Thursday, July 17, 2008

picnic in a vacant lot

I gave him an address on a note card. "Meet me at-" I left a time and a place. "Dress, Formal". I had seen him at the restaurant and I liked the look of him. There was perhaps a moment of flirtation. I wrote the note and had it delivered to him by one of the other staff. High romance.

I thought about him all afternoon as the food was cooking. A lasagnia. A dish that was easy to transport, It would stay hot, wrapped in a tea towel, and if the boy didn't turn up I could take it all back home and we could dine on it for several nights. We didn't have enough money to be wasteful with food.

It all fit into the one basket, two plates, the cuttlery, the food, the wine and two dozen candles. There was a bit of work in setting the candles in their paperbags. I had to clear away long grass, chip packets, an abandoned shopping trolley. It looked quite pretty when it was done, the picnic blanket in the centre of a flickering glow. I had worn an evening gown and heels. The heels sank into the loose earth when I walked. There were insects. I checked my watch and poured myself a glass of wine. He wouldn't be coming. He was late. I had decided that I should eat my portion anyway and watch the stars. A picnic for one in a vacant lot. I had brought a book and I would read by candlelight.

I was therefore surprised to see him, dressed in a suit and with a remarkably comic bow tie. The bow tie should have been a warning for me but it wasn't. He just looked quite beautiful and he loomed above me, looking at the world of candlelight that I had created and he had a good laugh. He told me I was completely mad and I poured him a glass of wine.

He wanted to sleep with my flatmate.

Of course there was the romance of the situation, some kissing, the furtive squeeze of a breast. The vacant lot was only a few houses away from our own and we threw the blanket on top of the dirty plates and kicked dust onto the candles, watching the scraps of paperbag catch fire and drift up towards the sky. The air was alight with hope and there was laughter and holding hands.

She met us at the door. I had forgotten my key and she opened the door in her nightgown. It was a little scrap of white fabric and she looked like an angel with her perfect body and her halo of brushed blonde.

I felt him shift and he let my hand slip away. His whole body turned towards her as if she were the fireplace on a cold night. My fingers caught chill and I rubbed them against my thigh to warm them.

Bad to worse.

There is a kind of man who will not use a condom, a generation of boys just a little older than myself who were unmoved by the vision of the grim reaper. We lie naked beside each other and the condom is a little flaccid thing, drooping between my fingers which is some small indication of the evening ahead of us. I am exhausted by negotiation and I let him slip inside me just for a short while. I am exhausted by my own efforts. The note writing, the cooking, the set-decoration for the vacant lot, the condom negotiation. I lie beneath him with my knees drawn up to my chest and my toes pressing against his nipples and all the joy has gone out of the thing. I push him away with my feet. There is the wet sound of our parting. I nestle down to finish the job with my mouth but there is no reciprical gesture. Instead he tells me that he is impressed by the idea that I could suck his penis when it is ripe with the taste of my own juices. Of course he has not tasted my juices.

"So tell me about your flatmate."

Perhaps this is when I begin to hate him. I pull away from his body which is firm and long and un-haired. A perfect body and a golden mane fanning out on the red satin pillow.

"Are you interested in my flatmate?"

"I'm just asking." he says and pushes his hips closer to me. I pull away.

"She's beautiful," I tell him and he agrees. I can feel him on me, his aftershave smeared onto my chest, his spit on my lips, a smear of his pre-come on my stomach. I watch his perfect penis bounce excitedly at the mention of my flatmate.

"She's still up. You could go talk to her, she'll probably make you a cup of tea."

He is climbing into his suit pants, pushing his erection down under the belt of it, dragging his collared shirt up and over his head. He stands on my bed, dishevelled and beautiful.

"You want a cup of tea?"

I shake my head.

He leaves the door open as if he is expecting to find his way back inside it. I close the door and lie back on thee bed and think about the little sparks of burning paper bag floating up into the night sky. There is something underneath me and I scratch up a wormy withered condom. I pull it back like a sling-shot and snap it up towards the pressed metal ceiling. It arcs up, not quite managing to hit the roof and falls, limp and vulnerable to the bed beside me.