Today is going to be the same I can see. Only, today, the sun isnt glowing its usual muted yellow. Its much brighter, more of a lemon yellow. And even though its only 9 am the campus is warmer than ever. People seem chipper and the ducks have waddled their way from the lagoons and started socailizing. Yes, today is like all the rest.
Except, I will give blood today. Ive never done that before. It wont hurt, however, Im still nervous. It'll be alright though. I will get a cookie at the end. Or maybe a juice box. I dont give blood....ever.
Today, the trees are smiling. I want to be let in only the joke. And the winds whip through me...and I have an orgasm. Light and natural.
The bridges are crowed with people. Eveyone is out. They know it is beautiful. Today is like all the rest.
You can tell that by 3 pm it will be blazing. We will be hot. But we will stand by the edges of the lagoon and the ducks will engage in wild horse play and their wings will ruffle and we will get wet. Then we could be cool.
Everyone is out today because today it is just like all the rest. And tomorrow will be like all the rest.
The man sits on Rose's couch too easily. He's too used to making strange living rooms his home. She clears her throat and turns to the kitchen table.
"In here," she says. She's not going to be intimidated by his notepad filled with numbers. There's nothing to numbers. It's all one through ten. She can count, and she knows better than to be scared of some man who counts for a living.
He gets up and joins her at the table.
"This shouldn't take long," he tells her. "We are just going to go over your expenses. Do you have your receipts?" He has a degree in accounting, she guesses, which he probably thinks is math. It isn't. The word counting is right there, inside it. They all think that it's math.
Rose has a book of math exercises in the closet, hidden beneath the porno magazines her old boyfriend left. She hides it under the smut, because nobody's going to keep digging after they find the spread open legs and the photos of semen tracing arcs onto hungry vacant eyes. It's safer, hidden under everyday filth.
She never got higher than a C- in high school math, and that was good enough for the school boards, and good enough for her. It wasn't math, either. He probably got an A. The first time she ever saw math, real math, was in that used bookstore, when she opened an old book and let her breath catch inside of her. The symbols were a maze on the page, an incantation. It was a coded message that sent electricity through her whole body, and she put her own meaning into it, right there.
She stands up from the table, and motions for him to do the same.
"They're in my closet." she says, and she meets his eyes in a way she knows looks good.
In the closet, she pulls out the box of receipts, which is right on top. Then she pulls out the magazines, one by one, setting them beside the door of the closet. He eyes them, but doesn't say anything. She moves slower, making her gestures more pronounced, exaggerated, like the plot points in a dirty movie. When she reaches the math book, the book of exercises, her fingers brush against the embossed cover. She turns and makes a pout and in a small voice, she says "Do you know much about math?"
"I did my graduate studies in number theory," he says. It's unexpected, and there's suddenly a cold spot in her stomach, but she makes herself smile. "I like to think I'm pretty good." he says.
Rose pulls the book out, where he can see it.
"Then maybe you can help me," she says. She opens the book to the middle, and takes a marker from her pocket. She passes it to him, letting her fingers linger on his, and then pulls her hand away.
She rolls up her sleeve, and there is an equation written there, in black. It's a series of symbols and numbers. There are Roman and Greek letters, all together, strung along a line that begins on the inside of her elbow. It is from a random page in the book. She has no idea what it means.
"That's not quite what I studied," he says, and she knows that this is the smile that he considers his charming smile. This is the one he pulls out in bars, or when he's being introduced to women he knows are single. She smiles back, and touches the top button of her blouse with her other hand.
"If you can solve this one, there are more." she says, and he looks again at the equation. He looks at it more seriously, this time, taking her hand to hold the arm steady. She knows the answer, symbol for symbol, but has no idea what it means, either. She knows what it means to her. It's the first in a series of locks, lines of defences.
This is how it works. He'll struggle with the first question, but solve it. He'll solve the second and third, too. But they never make it past the fourth, and she sleeps with them anyway, because she feels bad. Because she's worried that no one ever will.
