Two beds

 

Bed number one.

I have been distracted since the split up of my marriage. There’s been a lot of time wasted thinking about the possibility of a relationship with a woman. Any kind of relationship. Preferably physical and close – that’s been on my mind.

But it’s been a long time. This situation is the plot line for comedies, tragedies, novels – the old guy back out in the world trying to find… something.

60 years of age? You are sexually invisible – all you’ve got is ‘just try’. I vacillate between just try and you look ridiculous.

But I’m not afraid – I’ve proved that.

She works in the neighborhood. Her name is Beth. When he shops there for his daughter she always smiles and laughs with him. Once, she commented that she’d seen him downtown at an event at the art gallery, but didn’t want to disturb him by coming over and saying hello. Over a year after that, he finds the courage to propose they enjoy a coffee together, suggests this and then slips a piece of paper with a phone number to her when he is paying for a birthday card.

Over the next couple of weeks he finds himself debating the merits of this action. He can see her face – insulted that he would do that – what kind of arrogance does it take to just push your phone number at someone? Who does he think he is? He’s much older, she would never be interested in any kind of conversation.

He sees her one evening, walking quickly past the shop window, accompanied by an older man – she is wearing a dress – uncomfortably – as if it’s not her natural apparel. He imagines her on a date with this person and they have intentionally paraded by the window in order that he may see them, understand that she is with someone and not available for people who throw phone numbers at her.

Or – in the history of relationships the ‘old fool’ has never morphed into an accessible alternative for a young, vibrant woman – in her prime and seeking, in any capacity, the company of a man.

Later in the month he sees her sweeping the sidewalk in front of her store. He hesitates and then calls her name and approaches.

Hey – I want to apologize for throwing my phone number at you. I hope it wasn’t rude of me to do that.

Her smile is genuine.

No – not at all.

Later he will try to remember how close she stepped to him – he will try to relive the moment to understand if she was interested still, or just being polite. He remembers her stepping closer. Just how close exactly? She has a great smile and it was right in front of him. How close? What meaning was there in the movement, her demeanor?

I would like to have coffee sometime – if you text me maybe we can set something up.

I’m really a home body. I don’t get out much at all.

In his mind he wants to assure her that just one coffee is all it takes to make a new friend.

Jesus, I hibernate year around. I don’t go anywhere. It never hurts to make a new friend though.

Please, call or text sometime. Maybe we can just chat.

This interaction, at the outset, makes him feel good all day. She wasn’t stewing or fuming at his arrogance. It seems to him now that she was happy with his action, his approach on this day – and that maybe in the future she will contact him.

What was the last thing she said? He can’t remember exactly, but it was a reassuring comment about his behavior – an assurance that she wasn’t upset by it. That’s all he has – a vague feeling that he didn’t do anything wrong.

Still, it hasn’t happened and he will circle these thoughts and feelings weighing the faults and possibilities – this is his natural state – has he done something wrong? Or is this a normal discussion between two people who find each other interesting?

She has his phone number. He gave his phone number to someone he would like to talk to and she didn’t outright reject him as an old fool.

This is a step in the right direction.

 

Her name is Monique – she called the shop two weeks ago to ask about shaving gear. She owns, lives on, and captains a boat in the Caribbean – eco-tourism – she champions and demonstrates methods of living modestly and with care to people who charter her vessel. We talk about shaving devices – she wants to get away from the wasteful cartridges and into single blade shaving and she asks, ‘Do women ever pose this question – how about lady parts? How are these at the delicate areas?’

‘You can trim down to anything from a landing strip to a desert island. Your choice.’

He can still hear her laughing.

‘The same with a face – it’s all about what blade you use and how you treat the skin after you shave. I’m sure you’ll treat that with respect.’

He can’t remember the rest of the conversation, but she says she’ll be in in a couple of days to check out the possibilities.

He wasn’t waiting and he’d forgotten about the whole thing. It left his mind with a ‘whatever’ – she must have come by and got geared out by someone else. No one mentioned it.

Weeks later – He did a double-take at the door when she showed up. A statuesque strawberry blonde woman, freckles, orange and green paisley pants – she opened the door and he was right there. He doesn’t even know why he said it, but he did – he said, ‘you’re the sailor.’

