Lovers in the time of the Pandemic

I could feel it.

I could feel him inside his head.

His temple rested on mine

The Rhythmic movement slowly

Stopped

And we were disconnected.

Our circuits no longer crossed.

He went down and I could feel his

Concerns.

He came back to me and I could feel him searching.

I could feel him reaching for a clue. But he kept hitting a wall. There were none.

“How did you get that bruise on your thigh?”

“I don’t know I don’t look at my thighs.” I explained. “When I scratch through my jeans I get bruises. I really don’t know.” “Even now when you were down there I was holding onto my thighs.” I said without energy.

“It looks like a plain finger bruise.” He imagined. “I’m gone for long periods of time. I’m just wondering if that’s a guy maybe that you could have been with while I was gone.”

“That’s not right.” I replied.

Giving the plain understanding that those thoughts were not permitted here.

“What?!?! Is that what you think of me? That I’m just gonna go and open my legs to the next guy I see??” I wanted to scream but it wasn’t right either.

“ It’s not my style.” I thought. But I refused to tell him this even though My heart would not allow me to do something like that. If he didn’t know this now. He didn’t know me at all.

But I knew these were just insecurities of his own that had nothing to do with me. Instead I loved on him. That was the best of me I could give.

Party Girls

It was a girls night out just like any other Friday night in my early twenties.

My best Gal Pam and a couple other women and I went to our favorite club in Palm Springs.

That weekend a group of Marines were in town with the same purpose.

Party.

And the drinks began to pour.

What normally would be a club full of locals now had fresh faces and new personalities.

This was exciting especially after going to the same club every weekend in the middle of a desert.

I spotted one Marine I was particularly interested in.

Blonde short trimmed hair on the sides and longer on the top.

Strong frame and the most beautiful, white smile in the club that night.

She had noticed me too.

We were dancing in the middle of the dance floor and I swear it felt like it was only there for her and I.

Her blonde hair was silky smooth and I could not believe she was even interested in me.

My friends pulled me away from our kiss in the middle of that dance floor and I explained to her “They don’t understand.”

As they ripped me away from her.

She managed to write her number down in a small piece of paper for me.

“That’s a girl!” My friends explained.

“I know!” I argued.

“No you’re drunk!” They countered.

We had a few drinks and had some regrets that night. And the next morning I awoke thinking about her.

I rose suddenly remembering she had given me her number.

I reached into my sweaty bra where I had stashed her number.

A safe haven for a sin no one wanted to watch.

I was full with regret as I looked down at that paper.

Ink smeared.

I couldn’t make out a single number on that paper.

I was sure I missed out on the love of my life that night and I thought about her every year until now.

I never got her name. But every time I see a woman in uniform with her same description I wonder if it’s her. And I remember the way her hair felt.

And the way her smile and attention made me feel.

I won’t (2018)

” I won’t sleep with your girlfriends” he said with a smile as we mounted his motorcycle.

He smiled as he handed me the second helmet.

“Let’s get you home.”

We were already getting to a better start.

Weeks into seeing each other I was driving into Palm Springs the same weekend he’d be in town for work.

Dry desert to my left divided by grey asphalt.

Carved rocky mountains to my right.

“When are you getting here? Let’s grab lunch before I go in.” His voice palpitated off my car’s speakers.

“OK. I will stop on my way into town I just entered Palm Springs.” I replied.

We sat across from each other and shared a large bento box.

I had Chinese Food from LA in my car packaged especially for my girlfriend waiting in my hometown.

We finished out lunch in between smiles and new shared city history.

We made plans for the next day with “more time” to spend with each other.

He had to head to work and I went to deliver food for my vegetarian friend.

The apartment had the smell of depression and marijuana in the air.

I could not be there for her the way I intended.

We had an audience. Her partner smiled grateful and nonchalant like.

Instead I commented on how cute the dogs were.

I gave my support to their eager wagging tiny bodies.

But really it had all been intended for her.

“Let’s grab some tea!” I threw out the idea.

“Yes.” she replied knowing it was an escape plan.

We could finally breath as soon as we entered the coffee shop.

Unload all your troubles and we’ll find a way to come back to the peace you once knew.

