his. “You should come and hang out with us in between sets,” he said.

“I don’t want to bother you. I know you are in the zone and everything.”

“Don’t feel that way, please. Feel free to stop by for a conversation and talk to us.”

Halloween Hollywood Stones

When the third set came around, Gary was hanging by the table or outside with Abe chatting. Abe would never come back on the dance floor. Frank did come back in, sipping something out of a small glass, “They are talking about probiotics and bananas out there,” he said. I laughed but kept far enough away to watch him, as he teetered against the wall in a black fog. He wouldn’t remember any of this in the morning.

I wouldn’t leave the music for Gary or Abe outside. I wouldn’t leave the music with the waves of nausea and exhaustion bursting from my overworked, pumping heart. The saxophonist was done for the night and blocked Frank from getting too close to me on the dance floor, first by the restrooms then closer to the bar with his single drink. I danced to the last note and the lead guitarist saw me after the show. “Get home safe tonight,” he said, glancing towards Frank. I nodded and smiled, brushing my hand against the vintage, velvet sleeve.

I said goodbye to Abe, who I barely saw that night and then tried to drive all three of us home. Frank passed out in the passenger side and I told Gary I was going to throw up. “Can you drive?” I asked.

“Sure, I just don’t know where I am going,” he said.

“Follow the navigation on my phone,” I said, cueing it up for him.

In the back seat, I fell down on a cloud of cocaine, and several glasses of water with no food in my stomach. I felt the car come to a start and heard Gary whine, “I don’t know where I am going.”

In my motherly voice, “Do you need me to take over?” I asked.

“Sorry, [StarFire]” he said.

I got in the driver’s seat and consulted the navigation to find out we were in Long Beach, that is the opposite direction of Glendale. Gary wasn’t too bright. “I am going to throw up so can you find a plastic bag back there?” I asked.

I heard him rustle and then give up after 20 seconds.

“No plastic bag?” I asked.

“No, sorry,” he said.

So I pulled over and vomited up about two liters of water. Frank woke up out of his deep snooze and rubbed my back, but I was in no mood. I shook him off and puked once inside the car just to make a statement. Yeah it was my car, so what kind of statement I don’t know. Then I drove us home. “Two grown men in the car and no one can help me get home …” I said. Gary apologized again, but Frank was back to snoring.

The next morning, I woke up Frank with two cups of tea and sat on the floor of his bedroom.

“Do you remember last night?” I asked.

“I um … remember some of it but most it is lost, I have to be honest,” he said.

“You have to stop taking the xanax,” I said. “It was bad last night. Really bad.”

“I could say some things about you but I am going to hold back,” he said. It hurt to have the talk so he threw that out once then twice. “There are some things I could say about you, but I am not going to right now.”

“Ok, this is about you and you were out of control last night. I was embarrassed. You need to stop,” I said, staring at him.

“I heard your peace,” he said, sipping his tea. “Should I expect tea every morning from you?” His smile crept up between blowing the steam off the top.

What resonated with Frank was my refusal to slow dance with him. “I have just never seen anyone go that ga--ga over a cover band. I mean, they aren’t the Stones, they are a cover band!”

My friend Jerry was over for this particular conversation and said, “When [StarFire] dances, she dances with the band.”

“You’re telling me,” Frank said, giggling over his disappointment. “You can go see them again, but I am done with that band. I don’t need to see that again.”

“Great,” I said, “No man ever wants to just dance with me to the Stones.”

“Honey, not like that,” he said, before taking a long, sip of coffee.

**

A few days later I recovered most of my things from a storage unit in Orange County. Abe helped me, and as he gathered my things out of his garage and packed up my car, I flirted with him. I stood close and tried to kiss him on the mouth. “What is wrong with you?” he asked.

“I am just so God damn attracted to you,” I said, grabbing his hips.

He was awkward about those kind of things. He laughed and pulled away, regrouped and verbally planned out how to pack up my car. I leaned against the hood of my car and propped my leg up. He laughed and walked away. He smelled of cigarettes and laundry detergent. He was exactly the same. Nothing had changed in him.

When we got to my storage unit, we packed up both our cars to drive back to Glendale (which was over an hour in rush hour traffic).  I thought about whether or not I wanted to have sex with him. I thought about what it would mean. Would I go back to mooning over him? False hope about a relationship? False comfort? I really didn’t want to go back. The hardest part of seeing him again was resisting the urge to fall back in love, and it took me like a stranglehold. He was nice, he was attractive, awkward, calm, all the things I loved about him though I knew he had nothing more to give me.  To this day, sitting here in my bedroom with another man’s smell on my pillows and blanket, it still makes me sad.