In retrospect – that should’ve been enough. That anyone could be that aware – a two week-old phone call – connecting someone’s demeanor and presence to their reality after a two week span without any hint or clue – when you think about it – that’s fucking impressive. That should be enough. And now it’s more interesting to him than anything else to do with this remembrance. It feels like it’s done; that he did something required of him – no reward, no acknowledgment pending. he was meant to recognize that woman when she came in the door. There is a reason he was a foot away and on his way out when she opened it. He was supposed to be right there, and he was supposed to take one look at her and say – ‘you’re the sailor.’

They went from there – a ton of flirting, a ton of innuendo, standing that small bit closer than people normally do.

‘I’m pretty sure God wants me to show you how to shave your pussy,’ that’s the only line he didn’t go to, but it recalls her first query and it’s the reason she committed to coming into the store. That was a decision – that was her choice.

That’s how it went. It felt good.

However – a text-trail later:

Plans tonight? I’m off at 8:15 or so. Love to talk shaving.          

Doug I assume?

Absolutely.         

I am booked and with 8 days to departure I am on the count down. And the panic button has been engaged. There’s no way I can meet. 🙁

Lol. Understood. Well – if you find yourself with any spare moments I’m a great   resource for all manner of exchange. Conversation and otherwise. In any event – you  have amazing energy – it’s a pleasure.          

Thank you! And that was my energy at hangover speed!!!! Imagine when I am full on!  

I’ll let my mind go to work on that. 

Radio silence thereafter.

 

Bed number two.

Symptoms had been with me for over a year. The medical community makes suggestions and the individual is left to make the appointment. Over time the urgency for attention grows – the symptoms become something you can’t ignore.

After only a short period of time with a colonoscopy appointment booked, and the documentation – the preparation process in my mind – I began to see my digestive tract from mouth to anus as a clear pipe – not human – but functional and neglected – about to be cleaned, polished and examined for wear. That there has been blood at the bottom end and it’s possible that the end of my life might be hiding in the works somewhere didn’t give me any trouble: It’s just a pipe and it’s time to run some machinery through it. Let’s give this a good polishing on the inside shall we? It’s been far too long.

And then when I discovered that there was going to be a reckoning with the reality of surgery – my mind was made up for me:  The surgeon intimated there was a five percent chance the procedure might interfere with my ability to fuck. I elected right there and then, with no further discussion that I was going to ride that pony one more time. Just in case.

And that was the deciding factor.

You awaken outside the operating room propped up in bed – oxygen hose at your nostrils, covered, in pain. They explain the patient-controlled analgesia – the button that delivers morphine directly to your bloodstream. They explain where you are, expectations, and then wander off. You look at yourself – remember the preparation, the morning and arrival at the hospital and then you look under the sheets. No colostomy bag, thank God. Catheter in – black and blue cock and balls. I mean black – like they’ve been beaten. Your skin from mid chest to your knees is sickly yellow and green, and where the disinfectant is still present – orange.

They took out a piece of large intestine. A ten centimeter piece of the descending/sigmoid colon. They went in through two holes (with two smaller guide holes) and used instruments to cut, extract the bad piece and then put back together by various means the left-over severed ends.

Everything went well. In fact it couldn’t have gone better. No temporary colostomy bag, no problems with the surgery at all. In fact it was perfect in every way. No radiation, no chemo required.

And six weeks later there you are.

Getting back the complete use of your butt-hole is the only goal. Here’s something. I’m going to walk you through part of this problem. It’s a strange feeling.

You know it’s a circle. Your asshole. Yes – it’s a circle – a sphincter. A hole controlled by muscles. In this instance you’re waiting for the entire thing to wake up. Imagine that of the three hundred sixty degrees of this circle, only 270 are actually functional. So, looking down – from twelve noon through three – then through six and all the way to nine is functioning. It’s all there, you can feel it. But from nine back up to noon – forty five degrees of arc – is not really responding. It just doesn’t feel like it’s there. So that when you evacuate – the most unsettling feeling —the area you can’t feel isn’t really trying, and the product you’re evacuating tends to head in that direction – and disconcertingly will feel like it’s being applied against the buttock on that side before gravity takes hold of it and forces it to fall. What. The. Fuck.