Or hoped for.

That’s what friends are for.

Boundaries have no man (March-ish 2019)

He had slept with my sister’s friend.

“You and I weren’t together at the time!”

He reasoned.

Boundaries. If he didn’t know about them by now he’d never learn.

Nearing the age of 40 a man is as stubborn as a mule.

Stuck in his ways.

“She wasn’t even interested in you!” I said.

He frowned and slouched sitting up in my bed.

“I want to continue seeing you.” he assured. “I’m not looking to anyone else.”

I believed him every time.

I remember her sitting across from me at a bar asking as she sat next to my sister. –

A question that came out of left field but I didn’t think much of it then and so much of it now.

“Weren’t you seeing someone in LA?”

My eyes watered.

I nodded agreeing.

And she pried. “Did he end it or did you?”

The rest of the night she kept trying to get me to hitch up with men she thought were convenient for me.

Smiling and physically pushing me toward men who were overweight and dancing with themselves in a circle of an almost vacant dance floor.

She was trying too hard.

And maybe this was what gave her the go ahead to finally say yes to him.

—-

“They said you took her on three dates until she gave it up and you never called her again!” I remember saying.

“Do you think it was that hard to get? Please it was so easy and it was not even three dates!”

“I did what I could and only went ONCE! Which was the only time she indicated at all that she would give it up.” He said triumphantly.

“She wasn’t even interested in you!” I interrupted his smugness.

He frowned and slouched as he sat in my bed.

(Repetition I know)

February 17 2018

Hungover

One year and one day older.

Pink pumps and last night’s outfit.

28. There are no songs for this age.

Something new;

Black motorcycle cruising through Venice

Peace sign for the tourist and his photo

Girl in pink pumps on his back.

I had no energy left.

We entered the fresh salad and sandwich shop next to the beach and I could smell the salty water in the fresh air.

A cow’s torso hung from the second floor.

I had a few bites of my spinach asahi salad.

It wasn’t exactly ‘hangover remedy’

Too dry to swallow.

I shared my Asahi tuna with my handsome stranger.

“You’re so chill.” He spoke.

I sat silently.

I waited for him outside the restaurant and watched him exit through the door frame just tall enough for him to fit through it.

Cropped vest suited for his choice of transportation. His tattoos decorated his milky white skin and a smile formed on my face as he approached me.

He received a personal phone call with me

Straddling behind.

I almost lost a pump while trying to catch up with him.

“Yes I know. I did that.” He responded to his phone.

He glanced back at me but kept walking.

We finally left the third party in the phone lines and walked toward the pier.

We watched people in the beach running into the ocean, laughing, and bathing in the sun.

I smelled the breeze and he stood beside me.

“Wanna head back?” He prompted.

His swing shift would start soon.

We walked back to his motorcycle and cruised through LA rush hour traffic.

Let’s go back. Back to the beginning.

This isn’t how it started. I didn’t come here to fall in love or to meet handsome new strangers to be with.

My future was on my mind.

Future kids.

Future husband.

Both of whom I had never met before.

It would all be new.

But first I would create a better future for myself and that dreamt up family of mine.

Step

by

step

I                                         would                                take

no                                                                                shortcuts.

Little by little chipping away at success.

Whatever that means to you or to me.

So let’s take a step back to where it all got lost

and blurred into the night life in LA.

Back to the handsome stranger. The man I would never have a future with.

Feeling (February 11ish 2019)

I drove past the red lights

Nonchalantly and Unaware.

Two cars stopped just before splitting me in half.

I froze in my moving vehicle and did not blink.

“Oh. My God!” I screamed frightened in my mind.

Wide eyed.

I could not speak.

I just drove until I began to hyperventilate.

“Get home.” I thought.

Making it to the finish line was my only goal.

I began to think of the lives I could have destroyed for not paying attention.

I didn’t think about myself,

initially.

I just thanked God, the Universe, and any other entity that may have been present that night for preventing that accident. More realistically I thanked the awareness of those strangers who cautiously stopped and continued after my fuck up.

All I could begin to think of was,

What if this was it?

Would I want to feel the way my current state was in?

