I was twenty-nine when men started referring to me as a woman. I wasn't sure exactly what had changed. My breasts were as pert and juvenile as they had ever been. My hips, slimmed since my mid-twenties metabolism slump and prescription oblivion. No more anti-psychotics, anti-depressants, anti-anxieties, and anti-baby meds. Although, I still hated babies, I also hated the anti-sex drive, and had decided to allow my self one abortion if it were ever necessary.
Now. Condoms, and pull out. And cum. All over my chest, or back, and sometimes in my hair. Still, the sleeping pills.
"I saw you on the street after work Friday," Jorge informs me.
"I thought I should have asked if you wanted to go."
"So, would you like to go sometime?"
"Sure," I smile with the congenial nature, befitting my new vanilla job as a hostess.
Jorge raises his black eyes and lowers his chin. "Can I call you sometime?"
Oh, this is serious. My body manifests the frailness of my collarbones, as I sink against the wall next to my podium. "I have boyfriend," I confess.
"Ah! What are you doing then?"
A laugh, nervous like pointlessness, crumbles out of my mouth. "I know," I say, even though I don't.
Jorge raises one index finger, in front of his broad, handsome chest, to play his other like a bow on a violin. "Shame, Shame." He shakes his head.
"I thought you meant as friends!" I playfully defend, feeling the anger that will fuel my obsessing after this interaction is over, like a faint nat-wisp in my subconscious.
"Come on! I'm a man. You’re a woman."
"OK," is all I can get out with disgusting apologetic-ness before he trots out the door, killing his memory of me, or at least dismissing my existence in his head at an instant.
No, we're both human beings. I play in my mind as the sentiment I should have responded with, annoyed at being in a scenario in which such a melodramatic trite expression would have been my weapon of poignancy. So, I begin replacing this mantra with a new one.
Fuck Him. Cleaning up the trash on the floor.
Fuck him. Stacking the menus.
Fuck him! Seating a party of two.
Fuck him. Running upstairs to mentally catalogue open tables.
I have cramps anyway! Let him bleed from his crotch for, roughly, one fifth of every month and see how well he responds to being put on the spot, doped up on inadequate over-the-counter painkillers.
Fuck him. As a fat man in a tropical shirt and a turquoise necklace grabs my hand on the way out, smashing his sofa-cushion lips into my skin, making love to my epidermis like a hand-fetishist. I go to the bathroom and wash off this stranger's lip moisture. Three pumps of nondescript pink pub-soap and a mini-Niagara fall of hot water.
I catch the L train to Union Square after work, deciding to walk to the bar from here. A guy merges into my path, eager to sell some romance. He's a bit younger than me, dresses like a boy who will be dressing like he was in a frat for the rest of his life, even after his spunky bleached hair begins to bald.
"I just have to tell you that you have the classiest walk of any woman I’ve seen since I've been in New York.
"Where are you from?" I prod, wondering where a guy with this kind of line could come from.
Dear God. "Alabama?"
"My accent's not that thick is it?"
I shrug my shoulders.
He sighs, "Close. I'll just tell you."
This conversation doesn't strike me as being on the level of sophistication, worthy of the woman with the classiest walk in New York City.
"OK. Where then?" I concede.
"Kentucky!" he throws his hands up like it’s so obvious.
"Oh," My voice betrays the level of interest I attempt to conjure.
"Am I bothering you?" he asks.
"No. It's just that you've been walking with me for almost two blocks, now." "I just had to talk to you. You're too adorable not to."
"Where you headed?" he asks me.
"A bar to meet a friend."
"You stringing me along?"
"You came up to me," I point out.
"But you could tell me so that I'm not following you for three blocks."
"Am I supposed to assume you're interested in me?"
"Why else would I be talking to you?"
I look this vapid hick in the eye, "What's your name?"
"Go fuck yourself, ERIC. Is that clear enough?"
"You don't have to be such a bitch."
I ignore him as I walk the rest of the way to the bar. My boyfriend and I do shots at Otto’s. Then we go back to his place and I let him fuck me without a condom on top of a bath towel. The sound of him cumming is enough to make me climax. He folds the bloody towel up, telling me to remind him to bleach the whites.
lives in New York. She writes fiction and poetry. Her work has appeared in such places as Cherry Bleeds, 3AM, Lit Chaos
and Yellow Mama
. She's also the winner of the 2008 Famas Poetry Prize. If this is not a long enough list of vague accolades please visit her website at www.aimeedelong.com