Halloween on Friday night. He’s Indiana Jones and you’re some sort of bohemian gypsy. He notices you. You notice him. He’s wearing a hat. He has nice brown eyes and a leather jacket. It’s always the first one you really notice in the room. A look between you like maybe there is a future. I was wearing a corset and a lot of fake long brown hair wrapped in a bandana and braids. I kept pulling my fingers through it nervously as if it were my own.
There was a show and he had a press pass. But he disappeared. So my friend and I decided to go and pay. We met at the Pink Garter and it was swarming with costumes. A man with a horse ass following him. A tall lady with a clown wig and red clown nose. Superman. My friend bought drinks and we ran into her yoga instructor and we walked around and went to the bathroom and then there he was, Indiana. He smiled and we all talked, and he talked to her, and then he talked to me. And then he took my hand. We went dancing and he led me around the dance floor. He kissed me. We kissed everywhere and when I drove him home he begged for me to come inside. I refused and he was sure that he had been waiting for me and that I was the one he’d marry. I laughed. He was drunk. He wouldn’t think this in the morning if he even remembered. So I said goodnight and he said he would make me dinner on Sunday.
A day passed and he didn’t text or call. I assumed he had been drunk. I was excited about this new person. A journalist. A world explorer, a Spanish speaker. A fellow Texas- native. All this writing, all this thinking, when all that mattered was how well we kissed together, and we kissed well together.
And I was restless but hopeful still. Another day and he texted good morning. Good morning texts are the best texts because they mean that you were one of the first things on that person’s mind. They woke up and there you were, and they needed to contact you. So he would make me dinner. What kind? What can I not eat? When should I come? Should I bring anything? It was all settled and I wore the same outfit I wore to my MFA graduate review: a black skirt and black top and a yellow sweater. Nervous about my now short, thin hair, I pulled it back in a very short, simple ponytail and let the strands of leftover bangs curl around the sides of my face.
When he answered the door I was so nervous I put my purse on the floor, and then on a pair of shoes, and then on a table. Everything was set. I had deleted all of my embarrassing selfies from my phone just in case. The wine was poured in small cheap glasses. There was an awkward half of squash lying in the middle of each plate with pasta on the side. His roommates were out. Mel Torme played on his iPhone from the kitchen.
I clung to my glass of wine and talked about whatever was left to talk about after our conversations on the dance floor. I was glad I remembered his name wasn’t Indiana, and I heard that he was also a photographer and his mom was a photographer and he also was a writer and he had a Hunter S. Thompson tattoo on his back and I wanted to see it and we went upstairs and then we kissed again.
It was very sweet. I stayed. I made him watch Twin Peaks. He didn’t like it but I was stalling. There were things I couldn’t say and do, and I didn’t want to go there even though I sort of did. We couldn’t watch the show. He thought it was a soap opera. I laughed. I knew he would never watch enough of it to realize how brilliant David Lynch was, and I couldn’t tell him what to do. He was very opinionated. We made out. He told me about working at the local newspaper. I said I had applied but wasn’t experienced enough. I told him about teaching abroad. I told him about my application to the public library. “I really hope I get this job because I can whisper like none other.” He tried to take off my red silk panties and I admitted I was on my period. It was easier that way, I wouldn’t have to have the talk. And so I stayed and we cuddled until morning. Then he rushed me out the door. And three days passed. And I felt very sad. What had gone wrong? And then another day. “I thought you would have contacted me by now” I texted. A minute passed. He called me and he wanted to come by and so of course I said yes.
He came over and we kissed. He was very happy. I put his coat in the closet and looked around for allergy medicine because of my cat. I had nothing. I had boxed wine and beer. We looked through my telescope at the full moon. We danced a little. And he started to remove my clothes. So it was time. I couldn’t wait anymore.
I gave him the talk. I have herpes I said. He looked around the room as if he lost something. Then he stared at me a minute. And then he said “70% of the population has herpes, it’s very common.” I said no, that’s not true, it’s common but more like 25% of women. But it is common and I haven’t had an outbreak in years. YEARS.” He asked if I had a condom. By this point we were standing by my only furniture, two bookshelves and a black beanbag. He was naked and I had on some more red panties. No I didn’t have a condom….We hesitated. And then he hugged me and we were kissing. “You could pull out” I said. And he said “I guess I will have to” or something like that, and then we had sex. We had sex on the beanbag and on the floor. The carpet chaffed my knees and my feet. I had red marks all over me. He bit my neck and my back and my legs. I had bruises on my thighs and my throat. I bit his shoulder. Hard. Very hard. “That’s nothing”. I bit it harder. He choked me. “It’s been a year, “ I admitted. “Are you serious?” he was skeptical. I was in grad school. I was dealing with a DUI. I moved. He still couldn’t believe it. He thought he’d had a dry spell. “How long?” “Four days.” “Bullshit.” “This summer.” “That’s not long.” He had bumps all over his shoulders. And they blended into his Hunter S. Thompson tattoo and turned into one giant, colorful work of art running down his back.