Missing someone I loved…

I knew that if today were my last day given any circumstance I would not want to be in constant pain,

unable to move on.

…Feeling empty.

Forcing myself to stay away from him was torture.

And all I wanted to do was run into his arms.

So I summoned up the courage and sent him a message.

New Year’s Eve 2019 Celebration

I looked around at all the couples.
Everyone was there with the people they loved.

Or home with their loved ones,

Embracing one another.

And I?

I was with an old male coworker, James.

And suddenly I felt displaced.

My mind went blank.

“What am I doing here?”
I was standing alone in the dance floor with an explosion of green confetti all over me and this man standing beside me.

Midnight has struck.
Time to go home Cinderella.

I felt endebted to making this night worth the fifty dollar ticket.

I stared blankly above and past him trying to find something or someone that would embody an emotion. But all I could find was the ceiling and that green confetti.

We entered another dance floor and my feet begged to rest.

I excused myself and he followed me out to the fresh patio that quickly turned cold.

Men stared.

I looked out into the empty ice rink.
A tree isolated in the center. And there was no emotion left in me.
All I could think of was how beautiful it looked when people were skating on it.
My mind had only one person in it. Nothing else,
The rest was white noise.
I knew I was working to get this man out of my head but he remained.
4 months had passed since I had ended things completely.
“I can’t give anyone anything. I don’t ever want to have a family, Get married, or have kids.” His decision echoed.

How original. A man that can’t commit.

“Look this isn’t me flirting or anything but I’m gonna do something really quickly.” James interrupted my train of thought.

I was still lost in my head as I felt his fingers in between my breasts.

He held up a piece of green confetti.

Evidence rested in between his thumb and index finger as he held it up in the air.

Not guilty.

His face displayed inoccense as he wished it to be.

“How did it get there?” He continued.

” I don’t know. Maybe when it exploded everywhere on the dance floor.” I said emotionless.

I had no reaction to it.

My mind was fighting another battle.

Reality was left on autopilot.

I had no control over my body. I was so far away.

He held me close for some reason and I found him nearly hugging me and playfully laughing with himself as the side of his forehead touched mine.

I was absent in all of this.

My face was blank.

And I could not understand why any of it was happening except for the fact that I was allowing it.

He let go and I noticed two men just watching the show.

I curiously looked at them.

They looked like adult twins mimicking each other’s movements.

“I’m gonna go home. You’re staying until 2am?” I asked staring at them.

“No I’m coming with you.” He stated

“Ok. ” I replied.

As we made our way out of the club I felt the pain in my feet.

Reality had a way of keeping me present.

Pain was all I felt.

I longed so much to make it to my car as fast as I possibly could.

I wished to be in bed. But I took a wrong turn and lost my sense of direction with James obediently following behind.

I would drop him off at the train station and I could finally make it home and rest in my warm bed.

“Why don’t you just drop me off at my place? You can stay with me.” He crushed my plans.

“That’s just too far for me. You can stay at my place and I’ll take the couch.” I countered.

“No that’s weird.” He argued.

“You can take the couch and I’ll take my bed then.” I negotiated.

“Just stay at my place we can cuddle. I have a big bed. Our bodies won’t even touch if you don’t want them to.” He bravely suggested.

” I don’t feel comfortable doing that. If you can’t drive you can stay at my place and I’ll stay on the couch.” I reaffirmed.

It was a constant firing of ideas. Going back and forth as I tried to reenstate my stance.

15 minutes passed and he lead me to the train station. He gave me a hug goodnight and got into his vehicle.

I was happy to finally be heading home.

I could finally rest.

All in all the night had been a good night.

All that was left to do was rest and recover.

“You didn’t want to cuddle?” He messaged.

“I’m a serious person. I don’t do that kind of thing.” I stated avoiding an ‘lol’.

“How boring.” He branded me.

There is nothing wrong with a woman setting boundaries and remaining firm in her decisions.

I slept soundly in my bed knowing I had no responsibility for anyone else’s feelings but my own.

My feet warm in my blankets still ached but rejoiced at not holding up a celebration filled with strangers I’d never see again.

A Step Back

February 1st.