He reaches out for the book, but she shakes her head no, and holds it closer to herself. He has a tight grin on his face.
"It's been a while," he says, and she nods. There are symbols there that he would never have studied in finance, she's sure, and the farther beneath her clothes he gets, the less like counting the math would become. Eventually it would be nothing but magic to him, and he would give up.
Only, he doesn't give up. He solves the first equation, writing the answer onto her palm, the soft tip of the marker moving with fast confidence. She pulls up the other sleeve, and he does it again, faster this time. He's smiling now, and she undoes the front of her blouse.
"I hope you don't think this is going to make me any easier on your taxes," he laughs.
There are five equations on her chest, all drawn carefully with the black marker. She doesn't even have to look down to know that he's writing out the answers properly, symbol for symbol, perfect. His handwriting is like hers, and he draws the symbols with the same care.
When he's done, he looks up from where he is knelt before her belly, and she nods. He undoes the first button of her jeans, and begins to pull the zipper down.
"Give me the marker," she says, and he does. With both hands free, he pulls her pants to the ground, and her legs are naked and unmarked. He reaches for the waistband of her panties but Rose shakes her head.
She takes the cap off the marker, and she begins to draw symbols on her legs, down one and up the other. This isn't an equation from the book, but one that just pours out of her. She's drawing from instinct, from her heart, and when she's done she passes the marker to the man. If he can't solve this one, there won't be any pity sex. She won't send him home with a consolation prize. This isn't counting anymore, and he can't just turn to his calculator for the answer. This is math.
Today I woke up pretty late. I had stayed up til three in the morning from watching movies, The Talented Mr. Ripley were among my favorites. After the movie was over I pulled out Lullaby, a novel by Chuck Palahniu and finished off the last twenty pages. The book was pretty good, though it paled in comparison to his best seller, Fight Club. Afterwards, I turned on the Talented Mr. Ripley soundtrack and had sweet dreams. I felt so clean and relaxed in my bed, under those cold sheets, naked. I felt like I was being kissed all over.
I love it when I have the room to myself. Theresa wont be home for another day, so theres still plenty of playtime left. Anyway, I let the twang of jazz and vocals swim through my head, my subconscious...and I had wonderful dreams. I was awake by 1 pm, pretty standard time for me and had a bowl of cereal...two bowls. Then, I started with my music again. My ipod had been running all night, about 9 hours and still, it had 2 more left in it. Im glad I replaced my battery over the summer. It runs so lovely now.
While I listened to my Velvet Goldmine Soundtrack I did some corrections on my German I homework. German, its so easy, but it always takes me two hours to do my corrections and regular assignments. I enjoyed it though. I stumped alot of the time, but thats what I lvoe about German, I can always figure it out. So, things went smoothly for some hours, and I got alot of work done.
At around 3 o'clock I hopped into the shower, got dressed in my long black peasant skirt and creame colored blouse and was heading out the door within 20 mintues with, my back pack stuffed with my big floral pattern covered sketch book and a box a fine and broad "Prima Color" markers. I also had my green blanket, a book The Catcher in the Ryeand some chex mix. I took the bus around to the art building and crosed the street as soon as I got off. There, on the grass directly across from the massive pond. I doodled and read until it was so dark that I couildnt see anymore. Then I packed up and started my trek home which was beautiful.
Im growing as I speak. I can feel my legs, my arms, my fingersnails, hair.....everything is growing and I love it. Im so aware. I can feel ever fiber that touches my sunkissed skin. Im so brown. Mmmmm. I love chacolate. Im a chacolate fudge bar...with arms, toes and fingers. Im gonna love myself like I never have before. Im gonna make up my mind right now that I am more than just my body, my hair, my classes. I am so much more and I know I dont even realize what I am yet. Im gonna stop comparing myself to everyone, trying to feel better because I dont have the faults they do. Feeling worse because I dont have intrinsic qualities that I think they do. Its ok! Im brilliant. Im beautiful. Im happy. I am loved. And these are the kinds of self affirming things that I will start believing everyday. Always
My problem is that I can't come unless Johnny Cash is playing. I can't orgasm without the sound of his voice in my ears. When I do hear him, I can't control myself. I'm afraid to drink in country bars because when they play a Johnny Cash song, I end up in the ladies room with a stranger, straining to hear the music from the dance floor. He doesn't even have to be singing. I heard him give an interview on the radio once, when I was eighteen. Laying on my stomach in the living room, I found myself sliding back and forth against the carpet, my hand underneath me. The sound of him answering questions was as good as the albums I kept hidden under my bed. It possessed me, it wet me. I knew it was wron wrong, but I couldn't help it.