When you wake up post surgery, it’s impossible to walk. Then it’s possible to walk but it’s impossible to shit. Then it’s possible to fart, it’s possible to walk, but it’s impossible to shit. Everything that moves from stomach to knees causes nauseating pain. Like childbirth I suppose.

Eventually you eat. Eventually your body resumes digestive function – fully and completely. Eventually you go home and sit in your apartment and wait. Then you walk and you read and you wonder; what does this look like for companionship of any sort?

 

Bed number one.

The answer is prostitution. That is the answer.

I imagine it. And then I try to justify it. I do that by typing the experience out – I name her Michelle and ask the story to unfold – a prostitute and my impressions and experience – and immediately there begins in my head a conversation with someone describing the event and forgiving themselves in explanation.

It looks like talking to myself, but it’s really the act of seeking forgiveness in advance – seeking permission. It goes like this; I’m sitting on a bench on the bike path, reading, Kate comes by on the way home from work (we work together – enjoy each others conversation). She stops and I say, “Katherine the Great Hair and eyes to die for, how are you?”

She’s taken aback a little – we use our proper names each time we meet – Katherine, Douglas. It’s a kind of joke, and I came up with the Katherine the Great hair for obvious reasons – adding the ‘eyes to die for’ when I typed her name into my phone contacts.

Anyway the conversation goes like this, with some kind of introductory banter and I honestly don’t know how in my head it gets to this place and maybe that’s symptomatic of something, but it always starts with me explaining.

How are you at secrets? I’ve been burned at work before and I’m not going there again. I need to know I can trust you.

You can trust me.

I have an agreement – a woman friend – working girl. She’s almost 30 I think. That’s where I go when the need arises.

A prostitute?

I’m sexually invisible Katherine. Really – who do you know who would be interested in this?

She answers and the conversation continues until I’m explaining my entire life and the breakup with Erin and moving out, and all of that becomes prelude to us sitting in my apartment having tea.

Absurd – isn’t it?

That’s how you take a situation you’ve allowed to develop and rationalize it into normal.

I do that frequently with this one. It happens in a similar way. First there is the idea of someone finding out. Loved ones, friends, the people at work. Then there is an interior discussion and a jury of my thought-peers goes to work on the situation. On the judgment.

There are hearings – a rehash of life and the circumstances I’ve either invented or let happen that would have contributed to the current fuck-up. There is a piece by piece dismantling of my moral character – in an attempt to find an answer to the question – how could anyone let this happen?

There is alarm at the vehemence of the attack of me upon myself and then there is the best part – I concoct a reality in which my behavior is not only respectable, but revered. The independent thinker, the straight-line through truth that no one else seems to be able to find. The isolated go-forward bravery that carries a certain type of human being outside the capsule and allows them to flourish where no one has gone before.

I vacillate between being a ghost with no conscience and a moral pathfinder.

Physical need becomes a distraction pretty much monthly. Here are the points that I pondered;

Urgency – stop the cycle – I feel a lot of time is directed at obtaining gratification in sex. If it’s an addiction then no amount of satisfaction would help. But if it’s just human need, maybe I can sate it periodically and get on with the more important pieces. Even the writing of this steals time away form other endeavors – it occupies my time with attention directed at the sexual – which is the crux of the problem.

Convenient – eliminate the hunt. Relationships come with expectations. If there is a relationship that exists to satisfy a persons physical desires only – that takes those moments and delivers satisfaction enough to forget the need – without obligation thereafter – that is convenience.

My age – sexually invisible. So – ego? Insecurity? Why do I identify with that label? It was delivered by my sister in conversation – I don’t remember the context, but I latched onto the term. It describes perfectly my place in the circles I frequent. Work. Streets. Shops. Everywhere. I believe it suits the feedback I’m receiving from everyone I interact with. Walking, talking, selling, chatting, no matter the intercourse – there is an unspoken aura – you are beyond the age I consider physically attractive. And there is no further delving into intellect, kindness, empathy, social skill, or any other attribute. Visual physical age is the arbiter and the judge. I am sexually invisible.

