I was a Sociology and American Studies undergrad. They were married English professors in love with other people. For him it was Hegel; she adored Faulkner. We sipped, smoked, spoke incoherent, drunken French and were very, very cool. Eventually I moved in. We kept a huge bottle of Jim Beam in the pantry. My brother sold us pot.
One Christmas vacation, my friend Dave and I were watching a movie, getting high and eating taquitos. The telephone rang, and I answered.
He: "May I please speak with Beth?"
Me: "She's out of town for the break. She'll be back January 3rd."
He: "Oh- my birthday!"
Me: "Who is this??"
He: "Who is this?"
And so began my love affair with Craig, a consultant in Detroit, twenty years my senior. That first night we spoke for seven hours. Poor Dave finished the movie, put the dishes into the dishwasher, said goodnight and left. I switched from smoking pot to drinking bourbon midway through the conversation. By the end of it, the birds were singing and Craig and I, amazed at each others' wit and charm, knew we needed to meet.
What started out as late night phone conversations turned into a first meeting in Cleveland (City of Light; City of Magic...). He wanted to meet in a neutral place, so he let me pick the city. Chicago would have been the obvious choice between our respective cities.... but I'd already been to Chicago.
He picked me up at the airport. He had seen photos of me by then; I declined when he offered to send me his. I was already in love with his brilliance and with the idea of an intellectual attraction. And well, you know... Photos would just be so conventional.
He was good looking. Thank god.
We drove to the hotel, where he had reserved two rooms. When we walked in, the room was dark and the message light on the phone was flashing. He called the front desk and went downstairs. I was alone, nervous in the room. There was a bottle of bourbon and an ice bucket. I poured myself a drink, shaking. I started to relax as the bourbon made my cheeks flush. Craig came back holding an envelope with my handwriting. Inside was a note:
"In case I haven't told you yet, I'm having a good time." ~M
He took my glass. kissed my mouth. We fucked for three days.
Back home, my friend Jackson picked me up at the airport. We talked about my weekend with my new lover. In the car, I asked him if he'd ever had anal. He said no.
I smiled, "You should try it sometime...."