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Je veux être la fille avec la plupart de gâteau. Regardez-moi dans la glace.
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21 January 2006


Bitter. Sweet.

It was the morning of my last day. As usual I woke up before Jefferson. Normally I would have gotten out of bed, brushed my teeth and gone to make coffee.

I got up, brushed my teeth and came back to bed, curling up in front of him, his breath on my shoulder.

As I lay there, my eyes scanned my side of the room. I made a mental list of everything that would need to be packed later that afternoon.

You know how you get used to seeing something so often that your brain stops processing it as something new and just sort of glazes over it, like an invitation that’s been stuck on the refrigerator for weeks because you didn’t want to forget it, but you do because you’ve stopped ‘seeing’ it?

My things kind of became like that.

I didn’t want to have to take them back…the special, glycerin-free lube for my sensitive pussy, the knitting project in the chair, the shoes underneath it, my tweezers in the bathroom.

I sighed.

When Jefferson woke, I turned and smiled at him. He put a hand on the side of my face, tracing my eyebrow with his thumb.

He got up and walked to the bathroom.

I stayed in bed, pulling the duvet up under my chin. It was cold.

He didn’t make coffee, either.

Neither of us spoke as he moved inside me, pinning my wrists above my shoulders.

These ‘last days’ are getting harder.

It usually takes a good several days once I return home to get back into my own head, to put ‘Jefferson and Madeline’ back into the place where it needs to be in order for me to be a sane, productive person. This time it would take more than a week.

When you’ve spent your life eating margarine and someone offers you butter, you think, “Can I really do this? Can I actually eat butter? What about the calories? The fat? Is it worth it?” And then you try it and damn, if it isn’t the best goddamned thing and so worth it and you slather it onto every available surface, cooking and baking with it—you become a connoisseur of all things butter. But then there’s a shortage of butter and you have to go back to margarine and we all know that margarine doesn’t satisfy like butter and you can’t help but find yourself dreaming just a little about how nice it will be when you finally have butter again.

Butter makes you feel satisfied, full and happy. Butter knows what you need and it can deliver; it doesn’t have to change what it is. Butter understands you and it knows what it’s doing as it melts its way over your tongue and into your heart. It’s a tough act for any other spread to follow.

At the beginning of this day, I was wondering when I would be cooking with butter again.

My stomach growled. It was nearly lunchtime and we’d made plans to meet Marla Jo downtown near her office for a bite. We dressed quickly and walked outside, pulling our shoulders up against the bitter winds.

We were quiet on the train. My eyes leaked a little.

We saw Marla, sitting at the bar waiting. She waved us over and we kissed hello.

I was again struck by the Marla Package.

She is such a girl…she’s a doll. Hot as fuck, flirty clothes, kick-ass curves, upswept hair and impeccable makeup. She's so pretty I could just like, look at her all day.

Then she opens her mouth and there’s this awesome voice, this Brooklyn accent, switching from throaty laugh to conspiratorial whisper to coy teasing.

Yeah, Marla’s a girl.

She is also one tough motherfucking bitch.

I wouldn’t want to get on her bad side (not that I think she has one….)

We talked about the previous evening with Donny. She made a face.

“Eew…ick. Aw, yuuuck! He’s such an asshole! Ugh!”

“Yeah, but I knew what to expect, thanks to yours and Dacia’s experiences with him. So I guess I owe you one.”

“And, like, he didn’t do anything with you, right?”

“Actually, he finger-fucked my ass,” I stage-whispered, sure that the firefighters sitting behind us would like to hear some details.

“No, really?! Wow, I’m impressed!”

“Eh, it was interesting,” I said.

We told her about the Perverts’ Dinner Party at Viviane’s, which she had been out of town for. She told us stories about her sex life while we fed our faces with lunch specials of soup and sandwiches and breadsticks.

Marla, not missing an opportunity to put a phallus between everyone's lips, had ordered extra.

As the lunch hour ended Marla needed to get back to her office. As she was reapplying lipstick a text message flashed on her phone. She laughed.

“It’s my co-worker. She wants me to bring her ice cream.”

“Now? Today? It’s freezing!”

Marla shrugged, “Yeah, well, girl likes ice cream, what can I tell you?”

We bundled up and trudged back outside, kissing outside the ice cream store, promising to write.

By the time we got back to the apartment there was little time left. Jefferson sat on the bed and watched as I rolled clothing and packed it tightly together. Every so often I would look at him and we would smile sadly.

I was walking around the apartment, double checking that I hadn’t forgotten anything, not stopping to talk, not stopping to sit. I was anxious. I paced, feeling out of control.

He took my hand on one of my many passes through the bedroom. My bags were packed, set up together under the window. There was nothing left to do.

My eyes welled because I didn’t want to look at him and I didn’t want him to touch me because I might just disintegrate and blow away like a vampire that's been burned by the sun but it doesn’t matter because I do want to be held and touched and loved and missed and even though it hurts (it hurts) I want to feel it.

He pulled me to the bed, my head onto his chest. I instinctively looked at the clock. An hour left.

We'd spoken less on that day than on any other day we’ve known each other, I think. Less even, than the days when I email to ask about his lunchdate, or he IMs wanting me to translate something into French. We’d started the morning in silence. Lunch with Marla had been conversation with Marla. By the time we were lying together in his bed neither one of us felt the need to speak.

What could we say?

Platitudes and reassurances that “We’ll see each other soon, don’t worry baby,” when the next visit is always uncertain don't serve any purpose but to annoy and frustrate.

“I love you.”

That we know. That’s not changing. As much as we say it it's not strong enough. Does a word become more powerful the more you repeat it? Or does it lose its significance, become commonplace?

I still haven't found out. But I keep testing.

We lay there, wrapped up, feeling sad to be parting, lucky to know one another.

I needed to be naked.

I sat up, laying my clothes across the chair. He kicked off his pj bottoms and took me back, arms tangling together over bones and flesh and that desperate closeness that has to end despite no one wanting it to.

We made love. We held on tight. I shuddered and bucked in his arms.

At the last possible moment we kissed goodbye. It was so cold and I didn’t want a streetcorner fare-thee-well. I left the apartment, exited the building and crossed the street to catch a taxi headed uptown. I got the first one I flagged.


Blogger Viviane said...

I don't know what to say....

You're so right. Why eat margarine once you've known really butter?

bisous. cher soeur.

Anonymous H said...

Oh sweetie, I know how you feel.

And the irony is that margarine is so much worse for you than butter.

Blogger Stanley said...

A buttersweet set of moments there. Lovely slice of life. They melt, but there's always more.

Blogger Viviane said...

Just had to reread this. Here is another one, but it is so apt.

'Ever has it been that love knows not its own depth until the hour of separation.'

~Kahlil Gibran

Blogger Leela Lamore said...

Oh my, your words really pull at my heart!


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