His voice is rough sex.
My mother came into the living room after that interview, right at the beginning of a song. I didn't see her as the music swelled and I rubbed myself and came, my eyes closed and bunches of shag carpet clutched in my fingers. She stood for a minute as I rocked in time to the music, and she said "I don't know how you can like this shit, honey. It's so rural." It would be perfect if I could listen to Johnny Cash while I made love, but David doesn't seem to like it. He turns the CD player off before he comes to bed. And what can I say? Should I curl my fingers in his chest hair, press myself against him and whisper "Please?" How do I tell him "David, I can't come," without it being a big deal? Without him knowing that I've faked it.Without him being jealous. It isn't like I'm cheating on him.
Johnny Cash is dead.
And David is very much alive. He's been at the library all day, and he smells like old newspapers at dinner. While we eat he talks and talks about Neal Ball, who in 1909 turned the first unassisted triple play. I nod and I plan what I'm going to say, word for word. I have to tell him. But admitting sexual hangups to a man is never as funny in real life as it is in your head. In my head I say "Hey David, remember all those times I came when we *weren't* listening to Johnny Cash? Do you remember all those orgasms?" A pause for effect, and then "About that," And what a great story that would make. Even if he left me, which I'm certain he will. It's a preemptive strike. Sure, I'm a pervert, but you can't even make a girl come. Of course, it doesn't work out like that at all. I can plan and plan, but when we're sitting side by side on the edge of my bed, our clothes pulled open, all that comes out is mumbled nonsense. He has his cold hand up my front, tracing the wire of my bra. David. Indie rock boy with the tight shirts and baseball card collection. David, who talks about sex using sports metaphors that are romantic instead of shallow, that turn sex into a game of heros and legends. David, who has never said "this was so good, did you come, I came, did you really come?" who has never said "That was the best I've ever had," but who remembers sex as a series of plays, fouls, surprise victories and catches, describes them with veneration, his dark eyes intense, sincere. I can't bring myself to be cruel to him, even if I am scared, even if that's the smart thing to do. So it just spills out. "It isn't you, it's me, I just can't, without, I mean, I love you, I love your body, and being with you is wonderful, and I don't even think he's sexy, you know, he's just got this voice that, it fills me up and I, it really isn't you, ever since I was a little kid I've been obsessed, you know?And it's the same with other men, it isn't just you," and as his brow furrows and he pulls his hand out from beneath my shirt, I say "I can't come unless we're listening to Johnny Cash."Then David is standing, pulling his pants up, fastening the button. He turns away, and it feels like my stomach is sucking in air. But then he's putting on some music, smiling. "Well," he says as the first trumpeting notes of the song fill the room. I want to say something but instead I close my eyes to the music, and he sits on the bed behind me. His legs wrap around me and he's lifting my shirt. "Love," he whispers in my ear, his voice soft as Johnny Cash fills the room. "Is a burning thing." And it's working. It isn't Johnny Cash I'm hearing, but David. It's David's hands on my body. "And it makes" It's David fumbling at my skirt, pulling it down. And I'm turning to his neck, his shoulders. Pulling his shirt off while he sings along, his voice a little louder now, "A fiery ring." He's watching me. "Bound," he says, "By wild desire." I've got his pants, pulling them down to his calves. He's got his lips against my ear, his breath hot. "I fell in," he says, "to a ring of fire."