I thought about Michael. I knew I made love to him twice and he was inexperienced enough to be vulnerable about my other partners. If I had sex with Abe would I have to tell him? Was I capable of leaving him for Abe? God, how could I live with myself?.

Those pristine blue eyes under the shadows of his severe eyebrows brought me in again. “We cast a spell on each other,” he said once.

We got back to the apartment in Glendale and unloaded most of my stuff from storage. Abe smoked out Gary and the two seemed to get along well. They were both in a nonsense world with minimal responsibility. That said, they both helped me when they could. Gary would walk the dogs and do the dishes. Abe unpacked my things and set up an air mattress my boss loaned me.

Abe and Gary

When the lights went out and the house outside my bedroom door settled, I wondered if I would have sex with Abe again. I wanted to, but it felt like the wrong thing to do. “If we had sex, I am afraid you would lose your mind again,” he said. I laughed. “Me too.”

It is hard loving someone partly with your soul, but completely with your body. I laid down and he played some music on my computer. I asked him to rub my back and I fell asleep with his warm hands on my back and legs. In the middle of the night, I woke up to him climbing out of bed with me, still fully clothed. “I have to go home now,” he whispered.

“Stay,” I groaned, grasping at the air.

“I can’t,” he said. And that was the last I saw of him.

***

It wasn’t long before I was back in Frank’s closet, snorting a few more lines. As long as it was there, the three of us, Gary, Frank and me, kept going, playing music, sweating, roaming, circling in and out like a merry-go-round.

cocaine-crazy-disney-drugs-Favim.com-517720

Somewhere earlier in the day, another ping rung out from my phone. It was from Huck again: “Miss you.. im comi gng to lax in december. I cant waieoq.” I screamed and dropped my phone again. I looked down at my black phone on the floor frozen. Then I screamed again.

“What …?” Frank asked. I read him the message. It was unlike Huck to misspell words, so I assumed he was drunk. Later I found out it was written by his girlfriend at the time. After reading the words aloud, Frank leaned back, “Tell him Super Shuttle is $13.”

I laughed and picked up my phone. “What … the .. fuck?”

“Seriously, if you bring him back here during residency, I will knock his block off. And I am serious,” he said.

“I would never … ever … TOUCH him again!” I said.

“Ok,” he said sing-song. “Just don’t bring him back here.”

*

I hadn’t heard much from Michael, he was still at a cool distance. I texted him: “What are you doing tonight?”

“Hanging out with my best friend [StarFire]” he wrote.

A few lines of fairy dust were swept into a small baggie with a make-shift straw I kept sticking out of the top. Instead of laying down lines on a mirror or surface, I would just snort directly out of the bag. There wasn’t much, not to justify what a junkie I can be. It is just a moment. A dance in time. It would be over soon enough and I would be back to work.

“Should I ask where you are going?” Frank asked.

“No,” I said finishing up the line he cut for me before rushing out the door. “Dogs are walked and fed. See you in the morning.”

*

I showed up to Michael’s house in Pasadena. He was the only tenant on the bottom floor. His room had a bed, a massage chair, a computer and a dresser, all in black or white decor. He greeted me as I walked in, “So I have champagne, chocolate soy ice cream, mango soy ice cream, wine and vegan almond squares.”

“Oh my, you have been reading my blog,” I said, delighted. I sat down eyeing the champagne first.

“But first I would like to take you out to dinner. Anywhere you would like to go,” he said, smiling.

“That’s ok, you don’t have to do that,” I said, popping open the champagne myself.

He slowly nodded, trying to understand what that meant. “I am not very hungry,” I continued, opening my little baggie and taking a whiff of dust. I felt his hands on my shoulder, he was short but I loved the way he touched me. The weight of his hands fell around my shoulders, and I felt his breath on the back of my neck as I snorted. Snorting cocaine excites men, which I never understood since it seems like such dirty business.

cocaine street art

When I was done, I felt the heat of his body pull away from behind. “You wanna go smoke a cigarette?” he asked. I smiled and nodded. Outside, there was a fire pit of sorts, surrounded by old, rotten couches and a stand alone fridge, stocked with beer. Plenty of young men occupied the house, but I rarely saw them. It was dark and cold, but the fire was going and the hot tobacco warmed me up.

“So I got a message from Huck, remember Huck from my blog? He wrote me ‘Miss you. I am coming to LAX in December. Can’t wait to see you.’ I mean, what the fuck? Who does this? Who breaks someone’s heart and then pulls strings afterward? I wouldn’t do that. If I hurt someone as much as he hurt me, I wouldn’t go near them again just for sex or whatever he wants. Its not fair.”