It was now or never.

Stuck in between I should and I can’t.

I drove, everything I could fit into my small but efficient Toyota, more than two hours North where the air encapsulates itself into skyscrapers and its city lights.

I arrived to a forested neighborhood not congested with vehicles.

An older tall, wide, blonde woman greeted me outside the apartment building.

Have you got the check?” She asked in an English accent.

“Yeah.” I replied still sitting in the driver seat.

Can you take me to my bank so I can cash it? Rent is due today.” She asked hurriedly.

“Yeah let’s go.” I replied cautiously.

We had met once before during the whole ‘Let’s see if you’re a good candidate for a roommate process’. But she was still a stranger none the less.

We arrived at the apartment after successfully cashing the check and she motioned to where I would be sleeping.

A large living room with two sofas ruled by a Ginger Cat.

You can put up partitions if you like and you’ll have your own entry.” She suggested.

“Mom! That’s Ginger’s area! Where is he going to sleep? How will he eat?!” A teenage tall blond boy objected.

I was stuck in between a family dispute on my first day in the city.

I sat awkwardly and quietly while they sorted their issues out.

This was temporary.

Rome wasn’t built in a day.

I was determined to work my way up to the life I wanted to build for myself.

Setting up stepping stones I knew there would be challenges and I was ready to confront every one of them with a solution.

Not much after that discussion I was showed into the master bedroom where I would now be sleeping and sharing a restroom with my renter.

She would be taking the livingroom.

Ginger Cat – 1

The next day I would be starting my new job.

“Why don’t you just start work on Monday?” An old coworker asked.

I didn’t feel like I needed a day off at the time and wanted to get working as soon as possible. I would have the weekend off anyway.

Exclusive

I was energetic. 

Pleased with my iron based curls. Red lips. Winged liner. Under the impression I’d have an unforgettable night. 

An old colleague cancelled. 

I sat on the busy freeway on my way to a club 15 minutes away from my current stay. 

I waited in the cold long line to a club that had no woman in it. Couples kept getting turned away and I persisted at the end of the line. Shivering.

I approached the large dark bouncer dressed all in black with a black leather jacket.

No tickets. No prior purchase. No entry.  Sold Out.

Exclusive.

Bust.

I waited in my car while I searched for another location. I wasn’t going to let this outfit go to waste. The night was young. And so was I.

The man in the valet parking approached me. Introduced himself through my slightly opened car door. 

“I am looking for another place to go.” I informed. 

“There is a club that stays open until four a.m. if you like Cumbias. It’s walking distance.” He replied. 

” You don’t want to stay here anyway. It’s exclusive for men only.” he added. “But if you care to wait I can see what I can do.”

“Yes!” I exclaimed. 

“Okay. Let’s walk you to the door.” He instructed after being gone for less than ten minutes. 

The same bouncer that turned me away minutes before walked me through the bottom entry as I opted out of the reggae night option upstairs. 

“Just get her a wristband. Comped” he instructed. “Whenever you want to come back just ask for Tommy.” he said. 

I entered the dark nightclub. My eyes, immediately entertained by all the lights that, bounced off a sea of barely clothed men. Every single man towering over me as they opened a path for me to walk passed them like the red sea. My eyes beamed off their tight muscles and they barely glanced at me. Every single Soul with colorful lights bouncing off of them so beautifully. It was the first time I was not acknowledged for my looks. The whole room danced and I continued on to the bar. 

A boy as beautiful as all the others with tan skin, a beautiful straight smile, and the cutest nose inquired about a whiskey coke to the bar tender. 

” Would you like one?” I offered. 

“Oh my God! Yes! Thank you.” he replied.

I expected him to leave me but he was so willing to listen to how I made it in this Exclusive Club. 

He introduced me to the rest of his friends who slowly began to join us. 

A red head Beauty. The only female in their group slightly taller than I.

A thin bleached blond. Short cropped hair with glossy sensual lips. 

And a thick muscular dark haired guy with the kindest smile. 

We spent the rest of the night dancing and pointing out the hottest beefiest men in the club.

These strangers would become the first group of friends I encountered in LA.

I was happy to have stumbled across them.