Aesthetic quality – all the reasoning needed to explain this piece is outlined pretty well in the point made above. Physical attraction for me exists in people younger than myself. This is an interesting look in the mirror.

The prostitute/client relationship presupposes inequity in the exchange – and it solves that by replacing attention on one side with remuneration.

Women’s objections as imagined by my privileged middle-aged male mind; she sells her sex for cash! This is an abomination.

Others sell their lives or souls. She only sells her sex – keeps the rest. I remember going to a Christmas service with my girlfriend. We were twenty years of age, and at a point in our relationship where co-habitation was still fresh. She was marriage and family oriented – always suggesting family activities – no bars, no nightclubs. We were in a back row and I thought it was beautiful – the pageantry – the feeling of celebration and inclusion. Church. When it came time to stand and sing I didn’t hesitate – I have a strong voice and the crowd was vocal – participatory – it didn’t feel intimidating at all to let myself sing. She squeezed my hand and smiled up at me.

Later that night when we were home in bed she was particularly aggressive – I was treated to a long, slow session of oral attention. And to this day I’m convinced that among the strange ways in which God works – the reward of a blowjob for singing his praises in church is the finest on the list. We never did get to church again before the disintegration of the relationship and I didn’t receive that kind of attention from her for the rest of our time together.

It’s unsettling to think that she was the type to use sex and desire in ways that would advance her agenda – but I’m sure similar examples aren’t uncommon. It’s likely learned behavior.

It’s interesting that since booking an appointment with Brittany in order to pay her for sex, I was almost obsessed. Not sitting with a hard-on in anticipation, but the thought that I was about to get royally fucked wasn’t far from the surface.

I felt astoundingly aware. Hyper aware. It’s anticipation. It’s like a some great ritual is immediately pending. Of course – it is; participation in which I am the considered center. The kernel of existence worshiped. The simple blessed melding of human with purpose – separated from sacred defined obligation and distilled to its physical essence. Ecstasy. Touch and sensation. Human right. Fucking without the judgment of a wife or society. Without the obligation of explanation and without moral ambiguity.

Brittany,  that’s what she’s called.

That was amazing.

You are an absolute pleasure.

I bet you say that to some of the boys

I want to book your first hour this coming Sunday. Stockings or stay-ups please. No bra – your blue robe. You’re right – you’re addictive.

Haha ok 10:30?

Perfect. Oh – and panties please – I like to remove them. Xo

Done.

You have to be OK with the fact that you’ve expended solid income on a fleeting sexual experience long after the thrill is gone.

I can still see that beautiful clean-shaven pussy both fabric covered and naked and feel my closed mouth on it in a kiss – so it kind of offsets the feeling of wasteful indulgence.

When ever I need a hit of interest throughout the day all I have to do is picture Brittany at the entrance – dressed per my request – anticipate holding a breast in my palm and moving my body against her. That’s enough. It’s more than enough.

Universally though – there is something else – I want to see this in film or print. Like validation or fame. Or forgiveness. Perhaps I still judge – either the action or the need for it. And the price – she’s luxury in sex – she values herself as such.

I wonder if I’ve noted this before – loneliness looks different to me now. When I was young lonely was something to act on. Go out. Look for something. Get with friends, try to find a woman. Now loneliness comes up differently and I wonder if that’s a product of age, or a product of solitude. Sometimes my mind will wander and I’ll daydream – like I always have. But my daydreams used to put me in some heroic place – a Don Quixote type of character – doing good and being recognized. Validation. That’s no longer the case. If I daydream now – let my mind wander – it’s usually in aid of nothing in particular – and I’m less inclined to see myself. But if I do – it’s as an isolated man, as someone who has done the things I have done, loved the people I have loved and come to this place – I’ll imagine people around me – telling me it’s all OK, and then I start to feel a sadness that’s almost overwhelming. I think that’s my loneliness now.

But I made some decisions. I made some calls and texts and I went forward with action that suited my constitution, my needs and my conscience.

It all worked out I think.