“You know what you sound like? Someone who had their heart broken,” Michael said.

I blew out some steam and then allowed him to light a second cigarette. “You know there aren’t other girls like you?” he said. “You know that, right?” I hung my head heavily to the side. It is a beautiful thing to say but I didn’t know how to respond without sounding arrogant or self-deprecating.

“You are a beautiful woman, you are a great writer, I love those blogs. I don’t read very much but it is easy for me to read your writing. That says a lot. It keeps me interested. You have a, you know, good head on your shoulders. And you are great in bed. What more do you need?” he said.

“I would like to be funny,” I said, smiling through the burn and the darkness. “You are,” he said.

I knew the kid was holding me up high. The blog is a monster because I refine my life and bring out my best and worst moments to be a character. There is a human under the witty banter, the drugs, the adventures and the sex. The human is always less appealing than the character. He would find out who I was, eventually, but for that moment in time I wanted to be his fantasy. Those are always the best parts of my relationships. The beginnings.

We spent the entire night making love. Sex would last a few minutes; the groaning, the sweat, the sloppy ecstasy before a quick end. Then it would start back up all over again. In between sessions, we would talk. I was out of coke but forgot about it. There was no come down, there was no aggravation, no rustle for the last few drops of white powder.  He made me laugh and my withdrawal vanished.

“Here, let me play some music for you,” he said, pulling up his Pandora.

“The Diva channel? Really, Michael. I don’t know what straight guy has Celine Dion and Cher as a channel,” I said.

“Why not?” he squeaked. We played some music and talked about more music. He knew more about 80s music and culture than I did, which still baffles me since he was born in 1989. He must have spent a lot of time alone as a child.

“You are cold as ice, willing to sacrifice our love …” he sang.

“You know who sings that?” I asked.

“Yeah, Foreigner.”

“No, really.”

“Look it up.”

I got on his computer at the desk parallel to his bed and pulled up ‘Cold as Ice’ by the Chipmunks. “See? It wasn’t Foreigner, it was the Chipmunks.” I pressed play and made him listen to Alvin, Simon and Theodore harmonize. He laughed with his whole body. I watched him lay in bed with a perfect upper torso, black hair trailing down his stomach to his plump cock, and the laughter tighten around the muscles in his abdomen. He had a high pitched laugh, but it wasn’t feminine. It sounded like the squealing of tires and made me feel brilliant every time I cracked a joke. It also created that bubbling sensation in my sternum, the possibility of love or what I know of love.

“Suggested videos from the Chipmunks is ‘West Side Story’” I said, clicking over to a medley of songs. “Maria”, “When You’re a Jet”, “America”, “Cool” all played, and I sang them almost word for word.

Westside-Story-classic-movies-6446879-2560-2010

“How do you know all the words?” he asked.

“I am a fan,” I said, shrugging my shoulders.

“You want to see my impression of ‘West Side Story’? Eh, my name is Tony and Chino killed me. Oh...” he said in fast, low thug voice. I cackled. He does quick and silly impressions of people and movies. It is one of my favorite things about him.

“Uh oh, looks like someone is drunk Facebooking,” I said, rolling over his computer. “‘I wish people wouldn’t tell me how to raise my kid, go to hell!’ is her status update. Let’s review the events of the night and see what brought her there. Two hours ago ‘What a beautiful night, I am blessed!’ Uh oh, only two hours ago? What happened? One hour ago “Why does my life have to be so difficult? Because of the men I choose to share it with. When will I learn?’ Ok, so in the last two hours she had a bad conversation with the father of her child, I guess, and chased it with a bottle of wine. I love it. I am a pro at drinking and Facebooking.”

“And we love you for it,” he said. His soft brown eyes always looked glazed over. All the years I had known Michael it never occurred to me we would have a chemistry. You would think there would be a tingle, a moment of recognition, a hint of some kind that this person could make you fly with a kiss.

“I will get a dog. A dog with three legs is like … cool. A dog with two legs is like, ooooh, I really love that dog. A dog with no legs and just wheels is heaven!” he said. “That’s my goal, to get a dog with no legs,” he said smiling. Sometimes he would sit up on his bed and face me, as I nursed the bottle of champagne and then the bottle of red from his desk. Other times he laid back. We had made love four times, but were both wide awake.

dog with legs 0.jpg

“Tell me your deepest, darkest secret,” he said.

“Why?”

“Just to do it, why not?” he asked.

“Because I am having a good time. I don’t want to change the tone. Do you have a secret you want to share?” I asked.