I didn’t notice all of that then though, I was busy talking about books and fucking. And it was good. And I played my records including the Doors album he brought over and left when he decided to drive away at 4am and say “I’m leaving this here so you’ll know I’ll be back”. Why would he say that? Is that arrogant? Is he being arrogant right now? I laughed.
He came back Saturday. I waited to hear from him all Friday and he didn’t call. Again. I texted him late even though my guy friend in LA told me to play it cool. But I couldn’t. So I texted him and he said he would like to hang out Sunday (why not Saturday?) and had been with his female roommate having a dance party and watching Gossip Girl. WHAT. That was crazy. What a shitty show. I know we were sore and moving around like train wrecks but that’s no excuse to ignore my texts and watch Gossip Girl with your female roommate. You think Twin Peaks is bad?? But all I said was texting was a bad way to communicate. And he said he was drunk. It was after midnight. That was it.
He texted in the morning. “What was I doing? Nothing, I’m boring. What about you?” He was playing music at a guitar shop nearby and would I like to come. So I took a quick shower and I put my short hair back in a little ponytail, and let a few hairs fall to the side. I put on my favorite nice girl pants and black sleeveless top that reminded me of something Audrey Hepburn would wear on a fair day. I came and sat quietly in the corner while he banged around on a guitar with a friend. After he asked if I wanted to take a hike with him and I said yes. So we met at my place and he decided we should just walk around the neighborhood. So we did. And we mumbled a few words and then it was quiet. And he said, “I have to admit I am little freaked about this herpes thing.” “Ok.” Giggle. Well “you weren’t freaked the other night.” “I wasn’t thinking the other night.” “Ok.” We passed a church. “What do you want to do then?” “We’ll work it out, dance with me.” And we danced a little and I kept kissing his soft lips. His beautiful lips. “You’re a lover not a dancer”. “Yes I am I can dance”. He shook his head and smiled. We walked on. In silence.
Back at my house the light was coming in the window and splashing on our hair and into my eyes. I frowned at him. He was in a hurry to leave again. I could feel him walking away. But he took my head and kissed me. “Your kiss is like red flowers that settle on the ponds in Japan” he said. “Your kiss is like a brick wall….after the kool-aid man bursts through it?” I said. Okay, that was terrible. I laughed. He kissed me and took his record, and left.
I wanted to wait, and be patient but I didn’t. I texted him to see if everything was okay. I called him to ask if there was a girl. Maybe his roommate. He insisted there was no one, but the herpes. And he needed time. Ok. Then…”Could I make you dinner on Sunday?” He had wanted to meet on Sunday, remember. He had plans now though. And that was that. So Wednesday would work. And I agreed but then I remembered that was my lady’s night, and I had canceled last week and he had never called. So I texted no, not Wednesday. Any other day but Wednesday. And he didn’t respond.
Monday night my mom invited me to a peace talk by the activist from Jerusalem, Gershon Baskin at the Center for the Arts. They gave us free wine and we sat in the black box theater, chatting with some of mom’s friends from church and local events in the community. An insider’s guide to what is happening in Gaza now. What are the chances for peace now? Gershon was passionate and maybe even a little shy. I liked him. He had driven in from Idaho Falls because the wind was so high flying into the valley. He was off to Ohio and Illinois after, and then back to Jerusalem. A long, fast journey. He talked for an hour and then at the end of the hour he mentioned relationships as a metaphor. They are a great way to understand Palestine and Israel because to make a relationship work both sides have to work on it, constantly. You both have to really want it. You wake in the morning working on it. You consider the other person. You give of yourself.
I looked to my side. I was sitting next to Jason. He was there too, I guess as a journalist and as a Jew. He sat down just before the lecture started, as I was talking about book clubs with my mom and her friend. And he said “Who invited you?” with a huge grin. Oh, my mom. I was a little surprised but I also had a strange feeling that I had heard his voice moments before and I think I looked at him without a glint of surprise. I motioned for him to take the seat next to me, and a moment later the talk started. I clutched my red wine, and he his white in a plastic cup. I tried to be relaxed and focused. My heart was loud, and I thought about couples at movie theaters slyly putting their arms out around each other. But I didn’t. I just sat there, my hands on the wine and then, when it was empty, clasped together on my lap. I picked at the hole on my jeans. At one point I leaned forward and I took his hand. He held it for a minute. And then he didn’t. And as the lecture ended, and Jason was checking his phone he whispered he had to leave, and everyone clapped and he ran off. But before he could I asked “Why didn’t you text?” “Because you bailed and I had nothing to say.” “I didn’t bail I just can’t do Wednesday, what about another day, you can’t meet another day?” “He said yes, let’s talk later”. And when the clapping started and he rose I kissed his cheek and he said he’d call me tomorrow. And he walked out. And he didn’t call, and that was the end of Indiana Jones.