“Not really,” he said. I crawled on the bed to fit in the nook of his arm. When we laid side by side, I could feel encased by him. I could look up to him and feel smaller, pocketed, loved the way I was used to. Standing up, I felt like the Jolly Green Giant.

“Did I tell you about the time I tried to kill myself?” he asked.

“No,” I said, softly.

“I feel like I did. How they had to pump my stomach with charcoal,” he continued.

“I feel like I would have remembered that. What led up to that decision?”

“I was 15 and my Mom had this snowglobe. My grandmother gave it to her and she just died. I accidentally broke it. When she found out she screamed ‘I hate you!’”

WinterSnowGlobe

“That’s terrible … but is that all?” I said. “Not to take anything away from you but … was that all that happened?”

“Yeah. That was it,” he said. I realized then how fragile he was. “My childhood wasn’t great. Kids were mean to me. I let them be mean to me but it still sucked. One time I let them set me on fire.”

“Oh my God,” I said again. “Did you get badly burned?”

“Yeah, that was horrible. I had to pull my sweatshirt over my head,” he said. I realized why he was attracted to me, why he loved the blog so much. He thought we connected because we suffered in the same way, but we all suffer, and all in different ways.

“How were your parents?” I asked.

“Well, my father died. Did I tell you that? I thought I did,” he said.

“No, stop saying that you told me these things because it makes me feel like I am not paying attention. I would remember stuff like suicide and dead father.”

“Yeah, he died when I was 19,” he said.

“I am sorry.”

“No big deal, he was barely around at that point,” he said, lightly. The eyes made sense now; the loss, the burning desire to rescue paraplegic dogs and fuck me. I put my arm over his chest. “My grandfather died, his funeral is next weekend so I will be out of town.”

“Oh, I am sorry about that, too,” I said.

“We weren’t close. No big deal.”

“It might be good to go back and settle business before you move back to Milwaukee,” I said.

“Maybe I won’t move back,” he said.

“Oh,” I said. In fact, I can’t remember what I said but I felt my heart stop and a chill freeze my blood. He was going to stay because of me. “It sounds like you have a pretty solid plan though.”

“Not really. I just thought I could go back there for a change, but I can do all the things I was going to do over there here.”

“What about school? You were going to be a vet tech?”

“Field animal observation. I can do that anywhere. I was looking at Glendale Community College. I can get free tuition in California,” he said.

“Well, you know my feelings on Milwaukee so, I think that would be a better life for you to stay. Just make sure you are doing it for the right reasons,” I said.

“I will,” he sighed, holding me closer, blowing into my rustled head of hair.

It was around this time I crawled down and gave him a blow job- not because I was in love but because I knew it would impress him. I also knew it wouldn’t take too long. Afterward, with the moaning and praise, he said, “I never knew it could be this way. That was the best head I've ever had.”

“Well, you are only 23,” I said.

“No, sex with you is on some other level. I can’t explain it. I never have had sex like this before,” he said.

“Well, I am probably more experienced than the other girls you have been with. That’s all.”

“When you touch me, there is an electricity,” he said, covering his face with his forearm. His skin was so milky white in contrast to his black hair. He almost looked like a sculpture of a Roman soldier I admired in the courtyards of Paris- with the prominent nose, the robust physique, the marble-like complexion. I wiped my mouth and crawled back into the crevice of his arm singing ‘I Feel Pretty’. We agreed to turn on “West Side Story” and fell asleep to it. I woke up to Maria crying over Tony and muttered in a morning voice, “She was so good in this movie …”

“Yeah” he sighed, holding me up for a morning kiss. We made love a few more times before agreeing to go to breakfast.

The only place I could think to go was the vegan place in Los Feliz  Abe and I used to regularly go called Green Leaves. It is all vegan, vegan pancakes with vegan chicken and vegan eggs. We came in together and the usual waiter recognized me, looked at Michael and smiled. I shamelessly sat down with a head of hair that was tossed in a hundred different directions during a hundred different positions.

“I am not going to push you, but I want you to know at some point I am going to ask to be in a relationship with you. I want you to be my girlfriend. It doesn’t have to be now, but I want to talk to you about it later,” he said.

I nodded, “Ok.”

“I am not sure how you are feeling but I have feelings for you,” he said.

“I am having feelings too, but I am not looking for a relationship right now. Things have been going really well with this whole casual approach thing I am doing. It is hard to be in a relationship with someone like me,” I said. “Let’s just leave it at ‘We can do whatever we want.’”

“Well, I would like to try. Like I said, let that sit. We can talk about it later,” he said, casually picking up a menu. And just like that, my heart was dragged back under by a 23-year-old from Milwaukee. His mother was going to kill me.

Michael at green Leaves

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